The restoration of ancient culture was just one of the preoccupations of sixteenth-century discussions about knowledge of the natural world. Outside those arenas in which the university-educated paraded their humanist credentials, other voices began to be raised against the dominance of scholastic values in learning. In particular, the usual Aristotelian emphasis on contemplative rather than practical knowledge of nature came in for severe criticism, usually on moral grounds. In Greek, Aristotle’s distinction was denoted by the terms epistēmē and technē, corresponding to the Latin scientia and ars (“science” and “art”). The school stress on scientia appeared to some critics as a deliberate neglect of practical matters, being of especial culpability in the case of medicine, in which practical ends were most obviously at issue.
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- The Alchemist, the Craftsman, and the Scholar
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