Reijer Hooykaas (August 1, 1906 in Schoonhoven – January 4, 1994 in Zeist) was a Dutch historian of science. He along with Eduard Jan Dijksterhuis were pioneers in professionalizing the history of science in the Netherlands.
Religion and the rise of modern science, 1972
Reijer Hooykaas, Religion and the Rise of Modern Science, 1972 (2000)
- In the first chapter of Genesis it is made evident that absolutely nothing, except God, has any claim to divinity; even the sun and the moon, supreme gods of the neighbouring peoples, are set in their places between the herbs and the animals and are brought into the service of mankind.
- p. 8
- Pascal scornfully said that simple workmen had been able to convince of error those great men that are called 'philosophers'. It was, then, these unlearned men... who were most ready to believe 'what they saw with their eyes and touched with their hands'.
"The Portuguese Discoveries and the Rise of Modern Science," 1983
Reijer Hooykaas, "The Portuguese Discoveries and the Rise of Modern Science" in Selected Studies in History of Science (1983)
- Our thesis now is that the Portuguese seafarers and scientists of the 15th and 16th centuries made an important contribution to the rise of modern science by unintentionally undermining the belief in scientific authorities and by strengthening the confidence in an empirical, natural, historical method.
- The Portuguese had undertaken their voyages towards the southern hemisphere in spite of the science of their day... they followed an irresistible urge, which went against their scientific and religious convictions.
- Perhaps there is no literature in Europe that mirrors so clearly as the Portuguese, the painful conflict in the minds of people who, on the one hand, by their humanistic education, not only knew better but also more uncritically admired, ancient learning than their medieval predecessors, and, who, on the other hand, in the same epoch, were confronted with abundant proofs of the insufficiency and fallibility of that same Antiquity.
Quotes about Reijer Hooykaas
- In... "The Portuguese Discoveries and the Rise of Modern Science", Prof. Hooykaas supported the thesis "That the Portuguese seafarers and scientists of the 15th and 16th centuries made an important contribution to the rise of modern science by unintentionally undermining the belief in scientific authorities and by strengthening the confidence in the empirical, natural-historic method". ...Prof. Hooykaas analyzed the meaning of "natural science" in Antquity and the Middle Ages... characterized by too great a confidence in human reason and a sacred respect for what the authorities in the ancient world had written. ...In 1956, Prof. Hooykaas had already affirmed that "the discovery of the New World caused many difficulties to naturalists and historians..." …botanical species of medical interest warned that Dioscorides and Galen had not known everything; ...Portuguese seamen had clarified many doubts and shown the existence of the antipodes etc..
- The clash between reason and Portuguese experience. Hooykaas' starting point is the intellectual challenge which, from the early 15th century onward, was posed by the discoveries of the Portuguese mariners... There follows an array of fascinating accounts of, and quotations from, works by contemporary authors who were compelled to face as facts numerous phenomena the ancients had been quite sure could not possibly be observed because they were bound not to exist. Examples are Aristotle's denial that the tropics could be inhabited; Ptolemy's mathematically derived conviction that all dry land is confined to part of the Northern Hemisphere, and so on. ...In Hooykaas' view we are witnessing here a birth of 'natural history' in the domain of the hard and given fact... The narrow world of sense-data to which the ancient natural philosophers had confined their all-too-rational speculations was now being blown to pieces. And this was not being done by fellow natural philosophers, but rather at the urging of scarcely literate sailors!
- Floris Cohen, The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Inquiry (1994)
- As Hooykaas (1972, p. 101) argued, the pervasiveness of religion meant that for any idea to become socially acceptable, it made a huge difference whether it was resisted, tolerated, or sponsored by prevalent religious beliefs.
- Joel Mokyr (2016), A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy. p. 133
- Hooykaas (1972, p. 100) writes that especially commercial and industrial cities were intellectually dynamic, far more so than sleepy university towns. These cities also tended to be more tolerant of different religions and multilingual. Modern research has found that especially cities involved in Atlantic trade were institutionally dynamic.
- Joel Mokyr (2016), A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy. p. 174