|AP European History Unit 4—The Scientific Revolution
1. Describe the science of the Middle Ages. On whose ideas and on what principles was it based?
2. What were the characteristics of the "new science"? In what ways did it challenge or contradict accepted beliefs? Compare its methods, approaches, and technologies with that of medieval science.
3. Did the Renaissance help or hinder the development of the new science? Why?
4. Explain how the heliocentric replaced the geocentric view. What were the roles of Copernicus, Brahe (note: not a Copernican), Kepler, Galileo? How did Newton bring all this work together to create a new view of the world? What is a "cosmology"?
5. Identify how advances in medicine undercut the ancient ideas of the Greeks and Galen.
6. Discuss the "scientific method" of Bacon and Descartes. Explain deductive and inductive reasoning and be able to provide examples of each.
7. What contributions did women make to science in the period? How did traditional "scientific" views regarding women restrict their participation in the Scientific Revolution?
8. What were the religious views of the scientists of the age? How did thinkers try to reconcile religion and science? What caused the divergence of these two fields after the seventeenth century?
9. How was science spread? What was the role of governments?
10. What impact did science have on: the economy, politics, ideas, culture?
Aristotelian world view
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
Tycho Brahe (1546-1601)
Nicolas Copernicus (1473-1543),
On Rev. of Heavenly Spheres
Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
Discourse on Method
Dialogue of 2 Chief Systems of World
Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)
Isaac Newton (1642-1727), Principia
French Academy of Sciences
Royal Society of London
Robert Hooke, Micrographia
Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723)
Robert Boyle (1627-91)
Andreas Vesalius (1514-64)
William Harvey (1578-1657)
Margaret Cavendish (1623-73)
Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717)
Maria Winckelmann (1670-1720)
Benedict Spinoza (1632-77)
Blaise Pascal (1623-62)
Christian Huygens (1629-95)
European History--AP 2014-15
Unit 4—The Scientific Revolution, 1543-1687
Common sense and ancient authorities. They both told Europeans before 1500 that their planet was the center of the universe and that the sun revolved around their earthly abode in a fixed system of finite proportions. Didn't the sun clearly rise every day in the east and set in the west? Didn't it state clearly in the Bible that Joshua made the sun stand still in the sky? Up to this time, science, or natural philosophy as it was often called, was determined by these two forces.
Then Galileo began dropping objects off the Tower of Pisa and astronomers began observing the stars in the sky with a new instrument—the telescope—and wondering whether the "obvious" explanations about physics and planetary motion were valid after all, especially when the predicted behavior did not match the data. These scientists devised a new approach to the world, one based on observation, experimentation, and mathematical calculation. Any threat to established religious beliefs was unintentional. Certainly Galileo and Isaac Newton did not believe they were profaning the sacred or contradicting Holy Scripture when they set out mathematical laws for the universe. After all, they were also fond of writing of religious utopias.
Yet challenge they did. For even though most of the scientists of this age believed that faith and reason lived in harmony, they were challenging a worldview based on the authority of the Bible and the Church, the revealed word of God and its earthly instruments. New scientific ideas like skepticism, empiricism, inductive reasoning, and mathematics clearly made a compelling case for a new view of the world. As a result, science would from that point in European history gain relative to religion in authority, with consequences far beyond the original goals of the scientists and their patrons, which was to understand and master the world.
Expansion of knowledge about the world, and the technology that was both a cause and an effect of it, allowed Europe to master its material environment. Advances in science went hand-in-hand with the desire to exploit its fruits: commerce, trade, and military innovation. Of course, as the nations of Europe eyed each other suspiciously across their fortified borders, they realized that failure to advance one's power meant falling behind. Surely rivals were trying to get ahead. Ironically, this very desire to master the material world and get a step up on rivals virtually ensured armed conflict. What may have started as a noble effort to explain the universe led to new means of destruction and of technology controlling humans, rather than the reverse.
New ideas in science changed Europe in profound ways. They undercut a God-centered world based upon revelation (in Scripture) and Church tradition. Though certainly the hold of God was still strong, the authority of science would thenceforth increase relative to that of religion.
Thur., Oct. 9: Read pp. 514-25 in text.
Fri., Oct. 10: Review DBQ; activities on Scientific Revolution. Read pp. 456-60 in Spielvogel (pdf available at Sharepoint).
Mon., Oct. 13: COLUMBUS DAY. NO SCHOOL!!
Tues., Oct. 14: Activities on Scientific Revolution. Read pp. 451-53 in Spielvogel (pdf available at Sharepoint).
Wed., Oct. 15: PSAT Test.
Thur., Oct. 16: Activities on Scientific Revolution; begin film, “Science Revises the Heavens.” Study for exam.
Fri., Oct. 17: PPT on science and religion; finish film. Take-home DBQ 2?
Mon., Oct. 20: Practice DBQ; discussion of women and science. Study for exam.
Tues., Oct. 21: PLAN test.
Wed., Oct. 22: Exam—1st/2nd: Essay on Units 2-4; 3rd: MC on Units 2-4.
Key Concept 1.1
The worldview of European intellectuals shifted from one based on ecclesiastical and classical authority to one based primarily on inquiry and observation of the natural world.
Renaissance intellectuals and artists revived classical motifs in the fine arts and classical values in literature and education. Intellectuals — later called humanists — employed new methods of textual criticism based on a deep knowledge of Greek and Latin, and revived classical ideas that made human beings the measure of all things. Artists formulated new styles based on ancient models. The humanists remained Christians while promoting ancient philosophical ideas that challenged traditional Christian views. Artists and architects such as Brunelleschi, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael glorified human potential and the human form in the visual arts, basing their art on classical models while using new techniques of painting and drawing, such as geometric perspective. The invention of the printing press in the mid-15th century accelerated the development and dissemination of these new attitudes, notably in Europe north of the Alps (“The Northern Renaissance”).
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Europeans developed new approaches to and methods for looking at the natural world in what historians have called the Scientific Revolution. Aristotle’s classical cosmology and Ptolemy’s astronomical system came under increasing scrutiny from natural philosophers (later called scientists) such as Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton. The philosophers Bacon and Descartes articulated comprehensive theories of inductive and deductive reasoning to give the emerging scientific method a sound foundation. Bacon urged the collection and analysis of data about the world and spurred the development of an international community of natural philosophers dedicated to the vast enterprise of what came to be called natural science. In medicine, the new approach to knowledge led physicians such as Harvey to undertake observations that produced new explanations of anatomy and physiology, and to challenge the traditional theory of health and disease (the four humors) espoused by Galen in the second century. The articulation of natural laws, often expressed mathematically, became the goal of science.
The unexpected encounter with the western hemisphere at the end of the 15th century further undermined knowledge derived from classical and biblical authorities. The explorations produced new knowledge of geography and the world’s peoples through direct observation, and this seemed to give credence to new approaches to knowledge more generally. Yet while they developed inquiry-based epistemologies, Europeans also continued to use traditional explanations of the natural world based on witchcraft, magic, alchemy, and astrology.
Key Concept 2.3
The popularization and dissemination of the Scientific Revolution and the application of its methods to political, social, and ethical issues led to an increased, although not unchallenged, emphasis on reason in European culture.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Europeans applied the methods of the New
Science — such as empiricism, mathematics, and skepticism — to human affairs. During the Enlightenment, intellectuals such as Rousseau, Voltaire, and Diderot aimed to replace faith in divine revelation with faith in human reason and classical values. In economics and politics, liberal theorists such as John Locke and Adam Smith questioned absolutism and mercantilism by arguing for the authority of natural law and the market. Belief in progress, along with improved social and economic conditions, spurred significant gains in literacy and education as well as the creation of a new culture of the printed word, including novels, newspapers, periodicals, and such reference works as Diderot’s Encyclopédie, for a growing educated audience.
Several movements of religious revival occurred during the 18th century, but elite culture embraced skepticism, secularism, and atheism for the first time in European history, and popular attitudes began to move in the same directions. From the beginning of this period, Protestants and Catholics grudgingly tolerated each other following the religious warfare of the previous two centuries. By 1800, most governments had extended toleration to Christian minorities and in some states even to Jews. Religion was viewed increasingly as a matter of private rather than public concern.
The new rationalism did not sweep all before it; in fact, it coexisted with a revival of sentimentalism and emotionalism. Until about 1750, Baroque art and music glorified religious feeling and drama, as well as the grandiose pretensions of absolute monarchs. During the French Revolution, romanticism and nationalism implicitly challenged what some saw as the Enlightenment’s overemphasis on reason. These Counter-Enlightenment views laid the foundations for new cultural and political values in the 19th century. Overall, intellectual and cultural developments during this period marked a transition in European history to a modern worldview in which rationalism, skepticism, scientific investigation, and a belief in progress generally dominated, although such views did not completely overwhelm other worldviews stemming from religion, nationalism, and romanticism.