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Physicist and systems theorist Fritjof Capra discusses in this talk the scientific thinking of Leonardo da Vinci. Capra argues that Leonardo was the first scientist to apply the scientific method based on systematic observation of nature. Leonardo, however, did not perceive the world as a combination of isolated objects. He was interested in living forms, patterns, processes, movement, growth and connections between things. He observed the world artistically by drawing it, which lead to a more holistic, qualitative grasp of phenomena. Capra sees Leonardo’s approach as more akin to systems thinking than the mechanistic Cartesian worldview still prevalent in science until quite recently. The talk was held at the Schumacher College in Totnes in May 2010.

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