The Scientific Revolution was one of the most influential movements in history. It paved the way for modern scientific thought and a whole new way of thinking when it came to the state of nature and human nature itself. Leading off of the Scientific Revolution was the Enlightenment, where the scientific method held sway over not only science but philosophy.
The motto of the Scientific Revolution, “knowledge is power,” describes the ever needful desire to attain knowledge about the world around us. Francis Bacon believed that knowledge gained through inductive reasoning (a means of seeking out truth through observing what is happening in the world and coming to conclusions based solely on those observations) was the greatest force of all, and had the power to eventually transform the human race. He also championed the idea that philosophy should be based off of reason and must be completely separate from religion. These ideas were the early steps toward shaping and establishing the scientific method.
Descartes, a French mathematician and philosopher, went even further than Bacon in stressing observation and was one of the first efforts to apply the new method of scientific inquiry to philosophy and theories of knowledge. He stressed that a person’s senses can deceive them, and that even with observation and experiments, knowledge gained cannot always be trusted. Through doubt, for Descartes, was the only way that a person could gain absolute knowledge. To except any conclusion other than through the use of doubt and a strict process of verification, was folly. The only idea that he believed was valid, was that of the ability of one to doubt and therefore, exist. The phrase, “I think, therefore I am” was the solution to the problem of philosophy first sowed by the Greek Skeptics. Through this model of doubt, a hypothesis only gained credibility from the logic used to argue it, not through external observations. The scientific method, in accordance with the use of doubt, must be used to examine all truths in life. Another important scientist of the time, Galileo, also held a pivotal role in the development of enlightened ideas. An advocate of Copernicus, Galileo was the first to discern the connection between the motion of the planets and the earth’s motion. He placed a strong emphasis on the roles of observation, mathematics, and physics to the study of astronomy. Even to the point of angering the Church, Galileo held firm in his ideas and let loose the locomotion of scientific inquiry and advancement.
On the forefront of the enlightened scientists was Isaac Newton. ...