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Principal problems addressed/principal figures
Subsequent results/new approaches
The Scientific Revolution was a period in European history characterized by great uncertainty, change, and discovery. It can be seen as a period of man making his way out of the dark abyss of tradition and discovering the truth about the world. The Scientific Revolution was a period characterized by intense observation of study of the earth and planets, leading to the advancement of math and physical thinking in many ways. The time period was from roughly 1500 to 1700. However, a better date would be 1543 to 1687. It was the transition from the medieval worldview to a largely secular, rational, and materialistic perspective that began in the 17th century and was popularized in the 18th.
Greeks and Aristotle: Intro
In the past, there were numerous beliefs and discoveries made by the Philosopher, Aristotle. His observations and discoveries became the norm for western civilization. Everyone adhered to his principles in numerous aspects. Not only that, but they also followed the works of the ancient Greek philosophers and scientists, such as Galen and Ptolemy. As a result, numerous questions were being raised when new discoveries were being made that did not correspond to the teachings of Aristotle. Once one person chipped at the Aristotelian framework, it led to an attack on the entire system, eventually shattering the view and freeing people to think differently.
Although the first discovery in the Scientific Revolution centered on what was at the center of the earth, the very first person who disagreed with Aristotle was Robert Grosetesque (1168–1253). Grosseteste opposed Aristotle’s theory of a rainbow. Although it was a minute opposition that did not really impact much thought, it was Grosseteste who was the first to crack through Aristotle’s framework. After Grosseteste and his student, Robert Bacon, two more men, Jean Buridane and Nicole Oresme challeings Aristotle’s theory of motion. As a result, Aristotle was already being questioned.
Once inventions permitted greater observation, the first person to oppose Aristotle and actually have an impact was Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543). Copernicus opposed the Aristottelian- Ptolemaic geocentric model of the universe, which stated that the earth was at the center of the earth. In his work, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Copernicus opposed the intricateness and neatness of Ptolemy’s system and called for a heliocentric model with the sun at the center of the earth and the eight spheres and fixed stars at rest in the eightn sphere. He also stated the moon revolved around the earth and the earth, with its daily axis, revolves around the sun yearly. His ideas were disregarded, however, because he was not a scientist. Rather than providing mathematical proof, he simply made observations that would not hold up.
Result of Copernicuq
The subsequent results of Copernicus’ contributions led to questions being raised about Aristotle’s system and the role of man in life since humans were placed out of the center. However, the Church did not denounce it just yet.
Tycho Brahe and Kepler
After Copernicus, Tycho Brahe made observations about the heavens and also rejected the ideas of Aristotle. However, he was not in favor of Copernicus’ theory of the earth’s movement. It was Johannes Kepler who continued Brahe’s observations and finally confirmed Copernicus’ heliocentric model with modifications. His contributions were the theory of planetary motion. Although he accepted Copernicus’ theory, he rejected the idea that the orbits were circular and said they were elliptical, with the sun at a focus of the ellipse, rather than the center. Secondly, he demonstrated that the speed of a planet is not constant; it increases when in proximity to the sun and decreases the farther away from the sun it is. Kepler’s last law said that planets with larger orbits revolve at a slower average velocity than those with smaller orbits. Through this, the idea of uniform circulatory motion was eliminated, as was the Aristotelian Ptolemaic system.
Results of Kepler
The results of Kepler’s discoveries led to the shattering of the basic structure, allowing people to think in their own ways. It also led to many more questions.
Kepler was followed by Galileo, who was the first to observe the heavens through a telescope. His discoveries of the craters on the moon shattered the idea of a perfect, heavenly sphere in the heavens. Furthermore, he discovered the phases of Venus and the four moons of Jupiter, as well as sunspots. Through these, he proved the earth was composed of material substance similar to that of the earth. His revelations published in The Starry Messenger led to some praise of him as a hero and also the acquiring of great enemies—the Church. Galileo was dragged into the Inquisition and forced not to teach the heliocentric theory, although he could discuss it. Galileo’s rebellious nature led to create a work, Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican, that landed him right back into the Inquisition, where he was accussed of teaching it and sentenced to house arrest. It was during his house arrest that he made his greatest contribution to science.
Galileo's Principle of Motion
. It was his principle of motion that once again opposed Aristotle’s. Aristotle stated that an object at rest will remain at rest and an object upon which a force is exerted will continue at a constant speed until removed, through which it wills top. However, this did not explain why cannons were able to carry out their motion without a constant force applied. Galileo demonstrated that this was incorrect and discovered the theory of inertia, which stated that an object at motion will remain at motion until deflected by an external force. These are natural states. However, if a force is exerted against an object, the object will move at an accelereated speed.
Results of Galielo
The subsequent results of Galileo’s efforts to demonstrate the truth undermined further scientific experimentation and led to the rise of England, France, and the Dutch to rise to the scientific stage.
The English brought Newton into the picture who, from the beginning, was greatly talented as he created calculus, was developing a means of calculating rates of change and studying the composition of light. His famous work Principia contained the mathematical proofs that Newton used to demonstrate his universal law of gravitation. He was successful in creating a universal law that governed not only terrestrial objects but also planetary bodies, such as his theory that every object continues in state of rest or motion in a straight line unless deflected by force and the rate of motion. Newton’s view of the world as being able to be discovered and studied, for example, by showing the attraction of every object to another led to his idea of the Newtonian-world machine: the universe was one, huge regulated, and uniform machine that operated according to natural laws in absolute time, space, and motion. In the end, he was able to combine the ideas of Copernicus, Galileo and Kepler into one cosmology.
effects of Newton
The subsequent results of Newton’s contributions were the belief that every aspect of the world can now be studied in a scientific and methodological manner. Furthermore, it led to a new view of the world. Newton’s world machine concept would eventually contribute to the idea of deism.
Medicine and Galen
While science and motion dominated a large part of the Western world, there were also areas that were dominated by new thinking. For example, one aspect was through the medicine and chemistry. In medicine, it was not Aristotle’s dominance in the scientific field, but it was Galen who dominated medicine. Similar to Aristotle, Galen was incorrect in many of his areas of discovery. For example, the principle problems htat occurred were in anatomy and physiology. For example, he based his human anatomy on the dissection of a cat. Furthermore, he believed in the body humours; sicknesses were the result of imbalances. Furthermore, he believed in two blood systems that ran separately in the body and thought that arteries originated from the liver. Galen’s discoveries were largely opposed.
One person, Paracelsus, was angered at the teachings of universities and ancient Greeks. Paracelsus frequently lost jobs due to his great contempt for universities. He rejected Aristotle and Galen and desired a new view of the world in chemical aspects. Every person had a part of the earth inside them; they were a microcosm in a macrocosm. He believed that the chemical reactions of the universe as a whole were reproduced in human beings on a smaller scale. Disease, he believed was not by imbalances in humours, but through imbalances in chemical reactions. He believed in like cures like, such as venom curing venom. However, this led people to believe this was malpractice. He differed from others in prescribing chemicals in small dosages.
Vesalius was interested in medicine anatomically. He was aware of Galen and disagreed with him and his On Anatomical Procedures. He emphasized practical research as the principla avenue for understanding human anatomy. He differed from others by actually dissecting a live cadaver during his lectures at Padua. In 1543, he published On the Fabric of the Human Body. This book was made possible through illustrateions. Vesalius was able to solve some of Galen’s errors, such as the vessels originating from the heart. However, he still adhered to his theory that there were two bloods circulating through the body. This was solved through William Harvey. William Harvey wrote the work ON the Motion of the Herat and Blood to correct the idea of two separate bloods. However, he was largely opposed until the discovery of capillaries.
Effects of Men's Discoveries
The subsequent effects of these men’s discoveries were more accurate means of healing. For example, although people were greatly opposed to Paracelsus’s “like cures like,” Paracelsus was successful in healing numerous people. Not only that, but also there was a more accurate view of the human body than the past could provide. Furthermore, it laid foundation for modern physiology.
Advances in chemistry also occurred with Robert Boyle, who contributed to the relations between pressure and volume and also said that matter does not consist of the same components, but little atoms. Lavoisier invented a naming system for chemicals and demonstrated the rules of chemical combination. His contributions were also assisted by his wife, who learned English to translate English works. This shows how women also were influenced by the Scientific Revolution.
One woman, Margaret Cavendish, gained a great reputation in the scientific debates of her time. She also argued against the notion that by studying nature, man can become masters over it. This was described in her Observations upon Experimental Philosophy and Grounds of Natural Philosphy. In these, she attacked the rationalist and empiricist approaches to scientific knowledge. Another womam, Maria Merian gained a great reputation as an epidemiologist. After going on an expedition to Surinam, she made an illustrated book of the reproductive cycles of insects in Metamorophosis of the Insects of Surinam. Her skills in illustrating were greatly helpful. One more woman, Maria Winkelmann, was educated by her father and uncle and received training in astronomy. After marrying Germany’s foremost astronomer, she discovered a comet. She also corresponded with another person who created the calculus, named Gottfried Liebnetz, who praised her. Despite her contributioisn, she was banned from the Berlin Academy.
Results of women
The subsequent result of this involvement in the Scientific Revolution for women led to disputes called querreles de femme, in which men argued that women should not be involved in the Scientific Revolution. Their belief that they were inferior, prone to vice, and sexually insatiable that had to be guided by men, was furthered by the discovery of the skeletons of men and women. Women skeletons had a wider pelvis and smaller skull. As a result, they were largely excluded. Not only that, but their jobs as midwives were being overtaken by doctors, which was another result of the Scientific Revolution. In the end, traditional views of women were reinforced.
Results of Scientific Revolution
Other subsequent results of this era were the development of royal societies, which encouraged collaboration in the scientific field, the development of scientific journals that were not only directed to other scientists, but also to the general public interested in science. Furthermore, professionalism in occupations was beginning to occur as new technology led to more efficient tools. The development of new tools also was another result. The scientific revolution impacted kthe mercantile and propertied elites of Europe. People, such as the Puritans, also desired to employ the scientific revolution for reformation of society and change.
New approaches also came about during this period. One is the Scientific Method. Francis Bacon was an Englishman who rejected the methods of his time at arriving at conclusions about nature. He didn’t doubt human’s ability to know the natural world, but believed they were proceeding incorrectly. In his The Great Instauration, he called for a reconstruction of the sciences and arts. He founded the Scientific method based on induction and called for more practical uses of science. This led to Descartes opposing him and advocating deduction to arrive at the truth. In his Discourse on Method, he rejected everything and attempted to start from the very beginning.
Effects of Descartes and application of Newtonian science
- The effects of this were a new way of thought for Western civilization. This would later lead enlightened thinkers to apply the Scientific method to examine society.
- Another approach was the application of Newtonian science to trade and industry, which produced military applications.
Science and Religion
One extremely large effect was the division of science and religion. Because theology was considered the queen of sciences, when changes in scientific thinking were surfacing, it led to great opposition from the church. The church refused to believe in Copernican beliefs because it would lead to questions about man’s place in society. People tried to correct this problem by stating that it made no sense to adhere to the Bible if it had numerous interpretations. This led to two important figures.
Spinoza was a man who believed that separation of mind and matter and separation of infinite God from finite world of matter was not true. To him, God was the universe in every one of us. If man wanted to win God’s favor, he needed to worship God. When nature was unfriendly, God was punishing mankind. Where Spinoza went wrong was in his belief that bad happens to both good and bad people. He also said that reason could help people understand the order and achieve detachments from passing interests.
Pascal, on the other hand, believed that science and religion should be united. He tried to convert rationalists to Christianity. He also tried to demonstrate that there is no need to pit one against the other when they are both important in both aspects of life. In the end, he rested on faith, saying reason could only get you so far. Pascal recognized both the fall of man and his existence as God’s special creation.
In the end, although there were very positive consequences, the dominant contribution of the Scientific Revolution was secularization.
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