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The Scientific Revolution


The Scientific Revolution The West CHAPTER 16 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Scientific Revolution

The Scientific Revolution
  • The West
  • CHAPTER 16

Astronomy A New Model of the Universe
  • Ptolemaic-Aristotelian cosmology predicated a
    stationary earth at the center of the universe
  • Theory of a heliocentric universe and movement of
    the earth was proposed by Copernicus and refined
    by Kepler
  • Galileo demonstrated Copernicus theory and made
    it accessible

Physics The Laws of Motion and Gravitation
  • Aristotelian philosophy argued motion required
    external force
  • Galileo developed the theory of inertia - motion
    is a state, not a force or a quality
  • Newton developed the universal law of gravitation
    and a new theory of light, based upon laws of

Chemistry and Biology
  • Robert Boyle identified atoms as the determining
    components of all matter
  • Chemistry became acceptable and legitimate
    science, distinct from alchemy
  • William Harvey demonstrated the circulation of
    blood throughout the body and set the standard
    for biological research

The New Scientific Method
  • Extensive observation of nature
  • Rigorous and empirical experimentation - Boyle,
  • Application of deductive reasoning to basic
    scientific propositions, to develop new ideas-
  • Application of mathematics to the study of nature
    - Copernicus, Newton

The Mechanical Philosophy
  • Assumption that the natural world operated like a
    machine, in a mechanical manner
  • Implied that the universe was uniform in
    structure and that underlying natural laws
  • Implied that all natural phenomena could be
    explained by natural laws

Internal Causes of the Scientific Revolution
  • Scholastic philosophy, in the fourteenth century,
    began to question Aristotle and to recommend
    empirical observation
  • Recovery and translation of Greek scientific
    works, during the Renaissance
  • Collapse of classical and medieval scientific
    paradigms under new scientific method

External Causes of the Scientific Revolution
  • Protestantism was more receptive to new
    scientific ideas
  • Development of scientific academies and princely
    patronage for scientists
  • Printing permitted more accurate preservation and
    dissemination of ideas
  • Demand for new military and commercial
  • Voyages of exploration undermined traditional

Education and Skepticism
  • Publications and academic respectability resulted
    in science becoming integral to Western education
  • Beginning of the perception of science and the
    humanities as two distinct cultural traditions
  • Encouragement of skepticism and independent

Science and Religion
  • Challenged literal interpretation of the Bible
    and the role of God in nature
  • Separated science and religion as two distinct,
    but complementary, forms of knowledge
  • Emphasized the role of reason in religion over
    the fanaticism of the confessional age
  • Religion remained relevant in Europe

Magic, Demons and Witchcraft
  • Mechanical philosophy challenged ideas of demonic
    power and the reality of magic
  • Science played only a minor role in the decline
    of witchcraft persecutions
  • The skepticism of the educated classes was
    matched by continuing superstition in broader
    society - widening of the cultural gap between
    social élites and lower classes

The Place of Human Beings in the Universe
  • In classical and medieval philosophy, human
    beings had been the physical and moral center of
    the universe
  • Acceptance of a heliocentric universe challenged
    the notion of human uniqueness and centrality in
    the universe
  • Works of fiction helped spread questioning of
    humanitys place in the universe

The Control of Nature
  • Encouraged confidence in human abilities to
    control nature
  • Practical application of scientific knowledge
    developed belief in the power of science to
    improve human life
  • Fostered optimism and faith in progress

Men, Women and Nature
  • Challenged classical and medieval notions about
    the physical and mental inferiority of women
  • Laid theoretical foundations of sexual equality
  • Identification of science as masculine and nature
    as feminine reinforced the traditional gender

Science and Western Culture
  • The Scientific Revolution was a uniquely Western
  • Islamic and Asian scientific traditions did not
    experience an analogous transformation
  • Only in Europe could science and religion be
  • Scientific knowledge and technology became a new
    source of Western identity