Introduction Perhaps more than any period of time since the Classical Era, the Age of Enlightenment saw innovations in thought, politics, theology and science. The two essays offered within this volume highlight some of the specific changes that occurred in these areas. The first essay, The Age of Enlightenment, offers a comprehensive overview of the changes wrought in various aspects of life and thought.
The second essay, The Scientific Revolution, focuses upon the specific contributions of four scientists, and describes how their work, during the age of Enlightenment challenged not only traditional thought, but the entire basis of theology at the time.
Both of these essays touch on the fact that it was freedom from religious dogma that engendered advances in science, economy and politics. Both works point out that new modes of thought challenged the existing establishment and shook the Church to its very foundation. Those philosophers and scientists that challenged the status quo faced obstacles ranging from ridicule to criminal prosecution for their ideas.
The new schools of philosophy and science during the era were based on the fundamental assertion that the universe is both observable and knowable to human beings. This notion, called humanism, is the underlying basis for scientific and other advances during the Age of Enlightenment. The basic notion that the universe could be observed and measured is what drove scientists to create the tools and mathematics necessary to do so. Similarly, if humans, rather than god, were responsible for their own behavior, the organization of government and philosophy were bound to change.
The first of the two essays, The Age of Enlightenment, discusses the origins of the Enlightenment Era. It further addresses changes in the fields of science, religion and economics associated with the time period. The second essay focuses on the scientific contributions four prominent Enlightenment scientists.The underlying implications of a movement deemed to be a revolution is that changed is introduced quickly and often violently.
While no wars were fought over the theories of Galileo or Newton, it is difficult to argue their development represented a radical change in scientific methodology.As pointed out in the first essay, one of the most significant developments that promoted Enlightenment was the use of the Printing Press. From the Bible to Scientific Papers, published documents accelerated the promulgation of new ideas, and prompted more people to question religious dogma by reading and interpreting the bible for themselves.As pointed out by both authors, modern Western society, science, economy and thought owes much to the tenets developed during the Age of Enlightenment, and the contribution of scientists of the Scientific revolution cannot be underestimated.
The essays presented herein merely scratch the surface of the tidal wave of changed that consume the Western world as thinkers came out of their theological shells and began to consider secular explanations for the world around them.The Age of Enlightenment By: Ahmed Subki Abstract: Philosophical thought changed radically during the 1700s, a period known as the Age of Enlightenment. A move away from reliance on the Catholic Church for answers to questions of science, sociology, philosophy, economics and religion led to a radical advancement of the arts and sciences during this period. Challenges to Church doctrine also led to a vast schism in the Catholic Church itself, which was known as the Protestant Reformation.
In sum, the Age of Enlightenment led to revolutionary forms of religious, political and economic thought, forever changing the face of Western Society. IntroductionThe Age of Enlightenment refers to a great intellectual movement that occurred in the Western world in the eighteenth century. Historians called this period the Age of Enlightenment because traditional beliefs and societal norms were challenged and replaced by theories derived from rational thought and evidence. Thinkers began to challenge older philosophies and ways of viewing the world.
The philosophers of the Enlightenment based their philosophies on secular reasoning, rather than religious thought, as was traditionally done. These thinkers hoped that the period would bring positive changes to every aspect of thought and life. Considered at the time to be radical and extreme, these thinkers were pushing for a philosophical rationalism to emerge from the natural philosophies and sciences that were seen to replace religion in seeking answers to human nature and human destiny (Gay 1996). Origins of the Age of EnlightenmentThe age of Enlightenment was a social critique of the corruption of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages.
The age of Enlightenment saw the Western world as emerging from the ignorance and darkness of exclusive religious thought into a new age which was enlightened by science, new thought and an understanding of humanity. The people behind the age of Enlightenment can be traced way back into the seventeenth century or earlier. Rene Descartes, John Locke, Pierre Bayle, Thomas Hobbes and Baruch Spinoza were some of the philosophers and thinkers that paved the way for the Age of Enlightenment (Berlin 1984). New scientific discoveries and cultural relativism inspired the desire to explore the world outside of Europe.
Advances in ScienceHistorically, prior to the Age of Enlightenment, breakthroughs and discoveries of science were met with resistance from practitioners of religion. Even after Galileo adapted his view of Copernicus and attempted to provide a better understanding of the newer cosmology based on the traditional interpretation of the bible, he was persecuted and imprisoned by officials of the Church, who considered his scientific conclusions to be heresy. Galileo based his arguments in support of the heliocentric theory on the observations through the telescope. The use of the telescope during the Enlightenment yielded scientific discoveries about the world.
Using the technology of the telescope, astronomers such as Galileo saw new, and for many, startling, aspects of the planets and the moon. Not only was the religious theory of human creation questioned but the significance of religion and science was also discussed. Many scientific discoveries happened during the Age of Enlightenment. (Hill 2004).
Religious ChangesDuring the Age of Enlightenment, even those who were within the religious hierarchy began to question the practices of the Catholic Church. Many were so unhappy with the state of religion that the Church itself fragmented, initiating the Protestant Reformation. Theologians such as Martin Luther, King Henry VIII, John Calvin, John Knox and many others became founders of separate churches. It was also during this period that the Council of Trent initiated Catholic reforms.
Discoveries that challenged traditional religion received heightened scrutiny and the concern over the new interpretations of the cosmos emerged even within the Catholic Church itself. (Hill 2004). Economic AdvancesThe Age of Enlightenment saw the onset of an industrial revolution in Europe that changed every aspect of human life and became a major turning point in the development of European society. (Hellyer 2003).
Changes in the social and economic structures were the characteristics of the industrial revolution. There were numerous advances in communication technology during this period. Use of the printing press allowed ideas to be preserved for others to view, and permitted the Bible to be mass-produced, so that it could be critically viewed by philosophers. Additionally, the development of the practical steam engine and railroad became instrumental in the creation and development of new factory systems and machine production.
Social changes also occurred as children and women were introduced to the work force (Stearns 1998).Philosophical AdvancesThe Age of Enlightenment opened up many opportunities for the spread of intellectual thought. The Academy of Science was founded in 1666 in Paris, France. The Academy sought to train new scientists and to promote new schools of thought and ideas.
Academies such as this elevated the status of scientists as the most valuable and useful citizens of society (Pater & Phillips 1998). Social enlightenment was achieved as more people gained access to books and other reading materials that improved their knowledge. Papers and journals were widely distributed for consumption as part of educational reforms (Gay 1996). ConclusionThe Age of Enlightenment was the intellectual movement that occurred in the Western world in the eighteenth century, The period greatly influenced the world of today with its many scientific discoveries and the onset of the industrial revolution.
Modern science and technology owe a great deal to the people behind the Enlightenment. References Berlin, I. (1984). The age of enlightenment.
U.S.A: New American Library Press.Gay, P.
(1996). The enlightenment: An interpretation – the science of freedom, New York,: W.W. Norton & Co,.
Hellyer, M. (2003). The scientific revolution: The essential readings. England: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing.
Hill, J. (2004). Faith in the age of reason: The enlightenment from Galileo to Kant. U.
S.A: InterVarsity Press.Pater, W., & Phillips, A.
(1998). The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry England: Oxford University Press.Stearns, P. (1998).
The industrial revolution in world history.England: Westview Press.The Scientific RevolutionBy: Hamoud Alshaya IntroductionThe period of time between (1550 -1700) is called the Scientific Revolution, which was started by Nicholas Copernicus. He asserted that cosmos is heliocentric (sun-centered), .
The era was culminated in the numerous discoveries of Isaac Newton, who introduced universal laws of gravitation, and even invented an entire field of mathematics to explain them.. The Scientific Revolution refers to historical changes in thought & belief, and changes in social & institutional organizations that unfolded in Europe between roughly (1550 -1700)”. (Hatch, 2002).
The scientific revolution lasted for over two centuries. The Scientific Revolution was significant as new ideas were brought to the civilization. The significance of the scientific revolution can be supported by the influence on the basis of modern science, the new ideas that were brought forward, and the specific contributions of Copernicus , Kepler, Newton and Galileo to the various fields of scientific exploration. Contribution to Modern ScienceThe Scientific Revolution contributed significantly to the basis of the modern sciences such as biology, physics and chemistry.
According to Henry, (2001) The Scientific Revolution is “the real origin both of the modern world and of the modern mentality.” Steven Shapin started his book The Scientific Revolution with the following words “there was no such thing as the scientific revolution.” The movement of the Scientific Revolution was an essential alteration of approach and methodology across many sciences.New forms of the study of science were brought out in this significant era of the scientific revolution.
Theories about nature and the world that were based upon ,religion and superstition were replaced by knowledge and reason. The modern sciences still today rely on the methodologies[WU1] developed during the Scientific Revolution. The movement was marked the development of Scientific Method, which involves observation of phenomena and testing of hypotheses. Copernicus and KeplerAmong the most important develolments during the Scientific Revolution were Copernicus’s and Kepler’s works in astronomy, astrology and mathematics.
“The scientific revolution really begins in Europe when Nicolaus Copernicus challenges the dominant model of the motion of the universe”. (Richard, 1999[WU2] ). Copernicus offered mathematical evidence in support of the notion that the Earth revolved around the sun, rather than the other way around. Thids theory, caqlled heliocentrism, contradicted the Catholic Church’s notion that the Earth was the cventer of the universe around which all other bodies revolved.
,“Johannes Kepler was a German mathematician and astronomer who discovered that the Earth and planets travel about the sun in elliptical orbits. He gave three fundamental laws of planetary motion. He also did important work in optics and geometry”. (JOC/EFR, 1999).
[WU3]Between (1571-1630), Kepler wrote the three laws of planetary motion, which were at least beneficial and used later by astronomers in modern life. In addition, Copernicus and Kepler also contribute to the understanding of this theory by the addition of Newton’s theory of gravity to the equation. There are also some other ideas that contributed to the movement like Galileo’s and Newton’s theories. Newton and GalileoTwo other famous scientists that contributed to the scientific revolution were Galileo and Newton.
Galileo created a strong magnification telescope that was stong enough to detect distant stars and planets for the first time..“[A]n idea which was altogether new to that age. He stepped up the magnification of the telescope to thirty, and he turned it on the stars.
In that way he really did for the first time what we think of as practical science: build the apparatus, do the experiment and publish the result”. ( Bronowski,, 1973).Newton also contributed greatly to the scientific revolution. He, like the other famous scientists during the scientific revolution era brought about new ideas and a new basis to modern science.
“The mechanical universe in all its glory would emerge from the work of Isaac Newton in his compendious The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”. (Richard, 1999). [WU4] Newton made further studies on the theories of astronomy and was able to create a model of how the universe works based on the laws of gravitation that he developed.ConclusionThe scientific revolution was significant as it created the basis of modern science that is still in use even today.
The scientific revolution its influence on the basis of modern science, the new ideas that were brought forward, Copernicus’s and Kepler’s contribution to the scientific revolution, and also Newton and Galileo’s contribution to the scientific revolution illustrate the significance of the era. References:Bronowski, J. (1973). The Ascent of Man.
London: Futura.Hatch, R. (2002). Scientific revolution by Dr Robert, H.
Retrieved July 5, 2009, from http://web.clas.ufl.eduHenry, J.
(2001). Scientific Revolution and the Origins of Modern Science. Sydney: Palgrave Macmillan.Conclusion The essays presented above illustrate the importance of the Age of Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution to modern science, economy and thought.
Advances in theory during this time period can be attributed to the underlying philosophy of Humanism, which posits that mankind is capable of understanding the natural world, and that attempts to reach such an understanding are not to be considered affronts to god.Indeed, humanists argue that mankind, created in the image of god, had not only the right, but the imperative to seek satisfactory explanations for those things that they observe. With this mandate from heaven, philosophers and scientists of the Enlightenment era challenged the teachings of the traditional Church, to the extent that many began rejecting the Church itself, as illustrated by the Protestant Reformation.The environment of inquiry, study and discovery prompted pioneers to explore new worlds both figuratively and literally, as the era saw numerous forays to the “new world” in addition to religious and scientific innovations.
Exploration of the globe was facilitated by advances in astronomy, since oceanic exploration was guided by astrological navigation.These articles describe the specific contributions of a number of prominent individuals. Kepler and Copernicus are credited with revolutions in the filed of astronomy. Galileo’s famous stand-off with the Church illustrated the dichotomy of new science and traditional religious thought.
Newton, with his contributions to physics and mathematics, became a giant upon whose shoulders future scientists would stand. Such scientists include the likes of Albert Einstein, Werner Von Broun, and many others.Perhaps more importantly, the first essay illustrates the new realms of political thought that began in the Age of Enlightenment. These theories led to the formation of the modern Republican government under which further innovations, free thought and open expression have been encouraged.
Since the time of the Age of Enlightenment, the rate of scientific discovery has grown exponentially. The release of intellect from the dogmatic binds of religion opened the floodgates of inquiry and discovery. As innovations in communication develop, the realm of shared ideas also contributes to the rapid advancement of science, politics, economy and philosophy. It is for this reason that the Age of Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution deserve a sharp level of scrutiny relative to other periods of time.
The scientists of the Scientific Revolution form the roots of a tree of knowledge that has continued to branch and grow up until modern times. The key contribution of the scientists and thinkers described herein lies not so much in their actual discoveries, but in their acknowledgement that there is still more to be learned, observed and discovered. So long as that attitude persists in the sciences, philosophies, governments, and economies of modern nations, the tree of discovery will never cease to grow. [WU1]Unclear, explain.[WU2]Missing in the list of references.[WU3] Missing in the list of refrences.[WU4]Missing in the list of references.
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