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Essay on The First Major Victories of Empirical Inquiry Over Authority

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The period of European history between the mid-fifteenth and late-seventeenth centuries, was a time of great advancement in terms of geographical, scientific and technological knowledge. For Europeans, this time included “the first major victories of empirical inquiry over authority,” which helped scholars of the time discover and define the natural laws of the universe (Parry, 1). In turn, this helped in the development of new technologies that assisted mariners in their pursuits on the sea from more accurate navigation to warfare. It was during this time that explorers mapped out previously unknown coastlines and passages, discovering new lands and peoples. Because of this, the period in question has been dubbed by historians as the Age of Discovery.
During this era, particularly early on, the intellectual temper was conservative, with an obeisance to higher authority (Parry, 2). Scientific discoveries of the time that did not directly develop useful tools were neglected by common folk. Commonalities between the varying fields of study were slow to be recognized (Parry, 2). New discoveries, such as America, that were not already known within their works, such as in the classics, ancient philosophy and religion, were considered strange, and in some cases, unwelcome (Parry, 2,4).
Scientific scholars of the age were more concerned “to provide neat and consistent explanations for known phenomena” (Parry, 2). Due to the political and societal climate of the age, they had to be cagey in their findings for fear of heresy charges; this lead them to frame what they considered to be proven fact as hypothesis (Parry, 2). Such being the case, early scientific inquiry remained tentative, theoretical and broad rather than pr...


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... Muslims within their proximity, namely the lone remaining Islamic power on the peninsula, Granada. Not that the tiny country posed any sort of military threat at the time, but a fear existed that at some time they could receive massive support from Muslim enemies abroad if not brought under Christian control (Parry, 27). Once toppled, an invasion of North Africa went underway but ultimately did little to slow the progress of the advancing borders of the Ottoman Empire (Parry, 27).
Religious fervor was not substantially relaxed following the victory over Granada. When Columbus' reports of inhabited islands in the western Atlantic was received, the religious and economic possibilities became abundantly clear (Parry, 28).



Works Cited

Parry, J. H.. The Age of Reconnaissance. California ed. Berkeley : University of California Press, 1981. Print.



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