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11: Power of Ideas

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    The 14th through 18th centuries witnessed a wave of various movements. The Renaissance, Age of Discovery, Protestant Reformation, Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment were major movements that influenced each other.

    • 11.1: Introduction
    • 11.2: Renaissance
      The term Renaissance literally means "rebirth", and is recognized as the period in European civilization immediately following the Middle Ages. Lasting from approximately 1300 to 1600, this era marks the transition from medieval to modern times in Europe.
    • 11.3: Age of Discovery
      The Age of Discovery started in the early 15th century with the first Portuguese discoveries in the Atlantic Archipelagos and Africa, as well as the discovery of America by Spain in 1492, and the discovery of the ocean route to the East in 1498. A series of European naval expeditions across the Atlantic and still later the Pacific continued until the 18th century.
    • 11.4: Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation
      Revolutionary changes emerged in Christian Europe during the 16th century. Criticism of the Catholic Church's authority and traditions led to the Protestant Reformation that would end the religious unity of Europe and lead to devastating wars between Catholics and Protestants. The Reformation would help strengthen the power of secular rulers, paving the way for the emergence of the modern nation-state.
    • 11.5: Scientific Revolution
      The Scientific Revolution (1543 – 1687) describes quite accurately what took place in the scientific community. Medieval scientific philosophy was abandoned in favor of the new methods proposed by Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. The importance of experimentation to the scientific method was reaffirmed. The importance of God to science was for the most part invalidated. Last, the pursuit of science itself (rather than philosophy) gained validity on its own terms.
    • 11.6: The Enlightenment
      The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement in the eighteenth century composed of intellectuals who were greatly impressed with the achievements of the Scientific Revolution, and concerned with the idea of reason. They hoped that by using the scientific method, they could make progress toward a better society than the one they had inherited. Reason, natural law, hope, progress—these were common words to the thinkers of the time.

    Thumbnail: An ivory set of Napier's Bones, an early calculating device (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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