The Scientific Revolution: The Origins Of Enlightenment

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Science and Enlightenment The origins of Enlightenment can be traced back to the sixteenth century when Galileo through his systematic study and observations, provided empirical support to the concept of heliocentricity put forward by Copernicus in the previous century, which also marked the beginning of the Scientific Revolution. Building upon the discoveries of the Scientific Revolution, Enlightenment thinkers set out to improve humanity through reason, knowledge, and experience of the natural world. Their emphasis on truth through observable phenomena set the standard of thought for the modern age, deeply influencing the areas of government, the modern state, science, technology, religious tolerance and social structure. In some sense Enlightenment…show more content…
In France the advancement in scientific thought was limited by the Catholic hegemony over knowledge, while England on the other hand due to the laxing of policing mechanism provided the ideal space for progress in scientific thought. Religion which had played an important role in the advancement of science since the sixteenth century becomes ever more significant in the span of two decades from 1640 to 1660. The moderate Puritan reformers were now being challenged by a number of radical sectarian movements who saw in science the potential to bring about radical changes in the society. The moderate reformers who later established the Royal Society of Science in 1662, had to declare its goal of promoting an organized pursuit of experimental science in order to distance themselves from any attempt at radically reforming the church or the state. The threat of being deemed heretical loomed large over the puritan scientific reformers and they sought to divert it by coming up with the Christianized versions of upcoming scientific theories. For instance to counter the materialism proposed by Hobbes, Robert Boyle came up with the Christianized Corpuscular theory, which was derived from the theory of Epicurus that all the motion in the world was determined by the random collisions of lifeless atoms. Puritan reformers like Boyle claimed that it could be proven through experiments that it was…show more content…
In the hands of the lower classes science was more applicable in practice than in theory and as I had mentioned earlier, science became associated with labour and the Baconian vision of science as a tool for improving the human condition came to forefront. With Bacon the doctrine of millennialism also came into dominance, according to which the second coming of Christ was imminent and would closely follow the saturation of scientific knowledge in the society. The collective desire for the realization of paradise on earth contributes to the rapid progress of
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