Ch.14: Scientific Revolution & the Enlightenment
Overview of the Age: Throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, Europe went through a drastic change in thought, namely science, mathematics, and philosophy. Perspective and view of the universe changed scientifically; the individual’s place in society was altered. Religion took the back seat to science and philosophy. The church became much less significant to certain monarchs, individuals, and states. The state overpowered the church in this era of history.
People relied more on reason rather than faith, and new fields emerged in many areas of profession. New scientific concepts and methods became increasingly advanced, and set the standards for the next era, as well as knowledge of Europeans. There was major intellectual development throughout the scientific revolution and the enlightenment; the roles of religion and politics transformed.
Five BIG Points:
• Emphasized use of mathematical and empirical data rather than human perception and observation alone.
• Scientists rejected the geocentric universe idea and replaced it with a heliocentric universe idea, this also went against many of the church’s teachings
• Political rethinking of government, between absolutism and a government governed by the people and for the people.
• Practical thinking caused a decrease in witch hunts and superstitions
• Literature reflected human perceptions of reality as well as classic medieval values.
Changes in political ideology: During the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment the church continuously lost power and influence. Leaders such as Catherine the Great, Frederick the Great, and Frederick William I often went against the Catholic Church by granting religious tolerance and supporting scientific research. Thinkers such as John Locke criticized Absolute Monarchies because they took away the natural rights of the citizens. He believed that the government existed for the people and that the people had the duty to overthrow the government if the government failed to give them their natural rights, which were life, health, liberty, and possessions. However some thinkers, such as Thomas Hobbes, disagreed with Locke’s liberal and democratic ideas. Hobbes felt that people were naturally corrupt and needed to be governed by an Absolute Monarchy. The constant questioning of a perfect government left citizens in a revolutionary state of mind and ultimately led to the French Revolution.
Changes in economic structure: In the past, such as the Renaissance, rulers gave money to artists to display the culture of the country. In the Scientific Revolution however, rulers were giving financial aid to scientists in order to further discoveries.
Intellectual Movements and Historical Trends:
Many new scientific fields emerged in universities (in math, astronomy, and physics), and as a result science evolved into actual laws and many different fields of science emerged.
Things like scientific theory, Kepler’s 3 Laws of Planetary Motion, and Galileo’s Laws of
Motion came into play, and made their mark on history. Scientific thought was brought into the realism of politics, and actually developed realism in politics. The new ideas and methods of science challenged not only the church, bible, and religion, but also the modes of thought from previous medieval times such as witch hunts and superstitions. Rational frame of mind and experimenting was used to answer questions rather than superstitions. An enlightened religion, or way of life, Deism emerged during the enlightenment and scientific revolution. Deism created the idea that God is a clockmaker; he set the clock, and then watches everything fall into place.
Many Deists also appeared at salons, which enlightened thinkers began hosting quite frequently to discuss ideas and beliefs. The philosophes (Frenchmen, philosophers) shaped the enlightenment by