Modern Vs Premodern






Modern vs. Pre-modern

There is one simple way to classify the difference between the modern and the pre-modern, and that would be to separate them by years. Unfortunately this would not be cut and dried; it would be a rough estimate because no one really knows when the change took place, or if there even was a change. What is known for sure is that things did change. The ““moderns” (became) set against “ancient” modes of thought and practice” (Shapin, p. 5), and this led to a so-called scientific revolution. In science the old ways of the pre-modern world were being questioned and torn apart by the people of the modern era. People began to lose faith in the medieval scholastic interpretation of the Bible and began to question all that they knew. Many discrepancies became obvious in what they knew at the time, how each came to the conclusion of what they knew, and finally what the knowledge that they had acquired was worth. This did have an adverse affect though, many Protestant movements turned even more back to the Bible to explain what was happening.
The level of knowledge that was known in the pre-modern is minuscule compared to the amount of information that was added to what had already been established during the modern period. Of course the exception of subjects that interested people, then in that case they were very knowledgeable. This adding to and explanation of many old ideas was the ushering in of the new age. This questioning and explanation began somewhere around 1611 when Gaileo “observed dark spots, apparently on (the sun’s) surface.”(p.15). His interpretation of what these sunspots were “was widely taken as a serious challenge to the whole edifice of traditional natural philosophy as it had been handed down”(p.15). His predecessors believed that the sun was too great and perfect to have such blemishes and imperfections because it was created by God as a part of nature, and when he challenged them with his theory that they were atmospheric in nature, he began the modern period of time in some senses. Galileo believed that “only one universal knowledge” (p.18) existed instead of the two traditional knowledge bases of mathematics and natural history. The Bible provided many of these unquestioned beliefs, “the power of God and spiritual agencies in the natural order was freely acknowledged” (p. 105). For example, once all the planetary theories were revealed, many still believed that “the actual center of the cosmos was hell.”(p. 24) supporting the belief that God played a large role in science.
It seems that what was known in the “modern” time period was based on what had been said previously and what could be reasoned from the human senses. An example is Galileo and Orion’s belt: “To the three previously known stars in Orion’s belt Galileo now added about eighty more”(p. 26) with his newly invented telescope. Another example is Antoni van Leewenhoek and Robert Hooke’s use of the microscope to see and support their theories “that all bodies were composed of small globules” (p.50). Scientists were trying to go more in depth to everything that was known and ask themselves why something happened or what made up something. The precise nature of the change was that people wanted to know and to discover. They wanted to ask why something happened, and they weren’t satisfied with the answer ”because it just does”.
The question of how all this new information was found arose. This information was found through many ways in the modern world, but in contrast the information that was known in the pre-modern was from very limited sources, including what they themselves had seen or reasoned out. In this earlier time the information that was available was held by higher scholars and then distributed down to the common people. This was one of the only methods known to fully communicate information at the time, but when the modern time period arrived things changed. Books became more available to the educated masses and “text after text stipulated the novelty of it’s intellectual contents” (p. 65). Books written by some of the best modern scholars were available, including works by: Galileo, Kepler, Boyle, Pascal, and Guericke. These insightful works were read by everyone