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Book chapter

Alexandre Koyré’s Essential Features of the Scientific Revolution

In this chapter we are going to examine the logical connections between various descriptions of the Scientific Revolution proposed by Alexandre Koyré. We are going to propose an attentive and detailed reading of texts written by Koyré in different periods of his life in order to identify various aspects of his interpretation of the revolution in thought that occurred in early modern Europe. His most famous description of the Scientific Revolution (the dual characterization) indicates two aspects of the process that led to the emergence of classical physics: “destruction of the Cosmos” and “geometrization of space”. However, Koyré frequently used other expressions for characterization of the period, such as “mathematization of Nature”, or transition “from the world of more-or-less to the universe of precision” and “from the closed world to the open universe”. We could expect that Koyré would try to reduce his initial dual characterization to one single formula. I argue here that, on the contrary, the duality of description had a special meaning which permits us to keep in focus the complexity of the intellectual change that occurred during 17th century, when new science was rising from a new conception of reality, and a new world-view was emerging from the new science