The Scientific Revolution


Ren Descartes                 

Nicholaus Copernicus            

Isaac Newton



     How is the Scientific Revolution the decisive break with medieval culture? What forces in Western culture promoted it?

     What do we mean by a language of science?

     Who were some of the key figures associated with the Scientific Revolution?


Key Terms

1) epistemology

2) Royal Society and Academy of Sciences

3) Francis Bacon (inductive reasoning)

4) Ren Descartes (deductive reasoning)

5) Discourse on Method

6) Copernicus and On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres



I.  Meaning for Western Culture and Historical Causes


     New Means of Establishing Truth vs. Medieval Truth

     Critique of Science and Western Identity

     Historical Roots: 

o  Judeo-Christian

o  Greek Tradition

o  Renaissance

o  Reformation

o  New Skepticism

     Wealth and States: The Royal Society (1662) and the Academy of Science (1666)



II.  Toward a New Epistemology:  The Language of Science


     Francis Bacon (1561-1626): Empiricism, Inductive Reasoning

o  Novum Organum

     Ren Descartes: Math, Dualism, and Deductive Reasoning

o   The Discourse on Method

     Human Agency and Science



III.  Key Figures in The Scientific Revolution


     Nicholaus Copernicus (1473-1543):  On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres

     Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

     Galileo Galilei (1564-1642):  Telescopes and Conflict with the Church

     Isaac Newton (1643-1727):  Universal Laws of Motion and the New Religion