Throughout this brief survey of the Scientific Revolution, we have noted the cultural and social context which is so often necessary to our understanding of developments in science. We have noted, for example, the importance of economic and political changes in the Renaissance, which led to increased demands for practical innovations and to a cultural relativism which helped to break the hold of tradition, and to an increase in the numbers and kinds of patrons willing to support new ways of thinking, whether it be humanist scholarship or more practically oriented arts like magic and mathematics [214; 213; 87; 88; 9; 18; 307; 332]. We have seen how natural history also benefited from these concerns and how a new interest in natural history led to the establishment of cabinets of curiosities, botanic gardens, menageries and museums [214; 52; 97; 98; 161: Ch. 4; 167; 171; 241; 242: Ch. 6; 256; 286; 323]. Patronage also led to the formation of would-be research institutions, independent of the old ways of the universities, with their concern for teaching and their promotion of a contemplative natural philosophy [128; 159: Ch. 2; 160; 161; 194; 202; 211; 23; 226; 242: Ch. 3; 291].
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