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AP European History/Neiffer

Reading Guide:
Chapter 14: New Directions in Thought and Culture in
the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

The Scientific Revolutions

scientific revolutions

What is the origin of the sciences labeled as “new?”


Nicolaus Copernicus Rejects an Earth-Centered Universe

• Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) – Poland
◦ On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (1543)
◦ The Ptolemaic System
◦ Copernicus' Almagest
◦ geocentric universe
◦ Copernican universe
◦ heliocentric universe

Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler Make New Scientific Observations

• Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) – Netherlands
• Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) – Germany
◦ The New Astronomy (1609)

Galileo Galilei Argues for a Universe of Mathematical Laws

• Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) – Italy Copernicus is smarter than you
• Starry Messenger (1610)/Letters on Sunspots (1613) are...
Isaac Newton Discovers the Law of Gravitation
• Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
• Principia Mathematics or The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (1687)

Philosophy Responds to Changing Science

Nature as Mechanism

Francis Bacon: The Empirical Method

• Francis Bacon (1561-1626) – England
• empiricism
• The Advancement of Learning (1605)
• nature of human knowledge
• Looking to the past vs. looking to the future

Rene Decartes: The Method of Rational Deduction

• Rene Decartes (1596-1650)
• Discourse on Method (1637)
• scientific induction

Thomas Hobbes: Apologist for Absolute Government

• Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) – England

• Leviathan (1651)
• What is Hobbes' argument for absolutism?

John Locke: Defender of Moderate Liberty and Toleration

• John Locke (1632-1704) – England
• First Treatise of Government
• Second Treatise of Government
• Letter Concerning Toleration (1689)
• Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)

The New Institutions of Expanding Natural Knowledge

How did universities fit into the scientific revolution?

How did academies fit into the scientific revolution?

The Enlightenment

Women in the World of the Scientific

Queen Christina of Sweden

Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673) – England

• Observations Upon Experimental Philosophy (1666)
• Grounds of Natural Philosophy (1668)
• Description of the New World, Called the Blazing World (1666)

Husband-wife teams

Francesco Alagarotti
• Newtonianism for Ladies (1737)

The New Science and Religious Faith

The Case of Galileo Cavendish is also smarter than
• Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina (1615)
• Galileo is placed on the Index of Prohibited Books
• Pope Urban VIII
• Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems

Blaise Pascal: Reason and Faith

• Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) – France
• Thoughts

The English Approach to Science and Religion

• psysico-theology

Continuing Superstition
Witch-Hunts and Panic
• maleficium

Village Origins

Influence of the Clergy
Who were the witches?

Review Questions
1. What did Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton each contribute to the scientific revolution?
Which do you think make the most important contributions and why? What did Francis Bacon contribute to the
foundation of scientific thought? 2. How would you define the term scientific revolution? In what ways was
it truly revolutionary? Which is more enduring, a political revolution or an intellectual one? 3. What were the
differences between the political philosophies of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke? How did each view human
nature? Would you rather live under a government designed by Hobbes or Locke? Why? 4. Why were women
unable to participate fully in the new science? How did family relationships help some women become
involved in the advance of natural philosophy? 5. Why did the Catholic Church condemn Galileo? How did
Pascal seek to reconcile faith and reason? How did English natural theology support economic expansion? 6.
How do you explain the phenomena of witchcraft and witch-hunts in an age of scientific enlightenment? Why
did the witch panics occur in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries? How might the Reformation
have contributed to them?