The Modern period of Philosophy is defined by the attempt to implement the intellectual implications of the Scientific Revolution. There has been a long standard canon for this period that divides philosophers into groups: the Rationalists and the Empiricists. The rationalist approach is based to figure out the truth. Whereas Empiricists believe that all knowledge comes from experimentation.
Characteristics of Modern Philosophy
The critical spirit of modern philosophy grew into revolt against absolutism and the collectivism of the church. Therefore, the starting of modern philosophy was a revolt against religion-based thinking. Descartes’ methodic doubt influences thinkers not to accept anything as true without a doubt. This period was to make the society independent from any type of Church’s influence.
The dominance of Scientific Spirit
One of the major significant characteristics of modern philosophy is, it is based on science. Earlier in the middle ages, people consider theology as the supreme science. However, In the post-medieval period, natural science began to take the center. Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Newton are the prominent figures who played a role in the creation of science. Copernicus invents heliocentric theory for the first time, Kepler was the first to adopt this theory after Copernicus. Galileo was the first to produce the law of falling bodies. Therefore, the creation of science had a big influence on philosophical thinking. The invention of the compass and gunpowder implements new intellectual problems with changing social environments.
Development of Humanism
Another characteristic of modern philosophy was the development of Humanism. The Renaissance was based on the study of mathematics, medicine, and classical literature. The first two studies were the reason for the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. However, last was the foundation of Renaissance Humanism. Followers of Humanism give more priority to man than God and reason over faith. Therefore, Renaissance Humanism results in the victory of rhetoric over dialectic and of Plato over Aristotle.
With the increasing growth of Renaissance Humanism, simultaneously, the growth of individualism also takes place. The emancipation from the authority of the church results in the growth of individualism. There was an individualistic and subjective approach in modern philosophers. The approaches of Descartes, who imposed both subjective and objective approaches in the criteria of truth. Modern Philosophers gave more importance to originality rather than conventionality.
Reason and logic were the final criteria in the field of Philosophy. Modern Philosophers think that the truth can be imposed through freethinking. However, not from the dogmatic statements of religion. Consequently, God and religion lost their relevance. Knowledge became more practical i.e, its approach bend towards the achievement in mechanics, technology, and medicine.
Rene Descartes – Father of Modern Philosophy
Rene Descartes is the Father of Modern Philosophy. Many of the theories of Descartes are based on skepticism, which is against the philosophies of Aristotle and other philosophers. The first work of Rene Descartes was “Meditation on First Philosophy”. The theories of Descartes were based on Rationalism. According to Descartes reason is the only source of real knowledge. Rene Descartes was also a mathematician. He developed a rule of deductive reasoning which is a system that uses the alphabet to denote mathematical variables. He is a prominent figure in mathematical history because of his markable invention of analytical geometry.
Four main ideas for scientific progress by Descartes:
- Never accept anything as truth until all the possible reasons for doubt reveals.
- Divide problems into as many parts as possible and it is important to find an accurate solution.
- Thoughts should be ordered, starting with the simplest step and easiest to understand. Ascending the problem bit by bit, and, step by step, breaking it into simple knowledge.
Descartes is also the father of analytical geometry, Descartes was also one of the important figures in the Scientific Revolution of the 16th century.
Modern Philosophy and Its Relevance
However, the present time is very different from when Modern Philosophy was prevalent and popular. Therefore, Modern Philosophy applies to everyday practical life and not only deals with queries. The relevance of Modern Philosophy can be understood in many aspects of our everyday life.
Philosophy still plays a major role in the investigation of science. From the time when Bacon formulated a scientific methodology, right from the time of Popper, there has been much philosophical investigation of science. However, in the 21st century, many of these investigations were halted. People stopped being concerned about the questions of if, why, how, and when science worked. But many of the philosophical problems associated with scientific inquiry, such as the problem of induction, were never solved. The purpose of philosophy is to discover and achieve a better understanding. For example, a school is a form of method to educate individuals. However, everyone has their reason. As Alberto says that explanation must be based on observation. As humans become more intellectual, people develop personal values, which is the ethical branch of philosophy.
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