From St. John's College tutor Matthew Linck's recent piece on the position of mathematics and science among the liberal arts: "The study of mathematical physics is inherently interesting in a number of ways: for its conceptual foundations; for the phenomena it both attends to and brings to light; for the rather mysterious fact that physical phenomena can be captured in mathematical expressions; for the insights it offers into the workings of powerful minds; and for the discernment it engenders concerning the power and the limits of modern natural science." [...]

"Taking up science as part of a liberal education means taking it up as something worth doing as its own end. We don’t need to ask what such study is good for. We only need to see that doing it is good."

Leibniz, science, and theology

From The New Atlantis — "At fourteen, he enrolled at the University of Leipzig to study philosophy. “I was very young when I began to meditate,” he would later write, “and I was not quite fifteen when I strolled for whole days in a grove to take sides between Aristotle and Democritus.” Even then, Leibniz was nagged by the tension between the teleological account of nature inherited from Aristotle and engrained in academia, and the new mechanical physics, represented by Galileo and Descartes, that hearkened back to the ancient Greek atomist Democritus. Early in Leibniz’s career, mechanism won out and led him to focus on mathematics, but, as we shall see, he later appropriated into his system something akin to the substantial forms of Aristotle. "For reasons not entirely known, Leibniz was denied the doctor’s degree of law at Leipzig and left the city, never to live there again. After quickly finishing, defending, and publishing his dissertation at the University of Altdorf at age twenty, he turned down the offer of a professorship, presumably to pursue his independent work of reforming the sciences — a project involving far more than the academy."