Essay on Why Were There Changing Attitudes to the Natural World in the Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Centuries

Published: 2021/11/24
Number of words: 8732


In this essay I will analyse why there were changing attitudes to the natural world in the 16th and 17th centuries. This essay will be divided into two sections, which are based upon the acknowledged two main areas of change and discovery during the 16th and 17th centuries. The first section is concerned with the exploration of the intellectual world, the second section will focus on the physical discoveries.[1] Firstly it is important to identify an appropriate definition of ‘the natural world’. The area of understanding that is now the province of science was then the province of natural philosophy.[2] Natural philosophy in its entirety, (as described by Newton), includes all that is concerned with science to astronomy [although in the 16th century it also was concerned with astrology].[3] The study of living things was a subset of this discipline and known as natural history which became very popular in this period.[4] The study of living things and the enquiry into nature in the Aristotelian sense was not just biology, but there was less differentiation between living things and the natural world that we now make.[5] I will be using the definition proposed by Thomas that the natural world includes “animals, birds, vegetation and physical landscapes”,[6] because I believe that during this period there were significant changes in attitude to these areas.[7] This concept of ‘attitude’ requires definition and I will be utilizing the Princeton definition, which states an attitude is “[a] complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings and values and dispositions to act in certain ways”.[8]

There is much historiography concerning the causes underlying changing attitudes to the natural world. The debate is largely between the twin poles of externalism and internalism.[9] Externalism is the view that the changes in attitude to the natural world occurred in response to the social context of the time, rather than being related exclusively to an increased knowledge of science. This view is supported by Pumfrey, who believes that changes in attitude were closely related to the new Renaissance culture.[10] Pumfrey emphasises that the analysis of ancient texts was responsible for the change in attitude,[11] a view supported by Burke.[12] Conversely, internalists tend to focus more on the significance of individual innovators in the changing attitudes. Internalists argue that humanist study had little relevance and it was the new methods of mathematics and new technologies, [13] which aided the change in attitude. Wightman argues that changes were implemented by innovators such as Vesalius, who caused a shift towards an experimental attitude, by using experimental methods such as dissection to obtain his knowledge, rather than just studying literature on the subject, (which was the traditional method).[14] Internalist historians such as Briggs argue that the developments in attitude, particularly in the 17th century, were due to the network of agencies that were dedicated to the interchange and collaboration of ideas, such as the Royal Society and the French Royal Academy of Sciences.[15] Although one can concur with the notion, I believe the internalist theses is dependent on the externalist theory: such innovations by individuals would not have existed without the social development that took place within this period and that generally the externalist reasons can be attributed to the change in attitude. This theory will form the focus of this assignment.

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The 16th and 17th centuries comprise a period that is commonly referred to as the “Scientific Revolution”.[16] During this period there was a change in attitude, away from medieval scholastic rationale, which was bound by authority.[17] Butterfield describes that before the revolution, men were slaves to an intellectual system which dictated how they should view the natural world.[18] In the 16th Century, there were numerous new beliefs about nature, for example the mechanization of the world view, these new attitudes replaced many of the old.[19] Furthermore, the emergence of an empirical approach to phenomena meant it was now thought that facts concerning the natural world should be tested and observed, rather than obtained through literature.[20] Thomas argues that the period was also significant in its changing attitudes, away from the view that animals were designed for a human purpose.[21] There is a vast historiography surrounding what the changes in attitude to the natural world were during the Scientific Revolution. However I agree with Green, who argues that the growing interest in the study of the natural world was the core change in attitude, as any change in attitude would replace what was a stagnant study, showing an increase in interest. The crucial question is what caused these changes in attitude.[22]


A return to antiquity

The recovery of Greek texts into Western Europe began in the 12th Century.[23] However, for numerous reasons interest in antiquity gained new impetus in the 16th and 17th centuries. [24] For example the creation of the printing press in the 15th Century allowed dissemination to occur more economically. Also the increased translation of ancient texts into the vernacular and the influx of new ancient texts after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, added to the new impetus. Although it was mostly literary classics which became popular, ancient sciences were also consumed by the growing literate populace.[25] The study of ancient texts had an immense impact on the changing attitude toward the natural world. Interest in the ancients was the “fashion” of the 16th and 17th century,[26] and once it was noted that Aristotle was interested in zoology, (proven by his Generations of Animals writings),[27] interest in the subject was then emulated.[28] Similar occurrences can be seen in painting, although only descriptions of ancient landscape paintings were recovered, Renaissance artists began to imitate the concept of landscape painting. The recovery of ancient texts led to scholars emulating ancient attitudes, which replaced the previous attitude to the natural world.[29]

Research on the natural world and subsequent changes in attitude toward it would not have occurred without the works of the ancients for inspiration. When recovered texts were first printed, information and attitude to the natural world was solely based on the analysis of ancient texts.[30] The impact of the ancient texts on the changing attitudes can be illustrated by noting that studies on animals had not received significant participation since the time of Pliny the Elder in the 1st Century AD, but the 16th Century saw renewed vigour to these approaches.[31] This original enthusiasm was replaced by a critical approach that represented a further change in attitude.[32] Scholars now respectively delved into the task of adding to the works on the natural world produced by the ancients, such as an extension of Aristotle’s encyclopaedia.[33] Similarly information was gathered to fill in incomplete works of Theophrastus, Pliny the Elder and other ancient scholars. An approach was developed for dealing with works that were incomplete or had possibly been corrupted after their original completion.[34] Scholars used ancient texts as paradigm models, rather than just contemplating the information they contained. This is also noted with the concept of the laws of nature, the study of which was done in rudimentary form by the Greeks, but only fully advanced in the 16th and 17th centuries.[35]

Renaissance scholars showed respect to the ancients by translating their works, but also critically analysed the texts.[36] The mass of ancient texts recovered on the same subject, but by different authors, led readers to find ancient philosophers differed on opinion to issues concerning the natural world.[37] This led intelligentsia to critically explore the ancient texts.[38] This new critical nature led to new thoughts on the natural world being formulated through independent experimentation and analysis, not just the word of ancients.[39] Renaissance scholars learnt to critically assess and view the natural world from their own perspective, not just base attitude on ancient texts. Without the printing of ancient texts allowing wide dissemination of information combined with critical assessment based upon observation, changing attitudes to nature would not have occurred.

However, internalists argue the divorcing of ancient thought was less harmonious. In their view, scholars recognised that ancient philosophers wrote incorrect information and their writings should not be learned from.[40] Bacon, for example, was heavily involved in a campaign against Aristotle and ancient learning.[41] He believed that if men wanted to achieve anything it was no use going back to the ancients, instead experimentation was needed.[42] Telesio (the author of the Nature of Things), stated that ignorance was caused by the unquestioning acceptance of the Classics in learning; he stressed knowledge based on experimentation and observation to allow nature to “announce herself”.[43] Vesalius went against the ancient teachings of Galen, basing his anatomical work on experiments and observation.[44] The attitude to the natural world was that it needed exploration and discovery through one’s own means, rather than basing attitudes strictly on literature. From an internalist perspective this initiative was done by individual philosophers within the scientific community, such as Bacon who then provided the inspiration for the adoption of this attitude in others. There was also the development of philosophers viewing nature as a mechanism. This change in attitude is also attributed to individual philosophers such as Descartes, Bacon and Hobbes.[45]

Although the change to observation and the mechanization of the natural world was a distinct change in attitude, its roots were not internal. These attitudes were not as original as internalists argue. Within his work Physics, Aristotle refers to nature as an articer (artificial) similar to the ‘new’ view that the natural world is mechanical.[46] Aristotle had also partaken in observational science himself, for example his experiment concerning shooting an arrow into the air, to display the movement of the earth.[47] However “no house is ever built of entirely virgin materials”.[48] The concepts the scientists were using were not new: they were imitated from the ancients correspondingly to that of the earlier interest in the natural world.

In the 16th and 17th centuries scientists never fully crossed the barriers of tradition and authority.[49] Even though Bacon spoke out against learning directly from the ancients, the ‘new’ method of obtaining knowledge was still inspired by what the ancients had done. Again this proves the humanist study of antiquity to be the catalyst behind the changes in attitude toward the natural world. If nothing else, without the original encouragement brought by the ancient texts, innovative scholars may not have been inspired to go against the status quo and speak out against the ancient philosophers. In my view this alludes to the notion that the externalist view concerning the change in attitude is correct.

Astronomical discoveries

Arguably the astrological discoveries by Copernicus, beget the scientific revolution itself.[50] Internalists maintain that Copernicus discovery that the Earth’s position in the Universe was not central had a profound impact on the attitude to the natural world.[51] Copernicus view was also later supported by the work of Galileo, who not only supported Copernicus’ original theory but also made his own astronomical observations. This added to the apparent decline in the anthropocentric view.[52] Historians argue that Copernicus’ revelations caused men to see themselves as less significant; this changed their attitude toward the natural world.[53] Thomas appears to the be a major supporter of this hypothesis arguing that the astrological revelations caused men to no longer believe the natural world had been created for man’s sake.[54] Thomas himself asserts this lead to animals in particular gaining better treatment, as equals under God.[55] He supports this view by citing John Flavell, who referred to animals as “fellow creatures” in 1669.[56] Other historians support this view by noting what they believe to be a change of opinion concerning the chain of being, people now no longer saw themselves at the top of the chain.[57] This minimised the division that had existed between the natural world and man.[58] The internalist perspective is that there is a correlation between the new astrological discoveries, which caused men to question their place within the universe, and subsequently change their attitudes to the natural world.

However, there are various flaws within the internalist interpretation. For example Copernicus formulated his views, not solely on observation, but also through the study of ancient texts. The ancient Greeks documented many opinions on astronomy; including the theory that the earth not the centre of the Universe. Ancient texts also explored other astronomical theories which were later proven correct, for example that the Earth was spherical and was not static.[59] The work of Aristotle, Eudoxus, Callipus, Democritus and Pythagoras may have inspired Copernicus in addition to the rise in observation and experiment discussed previously.[60] The Copernican theory displayed in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium was simply an extension of former Pythagorean theory.[61] This again shows that the humanist influence within the Renaissance acted as the main catalyst for the changes in attitudes. This supports the view that the change in attitude towards the natural world was caused by external factors, as the supposed changes through astrological discovery only existed due to the interest and influence of ancient texts. Internalists place too much importance on the originality of individual innovators like Copernicus, whilst ignoring the original instigators.

Furthermore, it is my opinion that internalists exaggerate the effect which astrological advances had on the attitude to the natural world. Even internalists acknowledge that their theoretical changes in attitude did not occur until the 17th century, and even then not everyone was converted to the new view.[62] The rigid attitude towards nature can be shown through the views of the Royal Society in the latter part of the 17th Century, who continued to study animals based upon their usefulness and their purpose to man.[63] Admittedly within the categorization of animals and plants there were some significant changes occurring earlier: for example plants were occasionally categorized by structure.[64] However, there are still examples of animals categorized by their attractiveness to man.[65] Many scholars still categorized the natural world through a religious context, despite the changes in astronomy.[66] There was also no great change in the treatment of animals in the natural world, despite the astronomical innovations. For example the Cartesian view was still prominent within the 16th and 17th century.[67] Descartes denied that animals had souls or could feel pain; he denied the whimperings dogs made during beatings were a sign of pain.[68]. The attitude to animals did not change, what did change was the argument used to justify the attitude. Instead of arguing against the equality of animals in terms of scriptural evidence the validation was occasionally more secular.[69] Astrological discoveries may have had a substantial impact on other scientific disciplines, but it did not affect the attitude towards the natural world.

There is also evidence to support the concept that the astrological discoveries lead to previous attitudes becoming further entrenched. Many scholars, such as Hooke, marvelled at the discoveries of Copernicus and Galileo, using it as evidence to support the idea that there is nothing man cannot achieve.[70] Despite their insignificance on a celestial scale, many men gained a boost self esteem from the power of knowledge recently obtained.[71] There was also the Newtonian idea that the perfection of the mathematical workings of the Universe was indicative of the mind of God. The new discoveries could have had a humbling quality, if not counteracted by the pride and arrogance that surrounded such achievements.[72] Attitudes to nature arguably stayed stagnant within the Renaissance period, as men still believed they were above nature. Animals were unable to demonstrate the brilliance of thought involved in these new discoveries, therefore man was still superior.

Shapin argues that although religion was not threatened by the new astrological theories, some views did contradict the interest of religious institutions.[73] However there were also those who felt that their religious views encroached upon by these new discoveries, this may have been why scholars like Boyle considered the study of the natural world to be a Christian duty.[74] This argument is also supported by Bacon, who studied the natural world so that it could be mastered by man. He argued the domination man once had over nature during the Creation, had been lost at the Fall, and nature needed to be re-mastered.[75] Many did consider Galileo’s support of the Copernican theory to be heretical, which was proven by his trial in 1633.[76]Those who viewed it as heretical would not have changed their attitudes based upon his theory as they were religiously faithful. This in many ways disproves the internalist viewpoint that the observations by Copernicus caused the changes in attitude. Even if attitudes were enacted by this method, the external factor of ancient texts inspiring astronomical views further invalidates internalist hypothesis.

Physical discoveries

The New World

The discovery of the New Worlds by Columbus arguably increased the faith in the possibility of man.[77] It increased the optimism behind the scope of knowledge man could possess.[78] As previously mentioned the Renaissance ego was already boosted by their ability to discover the mysteries of the universe. It could be argued that the arrogance from these discoveries prevented attitude to the natural world changing; similar to events after the astronomical discoveries. This argument can be supported by the negative reaction to the views they encountered within different cultures. Some other cultures held a different attitude on the equality of the natural world, arguing a respect for the lives of all animals, including insects. [79] The response to this alien view was one of “baffled contempt”, rather than an acceptance and a change in attitude.[80]

In many ways the man-dominated view of nature was further validated by other new cultures met in the New World. For example the tradition of the Native American was that they could kill animals for the benefit of themselves.[81] The former attitude that nature was there for the purpose of man could be exemplified by the continued importance placed on the documentation of how other people used nature for medicinal purposes.[82] The New World merely intensified the search for natural remedies that would be of value to man.[83] Although acknowledgement must be given that like the astronomical discoveries, the New World did not humble the Renaissance individual into the accepting of nature as an equal to man, the New World did cause some changes in attitudes to the natural world.

The explorations stimulated a greater interest in the study of the natural world.[84] There were various new species of animals discovered during the voyages. The Toucan for example was a totally new species to the Renaissance individual therefore sparking intrigue.[85] Confronted with these new animals there was great desire to study them and add them to existing encyclopaedias.[86] Evidence suggests that during this period there was an increase in those who read encyclopaedias for entertainment, rather than just for practical use.[87] This shows that the geographical discoveries at the very least added interest to the natural world. The New World also furthered the notion that the natural world contained secrets.[88] This created further excitement as people now pondered how many other mysteries in the natural world were yet to be discovered. There was also a religious link, deciphering the mysteries was an attempt to discover the mysteries of God.[89]

These changes are also noted in the study of Botany. In Padua a botanic garden was established based upon specimens from the New World. [90] A number of gardens were formed in this manner and created much interest from both academics and the public.[91] Rice argues that the most important export from the New Worlds was the American silver and gold, however specimens of plants served to be just as important to the Western world.[92] Travel books created great interest and contained descriptive botany and first described new organic matter.[93] Greater curiosity is also proven by the number of botanic works printed after the discovery of the New World. Publishers would not have printed these works unless they were either sure of financial gain or an enhanced reputation.[94] Either way this shows the discovery of the New World caused an attitude of increased interest towards the natural world.

Clearly attitude was impacted by the geographical discoveries, however the issue of whether this change was an internalist or externalist cause is more complex then one would imagine. The new discoveries were seized upon by those who wished to cause discomfort to orthodox theorists.[95] New organic matter was being discovered which was not contained within ancient texts or even in the Bible. This caused Renaissance men to realise that the ancients were not an all-knowing source of knowledge.[96] Another example was the discovery of the Sloth, as ancients had never encountered this species; their texts did not apply and would add no knowledge to the subject.[97] Instead there was little choice but to turn to observation in order to fully embrace this new information. One particular man was Raleigh who argued “there are stranger things to be seen in the world than are contained between London and Staines”.[98] This view was also embraced by D’Orta who wrote botanic works based upon his own discoveries.[99].

Renaissance individuals now saw the need for live specimens in study or even in art due to their new availability. This is further evidence of a growing attitude of observation and experiment[100]. New discoveries even caused some to believe their civilization was superior to that of the ancients, as the ancients had not made the geographical studies they had;[101] if anything did divorce the authority of the ancients, it was the discovery of the New World. This would mean that the internalist argument is correct. However although the majority moved from ancient authority to observation, there was still a minority that clung to tradition.[102] It can still be argued that botany was so popular due to ancient imitation and that the new specimens only fuelled that original fanaticism.[103] Nonetheless like Boas, one must separate the work of the ancients and the discovery of the New World as separate entities, this supports an internalist change in attitude within this context.[104]

New Technologies

Although during the Renaissance there were numerous technological advances I will be focusing on the creation of the telescope, microscope and the printing press. Arguably they are most concerned with the changing attitude to the natural world. Maland argues that these technological advances aided the scientific revolution, and changed attitudes to the natural world.[105] This view is supported by viewing the invention of the printing press, produced in Gutenberg 1440.[106] In many ways it was the most important technological advancement to transform attitude towards the natural world was the creation of the printing press. The printing press appears to be the common denominator which aided other factors in changing the attitudes to the natural world. For example, the printing press was a contributory factor the rise in ancient texts. Also, the travel books written by explorers were a way to popularize the results of their observations.[107] Similarly the printing press gave legitimacy to the value of experience, without the observations being written they would have had no impact as there was no other conventional media.[108] The printing press allowed scholars to amass libraries of work they could study or even transcend.[109] This also brought the best minds together in a “cooperative controversial study”, allowing for critical repetition of experiments and much quicker scientific examination.[110]

The printing press did not just provide a convenient outlet for science, the critical nature it inspired drove science foreword in a way that could not be done with manuscripts.[111] This is particularly evident when you note the use of illustrations within books, (often drawn by professional artists), which could not be replicated within a manuscript.[112] The printing press became chiefly useful when you consider the context of the growing literacy rates in Western Europe.[113] The printing press was not an infallible tool; from 1560 censorship of books was universal, with a struggle between the author and publisher against the ecclesiastical and government censors.[114] There was also the issue that a publisher would not distribute the book if he did not feel it would make a suitable profit; printing was also expensive so it was not a complete democratization of learning.[115] The publisher often printed works based on his own opinion and bias, for example Samuel Parker who licensed Henry Moore’s Enchridion Metaphyicum printed it based on its title and his agreeability to its content.[116] However, the publishing of books probably contains similar issues in the modern world. The printing press allowed for the study of the natural world to become popular and critically assessed, whilst also legitimizing internalist observation, thusly changing the attitude to the natural world. Although it legitimized internalist works it was essentially an externalist factor as it mainly focused on printing ancient texts. It could be only fully utilized by the changing social context of printing in the vernacular and growing literacy rate.

However, the telescope had a significant impact on the attitude to the natural world. The telescope was invented in 1608, and was utilized by Galileo in the following year in a number of astronomical discoveries.[117] A letter from Henry Wotton shows that his discoveries totally threw out former theories of astronomy.[118] Galileo’s discovery of sunspots challenged the view that the heavens were immaculate and unchanging[119]. Some historians agree with this, arguing the discoveries he made with the telescope were a challenge to orthodoxy.[120]

Galileo’s discoveries could be used to mount an argument concerning the humbling of man or the questioning of religion.[121] I still am not swayed from my original argument that such discoveries in astronomy had little effect on the attitude to the natural world. Granted the implications of sunspots were different from the Copernican discovery, but men were always able to justify Gods hand in any astrological events. Particularly when you consider how ambiguous the wording of the Book of Natures is,[122] religious individuals and scientists were both able justify their beliefs using this text, therefore it did not affect their attitudes. [123] The telescope was a tool of the observational scholar, which is imperative to the internalist interpretation of the changing attitudes; however one could question the impact that the telescope had.

The microscope was developed between 1590 and 1608. Three different glassmakers are credited with its creation, however most concede Janssen was the creator[124]. The microscopes may seem primitive by modern standards; but had a huge impact on attitude to the natural world.[125] Unlike the telescope, the microscope specifically studied the natural world and changed views through the discoveries made with its use. This led to the belief that all animals reproduced.[126] Whereas ancient and medieval theory supposed that many living beings spontaneously emerged, for example maggots from rotting meat and frogs from mud.[127] Although observational experiments were performed by Redi showed maggots did not appear from meat, only the microscope legitimized this hypothesis.[128] It was the microscope which ended the view that animals could spontaneously generate.[129]

This discovery led to the reasoning that maybe animals did have a soul. [130] This is proven by Leibniz who stated that “souls exist in the minutest parts” with reference to the microorganisms he saw under a microscope.[131] It also reopened the question of life’s origin.[132] The microscope allowed those to observe a natural world which could never be seen otherwise. Wightman describes it as seeing a “new universe of living creatures whose little worlds were raindrops, grains of dust and the organs of a larger animal”.[133] Leewenhoek was one scholar fascinated by the microorganisms he viewed through the microscope, delighting in showing people the eel like creatures which dwelled within vinegar.[134] The microscope aided great change in attitude to the natural world, without the microscope man saw no more than the ancients did.[135] Concerning new technologies one could conceive that the microscope is an example of internalist causation to the changing attitudes to the natural world.


To conclude, there were numerous reasons why attitude toward the natural world changed. The rediscovery of ancient texts had an immense impact on attitude. Originally scholars became greatly interested in the natural world due to an emulation of an age that they considered above their own. Aristotle took an interest in the nature so they assumed they should, this reinvigorated the study of a subject which was previously stagnant. Scholars then begun to critically assess the works of the ancients, not just concur. Experiments and observation were used to either prove or disprove a theory that an ancient philosopher had stated. This led to further discoveries and new attitudes evolving. Without the ancient texts acting as a catalyst, interest would not have existed; there also would not have been a critical nature as there would have been no sources to criticise. The externalist interpretation of change seems to be correct in this context.

The notion that the astronomical discoveries by Copernicus were a fundamental cause to the change in attitude appears to be misguided. Internalists argue that discoveries humbled man as they now questioned how significant they were in the universe. However, the arrogance of man made them focus on the achievement of making the discovery, rather than the implications of it. Evidence also suggests that attitudes remained the same, the natural world was still studied and categorized by what its purposes to man could be. The way in which attitudes were justified admittedly may have altered, but the attitudes themselves remained ridged Any small changes that may have occurred must be accredited to the ancient texts anyway, as they thought of these astronomical hypotheses long before Copernicus.

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The geographical discovery of the New World was the first time Renaissance individuals truly broke away from emulation and influence of ancient authority. Numerous zoological and botanic specimens were brought back from worlds the ancients had not seen. This meant scholars had to use observation and experiment in order to obtain their information, which was the birth of empiricism. This led to changes in the attitude toward the natural world as scholars now had to immerse themselves within it in order to study it, rather than obtaining information from a publication. The new specimens also created interest, separate from the ancients. Although literacy rates were growing the visual aid of a living botanic garden or a new specimen of animal on show reaches out to a broader demographic of citizens. The geographical discoveries also created a hunger to unearth further discoveries within the natural world. Even though the discovery did give man yet another reason to argue that they were superior to other beings, this did not impact on other attitudes changing as a result of the New World. In this context it is the internalist interpretation which appears to be correct, as although one can seek to make a connection between the ancients and the geographical impact, one must acknowledge that they are separate and the discoveries caused a move from ancient authority.

There was much technological advancement which aided attitude changes. The printing press allowed internalist ideas to become legitimate through externalist means. Without the printing press, the literate masses would not have had their attitude influenced as they would not have known of the new changes in study or known such experiments and observations were occurring. Microscopes allowed individuals to see a side of the natural world previously unseen, this then lead to further discoveries being made. The impact of the telescope can be entirely discounted, as even though historians treat it separately, it is heavily linked with the astronomical discoveries which were previously dismissed. In summary, changes occurred through the rediscovery of ancient texts, the geographical discoveries and the invention of the printing press and microscope. This means changes occurred mainly due to external means, but admittedly some internal factors did contribute to the change.


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[1] Marie Boas, The scientific renaissance 1450-1630, the rise in modern science 1 (William Collins and Co.Ltd, 1962) p.13

[2] H. Butterfield, The origins of modern science 1300-1800 (G.Bell and Sons LTD, 1949) p.66

[3] Peter Burke, The new Cambridge Modern history xiii companion volume (Cambridge University Press, 1980) p.258

[4] David C. Lindberg and Robert S. Westman, Reappraisals of the scientific revolution (Cambridge University Press, 1990) p.414

[5] Thomas L. Hankins, Science and the Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press, 1985) p.113

[6] Keith Thomas, Man and the natural world, changing attitudes in England 1500-1800 (Penguin Books, 1983) p.16

[7] Allen G Debus, Man and Nature in the Renaissance (Cambridge University Press, 1978) p.52

[8] Definition of Attitude, Princeton, (Viewed 30th January 2011) <>

[9] R.C. Olby, G.N. Cantor, J.R.R. Christie and M.J.S. Hodge, Companion the history of modern science (Routledge, 1990) p.218

[10] Stephen Pumfrey, Paolo L. Rossi and Maurice Slawinski, Science, culture and popular belief in Renaissance Europe (Manchester University Press, 1991) p.48

[11] Slawinski, Science, p.48

[12] Burke, The new, p.250

[13] Slawinski, Science, p.48

[14] William P. D. Wightman, The growth of scientific ideas (Oliver and Boyd, 1950) pp.336-337

[15] Euan Cameron, Early Modern Europe, an Oxford history (Oxford University Press, 2001) p.191

[16] Hodge, Companion, p.217 For alternative views on the period being labelled ‘the Scientific Revolution”, see Burke, the new, p.248

[17] Dampier, A history, p.142

[18] Butterfield, The origins, p.66

[19] Burke, The new, p.256, Burke, the new, p.249

[20] D.H. Pennington, seventeenth-century Europe (Longman Group Limited, 1970) p.141

[21] Thomas, Man, p.19

[22] V.H.H. Green, Renaissance and reformation, a survey of European history between1450-1660 (The University Press Aberdeen, 1952) p.53

[23] Burke, The new, p.250

[24] Slawinski, Science, p.55, Butterfield, The origins, p.65

[25] Boas, The scientific, p.19

[26] Eugene F.Rice, Jr. The foundation of early modern Europe 1460-1559 (George Wiednfeld and Nicholson Ltd, 1971) p.23

[27] Wightman, The growth, p.325

[28] H.T Pledge, Science since 1500, a short history of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology (Her majesty’s stationery office, 1966) p.20

[29] J.R. Hale, Renaissance Europe 1480-1520 (Fontana Press, 1971) p.45

[30] John Henry, The Scientific Revolution and the origins of modern Science, second edition (Palgrave, 2002) p.41

[31] Sir William Cecil Dampier, A history of science and its relations with philosophy and religion, third edition, revised and enlarged (Cambridge University Press, 1942) p.124

[32] Slawinski, Science, p.57

[33] Henry, The Scientific, p.40

[34] Shapin, The scientific, p.76

[35] H.G. Koenigsberger, George L. Mosse, G.Q Bowler, Europe in the Seventeenth century, second edition (Longman Group UK Limited, 1990) p.418

[36] Jerry Brotton, The Renaissance Bazaar, from the silk road of Michelangelo (Oxford University Press, 2003) p.200

[37] Butterfield, The origins, p.67

[38] Slawinski, Science, p.55

[39] David Maland, Europe in the seventeenth century, second edition (The Macmillan Press Limited, 1983) p.38

[40] Bowler, Europe, p.419

[41] Butterfield, The origins, p.88

[42] Butterfield, The origins, p.87

[43] Slawinski, Science, p.51

[44] Maland, Europe, p.44


[46] Shapin, The scientific, p.30

[47] Shapin, The scientific, p.81

[48] Shapin, The scientific, p.66

[49] D.H. Pennington, Seventeenth-century Europe (Longman Group Limited, 1970) p.130

[50] Jonathan Woolfson, Palgraveadvances in Renaissance histiography (Palgrave Macmillan, 1988) p.244

[51] Shapin, The scientific, p.25

[52] Shapin, The scientific, p.24

[53] L.W.H. Hull, history and philosophy of science (Longmans, Green and CO.LTD, 1965) p.184

[54] Keith Thomas, man and the natural world, changing attitudes in England 1500-1800 (Penguin Books, 1983) p.17

[55] Thomas, Man, p.173

[56] Thomas, Man, p.171

[57] Arthur O. Lovejoy, TheGreat Chain of being, a study of the history of an idea (Harvard University Press, 1982) p.191

[58] Lovejoy, TheGreat, pp.196-198

[59] Hull, History, p.32

[60] Debus, Man,p.74

[61] Debus, Man, p.82

[62] Thomas, Man, p.170

[63] Thomas, Man, p.27

[64] Thomas, Man, p.65

[65] Thomas, Man, p.57

[66] Thomas, Man, pp.90-91

[67] Thomas, Man, p.35

[68] Thomas, Man, p.33

[69] Thomas, Man, p.154

[70] Ann Hughes, Seventeenth century England, a changing culture, volume 1, primary sources (Ward lock educational, 1983) p.343

[71] Hull, History, p.185

[72] Hull, History, p.187

[73] Shapin, The scientific, p.135

[74] Pennington, Seventeenth-century, p.145

[75] Thomas, Man, p.27

[76] Shapin, The scientific, p.137

[77] Green, Renaissance, p.55

[78] Shapin, The scientific, p.19

[79] Thomas, Man, p.21

[80] Thomas, Man, p.21

[81] Thomas, Man, p.24

[82] Debus, Man, p.47

[83] Thomas, Man, p.53

[84] Boas, The scientific, p.25

[85] Debus, Man, p.37

[86] John Henry, The Scientific Revolution and the origins of modern Science, second edition (Palgrave, 2002) p.41

[87] William Eamon, Science and the Secrets of Nature, books of secrets in the medieval and early modern culture (Princeton University Press, 1994) p.274

[88] Eamon, Science, p.273

[89] Eamon, Science, p.273

[90] Dampier, A history, p.135

[91] Dampier, A history, p.135

[92] Rice, The foundation, p.37

[93] For examples see Boas, The scientific, p.56

[94] Eamon, Science, p.106

[95] Shapin, The scientific, p.19

[96] Boas, The scientific, p.48

[97] David C. Lindberg and Robert S. Westman, Reappraisals of the scientific revolution (Cambridge University Press, 1990) p.318

[98] Shapin, The scientific, p.19

[99] Debus, Man, p.47

[100] Debus, Man, p.39

[101] Slawinski, Science, p.64

[102] Debus, Man, p.50

[103] Debus, Man, p.41

[104] Boas, The scientific, p.45

[105] Maland, Europe, p.35

[106] The Great Idea Finder, Printing Press, (retrieved 15th February 2011) <>

[107] Thompson, Lectures, p.22

[108] Eamon, Science, p.104

[109] Woolfson, Advances, p.254

[110] Rice, The foundation, p.18

[111] Brotton, The Renaissance, p.199

[112] Boas, The scientific, p.25

[113] Eamon, Science, p.95

[114] Rice, The foundation, p.10

[115] Eamon, Science, p.108

[116] Shapin, The scientific, p.292

[117] Dampier, A history, p.142

[118] J.M Thompson, lectures on foreign history1494-1789 (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1947) p.20

[119] Butterfield, The origins, p.60

[120] Shapin, The scientific, p.17

[121] Pennington, Seventeenth-century, p.432

[122] Shapin, The scientific, p.137

[123] Shapin, The scientific, p.137

[124] Dampier, A history, p.131

[125] Cameron, Early, p.198

[126] Pennington, Seventeenth-century, p.140

[127] Dampier, A history, p.201

[128] Dampier, A history, p.201

[129] Thomas, Man, p.87

[130] Hankins, Science, p.134

[131] Wightman, The growth, p.360

[132] Wightman, The growth, p.361

[133] Wightman, The growth, p.359

[134] Maland, Europe, p.pp.45-47

[135] Boas, The scientific, p.56

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