Influence of Scientific Revolution on Europeans

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Political revolutions are easy to identify. They often accompany recognizable, life-altering events. Social, cultural and intellectual revolutions are harder to ascertain. They are often slower; the changes they precipitate are less momentous, though their impact on human society may be far greater than any political upheaval. As such, the periodization and components of intellectual revolutions are often debated and argued. Such is the case with the Scientific Revolution in Western Europe.

Though historians often disagree on when the revolution started, when it ended and which thinkers qualify as members, nearly all agree that its impact on the collective worldview and mindset of Europeans was unlike anything Europe had ever seen. Personally, I believe this Revolution altered the fundamental ways of Europeans during this Era. It is where we see a series of events that marked the emergence of modern day science during the early modern period, when developments in mathematics  physics, astronomy, biology  (including human anatomy) and chemistry transformed the views of society about nature.

The Scientific Revolution marked a period of monumental change in thought, religion, political a and cultural aspects which swept Europe between roughly 1550 and 1700. It was filled with many new discoveries and ideas from many inspirational scientists beginning with Nicholas Copernicus and ending with Isaac Newton. All the great revolutionary advances in science influenced Europe produced a large flow of discoveries that changed European thought. These discoveries were in astronomy, optics, the science of motion, mathematics, and the field of physics.

To prove these discoveries, scientists used the scientific method which helped establish facts. Nicolaus Copernicus did prove a new discovery to be true. Copernicus argued that the sun was the center of our solar system and not the Earth as many people in Europe thought at the time. The previous system, the Ptolemaic system, believed that the earth was geocentric. In 1543, in his On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres he published his theory. While he still had the planets moving in patterns of circles rather than ellipses, he postulated that these circles had no one center. He said that the center of the Earth is not the center of the universe, but is the center of gravity and the lunar sphere.

He stated that Earth is one of seven planets in the solar system around the Sun, which is stationary. He said that the Earth’s motions include rotation, revolution, and annual tilting of the axis. He concurred with the scientists before him that the distance from the Earth to the Sun is negligible compared to the distance from the Earth to the stars. Tycho Brahe was one of Copernicus’s successors; however, he developed the Tychonic System, an essentially geocentric model which included some mathematical foundations of heliocentric models.

Galileo Galilei, an Italian philosopher who built on the foundations of Copernicus’s work. Also a firm believer in the heliocentric model, Galileo was placed under house arrest for much of his life for his beliefs after standing trial in Rome. He was called a heretic for believing that the Sun, not the Earth, was the motionless center of the universe. He created the first telescope within his time. In recent years the Church had acknowledged that its handling of the Galileo affair was regrettable. In 1610, Galileo published The Starry Messenger, which reported his discoveries of four of Jupiter’s moons, the roughness of the Moon’s surface, stars invisible to the naked eye, and differences between the appearances of planets and fixed stars.

Galileo also importantly put forth the basic principle of relativity (the laws of physics are the same in any system that is moving at a constant speed in a straight line). Additionally, Renne Descartes a French philosopher, explained that the test of an alleged truth is the clarity with which it may be apprehended, or proven. ‘I think, therefore I am,’ (cogito ergo sum) is Descartes’ famous example of the most clearly apprehended truth. In effect, the evidence of thought proves the hypothesis of existence.

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Influence of Scientific Revolution on Europeans. (2021, Nov 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/influence-of-scientific-revolution-on-europeans/

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