Unit IV Lecture II – March 1, 2012
Where Are We?
o Legal & political centralization carried out to increase civil peace
o Central law codes based on inquisitorial law [torture allowed] and Roman law
o Belief & fear in witches increasing
o Safeguards in legal codes against use of torture were eroded
o 2 world systems: (1) Aristotelian [medieval church, universities]; (2)
Neoplatonic/Magic [Renaissance humanism].
o These replaced by Mechanism in 17 & 18 c. th
What changed that allowed the witch hunts to end? Changes in understanding of the
natural world (Skepticism, Empiricism, Mechanism)
One of greatest humanists & essayists
Dawn of the Age of Reason
Scientific Revolution – broad, unsystematized movement that abandoned received science;
took people & their curiosity back to the world, and into the operations of the mind itself
o What is the proper application of reason?
o What are the limits of intellect?
o What is the role of imagination?
o What are the criteria for truth?
Other revolutions: Geography (Columbus, New World); Time (Pocket Watch); Medicine
(College of Physicians); Religion (Reformation); Agriculture (Spain, Maize, New World
Crops); Calendar; Cosmos (Galileo, Telescope); Microcosmos (Microscope)
2 varieties of old-school skepticism:
o Pyrrhonian—suspended judgment on all matters
GOAL peace of mind, freedom from disturbance
o Academic—denied possibility of knowledge
GOAL intellectual honesty/modesty
Method produce arguments refuting both of 2 contrary positions (for & against
Montaigne’s Skepticism Produc