What Were the Causes and Consequences of the Scientific Revolution and How Did It Change the World from 1500 - 1800?

Topics: Renaissance, Science, Protestant Reformation Pages: 5 (1622 words) Published: June 15, 2008
The Scientific Revolution was an important time in history, but it was by no means sudden. The catalyst of the Revolution were a while in the making with writings and philosophies from Ancient Greece and Rome inspiring people and was a long process of gradual of upheaval, up until the Enlightenment. This essay will examine the various, but not inexhaustible, causes that may have contributed to the Scientific Revolution; the teaching and philosophies of Aristotle, Ptolemy and Descartes, The Renaissance, Humanism, the decay of the Catholic Church, the influential theories of Copernicus and Kepler followed by the idea of Scientism. To finish, the essay will discuss some of the consequences brought about by the Scientific Revolution; the Protestant Reformation, the Counter Reformation, the French Revolution, Scientism, Feminism and, finally, the Enlightenment. Firstly, the Scientific Revolution was not caused by one or two cataclysmic events, but rather a handful of circumstances that had occurred over many years. The philosophers and scientists of nature in the Ancient Greek and Roman era can be seen as the forefathers of the Scientific Revolution. Aristotle and Ptolemy, to name only two, taught that reason and logic could unlock the mysteries of the physical world. This is what the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution valued and believed. Many of the “modern” scientists of the Scientific Revolution were recognizing their pre-modern and ancient roots, but above all, the way they were thinking was starting to change. This was the beginning of the Revolution. In my opinion, one of the major and original revolutionaries of thought was Descartes. With his philosophy of “I think therefore I am” he created a whole new world of possibility that existed in a world dominated by the “Christian Matrix” His idea that purely because he could think logically and with reason, meant that he existed. This inspired other great minds of the age to think. In doing so people saw a greater understanding for the world around them, the environment. This led to the major stepping-stone in the evolution of the Scientific Revolution and, subsequently, the Enlightenment; the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a period of awakening. The idea of beauty in art and the seeds of curiosity that were planted set the scene for the Revolution. The Renaissance was a time for rediscovering nature and, with the evolution of technology, scientists and learned noblemen in the 1500’s onwards were able to start to understand and dwell on the world they existed in. Again the movement towards the teachings of the ancient world resurfaced during the Renaissance. The humanism movement was a “cultural and intellectual movement…” that stimulated and inspired like-minded individuals in the 1500’s onwards to question. On top of the gradual decay of the Catholic Church’s legislative and physical authority , the humanism movement added an extra cog to the Scientific Revolution’s progress. Although the Catholic Church remained a strong and dominant force in the period of the Scientific Revolution, its hold on the physical authority, or the “Christian Matrix” was slowly slipping. This caused a vacuum that was filled by curiosity and the will to experiment and learn for oneself the environment and the workings of nature. This desire to understand how things worked led to an extraordinary gentleman, Copernicus. He was important to the Scientific Revolution as he was the instigator. Through his experiments and findings in the area of astronomy, the universe began to take a shape other than that of what the church claimed it to be. He went against the orders of the Catholic Church and continued his studies. It was not until another gentleman, extraordinary in a different discipline, was able to prove what Copernicus had theorized. That the earth moved around the sun and in turn the sun, and the earth, moved around the rest of the universe. Kepler was able to give...

Bibliography: Primary Resources: Resources Referenced
Jackson J. Spielvogel, Western Civilization: A Brief History, pp. 303-17, retrieved 14 Apr 08 from http://erepository.adfa.edu.au.ezproxy.libadfa.adfa.edu.au:2048/courseres/ZHSS1201_432792.pdf
Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, The World: A History, Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2007.
Secondary Resources: Background Information
Resources used to research and gather information
Rene Descartes, Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking Truth in the Sciences, retrieved 14 Apr 08 from http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext93/dcart10.txt
Galileo Galilei, Letter to Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany, 1615, retrieved 14 Apr 08 from http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/galileo-tuscany.html
Judith Coffin & Robert C. Stacy, Western Civilizations, Vol. B, pp. 576-596, retrieved 14 Apr 08 from http://erepository.adfa.edu.au.ezproxy.libadfa.adfa.edu.au:2048/courseres/ZHSS1201_432787.pdf
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