Difference Between Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment

Humans used to live vastly different lives than we do now. They primarily hunted for food and built shelters to protect themselves. However, in today’s world, we are engaged from early morning to late at night, juggling multiple jobs. This is all attributable to the scientific revolution in different areas of life, as well as the enlightenment, which provided a glimpse of hope for development. 

Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment have contributed to the development of human thinking and the various aspects of society. People started believing in their thought processes and making decisions rationally. Because people started using their own minds, it led to the development and discovery of various modern scientific tools.

Scientific Revolution vs Enlightenment

The main difference between the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment is that the Scientific Revolution started way earlier than the era of Enlightenment. The Scientific Revolution started in the 1500s, while the Enlightenment era began in the late 18th century, i.e., from the 1780s onwards. The scientific era was the era that paved the path for the Enlightenment. During the Scientific Revolution, it was witnessed that the crucial powers revolved around governments and churches, while it was the opposite in the case of the Enlightenment era.

Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment

The Scientific Revolution is the emergence of laws and theories that paved the path for current scientific research. It started during the 16th century, i.e., 1543 to be exact. The scientific revolution began with the need to procure the history of our ancestors. The main objective of the scientific revolution was to encourage human beings to think for themselves, to differ on what is right and what is wrong in the surrounding environment, and re-evaluate the mass beliefs that existed in quondam.

Enlightenment, on the other hand, began after the scientific revolution, and its beginning could be credited to the scientific revolution which paved its path. The beginning of the enlightenment era could be traced back to the 17th and 18th century were the main focus was to develop the intellect of human beings. The enlightenment era was mostly centered in Europe, and during this time, the power of government and churches became almost negligible.

Comparison Table Between Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment

Parameters of ComparisonScientific Revolution  Enlightenment  
  Era  Scientific Revolution began in the mid 16th century and was older than the Enlightenment era.  The enlightenment era started in the latter part of the 17th century to the early part of the 18th century.  
 ConcentrationScientific Revolution was distributed in places like Italy, Denmark, Europe, etc. The enlightenment era was concentrated in and around Europe.  The enlightenment era was concentrated in and around Europe.
  Power  Power during the Scientific Revolution was mainly in the hands of the government and churches.  During the Enlightenment era government and churches impartially lost their power.  
  Spread  Thinkers during this era did not want their views and beliefs to spread.  Thinkers during this era were very excited for their views and beliefs to spread.  
  Scope  Scientific Revolution was limited in scope since it mainly dealt with science-related stuff.  The enlightenment era was broad in scope since it dealt with human beings.

What is Scientific Revolution?

The establishment of rules and theories that laid the way for present scientific inquiry is known as the Scientific Revolution. It began in the 16th century, specifically in 1543. The urge to obtain our forefathers’ history sparked the scientific revolution. The fundamental goal of the scientific revolution was to inspire people to think for themselves, to disagree about what was right and wrong in their surroundings, and to re-evaluate the widespread views that existed at the time.

  1. Effects- The scientific revolution sparked people to uphold the power of their beliefs. This revolution taught people that the human process of thinking is the most powerful weapon.
  2. Technology- During the scientific revolution, many popular scientific tools were invented because people started to focus on their minds and thinking processes, such as barometers, thermometers, etc.

During the scientific revolution, the government and churches held immense power, and it was mostly concentrated in Europe, England, Denmark, etc.

What is Enlightenment?

The Enlightenment era started after the scientific revolution, which cleared the way for it. The commencement of the Enlightenment era may be traced back to the 17th and 18th centuries, when the primary goal was to improve human intelligence. The Enlightenment era was primarily focused on Europe, and government and church power declined dramatically during this period.

John Locke was said to be the father of the Enlightenment. During this era, people started to believe that science was the ultimate deciding factor. This era started the protection of human rights and emphasized the power of progress in society.

However, the Enlightenment era exerts influence on the old popular beliefs. The new generation has more rational thoughts that are backed up by scientific evidence and facts.

Main Differences Between Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment

  1. The Scientific Revolution was much older than the Enlightenment era. The scientific era started in the mid of 16th century, while Enlightenment started during theater 17th and early 18th centuries.
  2. The Scientific Revolution was scattered and was present in areas of Europe, Denmark, and Italy, while the Enlightenment was only riveted in Europe.
  3. During the Scientific Revolution, governments and churches were very powerful, while during the Enlightenment era, they became fairly less powerful.
  4. In the scientific era, many thinkers of the era were cautious about the spread of their beliefs. On the other hand, Enlightenment thinkers longed to get their ideas and thoughts out in the open. 
  5. The Scientific Revolution was a narrow concept that was finite in scope. However, since the Enlightenment era revolved around human life, it had a much wider scope.


The Scientific Revolution era paved the way for new modern research and development, while the Enlightenment era focused on the development of human beings. Both eras were highly responsible for the rational way of thinking and contributed to the development of society.


  1. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/enlightenment/
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00131857.2018.1537832
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