C. The Scientific View of the World

This unit explores the new class of scientific thinkers and the effects their discoveries and theories had on the peoples of Europe in the years that followed. Before the seventeenth century, the lines between science, religion, and superstition often were blurred. Astronomy often blurred into astrology, and chemistry often blurred into alchemy. Even as late as the middle seventeenth century, many kings kept personal astrologers on their payrolls to provide help in divining the future. Those fascinated by the secrets of the universe could use any tool or method to unlock those secrets, as no common scientific method united their work. In this unit, we will see how scientists began to build upon previous knowledge. Before this time period, great ideas often died with their authors, such as was the case with Leonardo da Vinci, whose many folios were not discovered until the twentieth century. With the so-called Scientific Revolution, science evolved as a sort of cultural system, in which shared cultural beliefs and scientific modes of looking at the universe provided for shared communications across European cultures and languages. Whereas scientists once were isolated as thinkers, by the seventeenth century, they could share their ideas in essays and publications circulated widely through printing presses and housed in libraries, universities, and academies.

C.1. Introduction 

C.2. Prophets of a Scientific Civlization: Bacon and Descartes 

C.3. The Road to Newton: The Law of Universal Gravitation 

C.4. New Knowledge of Human Beings and Society 

C.5. Political Theory: The School of Natural Law