Chapter 4-The Beginnings Of Modern Science And Philosophy Flashcards Preview

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What period of time did the renaissance encompass?

Approximately 1450 to 1600


What is meant by Renaissance humanism, and what four things does it encompass?

The notes and intense interest in human beings, as if we were discovering ourselves for the first time.

Four major themes:

Individualism-concerned with human potential and achievement. The belief in the power of the individual to make a positive difference in the world created a spirit of optimism

Personal religion-although already since humanists were devout Christians, they wanted religion to be more personal and less formal and ritualistic

Intense interest in the past- The works of the early Greek and Roman poets, philosophers, and politicians were of special interest

Anti-Aristotlelianism- many of the humanists believed that the church had embraced Aristotle's philosophy to too great an extent


A Renaissance humanist who opposed fanaticism, religious ritual, and superstition. He argued in favor of human free will

Desiderius Erasmus


Like the earlier Greek and Roman skeptics, believed there was no objective way of distinguishing among various claims of truth. His doubts concerning human knowledge stimulated a number of subsequent thinkers such as bacon and Descartes

He argued that both Catholic and Protestant theologies were equally indefensible on rational grounds and that the only justifiable basis for a religious conviction was faith

Rejected science as a means of attaining reliable knowledge because scientific truth is in constant flux and denied that simple sensations can act as reasonable guides for living because they are often illusory, and even if they were not, they are influenced by our bodily conditions and personal histories

Michel de Montaigne


In what respect did Montaigne's philosophy stimulate bacon and Descartes?

His skepticism stimulated a number of attempts to disprove it. Francis Bacon and Renée Descartes responded to Montanes doubts concerning human knowledge by creating philosophical systems they believed were impervious to such doubt


Identify the factors that challenged the authority to the Christian church during the Renaissance

Church dogma consisted of fixed truths: there are exactly 7 heavenly bodies in the solar system, the earth is the center of the universe, and humans are created in gods image, for example. Gradually these truths were challenged and each successful challenge focus suspicion on other truth.

Church scholars attempted to show that contradictions were only a parent and failing in this, they attempted to impose censorship, but it was too late; the challenging spirit was too widespread. The decline in the church's authority was directly related to the rise of a new spirit of inquiry that took as its ultimate authority empirical observation instead of the Scriptures, faith, or revelation

Reasons for this reawakening of the spirit of objective inquiry:

Aquinas's acceptance of reason and the examination of nature as ways of knowing God. Once sanctioned by the church, the human capacity to reason was focused everywhere, including on church dogma

The work of the humanists, which we captured the spirit of open inquiry reflected in the classics and to also stress the human potential to act upon the world and change it for the better

The explorations of central Asia and China by Marco Polo

Johannes Gutenberg's invention of metal movable type which created modern printing techniques

Discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus

Martin Luther's challenge to Catholicism

Circumnavigation of the globe by Ferdinand Magellan's expedition


A conception of the solar system that has the earth as it center. During the middle ages, the Ptolemaic system was widely excepted because it agreed with every day experience and was able to predict an account for all astronomical phenomena known at the time and gave humans a central place in the universe, thus agreeing with the biblical account of creation

Ptolemaic system


Sometimes called the Copernicus of antiquity, speculated that the planets, including the earth, rotate around the sun and that the earth rotates on its own axis, and he did so almost 1700 years before Copernicus

Aristarchus of Samos


Argued that the earth rotated around the sun and therefore the earth was not the center of the solar system and the universe as a church had maintained

Nicolaus Copernicus


The theory, proposed by Ptolemy, that the sun and planets rotate around the earth

Geocentric theory


The theory, proposed by Copernicus, that the planets, including the earth, rotate around the sun

Heliocentric theory


Explain why Pythagorean and platonic thinkers tended to be the first to embrace a heliocentric view of the solar system

Working in favor of accepting the Copernican viewpoint was the Pythagorean-platonic view that the universe operated according to mathematical principles and that those principles are always the simplest and most harmonious possible


Showed several of Aristotle's truths to be false and, by using a telescope, extended the known number of bodies in the solar system to 11. Argued that science could deal only with objective reality and that because human perceptions were subjective, they were outside the realm of science

Galileo Galilee


Explain why Galileo's attitude toward experimentation was Pythagorean-platonic

Galileo saw his task as explaining the true mathematical reality that existed beyond the world of appearances


Attributes of physical objects: for example, size, shape, number, position, and movement or rest

Primary qualities


Those apparent attributes of physical objects that in fact exist only in the mind of the perceiver-for example, The experiences of color, sound, odor, temperature, and taste. Without a perceiver, these phenomena would not exist

Secondary qualities


Describe Galileo's views of objective and subjective reality

Galileo made a sharp distinction between objective and subjective reality. Objective reality exists independently of anyone's perception of it, and its attributes are what later in history were called primary qualities which are absolute, objective, immutable, and capable of precise mathematical description and includes quantity, shape, size, position, and motion or rest.
Besides the primary qualities which constitute physical reality, another type of reality is created by the sensing organism; this reality consists of what came to be called secondary qualities which constitutes objective reality and are purely psychological experiences and have no counterparts in the physical world.


Describe Galileo's views of the possibility of a science of conscious experience

Because so much of our conscious experience consists of secondary qualities, and because such qualities can never be described and understood mathematically, Galileo believed that consciousness could never be studied by the objective methods of science.


Extended the work of Galileo by showing that the motion of all objects in the universe could be explained by his law of gravitation. Although he believed in God, he believed that God's will cannot be evoked as an explanation of any physical phenomenon. Viewed universe as a complex machine that God had created, set in motion, and then abandoned

Believe that because God made the universe, studying it objectively was a way of understanding God

According to his law of gravitation, all objects in the universe attract each other. The amount of attraction is directly proportional to the product of the masses of the bodies and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Able to explain the motion of all physical bodies everywhere in the universe

Isaac Newton


The belief that God's creation of the universe exhausted or ended his involvement with it



Describe the six principles of Newtonian science

1. Although God is the creator of the world, he does not actively intervene in the events of the world (deism). It is therefore inappropriate to invoke his will as an explanation of any particular thing or event in the material world

2. The material world is governed by natural laws, and there are no exceptions to these laws

3. There is no place for a purpose in natural law, and therefore Aristotle's final causes must be rejected. Natural events can never be explained by postulating properties inherent in then. As a Newtonian scientist, one must not invoke teleological explanations

4. Occam's razor is to be accepted. Explanations must always be as simple as possible

5. Natural laws are absolute, but at any given time our understanding is in perfect. Scientists often need to settle for probabilities rather than certainty.

6. Classification is not explanation. To understand why anything acts as it does, it is necessary to know the physical attributes of the object being acted on and the nature of the forces acting on it


Urged and inductive, practical science that was free from the misconceptions of the past and from any theoretical influences

Traditionally been listed as the main spokesman for the new science and it's revolting against past authorities, especially Aristotle. His sharp wit and brilliant writing style half tempted some to speculate that he was that true author of the Shakespearean plays

He was a radical empiricist who believed that nature could be understood only by studying it directly and objectively

Francis Bacon


The method of reasoning by which conclusions must follow from certain assumptions, principles, or concepts. If there are five people in a room, for example, one can deduce that there are also four; or if it is assumed that everything in nature exists for a purpose, then one can conclude that humans, too, exist for a purpose.

This type of reasoning proceeds from the general to the particular



The method of reasoning that moves from the particular to the general. After a large number of individual instances are observed, AC Moore principal common to all of them might be formed. Starts with some assumption, and proceeds from the particular to the general



The belief that only those objects or events that can be experienced directly should be the object of scientific inquiry. Actively avoid's metaphysical speculation

What Bacon's approach to science was eventually called



Describe Bacon's perspective on science

Bacon demanded that science be based on induction. It should include no series, no hypotheses, no mathematics, and no deductions but should involve only the facts of observation.

The ultimate authority in science was to be in Paracle observation. This approach to science would later be called positivism


What is radical empiricism?

The ultimate authority in science is The direct observation and recording of nature


Specify and describe the two types of experiments bacon identified

Experimenta lucifera or experiments of light: designed to discover causal relationships

Experimenta fructifera or experiments of fruit: designed to explore how the laws of nature might be utilized


Has Bacons inductive view of science been influential? Explain

History has shown that Bacons inductive approach to science was largely ignored and that the deductive approach of Galileo and Newton was highly influential. Contrary to what bacon believed, productive science required bold theory and hypothesis testing

Popper noted that important scientific discoveries never come from induction, as baking had believed: bold ideas, I'm justified anticipations, and speculative thought, are our only means for interpreting nature


Believed that much human behavior can be explained in mechanical terms, that the mind and the body are separate but interacting entities, and that the mind contains innate ideas. With him began comparative-physiological psychology, stimulus-response psychology, phenomenology, and a debate over whether innate ideas exist. Also focused attention on the nature of the relationship between the mind and the body

Renée Descartes


What were Renée Descarte's reasons for believing that philosophy was useless?

He noted that philosophers had been seeking truth for centuries but had been unable to agree among themselves about anything; he concluded that nothing in philosophy was beyond a doubt. This realization thrust him into deep depression and he decided that he would be better off learning things for himself instead of from the experts


Describe Descartes' beliefs regarding the process of discovering philosophical truth

He resigned himself to doubt everything that could be doubted and to use whatever was certain just as one would use axioms in mathematics. That is, that which was certain could be used to deduce other certainties. After a painful search, Descartes concluded that the only thing of which he could be certain was the fact that he was doubting; but doubting was thinking, and thinking necessitated a thinker. Thus, he arrived at his celebrated conclusion I think, therefore I am. He established the certainty of his own thought processes, a certainty that, for him, made the introspective search for knowledge valid


Describe Descartes' beliefs regarding innate ideas

He further analyze to the content of his thought and found that some ideas were experienced with such clarity and distinctiveness that they needed to be accepted as true, and yet they had no counterparts in his personal experience. He thought that such ideas were innate.

Included among the innate ideas those of unity, infinity, perfection, the axioms of geometry, and God


Ideas, like perfection and the axioms of geometry, that Descartes believed could not be derived from one's own experience. Such ideas were placed in the mind by God

Innate ideas


In Descartes' philosophy, the introspective process by which clear and distinct ideas are discovered



One who introspectively studies the nature of intact conscious experience. Descartes was one



The substance Descartes and others thought was located in the cavities of the brain. When the substance moved via the nerves from the brain to the muscles, the muscle swelled and behavior was instigated

Animal spirits


Describe Descartes' beliefs regarding the reflexive nature of organisms interactions with the environment

He took the statues at St. Germain as his model in explaining all animal behavior and much human being. The sense receptors of the body were like the pressure plate that started the water flowing through the tubes and activated the statues. He thought of the nerves as hollow tubes containing delicate threads that connected the sense receptors to the brain. The threads are connected to the cavities or ventricles of the brain, which were filled with animal spirits. He described animal spirits as a gentle wind or a subtle flame. The delicate threads in the nerves were ordinarily taut, but when an external event stimulated a sense organ, the threads were tightened further and opened a port or conduit in the corresponding brain area; the poor then released animal spirits into the nerves. When the animal spirits flow to the appropriate muscles, because the muscles to expand and thus caused behavior


Describe Descartes' beliefs regarding sleep and dreams

His explanation of sleep begins by noting that while organisms are awake, the cavities of the brain are so filled with animal spirits that the brain tissue engulfing a cavity expense, slightly increasing the tautness of the delicate threads and thus making the maximally responsive to sensory stimulation. Through the day, the amount of animal spirits in the brain cavities diminishes, and the tissue surrounding then becomes lax, whereupon the delicate threads become slack. Under these conditions, the organism is not very responsive to the environment, and we say it is asleep. Animal spirits flow randomly in the cavities, and every now and then isolated cavities will be filled, they're connecting threads become tight and this causes the random, disconnected experiences we refer to as dreams


Describe Descartes' beliefs regarding the mind-body interaction

Believed there was an important difference between humans and other animals. Only humans possess a mind that provided consciousness, free choice, and rationality. The mind was non-physical and the body physical; that is, the body occupied space but the mind did not


One who believes that a person consists of two separate entities: a mind, which accounts for one's mental experiences and rationality, and the body, which functions according to the same biological and mechanical principles as do the bodies of nonhuman animals. Descartes was one



The version of dualism that accepts the separate existence of a mind and a body and claims that they interact

Interactionism. This was the type of dualism that Descartes subscribed to


Did Descartes make lasting contributions to psychology? Explain

Yes, he is considered the father of modern philosophy in general and of modern psychology in particular.

His mechanistic analysis of reflexive behavior can be looked on as the beginning of both stimulus-response and behavioristic psychology. He focused attention on the brain as an important mediator of behavior, and he specified the mind-body relationship with such clarity that it could be supported or if you did by others. His notion of innate ideas launched a new philosophical and psychological positions and by actually investigating the bodies of animals to learn more about your functioning and that's about the functioning of human bodies, he gave birth to both modern physiological and comparative psychology. By making purely subjective experience respectable again, he paved the way for the scientific study of consciousness


What does the term Renaissance mean?