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The Scientific Method In the Scientific Revolution: Mans Encounter, Exploration, and

Exchange with Reason


Thesis
It is often the smallest ideas that create not only balance, but also the foundation of
humanitys ideas for years to come.
The creation Scientific Method is the paradigm of this. Although it was forged over
thousands of years, it was during the Scientific revolution that it was made razor
sharp. Because of this useful way to create logical progressions, the Scientific
Method has affected everything from religion, to politics, to what it was originally
meant to define, the very way we look at the world around us.

Background
The making of the Scientific Method began thousands of years before, when the
ideas of inductive and deductive reasoning were pieced together
Early Methods of reason

The Renaissance

Early Methods of Reason


Aristotle
More than 1900 years before the scientific revolution, Aristotle founded the
existence of deductive reasoning in connection with Inductive Syllogism, that is,
using a general statement to reach a conclusion for a more specific item. Aristotle
did not consider it necessary to examine every individual is not his doctrine of
the Inductive Syllogism an attempt to show how to establish a universal proposition
with absolute certainty? (A Comparison of the Scientific Method and Achievement
of Aristotle and Bacon, Dickie, William)
Epicurus followed upon this, attempting to explain every physical phenomenon in
the world, writing that, instead of physical joy, It is rather sober reasoning,
searching out the grounds of choice and avoidance, and banishing those beliefs that
lead to the tumult of the soul (Letter to Menoeceus, Epicurus)
In an effort to disprove these explanations, Sextus Empiricus (160-210 CE), a
Pyrrhonian Skeptic, pointed out paradoxes and in the process birthed the idea that
theories are made to be replaced. These theories, however, would only be spread at
the beginning of scientific revolution, when they were printed in multiple languages.
The Renaissance
Robert Grosseteste
Robert Grosseteste(1175-1273) wrote numerous books on geometry, religion, and
metaphysics. Although he did not make a significant contribution to Scientific

Theory, Grosseteste was the first in the Latin West to develop an account of an
experimental method in science. He was also considered the first writer to make
systematic use of a method of experimental verification and falsification. And he
gave special importance to mathematics in attempting to provide scientific
explanations of the physical world (Crombie 1955).
Roger Bacon(1214-1292)
Inspired by Grosseteste, Roger Bacon defined the cycle of observation, hypothesis,
experimentation, and independent verification. He writes about experimental
science in his Opus Maius that all sciences except this either merely employ
arguments to prove their conclusions It alone, in truth, has the means of finding
out to perfection what can be done by nature (Opus Maius, Roger Bacon)
The spread of ideas and the scientific method
During the Renaissance, teachings from Plato, Aristotle, and even Galen of
Pergamon (An ancient scholar who summarized Plato, Aristotle, Stoic, and Epicurus
methods into his own) were translated and became common among the people of
Europe. Additionally, in order to increase the availability of firsthand experience,
teaching experiences such as botanical gardens were created and increased the
popularity of firsthand experimentation.
The Scientific Method
The Scientific Method, one of the key reasoning devices used today to split fact from
fiction, was truly birthed during the Scientific Revolution. Its history is spread
throughout the era and shows mans movement towards reason.
Main Players
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon was the individual who first began to build up the power of the
Scientific Method. Although Aristotle had built up an organized system of reasoning,
conclusions stemming from it were not always sound. As an example, Thomas
Hobbes, a critic of Aristotelianism, brings up Aristotles idea of heaviness saying it is
as if stones and metals had a desire, or could discern the place they would be at,
as man does (Thomas Hobbes). Seeing this obvious failure, Bacon sought to create
a new form of reasoning that could actively fill in the gaps, and rejecting
unreasonable conclusions, such as with claimed miracle cures where Bacon was
not yet prepared either to accept or to reject the reality of the claimed effect, and
he suggested that it be subjected to more critical trial (Steven Shapin, the
Scientific Revolution).
Rene Descartes
Descartes also sought to become the architect of modern reason, and so tried to
develop a sound foundation on which the rest of reasoning could be placed. From
there the phrase I think therefore I am stemmed, as the first axiom on which all
other reasonings could be founded.

Galileo Galilei
Galileo was one of the first to see the potential of math when applied to science.
Math had long been recognized as one of the purest forms of logic, nearly always
true, but it had almost never been used to prove actions in the real world. Galileos
mathematical law of fall pertained to ideal bodies moving in a frictionless
environment. It is possible that no, or very few, real bodies have ever moved in
precise obedience to such laws. Galileo announced that motion is subject to the
law of number (Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution).
Isaac Newton
Newton was truly the beginning of the Scientific Method. He merged the mechanism
of Aristotle together with mathematics, and they were merged in a new definition
of proper natural philosophy The Principia unified mathematics with both celestial
and terrestrial mechanics All bodies whatsoever, Newton said, are endowed
with a principle of mutual gravitation (Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution).

Confronting Challenges
Religion
The creators of the scientific Method, and in fact many of the scientists living in that
time had to choose between two sides, whether they were Christian or Atheist.
Choosing one side, many scientists found themselves attacked by the other, and
sometimes even their own side as well.
Francis Bacon is widely thought to have cleverly pretended to be religious in order
to escape persecution and allow his ideas for reasoning into the known world.
Descartes, although claiming to have been religious, was branded as both too
religious by Atheists, and too secular by the church, leading to his books being
banned by the Catholic Church.
Although he was a devout Catholic, Galileos support and evidence of the
heliocentric theory was interpreted as heresy, a violation of the council of Trent, and
Protestantism, and was forced to abandon and never advocate the heliocentric
theory again. He would later break this promise through his Dialogue, and be placed
under house arrest for the rest of his life.
Newton was not strictly Catholic, and instead Arian, and so vehemently fought
against the persecution of Arians. After about 50 years of life, however, Newton
turned to religious studies, and so escaped further persecution for his scientific
studies.
Uses in the Scientific Revolution
Descartes

Descartes contributions inspired Blaise Pascal, a mathematician and physicist


dedicated to the scientific method, creating the axiomatic method where truths
must first be based on first truths, although he considered it impossible, and also
contributed greatly to the physics of atmosphere, pressure, and vacuums.
Galileo
Galileo used his version of the Scientific Method to advocate the heliocentric theory.
His philosophy would later be taken up by Evangelista Torricelli, Johannes Kepler,
and Robert Boyle. Torricelli would go on to create the barometer and link physics
with infinitesimal calculus. Kepler established the laws of planetary motion, linking
the motion of the heavenly bodies with mathematics. Boyle was responsible for
shifting chemistry away from alchemy and instead towards mathematics, creating
Boyles law, a physics law governing gases.
Newton
The father of physics would end up using the scientific method to create not only
the 3 fundamental laws of physics, but also the law of universal gravitation,
powerful statements on which almost all of the rest of physics would be built.
Eventual Acceptance
Considered a harmless by the Catholic Church, the Scientific Method became
universal, used in everything from botany to physics. Eventually, however, science
branched into a myriad of studies, and psychologists found it hard to repeat
experiments with identical results. Because of this, the scientific method was
redefined and made to better suit the rapidly expanding sciences.
Impacts
The Scientific method had effects not only in the field of science, but also in other
broader areas.
Effects in Science
The method made it possible to separate the truth from fiction, allowing for correct
knowledge to be obtained more accurately. The method became the primary vehicle
to explore the world around us and reason out the truth. We learn more about our
surroundings, and in exchange, we learn how to work within our surroundings
better, whether it is the natural world we live in, or the enigma of the human mind.
Effects in other fields
The Scientific Method redefined truth and encouraged people to doubt the things
they were told and instead discover truth themselves. This led to changes in
politics, society, and even religion.
New political philosophies were founded, such as the social contract as well as
inalienable rights. Hobbes himself was deeply inspired by Descartes, and tried to
improve upon Descartes incomplete model.

Revolutions began, challenging the way people had to live. The French and
American revolutions had their roots embedded in the changing political
philosophies from the time, inspiring documents such as the constitution and the
Declaration of the Fundamental Rights of Man.
The Catholic Church was subject to a second great schism when people began to
doubt whether certain systems in the church that had never been questioned were
truly necessary. This was the beginning of the Reformation, which would result in
the birth of a plethora of new branches of Christianity.
Analysis
The Scientific Method was most certainly Mans exploration, encounter, and
exchange with reason, resulting in massive changes of thought in any area dealing
with the existence of truth. Humanity began to doubt things they had been told
were unquestionable, and in the process found themselves moving towards more
truth, intellect and stability.
Exploration
The Scientific Method allowed humanity to pass over the chasm of uncertainty and
discern fact from fiction. It ().
Encounter
In using the Scientific Method, Mankind itself encountered real reason, not governed
by rules but rather by observations
Exchange
The nature of the way the Scientific Method derives Knowledge allows a mutualistic
relationship between Mankind and the world around it, allowing it to learn more
about nature, and allowing nature to prosper from Mankind.
Conclusion
Although often overlooked, the creation of the Scientific Method was truly the birth
of and encounter with classical reasoning in humans. It allowed us to explore the
world around us, and created a way for us to exchange information with the
environment. Through it we have learned everything from how to govern people, to
how to govern oneself. We have learned how to listen to nature, and how to make
nature listen to us.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aristotle/#PhaEndMet
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A Comparison of the Scientific Method and


Achievement of Aristotle and Bacon
William M. Dickie
The Philosophical Review
Vol. 31, No. 5 (Sep., 1922), pp. 471-494

Opus Maius Roger Bacon


Crombie 1955