This short book has presented a simplified summary of a vast amount of scholarship. If we wish to simplify even further, and summarize the summary, we could say that in the Renaissance, thanks to the recovery of writings by a number of Ancient writers hitherto known only by reputation, the monolithic authority of Aristotle in natural philosophy began to collapse. The result was not merely an end to the authority of Aristotle, but also an end to the idea that truth can be found in the pronouncements of any authority figure. Seeking a replacement for Aristotelian doctrine, those who were interested in understanding the nature of the physical world turned to, or had their attention brought to, various alternative traditions, which had been excluded from university natural philosophy but were thriving in their own right. These included the mathematical sciences, alchemy and other aspects of natural magic, and at least some of the technical arts.
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