5 Differences Between The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment

1. 16th and 17th Century (Scientific Revolution) vs. 18th Century (Enlightenment)

  • The Scientific Revolution came first and laid the foundation for the Enlightenment
  • Europe was mostly controlled by absolutist governments and the church during the time of the Scientific Revolution
  • However, by the Enlightenment, the church and monarchies had weakened as many countries went through revolutions

2. Not Very French vs. REALLY French

  • The Scientific Revolution was scattered across Europe, from England to Italy to Denmark
  • The Enlightenment was concentrated in France
  • The Enlightenment involved lots of discussions at cafés and salons and began the French reputation for sophistication and even pretentiousness

3. Chill with the Church vs. F the Church!

  • Scientific Revolution thinkers were all deeply religious, usually seeking the church’s approval often believing that by studying science, they could get closer to understanding God
  • Enlightenment thinkers, on the other hand, openly attacked authorities like the church without the same reverence for traditional religion

4. Let’s Keep This a Secret vs. Let’s Tell Everyone!

  • Many Scientific Revolution thinkers were cautious to publicize their beliefs
  • For example, Copernicus waited until the year of his death to publish his discovery that the earth revolved around the sun rather than the earth being the center of the universe
  • Enlightenment thinkers were eager to publish their thoughts to gain intellectual recognition and make a name for themselves

5. Let’s Reform Science vs. Let’s Reform EVERYTHING

  • The Scientific Revolution was fairly limited in its scope to making discoveries in astronomy, physics, chemistry, medicine, and other sciences
  • The Enlightenment attempted to reform all aspects of life, not just in science, but also education, inequality, religion, politics, economics, philosophy, literature, art, and more