About This Chapter
AP European History: The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment - Chapter Summary
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. You'll explore 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 prepare you for these areas of the AP European History exam:
- Identifying important figures of the Enlightenment such as Thomas Aquinas, Galileo, Copernicus, Descartes, Cesare Beccaria and Francis Bacon
- Understanding the role and involvement of the Catholic church
- Exploring the scientific inventions and discoveries made in this period such as the telescope and the known universe
- Examining how society shifted to a more rational mode of thinking
- Discussing the roles and treatment of women during the Enlightenment
- Exploring the Ptolemaic System
- Outlining major figures of the Scottish Enlightenment
Our instructors have broken this chapter into smaller lessons so that you can study one concept or person at a time. You can utilize these lessons to review at any time as you prepare for the exam. If you have questions, our subject-matter experts are here to help!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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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Other chapters within the AP European History: Exam Prep course
- AP European History: Overview of the Renaissance
- AP European History: Renaissance Philosophy, Art & Literature
- AP European History: Reformation Roots & Teachings
- AP European History: The Reformation's Effects Across Europe
- AP European History: Wars of Religion
- AP European History: The Age of Expansion
- AP European History: The Rise of Monarchical Nation States
- AP European History: English History (1450-1700)
- AP European History: 18th Century Powers
- AP European History: The French Revolution
- AP European History: The Napoleonic Empire
- AP European History: 19th Century Revolutionary Movements
- AP European History: The First Industrial Revolution
- AP European History: Unifications of Nation States in the 19th Century
- AP European History: Europe 1871-1914
- AP European History: World War I
- AP European History: Russia After World War I
- AP European History: The 1920s & 1930s
- AP European History: The Rise of Fascism
- AP European History: World War II
- AP European History: Post-War Europe
- AP European History: Cold War Europe
- AP European History: Integration: Europe after the Soviet Union
- Portions of the AP European History Exam
- Developing and Writing Your AP Exam Essay
- AP European History Flashcards