Thesis Scientific Revolution

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For centuries the Catholic Church had worked to 'Christianise' ancient philosophies, for instance to accept the teachings of Aristotle, Ptolemy and Galen, shaping them so that their writings were compatible with the Scriptures and could be read according to the doctrines of the Church.

The new system of science and philosophy questioned the authority of these thinkers of the past, debated their ideas, and refused some of their claims [',' S Shapin, The scientific revolution (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 1996).','14].

René Descartes, a French mathematician and philosopher, expanded the scientific method proposed by Bacon introducing the concept of analysis and describing its method in his book The Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason and Seeking the Truth in the Sciences (1637).

There, Descartes proposes that any problem in science, despite its complexity, can be solved by breaking the problems into parts and solving each part separately, because the parts would help to understand the whole.

We reproduce below the first chapter of this thesis to which we have made very minor editorial changes: The Scientific revolution.

During the 17th century, Europe experienced a series of changes in thought, knowledge and beliefs that affected society, influenced politics and produced a cultural transformation.In fact, you would have known nothing of the course of the heavens.The natural philosophers of the 17th century aspired to grasp the laws of nature with the aim of understanding God's mind.Many members of the Society of Jesus (usually called the Jesuits) pursued mathematical and scientific research and, although historically their teachings have been considered as obscurantist and conservative, putting a stick in the spokes of the new science, recent evidence based on an examination of the archives of the Order, have shown that several Jesuits made significant contributions to the scientific culture of the 17th century [',' M Feingold, The new science and Jesuit science: seventeenth century perspectives (Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 2003).','3]. The Scientific Revolution was not a homogenous process that affected the whole of Europe in the same way.Regional and national differences shaped the way that society responded to the transformations imposed by the scientific method [',' R Porter and Mikulás Teich, The Scientific revolution in national context (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992).','11].During centuries, the study of the universe and the understanding of the world was founded on deep thinking, on mulling over different questions trying to unearth the reasons or explanations that gave clues to understanding the phenomena.By the 16th and 17th centuries, the paradigm started to shift as some natural philosophers were rejecting unproven theories and using precise tools to obtain exact measurements to base their discoveries on observation and experimentation [Hakim 2005, 19].To make observations and to record the exact position of the stars in the sky, astronomers used new and improved armillary spheres and celestial globes.The use of new tools to obtain exact observations reached its zenith with the invention of the telescope, improved by Galileo who, turning it to the skies, observed and described the Moon, the Sun, Jupiter and the Milky Way (Sidereus nuncius , 1611).The mathematician's pay would be so low, that the mother would starve, if the daughter did not earn anything.If formerly no one had been foolish enough to hope to learn of the future from the sky, then, Mr Astronomer, you would not have become so clever as to think that the course of the heavens should be made known for God's honour and glory.


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