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Scientific Method in Ptolemy’s Harmonics by Barker Essay (Book Review)


Description

Scientific Method in Ptolemy’s Harmonics offers an understanding of ancient lessons of Greek analytical techniques (Barker 5). Andrew Barker authored the book. Cambridge University Press in New York produced the text in the year 2000. Barker is a tutor of classical music. He teaches at the University of Birmingham (Barker 3). He is the writer of many texts centering on Greek composition, musical schemes, and beliefs. Scientific Method in Ptolemy’s Harmonics analyzes the scientific techniques invented by Ptolemy (Barker 4).

Ptolemy’s techniques are useful when scrutinizing arrangements on musical melody, which are narrowly interrelated to astronomy. Ptolemy’s interpretation of the approaches is remarkably unambiguous (Barker 7). The science referred to as harmonics are considered an essential academic originality of ancient Greek times. Ptolemy’s thesis sought to capitalize on this field with fresh scientific precision. As such, his unswervingly classy procedural self-awareness made his contribution a major text in the antiquity of science.

In the book, Barker offers an inquiry of Ptolemy’s classy logical structures, his approaches for incorporating philosophy with observation, and his careful directives for the scheme and comportment of tentative tests (Barker 15). Ptolemy trails his fresh objective of combining the project’s hypothetical and pragmatic stages and displays an incredible understanding of the concept, the design, and the behavior of meticulous investigational tests. Through this, the author provides historians of science a different initiation point for extensive investigations of antique scientific methods (Barker 8).

The text is considered the first continual procedural study of Ptolemy’s project. The book begins by offering an investigation of Ptolemy’s categorical assertions on the science’s intentions and related procedures (Barker 23). Later, it inspects Ptolemy’s conduct of his various examinations. The book concludes by stating that in spite of irregular suspicions the acknowledged procedure is supported by extraordinary devotion. By exploring this ancient writing to scholars, the author intended to offer a different perspective for broader readings of the Greek analytical method.

Discussion

The book is a fundamental basis of the antiquity of music and beliefs of science. The text highlights on the section that is focused on musical science proper (I, 1-III, 3) and the scientific technique it presents (Barker 13). In the book, the author utilizes an examination of Ptolemy’s programmatic declarations in I and 1/2, as an essential basis for understanding Ptolemy’s exposition. His explanation is presented in the form of an interpretation with prominence on the organizationally pertinent passages (Sefrin-Weis 123). In most of the text, the author monitors the order of Ptolemy’s book carefully. Through this, he offers ancient background evidence in the excursus approach.

In most chapters of the book, the reader is provided with a comprehensive inquiry of the passages, which aids in comprehending Ptolemy’s techniques in harmonics as they develop in his discourse (Barker 187). The claims are so convincing even to those who differ with Barker’s assertions regarding Ptolemy’s procedure. The statements are defined in the first chapters of the book.

Chapters 7 and 8 provide an explanation of Ptolemy’s tetra-chord separations (Barker 189). Readers analyzing an assessment of the hypothetical facet of Ptolemy’s scientific technique will find this section interesting. In the chapters, the author offers a comprehensive investigation and a description of the ancient and experimental evidence required for a non-professional to understand his claims and Ptolemy’s assertions (Feke 47). The book discloses that a substantial portion of Ptolemy’s philosophy has no complement in the jurisdiction of sensations professed as musical. Equally, the texts suggest that a part of the philosophy focused on the single most significant partition of musical rehearsal is not vindicated based on the derivation of the ideologies.

Barker believes that Ptolemy’s status as one of the admirable scientists is based on his investigations and findings on astronomy (Barker 167). He asserts that a few students know about Ptolemy’s contribution to harmonics. According to the author, a few scholars who have investigated Ptolemy’s contribution have not specialized in the history of science. Thus, he argues that their studies have not concentrated on Ptolemy’s writings in their original setting. Based on the above illustrations, Barker feels that Ptolemy’s contribution to harmonics has been neglected. He encourages other scholars that harmonics merits much broader consideration.

In the book, the author believes that Ptolemy comprehended the requirements to be fulfilled before a tentative test is undertaken (Barker 147). He asserts that the philosopher had a clear and reasonable idea of the functions to be allocated in an appropriate scientific project. Barker doubts if these ideas have been fully utilized or exhibited in other ancient Greek sources. He is not certain if the investigational tool described precisely by Ptolemy in his texts has ever been constructed. He also doubts if Ptolemy prudently premeditated and controlled experimentations were ever tested. The author asserts that if the experiments were done, he is not certain if Ptolemy allowed the experimenters to alter their deductions that they alleged to test.

After reading through the book, the reader will note that Barker did not offer a balanced assessment of his evidence (Northey and McKibbin 76). As such, he has a perspective he wishes to advocate through the text. The author perceives that analysis of Ptolemy’s findings on harmonics has received little consideration. Therefore, in the book he rarely involves discoveries of other contemporary scholars of Greek science.

Compared with another text that focuses on Ptolemy’s findings on harmonics, Barker’s book is better and more authoritative. In the book, the author offers an in-depth analysis of harmonics. He analyzes the results systematically with the aim of informing the reader about Ptolemy’s techniques in harmonics as they develop in his discourse. By focusing less on discoveries of other contemporary scholars of Greek science, the author enables the reader to have an in-depth analysis of Ptolemy’s texts with minimal disruptions.

After reading through the book, I noted that it was fairly written. Even though the book offered a comprehensive analysis of Ptolemy’s texts, a time it was difficult to follow the proofs provided by the author (Barker 167). I noticed that readers should have knowledge in Ptolemy’s texts to understand Barker’s explanation with ease. I also noticed that the procedural program the author focuses most on in the book remained ambiguous on many occasions. Therefore, the reader will be confused about what should be considered adequate incorporation of experimental and hypothetical phases and on what will be deemed practical (Bruyn, Montagnes, and Brown 43).

The above is a severe shortcoming because the author asserts that the philosopher instantiates a multifaceted scientific procedure with a conclusive incorporated pragmatist trait. The weakness is intensified by the fact that the ambiguous standings of the hypothesized approach have to be compromised in the succeeding chapters to uphold Ptolemy’s real techniques. Despite the above shortcomings, it should be noted that Barker’s arguments were compelling.

Final assessment

Scientific Method in Ptolemy’s Harmonics is a very useful book. The book offers an understanding of experimental musical techniques invented by Ptolemy. Ptolemy’s techniques are useful when scrutinizing arrangements on vocal melody, which are narrowly interrelated to astronomy. The text is one of the first few continual procedural studies of Ptolemy’s project. In the book, the author offers an investigation of Ptolemy’s categorical assertions on the science’s intentions and related procedures.

The book also inspects Ptolemy’s conduct of his various examinations. The text is useful for graduate music students, undergraduate students, and professionals interested in understanding Ptolemy’s findings on harmonics (He and Shu 169). I would buy the book because it has beneficial information. I would also recommend this book to modern students of ancient sciences. The above learners know of Ptolemy based on his findings optics, natural features, and astronomy (Bruyn, Montagnes, and Brown 48). The students have no or little knowledge about their investigations in harmonics. Therefore, this book will come in handy for the above learners.

The text will be useful in understanding lectures focused on classical music, Greek music, musical theory, and philosophy. Based on these themes covered through the semester, the book will offer an inquiry of Ptolemy’s classy logical structures, his approaches for incorporating philosophy with observation, and his careful directives for the scheme and comportment of tentative tests (Bruyn, Montagnes, and Brown 56). By analyzing the text, students will learn to gain a new initiation point for extensive investigations of antique scientific methods.

Works Cited

Barker, Andrew. Scientific Method In Ptolemy’s Harmonics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Print.

Bruyn, Jan de, Ramona Montagnes and Judy Brown. The Canadian Writer’s Handbook. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.

Feke, Jacqueline. Ptolemy In Philosophical Context: A Study Of The Relationships Between Physics, Mathematics, And Theology. 2009. Print.

He, Chuan, and Qin Shu. “Separation And Analyzing Of Harmonics And Inter-Harmonics Based On Single Channel Independent Component Analysis”. International Transactions on Electrical Energy Systems 25.1 (2013): 169-179.Print.

Northey, Margot, and Joan McKibbin. Making Sense. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.

Sefrin-Weis, Heike. “Scientific Method In Ptolemy’s Harmonics (Review)”. Journal of the History of Philosophy 41.1 (2003): 123-124. Print.

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