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Critical Thinking Questions

Critical Thinking Questions

  1. Questioning Truth and Authority
  1. How do the Medieval and Renaissance understandings of the universe differ?
  2. Why did Medieval scholars believe the earth was the center of the universe?
  3. What new ideas about the world did the Hermetic approach open up for scholars?
  4. How did exploration during the Renaissance help to disprove traditional assumptions about the world?
  5. How did the printing press contribute to Renaissance scholarship?
  6. How did the Reformation help to make Renaissance ideas possible?
  1. Developing a Modern Scientific View
  1. What did Copernicus contribute to our modern understanding of the universe?
  2. Why was the Copernican view of the universe such a threat to church authorities?
  3. What were Tycho Brahe's contributions to astronomy? How did those contributions lead to further scientific discoveries?
  4. What did Galileo Galilei believe was the place of mathematics in explaining the universe? What did he contribute to physics?
  5. Describe Isaac Newton's scientific contributions. How did he build upon past findings?
  6. How was the scientific method applied to the study of medicine and anatomy?
  7. How did the scientific method differ from earlier techniques for ascertaining the truth?
  1. Supporting and Spreading Science
  1. What role did patrons play in the development and spread of new scientific ideas? Who were these patrons and what were their motives?
  2. What helped increase the prestige of science and the scientific community during the second half of the seventeenth century?
  3. Describe the attitude that the great scientists of this age had toward religion.
  4. What was the new worldview that emerged in Europe by the end of the seventeenth century?
  1. Laying the Foundations for the Enlightenment
  1. What idea lay at the heart of the cultural movement known as the Enlightenment?
  2. How were the new scientific ideas popularized?
  3. What role did education play in Enlightenment thinking?
  4. Why was Newton held in such high esteem by Enlightenment thinkers?
  5. What were John Locke's ideas on human psychology and learning?
  6. Why did skeptics like Pierre Bayle challenge established religious doctrine, institutions, and authority?
  7. What format did Montesquieu and Voltaire use to criticize European society and institutions? What were their criticisms?
  1. The Enlightenment in Full Stride
  1. How were the philosophes not traditional philosophers?
  2. What were Voltaire's contributions to Enlightenment thought?
  3. What were the intentions of the editors of the Encyclopedia?
  4. Why were philosophes in conflict with the established churches?
  5. Outline Montesquieu and Rousseau's thoughts on politics and government. How do they differ?
  6. How and by whom was the idea of rational laws applied to economic activity?
  7. How were Enlightenment ideals on education and the individual applied to the position of women?
  8. How did salons encourage the spread of Enlightenment ideas? What role did women play in salons?

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