EN 205 Lecture Notes - Lecture 21: Scientific Revolution, Political Philosophy, Philosophical Transactions Of The Royal Society

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November 7th: Royal Society, Mind and God, Locke
The Scientific Revolution
A shift in the way of thinking about the natural world that led to the development of modern science
Core period of the Scientific Revolution is the 17th century (1600s)
The Scientific Revolution was a European phenomenon, with key figures in Italy, France, and
Based on a new process of determining the truth os the natural world—the testing of hypotheses
through experimentation
People used ancient texts, tradition, the Bible, and simple observations to understand the natural
world before the development of modern science
The origin of the scientific method came from Francis Bacon in the Novum Organum (1620)
Modern science is fundamentally empirical
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that emphasizes the role of experience in determining the truth
about the natural world
This approach means that all theories and hyptheses must be tested against observations, rather than
rely on previous positions
The Royal Society and the New Science
Began in 1640 with a club dedicated to “experimental philosophy” (new scientific method)
1662: The club is given a charter and support by Charles II
Now called The Royal Society for the Improving of Natural Knowledge
The Royal Society pursues and promotes science and technology through direct experimentation and
Although the Royal Society included a large number of “gentlemen,” it was opened to, and included,
those of lower rank (still no women though)
No woman was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society until 1945
Their motto is “take nobody’s word”
They also considered “Omnia Probate: Prove all things” and “Experiendo: By Experiment”
Philosophical Transactions
First published in 1665
Longest running periodical in English and the oldest scientific journal in the world
Promoted scientific investigation in England and abroad at a time in which there was no science
curriculum in any educational system
Science and Philosophy in the 17th and 18th Centuries
Natural Philosophy
The study of the natural world:
Moral Philosophy
The study of the human world
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