The Enlightenment

Introductory Video Lectures

key people and years (notice 1632)

Scientific Revolution begins

  • Renaissance polymath and scientist, Nicolaus Copernicus, is born in Thorn, Royal Prussia, Poland on 19 February 1473. He publishes De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) in 1543.
    • Some historians mark 1543 as the beginning of the Scientific Revolution which ends in 1687 with Isaac Newton's Principia while other historians and philosophers properly point out that there is no ending date
      (perhaps "scientific revolution" should be simply relabeled "scientific age") 
    • Ex Catholic priest and Christianity reformer, Martin Luther, publishes a piece critical of the scientific view because it conflicted with a literal reading of Old Testament scripture (Joshua)
      (this fact is for those modern Protestants who continue to cling to the false narrative that Protestants are more enlightened than their Catholic precursors. In fact, all humanity has a problem whenever religious dogma attempts to supplant scientific pragma). All religious dogma, no matter the source, is just another form of magical thinking.
  • Scientist and philosopher, Francis Bacon is born in London, England on 22 January 1561.
  • Enlightenment writer and scientist, René Descartes was born in Touraine, Kingdom of France, on 31 March 1596.

The Age of Enlightenment (in parallel with science)

  • The Age of Enlightenment begins in Europe (circa 1600) as a continuation of the Scientific Revolution
  • Galileo Galilei publishes a book defending heliocentrism titled Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems in Italy on February 22, 1632.
    • Galileo was summoned to Rome to defend his science writings to the religious authority in September 1632
    • Galileo was arrested by the Catholic Church in 1633, charged with heresy, tried then found guilty. He lived under house arrest until his death in 1642
  • Enlightenment writer and Doctor, John Locke is born in Somerset, England, 29 August 1632.
  • Enlightenment writer and Lens Grinder, Baruch Spinoza was born in Amsterdam, Dutch Republic, 24 November 1632.
  • The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge (now simply known as the Royal Society) was created by Royal charter under King Charles II on 28 November 1660
  • Enlightenment writer and political philosopher, Montesquieu was born in Aquitaine, France on 18 January 1689
  • Enlightenment writer, philosopher and historian, François-Marie Arouet (a.k.a. Voltaire) is born in Paris, Kingdom of France on 21 November 1694.
  • The Scottish Enlightenment (began circa 1707)
  • Enlightenment writer and scientist, David Hume was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 26 April 1711
  • Enlightenment writer and political philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau is born in  Geneva, Republic of Geneva, on 28 June 1712.
  • Enlightenment writer and philosopher, Denis Diderot is born in Langres, Champagne, Kingdom of France on 5 October 1713
  • Enlightenment writer Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, England, February 9, 1737

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Neil Rieck
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.