Chapter 10Revolution and EnlightenmentSection 1:The Scientific Revolution
Background to the Revolution• During the Middle Ages, educatedEuropeans took more interest in theworld around them.• However, they still relied upon afew ancient authorities, especiallyAristotle, for their scientificknowledge.
• Changes in the 15thand 16thCenturiesled to the abandonment of old viewsand the development of the new ones.Renaissance humanists discoveredthe works of Ptolemy, Archimedes,and Plato and realized that manyancient thinkers had disagreed withAristotle.
• Technical problems associated with thechanges taking place during this timespurred a movement towardsobservation and measurement.–The inventions of new instrumentssuch as the telescope andmicroscope made fresh observationsand discoveries possible.
– Mathematics also played an important role inthese new ideas. Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo,Newton and others developed new theoriesthat became the foundation of the ScientificRevolution.– Because these thinkers believed the secrets ofnature were written in the language ofmathematics and discarded the old views, thisperiod is sometimes referred to as the Age ofReason.
A Revolution in Astronomy• Medieval philosophers hadconstructed a geocentricmodel of the universe calledthe Ptolemaic systembecause it was based onthe ideas of Ptolemy in thesecond century A.D.• The earth was at the centerand was motionless.
• Copernicuspublished “On theRevolutions of theHeavenlySpheres” in whichhe disagreed withthe PtolemaicModel.
• Copernicus calledhis idea about theuniverse theheliocentric system.• He believed that theplanets movedaround the sun andthat the earth wasnot the center of theuniverse.
• Johannes Kepler’sobservations confirmedthat Copernicus wascorrect about the sunbeing the center of theuniverse by tracking theelliptical orbits of theplanets (showing theyweren’t circular asCopernicus had said).
• Galileo, amathematician, was thefirst European to makeregular observations ofthe heavens using atelescope. He showedthat the planets werenot pure orbs of lightbut were made ofmaterials like the earth.
• Galileo published his discoveries in“The Starry Messenger” in 1610.• His ideas brought him under suspicionby the Catholic Church which backedthe Ptolemaic model.• He was ordered to abandon his ideasabout the universe because theycontradicted the Bible.
• Despite the newideas ofCopernicus, Kepler,and Galileo, it wasan Englishmannamed IsaacNewton who finallytied everythingtogether.
• Newton, in his Principia, defined thethree laws of motion that govern theplanetary bodies, as well as objectshere on earth.• In his universal law of gravitation, heexplained why the planetary bodiestravel in an elliptical pattern. Objects inthe universe are attracted to every otherobject by a force called gravity.
• Newton’s ideas showed the universeas a well-regulated machine thatworked according to the laws of nature.• Newton’s theory of the worlddominated until the 20thCentury whenAlbert Einstein’s theory of relativitycreated a new view of our universe.
Breakthroughs in Medicineand Chemistry• Medicine had changed very little until the 16thCentury.• It had been dominated by the teachings ofthe Greek physician, Galen (who lived in thesecond century A.D.)• Galen’s views were often wrong because heused animals, not people, for his dissection.
• The new anatomy ofthe 16thCentury wasbased on the workof Andreas Vesaliuswho used thedissection of humanbodies for hisfindings.
• This allowed him to come up with amore accurate view of the individualorgans and general structure of thehuman body.• However, he still followed Galen’sincorrect idea that there were two kindsof blood: one kind in the veins andanother kind in the arteries.
• William Harvey showedthat the heart, not theliver, was the beginningpoint for the circulationof blood.• He also proved that thesame blood flowed inboth the veins andarteries. This meant thatthe blood makes acomplete circuit as itflows through the body.
• The new science ofchemistry arose inthe 17thand 18thCenturies.• Robert Boyle wasone of the first toscientifically conductcontrolledexperiments.
• He specifically studied theproperties of gases which led to thedevelopment of Boyle’s Law.• This states that the volume of a gasvaries with the pressure exerted onit.
• Antoine Lavoisierinvented a system ofnaming the chemicalelements ; much ofwhich is still used.• He is considered thefounder of modernchemistry.
Women and the Origins of ModernScience• Margaret Cavendish, inher book “ObservationsUpon ExperimentalPhilosophy,” criticizedthe belief that humans,through science, werethe masters of nature:“man cannot have asupreme and absolutepower.”
• Maria Winkelmann was anastronomer who thenbecame an assistant to herhusband, Prussia’s mainastronomer.• After his death, she wasdenied a job as an assistantastronomer at the BerlinAcademy, even though shehad the background andhad discovered a comet,because of her gender.Any kind of scholarship wasnot considered the role orduty of women.
Descartes and Reason• Rene Descartes usedthe doubt and confusionof all of the new ideasof this time to arrive at anew philosophy.• He decided to set asideall that he had learnedup to this time and startagain.
• Descartes said he could rationally besure of only one thing – his ownexistence.• He asserted that he would accept onlythose things his reason said were true.• His first principle was “I think, thereforeI am.”
• Descartes’ second principle involved theseparation of mind and matter (and of mind andbody).• He said this separation allowed scientists to viewmatter as something dead that could beinvestigated independently by reason.• He is known as the father of modern rationalismbecause his system is based on the idea thatreason is the chief source of knowledge.
The Scientific Method• During the Scientific Revolution, peoplewere concerned about how they couldbest understand the physical world.• The result was the creation of thescientific method – a systematicprocedure for collecting and analyzingevidence.
• Francis Bacon, anEnglish philosopher,was the person whodeveloped the scientificmethod.• He believed in usinginductive reasoning, ormaking generalizationsfrom observations totest hypotheses (goingfrom specific evidenceto general principles).
Medical Advances• Edward Jennerdeveloped the firstvaccine for smallpoxusing the scientificmethod. Even thoughthere was someresistance, it caught onand significantlyreduced the deathsfrom smallpox.
Path to the Enlightenment• The Enlightenment was an 18thCentury philosophical movement ofintellectuals who were impressedby the achievements of theScientific Revolution.
• They hoped to use the scientificmethod to improve society.• Common words used by theEnlightenment thinkers werereason, natural law, hope, andprogress.
• The Enlightenment was especiallyinfluenced by the ideas of two 17thCentury Englishmen: IsaacNewton and John Locke.
• Newton saw thephysical world andeverything in it as agiant machine.– He had discoverednatural laws thatgoverned the physicalworld.– Intellectuals believedthey could now discoverlaws that governedhuman society.
• John Locke, in his“Essay ConcerningHuman Understanding,”argued that peoplewere born tabula rasaor with blank minds.• Everything they becamewas due to thesurrounding world.
• He believed that if you changed theenvironment and exposed people to the rightinfluences, they could be changed and a newbetter society could be created. Thiscontradicted the view of an earlierEnlightenment thinker, Thomas Hobbes.Hobbes believed people needed a stronggovernment because they were not guided byreason but by a ruthless struggle for self-preservation. Without absolute power, therewould be no order in society.
• In his Two Treatises of Government, Locke had amore optimistic view of human nature. He believedpeople were basically reasonable and moral. Theyhad certain natural rights, or rights that belongedto all humans from birth. These included life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. He arguedthat people formed governments to protect theserights. If a government fails to protect these rights,the people have the right to overthrow thatgovernment. Clearly he favored a limitedgovernment over one with absolute power. Theseideas would later influence the AmericanRevolution.
• By using Newton’s methods,intellectuals now believed theycould discover the natural laws thatall social institutions should followto produce an ideal society.
Philosophes and Their Ideas• The intellectuals of the Enlightenment wereknown as philosophes, meaningphilosophers.• To them, the purpose of philosophy was tochange the world for the better.• While most philosophes were French, theEnglish had provided the inspiration.
• The philosophes were writers,professors, journalists, economists,and, most of all, social reformers.• Three French philosophesdominated Enlightenment thought:Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Diderot.
• In his The Spirit ofthe Laws,Montesquieu tried touse the scientificmethod to find thenatural laws thatgovern the socialand politicalrelationships ofhuman beings.
• Montesquieu identified three basickinds of governments:–Republics: suitable for small states(countries)–Despotism: appropriate for largestates–Monarchies: ideal for middle ormoderate-sized states
• In his study of England’s government,Montesquieu identified three branches:–The executive (or monarch) whoenforces the laws–The legislative (or parliament) thatmakes the laws–The judicial (or courts) that interpretthe laws
• This type of government functionedthrough separation of powers whichkeeps one person or group from gainingtoo much power through the use ofchecks and balances.• Montesquieu’s work influencedAmerican philosophes who theninfluenced the drafting of the U.S.Constitution.
• Voltaire was especiallywell-known for hiscriticism of Christianityand his strong belief inreligious toleration.He battled corruption,injustice, andinequality, anddefended freedom ofspeech.
• Voltaire believed in deism,an 18thCentury religiousphilosophy based onreason and natural lawwhich built on Newton’sidea of a world machine.• In the Deists’ view, God(the mechanic) created theuniverse which ran like aclock without Hisinterference on its ownnatural laws.
• Voltaire’s outspoken criticism offended the Frenchgovernment and the Catholic Church.• He was imprisoned and forced into exile.• His books were outlawed and even burned, but hecontinued to defend the principle of freedom ofspeech.• His beliefs influenced several of our foundingfathers.
• Diderot wasmost famous forhis“Encyclopedia,”of 28 volumeswhich helpedspread theideas of theEnlightenment.
• Many of Diderot’s articles attackedreligious superstition and supportedreligious toleration.• Other articles called for social,legal, and political improvementsthat could lead to a more tolerantand humane society.
Toward a New Social Science• The philosophes’ belief that thereare natural laws that govern humansociety led to the development ofthe social sciences of economicsand political science.
• The Physiocrats, a French group, wereinterested in indentifying the natural economiclaws that governed human society.–They believed that individuals should befree to pursue their own economic self-interest.–Government should not impose regulationson the economy.
• This doctrine becameknown as laissez-faire(“hands off” or “let thepeople do what theywant”).• The best statement oflaissez-faire was madeby Adam Smith in hiswork, The Wealth ofNations.
• Laissez-faire was a rejection of mercantilism whichrequired colonies to send everything back to Englandinstead of making a higher profit elsewhere. Sincemercantilism required government regulation of theeconomy to achieve a favorable balance of trade fora country, philosophes rejected that view.• Smith believed the government should only havethree basic roles– Protect society from invasion– Defend from injustice– Keep up public works (such as roads and canals)
The Later Enlightenment• Jean-Jacques Rousseau wasthe most famous philosopheof this time.• In his Discourse on theOrigins of the Inequality ofMankind, he argued thatpeople had adopted laws andgovernment to protect theirproperty which had led totheir enslavement.
• In another work, The Social Contract, hesaid an entire society agrees to begoverned by its general will (majorityrule). This would result in true liberty.• Unlike many Enlightenment thinkers, hebelieved that emotions, as well asreason, were important to humandevelopment. The two needed to bebalanced.
Rights of Women• Mary Wollstonecraft is viewed asthe founder of the women’srights movement.• She argued that the power ofman over woman was as bad asthat of monarchs.• If reason was found in allhumans, women had reason andwere entitled to the same rightsas men.
Social World of the Enlightenment• The common people, especially thepeasants, were mostly unaware ofthe Enlightenment.• The major appeal of theEnlightenment was among theupper classes.
• In the 18thCentury, publishing and readingbegan to grow which helped spread the ideasof the Enlightenment.• Many books were now directed at the middleclasses.• The development of newspapers andmagazines for the general public began in the18thCentury.
• Enlightenment ideaswere also spreadthrough the salons;elegant drawingrooms of thewealthy upper classwhere guestsgathered to discussthe ideas of thephilosophes.
• In this salon, ayoung Mozart isplaying theharpsichord in themiddle of the roomas an opera singerperforms whileplaying the guitar.
• The salons brought writers and artiststogether with aristocrats, governmentofficials, and wealthy middle classpeople.• The women who hosted the salons werein a position to sway political opinionand influence literary and artistic tastes.
Religion in the Enlightenment• Although many philosophes attackedreligion, in the 18thCentury mostEuropeans were still Christians.–Many wanted a deeper personaldevotion to God.–Methodism was the most famous ofthe new religious movements.
• John Wesley wasthe founder of thisnew movementand his Methodistsocieties helpedeach other to dogood works.
• The Methodistmovement appealedmostly to the lowerclasses.• Methodism proved thatthe search for reasonhad not eliminated theneed for spiritualexperience.