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Grand Theories and Everyday BeliefsScience, Philosophy, and their Histories$
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Wallace Matson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199812691

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199812691.001.0001

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(p.121) Chapter 15 Alexandria
Grand Theories and Everyday Beliefs

Wallace Matson

Oxford University Press

Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals, a patron of Greek culture, founded in Alexandria, capital of his Egyptian empire, the Library, the greatest depository of Greek literature, and the Museum, a research institute. Science made great advances in the Museum. The Library produced great scholars but little new literature. The principal philosophical innovation of the period was the rise of Skepticism, which utterly rejected high beliefs, whether tethered or not. Greek Skepticism is the ancestor of modern Positivism and Pragmatism, not of Cartesian skepticism. It was quite correct for its time, but it is a good thing that it did not prevail, for it would have eliminated the element of imagination that is essential to science.

Keywords:   imagination, Positivism, Pragmatism, Skepticism, Museum, Library, Egypt

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