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We shall define the Age of Reason to be the period between 1620, publication of the New Organon by Francis Bacon, and 1750, publication of A Discourse on the Moral Effects of the Arts and Sciences by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. As discussed in the previous chapter, reason was well ensconced in European thought by the end of the Thirteenth Century, but with the publication of the New Organon, it took on an empirical flavor, the aim no longer being to reconcile reason with faith, but to use it independently of faith to understand the world. With his rejection of both reason and civilization, Rousseau ushered in the Romantic Period, where sentiment and feeling take preference over reason. During the Seventeenth Century, which is the focus of the present chapter, Bacon propounded the central role of designed experiments, Galileo advanced the notion that scientific knowledge must take mathematical form, Isaac Newton formulated physics in terms of general mathematical laws, and, both Galileo and Newton put aside the requirement of causal explanation, thereby dropping the Aristotelian epistemology.
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