An early modern term for the study of the nature of the universe, its purpose and how it functioned; it encompassed what today we would call science.
The idea that the sun, not the earth, was the center of the universe; this had tremendous scientific and religious implications.
The approach, first developed by Galileo, that the proper way to explore the workings of the universe was through repeatable experiments rather than speculation.
law of inertia
A law formulated by Galileo that stated that rest was not the natural state of an object. Rather, an object continues in motion forever unless stopped by some external force.
law of universal gravitation
A law stating that every body in the universe attracts every other body in the universe in a precise mathematical relationship, with the force of attraction being proportional to the quantity of matter of the objects and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
A theory of inductive reasoning that calls for acquiring evidence through observation and experimentation rather than reason and speculation.
The premise of Rene Descartes that all of reality could ultimately be reduced to mind and matter.
The new international group of scholars with shared values and professional institutions that emerged in the years following the scientific revolution.
An eighteenth century intellectual movement whose three central concepts were the use of reason, the scientific method, and progress.
The general opinion among Enlightenment thinkers that nothing should be accepted on faith and that everything should be subjected to secular critical examination.
The goal of Enlightenment thinkers to create better societies and better people by discarding outmoded traditions and embracing rationalism.
The premise, enunciated most clearly by the French Huguenot Pierre Bayle, that nothing could be known beyond all doubt.
Literally, a "blank tablet." It is incorporated into Locke's belief that all ideas are derived from experience and that the human mind at birth is like a blank tablet on which the environment writes the individual's understanding and beliefs.
Intellectuals in France who proclaimed that they were bringing the light of knowledge and reason to their fellow creatures in the Age of Enlightenment.
separation of powers
The belief, developed by a French philosophe that political power in society should be dispersed and shared rather than focused in a single individual or institution.
The transition in Europe from a society where literacy consisted of patriarchal and communal reading of religious texts to a society where literacy was commonplace and reading material was broad and diverse.
Regular social gatherings held by talented and rich Parisian women in their homes, where philosophes and their followers met to discuss literature, science, and philosophy.
An idealized intellectual environment that emerged in Europe during the Enlightenment, where members of society came together as individuals to discuss issues relevant to the society, economics, and politics of the day.
A political concept, first set forth by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, that refers to the collective desires of the citizenry as opposed to individual interests.
Term coined by historians to describe the rule of eighteenth-century monarchs who, without renouncing their own absolute authority, adopted Enlightenment ideals of rationalism, progress, and tolerance.
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