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Scientific revolution

Refers to the series of discoveries, that enhanced the status of science in the 17th century

--> involved Copernicus, Galilei, Descartes, Newton


Which were the 5 main revelations of the scientific revolution ?

1. The earth is NOT the CENTRE of the universe

2. Many things can be explained as MACHINES

3. Many movements of the earth + universe can be described using simple MATHEMATICAL EQUATIONS

4. Not all knowledge had been known in ancient times
--> awareness that there was still a lot to be discovered

5. Scientific thinking should be based on EXPERIMENTATION


What lead to a renewed interest in the motions of the earth ?

The need for an improved calendar, which resulted in a replacement of the Julian calendar by the Gregorian calendar

--> the julian calendar underestimated the length of the year by 11 min


Geocentric universe
(Aristotle, Ptolemy)

A model of the universe in which the earth is at the centre

--> used to calculate Gregorian calendar
--> dominant until the 17th century
--> matched well with views of catholic church


What is the key problem of the Aristotelian/Geocentric Universe ?

The movement of the stars is not fixed as suggested.



Refer to small cycles made by the wandering stars in addition to their main orbit around the earth

--> solution to key problem


Heliocentric model

A model of the universe in which the sun is at the centre

1. one turn if the earth around the sun takes a year

2. earth spins around its axis in one day, causing the alternation of day, night + movement of fixed stars

--> Newtonian worldview is a refined version of this


Why did Copernicus wait to publish his model ?

1. He was afraid of the response he'd get from the Catholic church which was his employer

2. His evidence for his model wasn't strong enough

--> he published it in 1543 shortly before his death


When did the Heliocentric model get a lot of impetus ?

When Galilei made his observations with his telescope and realized that the Heliocentric model was much more likely


Which observations did Galilei make with his telescope ?

1. More stars in universe than visible to naked eyes

2. Surface of the moon isn't smooth

3. Jupiter has 4 orbiting moons

4. The distances of Mars and Venus to the earth change over time


How did the Catholic church respond to Galilei's attempts to commercialize the Heliocentric model ?

1. Galilei received warnings to stop defending this model + copernicus book was prohibited

2. After in 1632 Galilei published a book where a character defends the model, he was summoned to rome to be put under house arrest for the rest of his life


Why did Galilei receive a particularly strong rebuttal from the Vatican ?

1. It didn't want to be seen as weak

2. Galilei ridiculed the church in his book

3. Not everyone in the church disagreed with Galilei's views


Did the fact that Galilei was thrown in Jail lead to the fact that the Heliocentric model was simply forgotten ?


it had the opposite effect,

--> rapidly dominated astronomy
--> this is why it is generally seen as the TURNING POINT in the advancement of SCIENCE


Galileo Galilei

Was an italian scholar of the 17th century who was famous for his contributions to

a) astronomy
b) physics
c) technology


Which factors contributed to the scientific revolution ?

1. Demographic changes

2. Absence of a repressive religion

3. New inventions

4. More availability of texts from the Greek + Arab civilizations

5. Existence of Universities


How did DEMOGRAPHIC CHANGES contribute to scientific revolution ?

1. Europes population nearly halved, leading to new growth

2. A new group called "Merchants" formed a link between the handworkers + the intellectual elite

--> closed the former gap and allowed those two groups to work together


How did the ABSENCE OF A REPRESSIVE RELIGION contribute to scientific revolution ?

The churches power/authority diminished due to

1. 2 Popes being in office simultaneously

2. Matin Luther starting the Protestant reformation
--> wich limited the impact of the actions against Galilei


Which NEW INVENTIONS contributed to scientific revolution ? How ?

1. Bookprinting + Paper
--> more availability of info

2. Mechanical clock
--> could be used for experiments

3. Compass, Telescope, Microscope
--> ability to see things that hadn't been visible to naked eye


How did UNIVERSITIES contribute to scientific revolution ?

1. Provided a place for natural philosophers

2. Conveyed the message that the pursuit of knowledge is important + necessary

--> BUT: criticized for being to conservative (scholastic method, old philosophical texts)


How did the SCRIPTS from GREEK + ARAB CIVILIZATIONS contribute to scientific revolution ?

1. Translation of Archimedes books prepared the ground for the MATHEMATIZATION of the world

2. Revelation that the world consists of atoms moving in space


According to Cohen, which factor leads to major breakthroughs ?

The interaction of two civilizations

--> this creates a fluidity + dynamism in which new ideas can grow

ex.: greek + roman civilizations


Which factors helped the growth of science ?

1. Absence of disaster
e.g.: wars etc.

2. Protestant reformation
--> protestants encouraged to study science in addition to Bible

3. Establishment of learned societies
--> place for natural ph. to meet regularly + share ideas


Natural Philosopher

Term used for learned men interested in sciences, + later "men of science"

--> first called "scientists" in 1833



Was associated with knowledge that depended on reasoning

--> can be represented as either instrumentality or natural philosophy, not both simultaneously


Aristotles + Platos view on scientific knowledge

Scientific knowledge cannot be built on observation alone because perception is

a) deceptive
b) volatile


Descartes view on scientific knowledge

The divine soul had innate knowledge which could be made explicit by thinking

--> minimized the significance of sensory experiences (Perceptual mistrust)


Francis Bacon

Was a natural philosopher

--> the adoption of his research methods was the reason why science became so successful from the 17th century


Which were Bacons main notions ?

1. The interaction between Perception + reasoning is required to provide progress

2. OBSERVATION + INDUCTIVE reasoning are much more important in science than acknowledged by aristotle


According to Bacon Observations have to be ... ?

1. Constantly accompanied by reasoning + understanding

2. Systematic

3. Supplemented by experimental histories


Experimenta Lucífera

Clarifying experiments to determine the true causes of phenomena

--> light bringing experiment (natural philosophy)