Skeptical and Natural Philosophy

The Scientific Revolution

What were the main philosophical aspects of the scientific revolution?

From a purely philosophical perspective, given the strong influence of Neoplatonic thought in the work of almost all the natural philosophers (beginning with key Italian Renaissance thinkers, moving through Copernicus, and possibly culminating in Newton), the scientific revolution can be viewed as a sustained revolt against Aristotelianism back toward Platonism.

But it is more complicated than that. Aristotelianism was directly associated with the power of the Catholic church, which diminished as much for political and doctrinal reasons during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation as it did in philosophical circles. And, as it turned out, historically within both science and the philosophy of science, the revived influence of Neoplatonic metaphysics was relatively short-lived. By the Age of Reason, or the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, an empirically based rationality and secular reason came to form the educated world view in the West.


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