language used in the Catholic liturgy and in the universities. It had long ceased to be a normal spoken language. It was divorced from the lived world. Second, a factor that played a role in the transition from scholastic science to the scientific revolution, there was the discovery of perspective.6 In linear perspective the space is three dimensional, rather than the flat space of medieval painters. It is a Euclidean homogenous space organized from the standpoint of an outside viewer, with light propagating along geometric lines outlining the space from the foreground to the vanishing horizon. This new way of organizing representations of reality from the perspective of an outside observer rapidly spread to other fields. Classical French drama respects the 'Aristotelian' dramatic unities of an integrated story completed in one day at one locale. Aristotle had only insisted on unity of action. The ‘classical Aristotelian doctrine’ was articulated by sixteenth century Italian critics influenced by perspective. It spread to physics when Kepler, influenced by Dürer's perspectival methods as well as Galileo’s telescope, showed, in his Dioptrice, how a correct geometrical analysis of light rays explained vision. Descartes’s La Dioptrique extended Kepler’s work by giving a correct law of refraction. Perspective entered mathematics with Descartes’ analytic geometry and the representation of bodies through coordinates in Euclidean space. Most analyses of this focus on the fact that the geometry is Euclidean, rather than on the portrayal of space from the perspective of an outside observer. The idea of the detached observer regarding physical reality from an external viewpoint culminates in Descartes' Discourse on Method and Meditations.
1.2 The Scientific Revolution.
In the Scientific Revolution the emphasis on basic categories shifted from Aristotelian natural units to properties that could be represented mathematically. Here we will skip the familiar aspects of this revolution and concentrate on an unintended linguistic residue, a revised categorial system. Galileo introduced the distinction between real properties of bodies: shape, size, location, motion, and contact; and qualities such as tastes, odors, and colors that reside only in human consciousness. (Drake, 1957, p. 274). The effective criterion was that only properties that admit of quantitative measurement can be considered objectively real. Descartes accorded mechanistic atomism an ontologically fundamental role with extension the only real property of material bodies. His dualism handled non-material bodies. Boyle tempered this austerity by postulating ontologically real dispositions in bodies that produce secondary qualities in sensitive organisms. His famous experimental demonstrations supported his claim that these dispositions could be explained through the mechanical properties of ultimate particles: size, shape, motion, and contact action.7 Thus, the emphasis shifted from substances, or natural units, as the basic subjects of science, to objects with quantitative properties.
Though Newton was an atomist, his corpuscular assumptions never supported the edifice of his mechanical system. The methodology that emerged from his intermittent labors in mechanics is summarized in a Scholium (Principia, Book I, Proposition 69). He begins with mathematics, or the mathematical formulation of
6 This brief summary is based on two articles, Chevelley (1993) and Frye (1980)
7 This early atomism is treated in Dijksterhuis, pp. 386-491; van Melsen, pp. 81-128; and Kargon.