Knowledge construction stream based on observation, experimentation and rational speculation. The current of knowledge construction based on observation , experimentation and rational speculation, which occurred in Europe during the 17th century and much of the 18th century, is known as the Scientific Revolution .
The discovery of reason as a mode of construction of knowledge, which had begun during the last centuries of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the 15th century , reached its climax during the 17th century, through the establishment of quantitative and experimental of modern science; modern scientific disciplines and the elaboration of the scientific method.
The thinkers of the time had to face, in general, problems to make this new conception of knowledge compatible with the prevailing religious beliefs, since in many cases, the new discoveries contradicted the knowledge that the Church held . On the other hand, this institution tried to maintain its monopoly of knowledge through mechanisms such as the Inquisition and the control of the books that were published.
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Characteristics of the Scientific Revolution
The main characteristics of the Scientific Revolution are the following:
- It is considered that it began in 1543, with the publication of De rebolutionivus orbium coelestium (“The revolution of the celestial bodies”) by Nicolás Copernicus . In this work, Copernicus refuted the geocentric theory, which stated that the Earth was the center of the universe, and instead postulated his heliocentric theory (which placed the Sun at the center of the universe) from the use of tools. math.
- The biggest changes occurred in the fields of mathematics , physics, and astronomy . However, the development of a scientific research method impacted on all areas of knowledge.
- Knowledge based on tradition and scripture was replaced by that obtained through observation and experimentation. Aristotelian deductive logic was replaced by the inductive method presented by Bacon, which proposed starting from particular cases to arrive at general premises.
- There was a mathematization of nature , that is, the researchers agreed on the application of mathematical modes of description to investigate nature.
- Science began to be conceived as a system of knowledge different from philosophical and religious theories.
- The institutionalization of scientific research began . Different academies of science were founded throughout Europe, such as the Royal Society (founded in London, by Isaac Newton in 1660); the Academy of Sciences of Paris (1666) and the Royal Academy of Medicine and Surgery (Seville, 1697), among others that brought together scientists and spread knowledge.
Contributions of the Scientific Revolution
The main contributions of the Scientific Revolution were the following:
- From the investigations in Astronomy of Copernicus, and after those of Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, René Descartes, Christian Huygens and finally Isaac Newton, the Aristotelian conception of the cosmos was abandoned and new theories were created from the observation and mathematization.
- Great progress was made in Mathematics , which had an influence on the development of other sciences such as Astronomy, Physics and Chemistry.
- In Medicine, numerous discoveries were made from the dissection of corpses . In 1543, Vesalius published De humani corporis fabrica, where he described the structure and functioning of the human body, along with its organs. In 1616, William Harvey discovered the workings of the circulatory system.
- The need to observe, measure and analyze phenomena stimulated the development of new technologies . In optics, for example, powerful telescopes and the first microscopes were built. The first machines to perform calculations were also invented.
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Characters of the Scientific Revolution
The most important characters of the Scientific Revolution were:
- Francis Bacon (1561-1626) : English philosopher, creator of empiricism . In his work Novum organum (1620) he laid the foundations of the experimental scientific method.
- Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) : Italian philosopher, mathematician, physicist and inventor.
- Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) : German astronomer and mathematician, who elaborated the laws on the movement of the planets around the Sun.
- René Descartes (1596-1650) : French philosopher and mathematician, father of modern rationalism .
- Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) : German philosopher and mathematician.
- Isaac Newton (1642/ 1643 -1727) : English physicist and mathematician. His mathematical and physical developments were fundamental to the development of modern science.