Enlightenment And Scientific Discovery Of The 17th Century

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During the period of enlightenment and scientific discovery of the 17th century, differing concepts of the scientific method emerged. Amongst these, René Descartes and Sir Isaac Newton had some of the more prominent ideologies. Through The Discourse On Method Descartes describes his rules for “discovering the truth”(Sherman. P.74) based on his mathematical background. Many of these are based on logical deductions and examining individual sections of a hypothesis to determine their truths. A few decades later, Sir Isaac Newton published Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy containing the results of his mathematical and scientific work. To arrive at the conclusions, which Newton had, he came up with his “four rules for arriving at knowledge”(Sherman. P.76). While these methods have had a positive impact on many great minds, the nature of Descartes’s and Newton’s methodologies threatened the church as it promoted critical thinking and independence from the Roman Catholic Church.

If we were to look at the methods and rationale that both Descartes and Newton used to arrive at their conclusions, we would see many similarities between the two but fundamentally they also have a few differences. In the Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Newton uses 4 rules to arrive at his conclusions. These rules declare that: “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearance” (Sherman. P.76); natural effects

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