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The years marking the end of the Renaissance were characterized by a gradual change from a reliance on authority as the source of truth to a belief that science and human reasoning could produce an understanding of the natural world.

With the publication of his Principia Mathematica in 1687, serious thinkers began to take for granted the idea that objective truth could be gained through the methods of science and the unbiased use of reason.

Because science and reason came to be seen as the way to shed light on the darkness of ignorance, this period became known as the Enlightenment. Scientists like Newton became heroic figures, searching for "objective" truth about the universe by applying scientific methodology to its study.

Science seemed to lead inevitably to progress, and scientists were viewed as being objective, simply looking for the truth without imposing their values, and improving society through the inventions that derived from their science

If scientific thinking and human reason could enlighten the world about physics and chemistry, why not biology? If biology, why not psychology?

Scientific psychology evolved from philosophical questions (What is the mind?) and the research on the nervous system.

Physiologists trying to "shed light" on how the senses and the nervous system actually worked developed methods and made discoveries that were directly relevant to the epistemological questions about the nature and origins of human knowledge being raised by philosophers such as John Stuart Mill. This dynamic convergence of philosophy and physiological science created an atmosphere from which a "scientific" approach to psychology eventually emerged.