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Scientific Revolution Essay Topics

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Scientific Revolution


Scientific revolution was the period marked by the emergency of the modern science. The development in science mathematics physics and astrology affected the way that the people worked and thought leading to rapid changes in the society. Changes resulting from the revolution affected virtually all aspect of the human living such as the religion, production or even the politics of the day (Cohen, 49). The perspectives of the people on nature and society changed since there was a logical explanation for every aspect of the human existence.

The belief that the superstition of the time was behind the every relationship and the gods could cause something began to lose the rooting in the society. This paper will focus on the effect of scientific revolution on manufacturing, religion and art and music. The paper will cover the revolution in Europe. It will also cover the social movement of enlightenment and the discoveries made in the age of reflection. The paper will cover the scientific revolution according to Baily who was credited for the observation of how the old was replaced with the new in the light of new discovering.

Effect of scientific revolution on religion

Scientific revolution is credited for the abolishment of the ignorance that pervaded the society. The majority of the people were ruled by the belief that the world was under the control of some deity. This belief was the only explanation that the people could come up with for the occurrences that did not appear to be logical to them. Hiding behind the mask of religion was a cover of ignorance. In the event that the people could not understand a certain aspect of life, the best explanation was that the gods had been involved in the creation of the situation.

This was a low expectation period whereby the people did not hope to understand the development of the society. There was little or no interest in the factors that controlled some of the outcomes that the people experiences (Kuhn and Hacking, 187). Because of this perspective, the people were always willing to kill the inventors or the scientists who believed that there was a logical explanation to every occurrence. Most oft eh free thinkers or the enlightened ended up dead from their stances on some matters. As usual, the pious people were against the development of scientific explanations of every occurrence.

Being able to work on a theory and presenting it to the masses was a hard experience such that the discoverers of the new aspects had to hide their discoveries. Due to the practice of constant persecution of the people, the inventors formed various cults that would be used to explain some developments. The trend of religious perceptions overruling discovering by the sincerities continued to rule. However, the enlightenment was increasingly gaining popularity. Some of the enlightened formed some cultic groups enshrined in secrecy such as the illuminati of Bavaria. The illuminati were a network of the most enlightenment member of the society and often wealth one who had some possession of secrets and procedures for production.

The church accused such groups of assuming the devilish approaches and selling their souls to the devil while the one thing that they did was coming up with the most effective methods of production and using them in their daily life (Shapin, 48). Therefore, despite the bids to control the scientific revolution the blind faith in the religion was brought to an end by the scientific revolution.

Eventually the people started looking for logical explanations to all the things that they were experimenting. Suddenly, the belief that the deity was above all occurrences started losing presence in the society. The persecution of the inventors and scientist ceased and all of a sudden, they were respected members of the society that were making significant contributions to the development.

In some instances, some of the religions that persecuted the inventors began respecting them by providing them with the environment for the development (Dascal and Boantza, 45). The rich Roman Catholic Church was responsible for some of the major inventions through its funding process. However, some of the critics of the church’s involvement posit that the involvement was not out of the goodwill but it was to ensure that there were controlled inventions.

The consensus on the scientific revolution effect on the religion is that the advance of the religion debunked various perceptions of the religion (Cohen, 52). The inclination to believe all that was given a religious explanation ceased and the people were willing to look into the logical explanations of the outcome. Eventually, the religious leaders gave in to the pressure to accept the inventions since they would improve the society’s wellbeing. The general effect of the scientific revolution was marked by the massive decline in the number of religious people to less piousness. Gradually, the people were enlightened.

Effect on manufacturing and production

Traditional production systems in Europe were less efficient. The people were accustomed to manual labor. At their best, they had access to crude materials for digging the land. There way of life was by large controlled by rudimentary production systems. Scientific revolutions led to the abandonment of the reliance of artificial circumstances. Gradually, the people accepted the need of research in the society (Ede and Cormack, 54)

The traditional experimentation approaches slowly gained presence in the production n systems. There was a change whereby the emphasis shifted from making deductions and approaching the issues that they faced with an open mind. This was a contrast to the traditional approach, which was based on the deduction. Induction led to the understanding of the major issues that were in play in the society.

The role of the inventor in creating new systems slow gained place. Induction called for more in-depth concentration than deduction, which was based on observation. Inventors were credited with coming up with new ways of doing things. As a result, there was the development of new production systems that worked at improved rates. Suddenly there was an increasing emphasis on the productivity.

Efficiency took center stage whereby the people focused on the best way of doing things. Production was no longer a matter of output. Instead, there was sharp focus on the process of production. Improvement on the methods of production was a key aspect whereby there was a belief that every production system could be tweaked to work in a better way than it was currently (Burns, 157).

Due to this perception, there was no longer a set way of production or manufacturing. Empirical observation of the phenomenon was important (Shapin, 45-150). All production decisions were arrived at empirically through the observation of the systems. Beliefs and hunches no longer mattered. As a result, the cost of production went down sharply leading to cheaper products. The requirement that the people stay in the farmland providing labor no longer held any logic. Migration to the industrial centers was evidenced.

Effect of scientific revolution on art

The effect of the scientific revolution on art was most notably seen in the optic field. The laws governing the intensity of light were used by some of the greatest artists in the production of their masterpieces (Cohen, 189). The principles laid in the law of intensity of light are used currently in the development of better artistic tools. The scientific revolution also led to the development of more people that were willing to enjoy art.

Art ceased from being a hobby to a mainstream career whereby there were many people willing to pay for good production. As result, theaters sprung up in most of the industrial cities. Theater groups were formed and the common village joker became a great performer. Some of the inventions led to the development of better tools of art. There were innovations on the instruments of music such as the harp that gradually led to the development of the piano. Constant improvement on the artistic tools led to the development new ways of performing art.

The audience also dictated the art. People that were more willing to think focused on the issues of the day. Some of the productions questioned the logic of religion. These artistic productions mirrored the developments that were being experienced in the real life. Therefore, scientific revolution affected art by increasing the number of artistic options. It also manifested itself in the art hence scientific revolution influenced artistic content.

Works Cited

Burns, William E. The Scientific Revolution: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2001. Print.
Cohen, H F. The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Inquiry. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1994. Print.
Dascal, Marcelo, and Victor D. Boantza. Controversies Within the Scientific Revolution. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub. Co, 2011. Print.
Duran, Angelica. The Age of Milton and the Scientific Revolution. Pittsburgh: Duquesne UP, 2007. Print.
Ede, Andrew, and Lesley B. Cormack. A History of Science in Society: Vol. 2. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2012. Print.
Kuhn, Thomas S, and Ian Hacking. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: The U of Chicago P, 2012. Print.
Shapin, Steven. The Scientific Revolution. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1996. Print.

Always use specific historical examples to support your arguments.

Study Questions

1.

In what ways did the writings of Comenius and Grotius foreshadow the themes of the later Enlightenment?

The works of Comenius and Grotius set the stage for Enlightenment thought in a variety of ways. First, the very fact that they were writing in protest of a national event—the Thirty Years’ War—was revolutionary, as most European governments up to that point had looked very unfavorably upon individuals who might be seen as undermining their authority. Moreover, the substance of Comenius’s and Grotius’s arguments contains clear elements that were mirrored in the works of later Enlightenment thinkers. Comenius emphasized the importance of education, claiming that educated citizens would be less likely to go to war. With this suggestion, Comenius made the same argument that the French philosophes would almost a century later—that reason, and the ability to think and analyze a situation, could solve the problems of the world. Both Comenius and Grotius stressed the importance of treating men as individuals, not as commodities—a sentiment that they expressed in different ways. Comenius felt that, physiologically speaking, we are all the same, and it is therefore unnecessary to fight with each other. Grotius wrote that we all have a responsibility to God to use our lives wisely, and thus giving one’s life for war is an irresponsible way to die. In short, although they phrased it different ways, both men set forth the same ideas: individual liberty, humane treatment for citizens, and ultimately a change in the way that nations and rulers viewed their citizens.

2.

Compare and contrast Hobbes’s perspective on man with Locke’s and explain how that perspective affects their respective ideal governments.

Although both hailed from England and both rose to prominence early in the Enlightenment, Hobbes and Locke took diametrically opposite approaches in their political philosophies. Hobbes was steadfast in his belief that all humans are inherently evil or base by nature. As a result, all people are intrinsically motivated to provide themselves with as many resources as possible. Because resources in the world are limited, people thus become selfish and greedy in their competition for these resources. From this belief emerged Hobbes’s ideal government: one in which a single figure oversees a country and rules using fear. Hobbes believed that fear was the most effective way to control the citizenry and prevent the disorder that would result from each individual greedily pursuing his or her wants.

Locke was far more optimistic, stating that all humans were capable and that they strove for the betterment of the world. His one caveat was that humans in a society would all have to compromise on some of their ideals in the interest of forming a government that best served everyone—however, he believed that humans were reasonable enough to do so. Subsequently, Locke was a proponent of a representative democracy. Such a system would allow all of these rational, thinking people in a society to contribute to their governance, but in such a way that found compromise and kept any one individual’s or group’s wants from crowding out the others.

3.

What factors caused the German Enlightenment to lag behind the English and French Enlightenments?

In the late 1600s and early 1700s, when the Enlightenment was well under way in Britain and France, Germany was highly fragmented both politically and culturally. It was technically not a nation at all but rather a multitude of small sovereign states. Furthermore, nearly all of these states were ruled by despots who instituted strict censorship, stifling intellectual development and making the dissemination of new knowledge difficult. German culture and literature were likewise disjointed, with different regions drawing on different influences and no distinct literary style yet in place. Whereas France and other European countries used vernacular languages for literature, the literary language in Germany was still predominantly Latin. As a result, Enlightenment ideas from England and France took a long time to spread to Germany.

Moreover, German intellectual culture had a prominent streak of conservatism that was lacking in England and France. Christianity was still a dominant force in Germany, where there was not nearly the level of popular discontent with religion and the Church that there was in other western European nations. Many German intellectuals still incorporated traditional Christian themes into their thought and therefore rejected the Enlightenment’s “heretical” focus on pure reason and empiricism. Leibniz, for instance, made a number of great discoveries in mathematics and philosophy, but his religious devotion kept him from straying too far from tradition. As a result, when the German Enlightenment finally did begin in the late 1700s, it proceeded in an entirely different direction from the English and French Enlightenments, embracing reason and rationalism but maintaining strong elements of religion and spirituality at the same time.

Suggested Essay Topics

1. Explain Immanuel Kant's philosophy in relation to the search for universal truths. In what ways does he contradict mainstream Enlightenment thought?

2. Adam Smith believed that free trade was far superior to mercantilism. In Smith’s view, how does mercantilism inhibit economic growth, and how does free trade solve that problem?

3. In what ways were the discoveries and innovation of the Scientific Revolution instrumental to the beginning of the Enlightenment?

4. Rationalism, skepticism, and romanticism were the three primary philosophical schools of thought during the Enlightenment. Choose one and explain why you feel it’s a better approach to life than the others.

5. Explain the impact that philosophers from countries other than England, France, and Germany had on the growth of the Enlightenment.

6. What evidence is there that the ideas of the Enlightenment continue to be influential in modern times?