TOEFL Reading: ETS-TOEFL阅读机经 - 055GLMB79D5X36J7M$

The Scientific Revolution represents a turning point in world history. By 1700 European scientists had overthrown the science and worldviews of the ancient philosophers: Aristotle and Ptolemy. Europeans in 1700 lived in a vastly different intellectual world than that experienced by their predecessors in, say, 1500. The role and power of science, as a way of knowing about the world and as an agency with the potential of changing the world, likewise underwent profound restricting as part of the Scientific Revolution.  The social context for science in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had changed in several dramatic ways from the Middle Ages (roughly, 500 C.E. to the 1400s C.E.). Advances in military technology, the European voyages of exploration, and contact with the New World altered the context in which the Scientific Revolution unfolded. The geographical discovery of the Americas generally undermined the closed Eurocentric cosmos of the later Middle Ages, and the science of geography provided a stimulus of its own to the Scientific Revolution. With an emphasis on observational reports and practical experience, new geographical discoveries challenged accepted knowledge. Cartography (mapmaking) thus provided exemplary new ways of learning about the world in general, ways self-evidently superior to mastering established doctrines from dusty books. Many of the scientists of the Scientific Revolution seem to have been involved in one fashion or another with geography or cartography. In the late 1430s, Johannes Gutenberg, apparently independently of the development of woodblock printing in Asia, invented printing with movable type, and the spread of this powerful new technology after 1450 likewise altered the cultural landscape of early modern Europe. The new medium created a revolution in communications that increased the amount and accuracy of information available and made copying of books by scribes obsolete. Producing some 13,000 works by 1500, printing presses spread rapidly throughout Europe and helped to break down the monopoly of learning in universities and to create a new group of nonreligious intellectuals. Indeed, the first printshops became something of intellectual centers themselves, with authors, publishers, and workers collaborating in unprecedented ways in the production of new knowledge. Renaissance humanism, that renowned philosophical and literary movement emphasizing human values and the direct study of classical Greek and Latin texts, is hardly conceivable without the technology of printing that sustained the efforts of learned humanists. Regarding science, the advent of printing and humanist scholarship brought another wave in the recovery of ancient texts. Whereas Europeans first learned of ancient Greek science largely through translations from the Arabic in the twelfth century, in the later fifteenth century scholars brought forth new editions from Greek originals and uncovered influential new sources, notably the Greek mathematician Archimedes. Similarly, printing disseminated previously obscure handbooks of technical and magical secrets that proved influential in the developing Scientific Revolution. Particularly in Italy, the revival of cultural life and the arts in the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries commonly known as the Renaissance must also be considered as an urban and comparatively secular phenomenon, aligned with courts and courtly patronage but not with the universities, which were religiously base. One associates the great flourish of artistic activity of the Renaissance with such talents as Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. In comparison with medieval art, the use of perspective – a projection system that realistically renders the three dimensions of space onto the two dimensions of a canvas – represents a new feature typical of Renaissance painting, and through the work of Leon Battista Alberti, Albrecht Durer, and others, artists learned to practice mathematical rules governing perspective. So noteworthy was this development that historians have been inclined to place Renaissance artists at the forefront of those uncovering new knowledge about nature in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Whatever one may make of that claim, early modern artists needed accurate knowledge of human muscular anatomy for lifelike renditions, and an explosion of anatomical research in the Renaissance may be attributed to this need in the artistic community.