Enlightenment and Human Understanding.
The medieval period, headed by Aristotle, was infamous for its lack of new learning. Aristotle was most famous for his explanation of his casualty theory and its 4 causes. The efficient cause was God and the text of the bible. W.K.C. Guthrie who wrote â€˜The Greek Philosophersâ€™ (pp 125, Harper and Row publishers, NY, Sec. source) mentions that â€˜Aristotle refused to believe, in his common sense, that this world was anything but realâ€™. Then during the Reformation period, people were more sensitized towards looking for something different.
The Enlightenment began as a revolution for seeking new knowledge and bringing about new learning. Thinkers unanimously decided to abandon the exegetical knowledge pre-dominant in the medieval period. They required to find unprejudiced knowledge and decided that they had to emulate a scientific method in an attempt to gain this knowledge. Various thinkers had varied opinions and the reason why there was no revolution prior to the Enlightenment was quite plainly due to the fact that they had never come up with a definite decision-making process. Also, learning took place solely in Universities which made it difficult for people to investigate the gathering of new knowledge.
The new-age thinkers ultimately decided that learning generally could only take place if one was able to neutralize their minds. They made use of skepticism towards all the previous exegetical texts. The Thinkers thus were divided in their views. The rationalists were those which emulated the indubitable method of mathematics whereas the empiricists emulated empirical science and depended upon their senses and perceptions for knowledge seeking. However, it was certain that the method of empiricism involved a certain amount of probability whereas mathematics focused only upon knowledge that was indubitable. Also in mathematics, knowledge was hierarchal (some knowledge gained before other knowledge, such as the axiom of equality in a mathematical equation) and was also apriori (independent of senses) whereas empirical sciences depended on aposteriori knowledge (dependant upon the senses).