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Science and Universities at the XI-XIVth centuries

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  1. Introduction
  2. The term - University
  3. Science and religion
  4. Conclusion

Science is opposite to dogma. Dogma is imposed a truth whereas Science is trying to understand phenomenon, and is open to criticism and correction. Scientific results are always comparing to the reality. This definition can be applied today but also back in the XII century. Science in the history is strongly linked with philosophy. It could be strange for us living in the XXI century to consider philosophy as a science. However, the first philosopher was doing a sort of science because they tried to explain natural phenomenon by philosophy. During the middle-age, what we called science is about studying the nature.

There is no clear classification at the middle-age and the Renaissance between the different disciplines in what we called sciences. Theology, logic, mathematics, natural philosophy are few of the subjects and the distinction is blurred. A thinker knows a bit of each discipline to be considered as such. Bridges between disciplines are numerous. To clearly understand the medieval logic, we have to understand the place where it is elaborate: the University.

The term university appeared in the XI century. One of the first universities appears in Paris in 1200. This corporation of masters and students obtained some privileges from the pope in 1200 and a complete autonomy in 1231. There are 9 universities between the XIII and the XIV century. We can give as other example the University of Oxford in 1249 and the one of Cambridge in 1249. They appear in a rebirth context where the antic knowledge is rediscovered and the Aristotelianism is one of the most important influences. This thirst for knowledge will continue until the Renaissance.

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