"Science" before 1834

The word "scientist" was first used in the modern sense in 1834. But it was in use far before that, in a different sense. To the ancient Greek philosophers, everything had both an art and a science. the art was the practice, the doing of the thing. Science was the reason why, the planning, the totality of understanding it. Like building a wall. There is an art to it, and a science of it.

We borrowed the word, but we use it in the sense of Natural Philosophy, understanding nature through experimentation. That could not have happened before Robert Boyle's 1665 experiments on gasses, which oddly the empiricists, philosophers who believed only by observation can you find truth, rejected because Boyle messed with nature (pressurizing gasses with a pump) and didn't just observe nature operate on her own.

So in my discussions of alchemy, I'll occasionally use the word science. I usually mean the totality of a thing (like sweeping the floor), but might also refer to natural philosophy in explaining the way matter behaves.

Sorry for the confusion. We should have found a better word.

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