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“Natural philosophers” did not make observations of the natural world. Aristotle was an important authority, in guiding the revolution.

People learned greek and latin, and discovered Ptolemy, Archimedes, and Plato. Invention of microscope, and telescope. Galileo. Issac newton, copernicus. Ptolemaic universe, earth was center, stars were fixed.

Geocentric, earth is center.

Heliocentric, sun centered, more accurate explanation than Ptolemaic system.

Issac Newton, 1642.

The universal law of gravitation. Planetary bodies do not go off in straight lines but instead continue in elliptical orbits around the sun.

In mathematical terms, every object in the universe is attracted to every other object by a force called gravity.

William Harvey’s showed that the heart not the liver, as Galen had thought, was the beginning point for the circulation of blood in the body. Descartes set aside all that he had learned and started over (good idea). “I think, therefore I am.” . “the mind cannot be doubted but the body and material world can, the two must be radically different.”

Rationalism, the system of thought is based on the belief that reason is the chief source of knowledge. Scientific method, procedure of collecting and analyzing evidence. Inductive reasoning, obtain from what you see. Make laws or hypothesis based on observations. The primary job at this point for the middle class were related to the pursuit of knowledge. One writer said that the philosophe is one who “applies himself to the study of society with the purpose of making his kind better and happier.”


William Shakespeare was a prominent figure at this time. The elizabethan era, theatre flourished along with literature. Playwrights was set by Lope de Vega.

The enlightenment was especially influenced by Isaac Newton and John Locke (wahoo!)

Locke’s ideas suggested that people were molded by the experiences that came through their senses from the surrounding world. You are a product of your environment. The intellectuals of the Enlightenment were known by the french name philosophe.

Separation of powers, different branches of government!

Deism, a religious philisophy based on reason and natural law. Clock maker, god did not interfere. Ideas were spread through the salon, another great place to debate and stuff.


By the 1730s, a new artistic style known as rococo developed and spread all over Europe. It was very secular, lightness and charm with pleasure, happiness and love. Enlightenment had an effect on the political life of European states, philosophes believed in natural rights for all people, these included equality, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of press, and right to assemble, hold property, and pursue happiness. (sound familiar, bill of rights). Historians also believed that a new type of monarchy developed, called enlightened absolutism. In this system, rulers tried to govern by Enlightenment principles while maintaining their royal powers. Philosophes condemned war as a foolish waste of life and resources. Frederick the Great of Prussia remarked, “the fundamental rule of governments is the principle of extending their territories.”