The Scientific Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment | World History | Khan Academy (2023)


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An overview of how the Scientific Revolution catalyzed the Age of Enlightenment with a discussion of the degree to which Enlightenment ideas have or even can be fulfilled.

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- [Instructor] As we get into the 1500s.

The Renaissance has been going on for roughly 200 years.

Especially Europe has been rediscovering the knowledge from the Greeks and from the Romans and as they enter into the 16th century, they start to go beyond the knowledge of the Greeks and the Romans.

In 1543, Nicolaus Copernicus publishes On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, famous for suggesting that earth is not the center of the universe, but that the earth revolves around the sun.

What was powerful about this.

Is it challenged centuries old ideas about how the universe worked and at a meta level,? It was about using new methods and evidence in order to make conclusions, no matter how revolutionary those conclusions might be.


This publication is often cited as the beginning of what will be known as the scientific, revolution.

Many people view the capstone of the scientific revolution to be Newton's publication of Principia in 1687, and this is an incredibly powerful publication.

It describes the laws of the universe.

It's a universe in which most things can be explained with simple principles, with mathematics.

This is so powerful that it would not be challenged for over 200 years until Albert Einstein comes on the scene with his theories of relativity.

But, even today, Newton's laws.

This is what is taught in a first year, physics class.

This is what you learn in an introductory engineering class.

So there's many things to think about.

Why did this happen at this period of time,? How was it related to the Renaissance,? How was it related to things that were happening in politics in Europe at the time? But? Needless to say, it gave humanity a new perspective on the universe and it gave humanity new powers and we began to challenge all assumptions, and so, as we get into the late 1600s and early 1700s, people start trying to use these same tools.

The same deductive reasoning on some of the oldest questions that humanity has ever asked: itself, questions like.

What rights do we have as human beings? Who gets those rights?, What duty and obligation? Do we have towards each other?? What is the role of government? Who? Has the right to rule? Now? Some of these questions have been the fodder of philosophers and religion for thousands of years.


Now there was the power and the tools and the challenging notions of the scientific revolution.


This philosophical movement that is really tied to the scientific revolution is known as the Enlightenment.


Just to have an example of the thinking during the Enlightenment.

Here is a passage from John Locke, who is considered one of the pillars of the Enlightenment.

This is published in 1689.

It's the Second, Treatise Concerning, Civil, Government., "The state of nature, has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges everyone and reason, which is that law,".

So reason is the law of nature to govern it, "teaches, all mankind who will but consult it, "that being all equal and independent.

No one ought to harm "another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions.

"And, when his own preservation comes not in competition, "ought.

He as much as he can to preserve the rest of mankind.

"And may not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, "take away or impair the life or what tends "to.

The preservation of the life, the liberty, health, "limb or goods of another." Now to parse what he's saying, he says that reason is this natural law that should govern human action and he's saying no one ought to harm anyone else and that, if we're not in competition, maybe there's only enough food for one of us and there's two of us there, in which case we'd be in competition.

But if there isn't that competition, we should be trying to help each other, and we should be trying to preserve the rest of mankind.


Unless it's for the purpose of justice, you don't have the right to take away or impair the life or things that help preserve the life, the liberty, the health, limb, or goods of another.


You might say, hey,! Isn't this common sense? And religions for all of time have touched on some of these issues? But you also have to appreciate that this is a time when kings and emperors ruled the world.

What gave them that right? Why are certain people, slaves and other people, not slaves? Why.

Do certain people in that world have a right to own? These other people? And, so this was a very controversial idea, challenging some of these fundamental notions of who should rule, who has the right to rule, and to what degree should people exert control over one another,? So, given these challenging notions of the Enlightenment, and John Locke was only one of the actors who would figure prominently in this roughly 100-year period.

It's no surprise that, as you get into the late 1700s and early 1800s, you have a whole string of revolutions, especially in the Americas, to a large degree, inspired by the ideas of the Enlightenment, things like life, liberty, health, in the United States Declaration of Independence.

These things are cited.

During, the French Revolution.

These things are cited.

In, the various revolutions in Latin America.

These ideas are cited.


One of the reasons why the Enlightenment came about when it did.

Not only did we have new tools of thinking and the opportunity to challenge notions, but it might have been that society now had the responsibility to think a little bit deeper about these ideas, because it was getting more and more powers through the scientific, revolution.


Those powers were becoming even more significant when that science was applied during the Industrial Revolution.

Now society could produce more than it could ever produce before.

But as we talk about in other videos, the Industrial Revolution had a certain hunger for raw materials and a certain hunger for markets in which to sell your finished.


It also allowed for more powerful weapons and ways to project power and to control a larger empire, methods of communication, methods of force, and many historians tie it directly to the age of imperialism where especially Western European powers sought areas to get raw materials and markets in which they could push their finished products, and so, as the industrialized world had more and more power, these ideas of the Enlightenment became maybe even more relevant, even though they might not have been implemented consistently during the age of imperialism.

And, as we've seen in other videos, even though the technology keeps accelerating during the Industrial Revolution, the philosophy and the moral framework does not accelerate along with it and in 20th century.

We see one of the bloodiest centuries in all of human history.

So let me leave you with a final series of questions.


We go into the 1800s.

We talked about the various independence movements, especially in the Americas.

We also have the abolishing of slavery in most of the world around this time period and so to some degree.

It looks like the ideas of the Enlightenment are coming to be, but at the exact same time, you have the age of imperialism, where more and more control is exerted over people around the planet.

This all comes to a head in World War I, which is one of the bloodiest conflicts in all of human history.


To what degree did the Enlightenment help the world and to what degree did it not get fulfilled? Or? Maybe in some way, things like World, War, I and World War II were the birthing pangs, the transition state, from the world before the Enlightenment, then? How close are we truly to those ideals? Today? In, a future video, I'm gonna, talk about that and I'm gonna talk about the idea of human rights and how we, as a civilization, have attempted to address it after World, War, II.


What is the age of enlightenment Khan Academy? ›

The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, was an intellectual and cultural movement in the eighteenth century that emphasized reason over superstition and science over blind faith.

What is the Scientific Revolution to the age of enlightenment? ›

The Scientific Revolution was the single most important event that fostered the creation of a new intellectual movement in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries called the Enlightenment, or, sometimes, the Age of Reason—a time period defining the generation that came of age between the publication of ...

What is the Enlightenment in AP world History? ›

The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement that emerged in the 18th century and emphasized reason, individualism, and skepticism. It was a time of great intellectual and cultural awakening, and it laid the foundations for many of the values and ideals that continue to shape modern Western society.

What were academies in the Enlightenment? ›

Scientific academies and societies grew out of the Scientific Revolution as the creators of scientific knowledge in contrast to the scholasticism of the university. National scientific societies were founded throughout the Enlightenment era in the urban hotbeds of scientific development across Europe.

What grade levels is Khan Academy for? ›

Created by experts, Khan Academy's library of trusted, standards-aligned practice and lessons covers math K-12 through early college, grammar, science, history, AP®, SAT®, and more. It's all free for learners and teachers.

Is Khan Academy age appropriate? ›

Typically, Khan Academy Kids is used for students in Pre-K through 2nd grade, while Khan Academy is meant for older learners in grade 3 or above.

What are the 5 ideas of the Enlightenment? ›

The Enlightenment, a philosophical movement that dominated in Europe during the 18th century, was centered around the idea that reason is the primary source of authority and legitimacy, and advocated such ideals as liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government, and separation of church and state.

What is the age of enlightenment summary? ›

The Enlightenment – the great 'Age of Reason' – is defined as the period of rigorous scientific, political and philosophical discourse that characterised European society during the 'long' 18th century: from the late 17th century to the ending of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815.

What is the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment summary? ›

The Scientific Revolution influenced the development of the Enlightenment values of individualism because it demonstrated the power of the human mind. The ability of scientists to come to their own conclusions rather than deferring to instilled authority confirmed the capabilities and worth of the individual.

What are 3 things about the Enlightenment? ›

What were the 3 major ideas of the Enlightenment? Reason, individualism and skepticism were three major ideas that came out of the Enlightenment. One person who espoused all three of these values was the French philosopher, Voltaire.

What are three important Enlightenment ideas? ›

The main ideas that dominated Enlightenment thinking included: Deism – the belief in the existence of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. Liberalism – the belief in human rights and freedom. Republicanism – the belief that a nation should be governed as a republic with an emphasis on liberty.

What were the main ideas behind the Enlightenment? ›

The central doctrines of the Enlightenment were individual liberty and religious tolerance, in opposition to an absolute monarchy and the fixed dogmas of the Church.

Why was the Enlightenment important? ›

The Enlightenment led many people to think about their government and to consider ways in which it should be reformed. The relationship between the people and the state began to be envisioned as a social contract rather than one in which an authoritarian leader ruled his subjects without question.

What was the most important discovery during the Age of Enlightenment? ›

The big name for the Enlightenment is Sir Isaac Newton. He discovered gravity, this is the calculus branch of mathematics. Newton was a great thinker. He discovered the idea of gravity, that bodies attract to one another based on their mass.

What caused the Enlightenment? ›

Many causes of the Enlightenment include the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, and the Protestant Reformation. The Renaissance was influential in setting the stage for the Enlightenment because its emphasis on humanism focused on how humans were in the real world rather than the religious world.

What is the Age of Enlightenment summary? ›

The Enlightenment – the great 'Age of Reason' – is defined as the period of rigorous scientific, political and philosophical discourse that characterised European society during the 'long' 18th century: from the late 17th century to the ending of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815.

What is the Age of Enlightenment for kids? ›

The Enlightenment, or the Age of Reason, began in Europe in the 1700s and spread to many parts of the world. The thinkers of the Enlightenment objected to the absolute power of the royal rulers and of the Roman Catholic church. They used reason, or logical thinking, and science to attack this power.

What is the Age of Enlightenment in a nutshell? ›

The Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, was a philosophical movement in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. At its core was a belief in the use and celebration of reason, the power by which humans understand the universe and improve their own condition.

What is the Age of Enlightenment and write what it's about? ›

The Enlightenment included a range of ideas centered on the value of human happiness, the pursuit of knowledge obtained by means of reason and the evidence of the senses, and ideals such as natural law, liberty, progress, toleration, fraternity, constitutional government, and separation of church and state.

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