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The Scientific Revolution..pdf

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McMaster University
Megan Armstrong

The Scientific Revolution The medieval cosmos • Greek origins: 4 elements: earth, air, fire, water • 4 qualities= heat, cold, dryness and moistness • Planets, stars, move around fixed spheres • Astrologer: interpret movements, changes in cosmos (Nostradamus, d. 1566, John Dee, d. 1608 o Don’t disappear as the scientific understanding of the cosmos continue o Remain primary counselors for the primary court § Did affect foreign policy o Remain integral for both the fields of medicine and understanding the cosmos Underlying conditions for Change • Classical knowledge: i.e. Aristotle, Galen, Ptolemy • Humanism and the notion of human dignity and world as a “glorious creation” • European exploration: encountering new species • Printing Press; historian Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution o Human dignity should be celebrated because of our place in God’s creation o We need to understand who we are and our relationship to God by investigating the world around us o Encountering of new species was another trigger to further exploration Picture of a man leaning by Da Vinci • one of the artists who became very interested with the human body and form • beautiful depictions • Michael Angelo also was interested in the depiction of the body Medicine • Ancient Authorities: Galen (2nd C) • The four humors (blood, yellow and black bile, phlegm) • Body had to have all 4 elements in balance in order for it to be maintained • Paracelsus (d. 1541) • Andreas Vesalius (d. 1564): On the fabric of the human body o A book of works of art of detailed drawings of the body based on dissection o Believed that dissection was a block way to heaven because you were cutting into the body o By the 16C dissections were becoming more common o Book is a training book for students o He learned that the blood was flowing from the heart • William Harvey (d. 1657) o Realized that the blood made a full circuit of the body o Doctors role was just diagnostics; they did not preform surgery o Popular way of restoring order was blood luting (leaches) and herbs and consulting the stars o Argued that the human body was not composed of the universe, it was chemically based (Paracelcus) o Rubens picture o Fascination fo getting to the human form as something that is living, active, organic Philosophy and Descartes • Rene Descartes (1596-1650) • Discourse on Method: Systematic doubt (“I think therefore I am” • Royal society (1660): England—formed to discuss scientific and mathematical experimentation—“the new science” o The book is his understanding of how we should think o Old systems of knowledge did not seem trustworthy at all to him o Believed that the medieval conception of the universe was not correct o Epistemology: theory/study of knowledge o The more he learned, the more he found himself “entangled in so many errors” o Meditations: renounced his senses, one by one being untrustworthy o Did believe that God existed; believed that there had to be a greater power that could have given him his own understanding o The conviction that the mind was not just composed of matter; there was some spiritual aspect of it o The conjunction of the mind and its use of reason achieved its most achievement o Believed math was the highest art o “the new science” meant the use of mathematics and inquiry o we have to assume that we don’t know it all and we have to go out and understand new things from a different perspective Historical Significance • Mathematics and observation as basis for inquiry • Foundations of Enlightenment assault on traditional knowledge • Gradual emergence of distinct fields of scientific inquiry • Patronage of scientific inquiry as a facet of state- building (ie. The French Academy, the English royal society) Absolutism and Louis XIV picture of Louis XIV • opulence was power • cares very much about his appearance • the appearance of fine legs; showed that he danced a lot (proved that he was refined) exhibited grace • showed that he is the ultimate expression of virtue • canopy; only the royal family can sit under itii (symbolizes royal power • column shows power and warfare Theory of Absolutism • Divinely ordained rule • The Kind was next to God o god choose who would rule o once king broke gods law subjects can be challenged • Rule was absolute; king above law o Constitutionalism is rooted in England o France never had a parliament in the same way (judicial courts) o Louis vix – bourbon regime o king was above law o absolutism § king can do whatever he wanted and be
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