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Ch 9: AP European History: The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons about the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment and learn political thought, philosophical theories, scientific discoveries, and more. These lessons are just a portion of our AP European History course.

AP European History: The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

In the Age of Enlightenment, also called the Age of Reason, new inventions and discoveries in science were paired with a new-found respect for an egalitarian and reason-seeking public. In this chapter, you'll learn about the important discoveries made in the realms of astronomy, mathematics, physics, and other sciences as well as the outpouring of philosophy on the nature and rights of man. Our instructors have broken this chapter into smaller lessons so that you can study one concept or person at a time. You'll learn some of the philosophy on which much modern thinking is based as well as the scientific discoveries that we now take for granted. This chapter is designed to teach you:

  • Enlightenment thinking, ideas, philosophy, and theories
  • The scientific inventions and discoveries made in this period
  • How society shifted to a more rational mode of thinking
  • About the explosion of scientific and philosophical work

VideoObjective
Timeline of Events Leading to the Scientific RevolutionGet an overview of events leading up the scientific revolution, including the invention of the printing press and the Renaissance.
How Thomas Aquinas Saved the Faith from ReasonUnderstand the philosophy and theology of this Italian Dominican priest, particularly in regard to natural reason.
Ptolemy and the Ptolemaic SystemLearn about this ancient astronomer's rendering of the universe that was accepted until the scientific revolution.
Tycho Brahe and Copernicus Take On the Known UniverseExplore how these two astronomers challenged the leading view of a geocentric universe.
Galileo, the Telescope, and the ChurchStudy what Galileo discovered and why it angered the Church enough to place him under house arrest.
The Enlightenment and Copernicus, Galileo, and Sir Isaac NewtonExamine the ideals of the Enlightenment and the contributions made to astronomy and physics.
Renee Descartes and the Union of Religion and PhilosophyUnderstand the philosopher's famous statement and foundational concept, 'I think, therefore I am.'
Francis Bacon: History, Ideas, and LegacyLearn about Bacon's role in advocating the scientific method and as creator of empiricism.
Blaise Pascal: BiographyGet an overview of Pascal's life and work, including the invention of a mechanical calculator and studies with pressure and fluids.
Thomas Hobbes and AbsolutismExplore the political philosophy of Hobbes, including the influential social contract theory.
A Person's Role in Society According to John Locke, Voltaire, and Jean-Jacques RousseauExamine the ideas that these three men had, from Locke's theory of mind to Rousseau's natural human.
Immanuel Kant: Biography and German EnlightenmentGet an overview of this important German philosopher's life and writings, including his formulation of the categorical imperative.
Baron de Montesquieu: BiographyUnderstand this French political thinker's life as well as his theory of the separation of powers.
Denis Diderot and the EncyclopediaLearn about this French philosopher's founding, editing, and writing of the 18th-century French Encyclopedie.
Scottish Enlightenment: Hume, Gibbon, and SmithExplore the writings of these three men and what they contributed to new thinking in Scotland.
Cesare Beccaria and JurisprudenceStudy the treatise on torture and the death penalty by this Italian politician and criminologist.
Women During the EnlightenmentExamine the role that women played in Enlightenment society and some of the writings of female intellectuals of the time.

18 Lessons in Chapter 9: AP European History: The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment
Pre-Scientific Revolution: Logic, Reason & Scientific Experimentation

1. Pre-Scientific Revolution: Logic, Reason & Scientific Experimentation

In this lesson, we explore the reasons behind the typical narrative surrounding the Middle Ages and the advances in reason and science made during this period.

Thomas Aquinas' Influence on the Catholic Church

2. Thomas Aquinas' Influence on the Catholic Church

St. Thomas Aquinas was perhaps the most important figure of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. This lesson examines what he did to help protect the Church against a rebirth of critical thinking by using critical thinking to defend the Church.

Ptolemy and the Ptolemaic System

3. Ptolemy and the Ptolemaic System

In this lesson, we explore the work of the ancient Greco-Egyptian philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer, Ptolemy, whose system explaining the structure of the universe was believed for centuries.

Tycho Brahe and Copernicus Take On the Known Universe

4. Tycho Brahe and Copernicus Take On the Known Universe

Astronomy according to Ptolemy was the popular theory until Copernicus turned it on its head. This lesson explores the theories of Copernicus and Brahe and how the two changed astronomical study.

Galileo, the Telescope & the Church

5. Galileo, the Telescope & the Church

This lesson explores the contributions of Galileo to modern science. It examines his early steps toward a scientific method, his work on falling bodies and, of course, his astronomical discoveries. Finally, the Church's reaction to these discoveries is explored.

Science During the Enlightenment Period: Innovations, Discoveries & Major Figures

6. Science During the Enlightenment Period: Innovations, Discoveries & Major Figures

In this lesson, we will learn about the Scientific Revolution that preceded the Enlightenment. We will highlight the major themes, innovations, discoveries, and figures associated with this revolution in science.

Rene Descartes and the Union of Religion and Philosophy

7. Rene Descartes and the Union of Religion and Philosophy

This lesson explores the beliefs and works of Rene Descartes and how he explained the relationship between the mind and body as well as religion and science.

Francis Bacon: History, Ideas and Legacy

8. Francis Bacon: History, Ideas and Legacy

This lesson examines the contributions of Sir Francis Bacon to science. We take a long hard look at the scientific method, with special emphasis on experimental science. Then we briefly examine how Bacon sold science to the world.

Blaise Pascal: Biography & Contributions to Science and Philosophy

9. Blaise Pascal: Biography & Contributions to Science and Philosophy

In this lesson, we will learn about the 17th-century French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher Blaise Pascal, who invented a rudimentary calculator in addition to making significant contributions to math and philosophy.

Thomas Hobbes: Absolutism, Politics & Famous Works

10. Thomas Hobbes: Absolutism, Politics & Famous Works

In this lesson, we discuss one the key political theorists of the 17th century, the Englishman Thomas Hobbes, whose theories concerning absolutism, the basis of government, and human nature still resonate to this day.

The Enlightenment Thinkers & Their Ideas

11. The Enlightenment Thinkers & Their Ideas

In this lesson, we discuss the varied and diverse 18th-century intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment. In addition to exploring its background and nature, we highlight several of the era's chief philosophers and their ideas.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Philosophy and Legacy

12. Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Philosophy and Legacy

In this lesson, we will learn about a famous philosopher named Jean-Jacques Rousseau. We will understand the specific views he advanced and identify his contributions to the field of philosophy.

Immanuel Kant: Biography & German Enlightenment

13. Immanuel Kant: Biography & German Enlightenment

In this lesson, we explore the life and philosophy of arguably the German Enlightenment's greatest philosopher, Immanuel Kant, and his theories concerning ethics.

Baron de Montesquieu: Biography, Theories & Philosophy

14. Baron de Montesquieu: Biography, Theories & Philosophy

In this lesson, we explore the life and theories of the the French Enlightenment's foremost political theorist, Charles-Louis de Secondat - more commonly known as Montesquieu.

Denis Diderot and the Encyclopedia

15. Denis Diderot and the Encyclopedia

In this lesson, we explore the life of the 18th-century French philosopher Denis Diderot and the project that eventually consumed over 30 years of his life, the Encyclopedia.

Scottish Enlightenment: Hume, Smith, and Others

16. Scottish Enlightenment: Hume, Smith, and Others

In this lesson, we discuss several leading thinkers of the Scottish Enlightenment, including its two giants, the philosophers David Hume and Adam Smith.

Cesare Beccaria: Theories, Impact & Jurisprudence

17. Cesare Beccaria: Theories, Impact & Jurisprudence

In this lesson, we explore the life and theories of the Italian man who first formulated many of the theories upon which our modern penal systems operate: Cesare Beccaria.

Women During the Enlightenment: Roles & Treatment

18. Women During the Enlightenment: Roles & Treatment

In this lesson, we explore the traditional gender roles for women in 18th century Europe and how the Enlightenment affected attitudes that encouraged future change.

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