12 October 2014
The Oxford English Dictionary defines paradigm shift as the “conceptual or methodological change in the theory of practice of a particular science or discipline.” The word
Renaissance relates to humanism in the fact that these two words came from the same time period. The Oxford English Dictionary defines humanism as “the doctrine that Christ’s nature was human only and not divine.” Humanism brought man to the forefront causing a cultural revolution. The will to better understand the world stirred up progress in the scientific fields.
Scientists throughout Europe were under the influence of humanism which was spread with the invention of the printing press and technology. Finally, humanism had a religious impact along with the reformation, bringing religious principles to the West. New technology is presented and drastically modifies the creation of cosmology for a good cause.
Crisis at the end of the middle ages including the One Hundred Years War, the plague, and famines had a lasting impact on the men and women of the middle ages (Desi 23). Educated men and artists began to search for answers to find the existing pillars of society, including the church, universities, and feudalism. “Beginning in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, first in
Italy and then throughout Europe, men turned to ancient Greece and Rome for greater understanding” (Levinger 13). From this arose an authentic intellectual, artistic, philosophical
Speed !2 and scientific revolution. This man-centered Renaissance attributed great importance to freethought and marked the beginning of humanism.
Analysts’ in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries began to turn away from the church in an effort to find answers to the new technology of the sixteenth century. According to the church, man is guilty of original sin and must accept his misfortune in order to achieve eternal life (Desi
12). In reading Latin and Greek authors, the humanists discovered a different vision of the world, including a man centered universe. With humanism fatalism could be overcome, man could master his destiny and transform the world. Mankind was the source of confidence as he was now determined to be on Earth to seek perfection, master nature and overcome thinking skills.
This cultural revolution combined with the new world discoveries in America produced extensive changes in all fields: philosophy, religion, and science. Humanistic ideas were beneficial from the general improvement in living standards underway in Europe as well as the rise in commerce, the invention of the printing press and efforts of kings and benefactors to promote their spread (Desai 34).
In the beginning of the fifteenth century and some of the sixteenth century, Europe experienced famines, epidemics, and wars. For the church these represented God's punishment.
In order to reinforce this interpretation, the church relied on a very rigid interpretation of sacred texts with virtually no explanation provided. In response, the humanists sought alternative explanations that might explain man's place on Earth and his relationship with God. It was in reading ancient Greek and Latin texts that they were able to call into question the strict religious grounding so prevalent at the time (Levinger 26). The return to ancient texts was in itself radical as it challenged the churches monopoly on knowledge.
Curiosity and critical sense propelled humanists into the research of scientific disciplines towards a better, more specific understanding of man (Desai 17). Humanists didn't set out to further the scientific disciplines. However their pursuit of truth and highly developed curiosity combined with the discovery of ancient texts fostered a blossoming in science.