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The Not-So-Scientific Revolution

Initially, when prompted with assignment of defining the scientific revolution, I thought it to be an easy task. The scientific revolution has a practically universal definition: a period marked by discoveries and advancements within the scientific community that shifted the paradigm and laid the foundation for modern day science. However, after reading Shapin’s The Scientific Revolution and gaining insight into the history behind these discoveries, I began to question my own understanding of the topic. A question that persisted throughout my exploration: To what extent was the Scientific Revolution truly scientific?

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The Radical Ideas of the Scientific Revolution

While today we view the Scientific Revolution as a period of significant change in math, science, metaphysics, and other related fields of study, in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, these changes had no effect on daily life. The name “Scientific Revolution” suggests that it was a sudden eruption of discovery and new ways of thinking; however, the revolution actually spanned over the time between the end of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, thus making it a much more gradual change than the name implies. Due to its gradual nature, the revolution did not affect the average person, as it took time for the general population to adopt these radical ideas.

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