Van den Broek, Hans
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Until the seventeenth century no book on natural philosophy was read as widely, and exerted as much influence, as did Aristotle's "Physics". It controlled Hellenistic, Byzantine and Arabic physics, and generated the definitions and principles of physics and delineated its problems along with their terminology, order and relative importance. This paper tries ascertaining the who, what and how of the initial changes that led to the breaking up of the medieval point of view. I will attempt to accomplish this by evaluating the opinions of two medieval philosophers on the subject of science, Thomas Aquinas representing the scholastic-Aristotelian notions current during most of the thirteenth century, and William of Ockham, expressing a way of thinking more prevalent in the third, fourth and fifth decades of the fourteenth century and which turns out to have been the onset of a process culminating in the dissolution of the medieval approach to science.