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6 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Talk about Leonardo da Vinci and his contribution to the scientific Rev.
-Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
-artist, engineer, scientific thinker
-many accurate scientific ideas (about anatomy, astronomy, physics, etc.)
-scientific wasn’t published, so he was famous in his time for his art
-“isolated genius”

*Modern science is dependent on the sharing of ideas and the building of knowledge on previous generations
Talk about 16th Century Skepticism and Michel de Montaigne.
16th Century Skepticism
-no knowledge is certain for human beings
-beliefs=customs that should be doubted
-no way to tell the difference b/w true and false
-hand-in-hand with a 16th century belief in mystical things, to unlock the secrets of nature
-there weren’t separate field of science; no branches like astronomy, chemistry, etc—everything was a big mystical jumble
-Charlatans (fakes)= Nostradamus, Paracelsus
-mix science and magic in odd way
-Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
-chief skeptic/French essayist
-“Que sais-je?”= What do I know? Nothing.
-philosophy leads to tolerant, humane and broad-minded outlook, but as a system of thought it wasn’t very constructive
Talk about the witchcraft craze.
Witchcraft Craze
-height= 1450-1650 (coincides w/beginning of enlightenment)
-chaos of religious wars fuels the panic (worst in Germany)
-belief in witchcraft, sorcery included people from all social classes
-Salem Witch Trials= result of the Americas being the latest European colonies to be affected by the Enlightenment
What were the similarities between Bacon and Descartes?
Similarities between Bacon and Descartes
1. books published b/w 1620-1640
2. asked themselves how it is possible for humans to know anything with certaintiy or to have a reliable, truthful and usable knowledge of nature
3. branded beliefs of preceding generations as worthless (except religious)
4. attacked scholasticism, forms of medieval thought
-medieval thinking= deductive
-start w/a definition or proposition and logically deduce further knowledge from that definition, or affirming the nature of an object to be such-and such and then describing how objects of such a nature do or should behave.
=Aristotelian way of thinking!
-doesn’t produce new knowledge of nature
-believed to be “backwards” method
5. Truth isn’t something we postulate at the beginning and then explore, but truth is something which we find at the end, after a long process of investigation, experiment, and intermediate thought.
6. There is a true and useful method of knowledge; science!
7. Once nature is understood through science, people can use it to their advantage.

*Bacon and Descartes were the beginning of a new scientific civilization
Talk about Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon (English; 1561-1626), Lord Chancellor of England

-Developed philosophy of empiricism
-founding of knowledge on observation and experience
-the patterns of our thought are shaped by actual facts

-based on the inductive method of thinking where we proceed from the particular facts to the general idea about the facts; from the concrete to the abstract. This is the opposite of deductive thinking, where we begin with our preconceived abstract knowledge to draw conclusions about certain facts. We are drawing logical implications from what we already know in deductive thinking, and therefore not learning anything new.
-people using the inductive method of thinking cannot hold any prejudices or preconceptions.
-develops the modern concept of progress through the thought that knowledge= power

-1620: published Novum Organum, or “New Method of Acquiring Knowledge” writing about inductive reasoning
-part of his great work Instauratio Magna or “Great Renewal”
-called for a new start in science and civilization
-1623: published second volume of Novum Organum; The Advancement of Learning.
-true knowledge=useful knowledge (science that serves a purpose)
-knowledge = power! (signature of Baconian thought)
-1627: published The New Atlantis
-portrayed a scientific utopia where people lived in a perfect society b/c of their knowledge and command of nature

*Bacon never had a real influence on the development of actual science. He just helped develop methods of scientific thought.
*Bacon’s greatest weakness was his failure to understand the role of mathematics.
-math= deductive, but highly scientific subject
Talk about Rene Descartes.
Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
-great mathematician, inventor of coordinate geometry
-belief that all nature could be converted to math
-1637: published Discourse on Method
-principle of systematic doubt
-doubted everything that could reasonably be doubted, thus sweeping away past idea and clearing the ground for his own “great renewal”.
-“I think, therefore I am.” (Cogito ergo sum)
-He can’t doubt his own existence as a thinking and doubting human being
-from this, he deduced that God exists (?)
-Cartesian Dualism
-God has created two kinds of fundamental reality in the universe
1. Thinking Substance (mind, spirit, consciousness, subjective experience)
2. Extended Substance
(everything outside the mind; everything objective)

*Everything except the mind has a universal quality: it takes up space. Space= infinite and geometric.

*The real elements in human experience, such as color, sound, emotions, are suddenly “unreal” and “illusive”. Emotions, color, etc. don’t exist beyond the human mind, according to Descartes.
*Everything else besides your emotions, the subjective experiences, are quantitative, measurable, reducible to formulas or equations.
-The most powerful instrument over the half-universe of extended substance= mathematics.
-“Give me motion and extension, and I will build you the world” (?)