The Contributions of Isaac Newton

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"Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night: God said, let Newton be! And all was light." - - Alexander Pope

The Enlightenment characterizes a philosophical movement of the 18th century that emphasized the use of reason to analyze and scrutinize all previously accepted traditions and doctrines. Through this application of scientific method to all aspects of life, the role of science gradually replaced the role of religion. Sir Isaac Newton, quite possibly one of the most intelligent men to exist, played a key role in the development of the enlightenment. He supplied the foundations on which all sciences since him have been built. Without science and reason the enlightenment would have been unthinkable. In fact, historians quote the publishment of Newton's masterpiece Principia in 1687 as the most logical and fitting catalyst to the enlightenment. The scientific advances made by Sir Isaac Newton contributed immensely to the movement of the enlightenment; however, his primary purposes for discovery were not for scientific advancement rather all for the glorification of God, thus Newton's incredible religiousness will be seen in this paper.

Sir Isaac Newton was born into a European society which had been grappling with the problem of growing scientific knowledge in relation to religion. Newton was no exception to this. He remained an extremely religious man while making his vast scientific discoveries. The exaltation of God and his hope to prove God's universe is perfect inspired a great deal of his writings. Newton was most certainly a genius.

During the years of 1665 and 1667 he worked out the essentials of calculus, he hit upon the crucially important optical law and most significantly grasped the principle o...

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...discoveries and what Newtonians made out of them would have mortified him (Manuel 4).

Works Consulted

- Christianson, Gale E. In the Presence of the Creator : Isaac Newton and His Times . New York : Macmillan Publishers, 1984 .

- Cragg, G.R. The Church and the Age of Reason 1684-1789 . Baltimore: Penguin Books,1960.

- da Andrade, E.N. Sir Isaac Newton: His Life and Work . Garden City, New York: Anchor Books, 1954.

- Gay, Peter. Age of Enlightenment . New York: Time-Life Books, 1966.

- Hampson, Norman. A Cultural History of the Enlightenment. New York: Pantheon Books, 1968.

- Manuel, Frank E. The Religion of Isaac Newton. Oxford: Clarendon, 1974.

- Yolton, John W. ed. Philosophy, Religion and Science in the Seventeenth and

Eighteenth Centuries. Rochester: Universtity of Rochester Press, 1990.
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