Page:A Brief History of Modern Philosophy.djvu/38

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35
BRUNO

of pain increase with the height of the aim. But the heroic man finds his joy in the fact that a noble fire has been kindled in his breast—even though the goal should be impossible of realization and his soul should be consumed by its profound yearning. This courageous wisdom typifies Bruno’s character as it appears in his life and in his heroic death at the stake.

C. The New Science

Without any disparagement of the tremendous importance of the free investigations in the sphere of mental science, or even the radical change in the general theory of the universe, the fact nevertheless remains that the founding of modern natural science had a far profounder influence upon human life. The contributions of antiquity are likewise in evidence here, particularly the study of the writings of Archimedes. The real cause however must be traced to the increasing interest in the industries, mechanics and engineering operations, especially in the Italian cities. Galileo makes mention of this fact at the opening of his chief work. It was but natural therefore that this should give rise to a desire to understand the laws and principles by which to promote these operations. Then followed a transition from the achievements of man to the majestic products of nature, because man depends, more or less consciously, on the analogy between human mechanics and the efficiency of nature.

Modern natural science created a new method. It substituted observation and experiment together with analysis and computation for speculation and dogmatic construction on the one hand and the mere collection of facts on the other. The human mind evolved new functions, whose nature and value necessarily suggested new