The 17th century is regarded as a decisive break with the past, which is the golden age when Europe turned to the future for the first time.

Although the theory of progress was not fully formed until zoologists and botanists developed the theory of evolution in the 19th century, the new philosophers of this era have brewed a sense of optimism about the future and human capabilities.

Optimism about the future is accompanied by the criticism of the ancients.

The skeptical thought of ancient times is not naturally eye-catching.

For a long time, all activities are carried out around the proof of ancient times, especially the ancient times described in the church and the Bible.

Skeptical thoughts gradually sprout and grow day by day because of repeated fruitless proof, until it brings a fundamental shift of people’s attention.

In the process of knowledge transformation, we must first cooperate with the changes of social structure described in the previous chapter, and the combat weapons come from many aspects of the culture of the times.

Science is naturally the primary weapon, and the knowledge about ancient foreign countries (especially China) also plays an important role.

However, before discussing all this, we should not ignore the changes in the status and functions of intellectuals.

Only when there are intellectuals with independent social and economic status, who can think independently and pursue knowledge progress, can they make good use of the new factors in the culture of the times and make an unrestricted interpretation of the history of nature and society.

The first section is the gradual independence of the intellectual group, which is carried out in two directions: one is the role transformation of the old intellectuals who originally belonged to the church, and the other is the new intellectuals composed of people outside the church under the era culture.

Before the 17th century, few books were published, the Catholic Church monopolized education, and all intellectuals were members of the church, mainly religious orders.

Even after the religious reform, the situation that intellectuals are members of the church has not changed immediately.

In both Catholic and Protestant communities, the church is the center of the village, and education and social assistance are under the control of the local parison.

In remote areas, the rector is the only person with higher education.

Because theological research is proud, lawyers and doctors are relatively independent, but the number is small, so the clergy represents the real foundation pillar of the education system.

Theologians play a major role in the education of secondary and higher schools and cultivate teachers who are both church and educational.

In the 17th century, the changes of social power structure and ideological atmosphere made great changes in the life of intellectuals.

The decline of religious power, the weakening of ideological control, the competition between Catholicism and Protestantism for control in many fields, and the government departments can provide paid civil servants.

These factors promote some clergy to assume different social functions.

They break away from the traditional institutions and seek their foothold in the society for a long time, and their position in the society is not predetermined.

Scholars and writers no longer speak to their contemporaries from the pulpit, nor are they completely sure of what they say, but only when their work makes progress and is driven by inspiration.

In this way, from the perspective of professional role, the intellectuals belonging to the church gradually become new intellectuals.

At the same time, the efforts of the Protestant church and the government to popularize education, the efforts of the government to fund academic research and establish colleges, the tough confrontation between kingship and religious power, and the gradual easing of the publishing system provide necessary conditions and guarantees for non teaching personnel to engage in knowledge activities.

In the 17th century, outsiders were no longer as submissive as they used to be.

They were now involved in the latest scientific developments and involved in major debates, such as the debate on the truth of, and the challenge of anti papal centralization French Catholics and Spaniards to Rome.

The popularization and freedom of knowledge activities and the resulting knowledge progress have led to the rise of “new” intellectuals with professional identity – mathematicians, physicists, chemists, jurists (who finally determined the role of government in the modern world) and philosophers (who are responsible for thinking about the logic of science and the harmony of the World).

By the end of the 17th century, with the growth of the number of colleges and the expansion of the readership of scientific and literary works, the influence of these new intellectuals who consider themselves a member of the scientific and literary circles rather than a member of the church was also steadily expanding.

Emerging intellectuals, including church intellectuals with role transformation, jointly form an independent social group characterized by academia and literature.

When a country is proud of establishing an academic society and winning literary honors, new intellectuals begin to occupy an enviable position and can expect society to recognize their roles more effectively.

But this change is gradual, and this new group also needs a long time to improve the integration.

The church used to be the only system to accommodate intellectuals, but after the old church structure was broken, a new alternative system did not emerge immediately.

Government funded colleges or societies are the only solid institutions, where academic and philosophical activities can be concentrated, but the status of ordinary intellectuals is not clear in any country in Europe, Their fate and social functions are not concerned by the church and the state, and even ignored by public opinion and intellectuals themselves.

Moreover, on the one hand, the government is keen on Colleges and on the other hand, it rejects the establishment of academic institutions, because these societies, colleges and gatherings have won considerable public support and become part of the daily “game” of social relations, which makes politicians want to dispel the ideological weight of these institutions.

In addition, the status of these new “scholars” in society had no economic security by the end of the 17th century.

They had to rely on teaching, receiving the salary of the king or engaging in management to make a living.

Their freedom of speech was limited by their independent economic status.

In any case, intellectuals have begun to become an independent and influential social group in the 17th century, and there has been a professional division, which is very important for the major development of the field of knowledge and thought after the mid-17th century.

The second section is the rebirth of Philosophy – certainty under rationalism.

The knowledge activities in the 17th-18th century have made exciting progress in all aspects.

However, if we summarize the changes that have a directional impact on the knowledge activities and ideological evolution in this period, the emergence and development of philosophy independent of Theology and skepticism seems to be suitable for this task.

Philosophy is independent from theology and becomes a parallel knowledge, which means that a set of thinking modes and ideological systems different from theology begin to establish influence in society, and that the long-term monopoly of theological thinking on thought and knowledge activities has been shaken.

Philosophical thinkingThe characteristics are in line with the important characteristics of the 18th century, “secularism, rationalism, naturalism, and the tolerant humanism promoted by them”.

The major difference between new philosophy and scholasticism lies in the differences of research objects and research methods. I. the category of new philosophy medieval scholasticism regarded Aristotle as an authority on issues that did not involve religious doctrines.

Aristotle was basically a biologist, and his science was mainly qualitative rather than quantitative.

Therefore, medieval philosophers focused all day on the analysis of function and nature.

The basic way was qualitative, and the primary achievement was classification.

Syllogism or deductive reasoning was the basic model of rational inference.

Under this logic, the task of medieval philosophy was strictly limited to defining essence, matter and attribute.

Induction seemed to be the standard expression of knowledge.

For example, if all x is y and this thing is x, then it is y.

Under this philosophical attitude, the world is regarded as a museum of objects and organisms, which are permanently differentiated, distinguished and determined according to the external form, thus expanding the concept of hierarchy, because there are comparison and grading naturally after classification.

There is also a major analogy between the sky level and the level of human society.

The good order on earth is considered to be the reflection of the operation of the five-star rule, and any riot in society is considered to be the cause or consequence of the disorder of nature.