WORLD OBSERVER

America & the World:  News, Analysis, Commentary

Rational Activism for the Common Good

Home About WO Enlightenment US Foundations News/Research News/Opinion WO Advocates Forums & Blogs Take Action WO Contents

 

AMERICA

Religion & Faith
Society
Education
Children
Politics as Usual
US Government
Judicial & Legal  

WORLD

World News & Issues
Country Conditions
World Atlas

 

about this page. Thanks!

Amazon Honor System Click Here to PayLearn MoreAmazon Honor System Paybox

Use Desktop Author to easily create multimedia e-books that you can publish free on the web. 

Download your free trial now, then visit Wilhite Publishing to learn more.

 

It's Your World

and Your Country

 

Find Federal Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Find State Officials
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

Contact The Media
Enter ZIP Code:

or Search by State

 

World Observer

Your Meeting Place on the Web    (mouse over image below for topics)

The Enlightenment philosophies, pursuits & methods; importance today; how it guides WO.The Enlightenment in the founding of the US, the Founding Fathers, key documents (Constitution, Bill of Rights & more).Religion & Faith--News, issues, analysis, commentary,  research.Society & Social Issues:  News, analysis, commentary, research on contemporary social problems. Education, all levels:  News, analysis, commentary & research on current issues in education.Protecting Children: News, analysis, commentary & research on issues affecting children today.Supreme Court, courts, legislation, judicial activism, judges gone wild, the ACLU agenda & more!World Observer site map/table of contents.

For Reading, Research, Discussion & Action

 

Front Page          Hot Topics 1, 2, 3

If you find World Observer worthwhile please add the image or text link below to your web site or blog:

 

  

 

Visit World Observer

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 18th-Century Enlightenment & Our Modern Age

  • Introduction
  • Online Videos
  • About the 18th-Century Enlightenment
  • Philosophies and Interests
  • Intellectual Pursuits of the Enlightenment Philosophers
  • Works by the Enlightenment Scholars
  • The New Millennium Enlightenment 
  • The Enlightenment Methods of Inquiry for Today's Citizen Activists
 
Introduction

(Rationale & purpose for World Observer)

Free Online Videos on the Enlightenment

American Philosophical Society

The Princess and the Patriot- Ekaterina Dashkova, Benjamin Franklin, and the Age of Enlightenment

PDF:  Timeline of the Enlightenment (PDF)

PDF: Press Release- Russia in the Era of Catherine the Great

PDF: What is/was the Enlightenment?

Dictionary of the History of Ideas (Univ. of Virginia Library e-doc)

THE ENLIGHTENMENT

THE COUNTER ENLIGHTENMENT

FREE WILL AND DETERMINISM

GENERAL WILL

IDEA OF GOD, 1400-1800 (scroll down to 18th century)

NATURAL LAW AND NATURAL RIGHTS (scroll down to p. 21)

NEWTON AND THE METHOD OF ANALYSIS

NEWTON'S OPTICKS AND EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY IMAGINATION

PRIMITIVISM IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY

SOCIAL CONTRACT (Hume, Locke, Rousseau, Paine)

Other

Article in French:  The Enlightenment Is Applicable Today

 

*****end links

 The 18th-Century Age of Enlightenment

Introduction

The Enlightenment is a term used to describe the trends in thought and letters in Europe and the American colonies during the 18th century prior to the French Revolution. The phrase was frequently employed by writers of the period itself, convinced that they were emerging from centuries of darkness and ignorance into a new age enlightened by reason, science, and a respect for humanity.  The ideals of the Age of Enlightenment arose from faith in the potential of human reason to solve, by means of education and scientific progress, all the problems of humanity and thereby transform society. Just as Renaissance beliefs in the power of individual human talents gave way to the confusion and complexities of the baroque period, a swing back to belief in the inherent goodness of humankind and in the capacity of human reason occurred during the Age of Enlightenment.

*******

Definitions/explanations of reason, logic, rationalism; knowledge acquisition; problem solving; progress for common good

Reason

Reason, ability to think logically and analytically.

For information on:

• principles and methods of reasoning, see Aristotle: Logic;Logic; Induction (logic); Deduction; Dialectic; Scientific Method
• debate whether abstract reasoning or thought based on experience is the main source and test of what is true, see Epistemology: Reason Versus Sense Perception
• abstract reasoning as the most important aspect in the acquisition of knowledge, see Rationalism; Epistemology: Greek and Medieval Philosophical Problems;Plato: Theory of Knowledge
• sense perception as the primary way to attain knowledge, see Empiricism; Epicureanism; John Locke: Empiricism;Francis Bacon: Works
• inability of reason to determine cause and effect, see David Hume: Hume's Ideas;David Hume: Metaphysics and Epistemology
• explaining God through reason, see Scholasticism
• reason as proving the existence of God, see René Descartes: Philosophy;Edward Herbert
• reason as God, see Logos; Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: Self-Knowledge of the Absolute;Natural Law: Christian Conceptions;Western Philosophy: Stoicism
• reason as the basis for behavior and social conduct, see Ethics: Ethical Principles;Natural Law; Immanuel Kant: Kant's Philosophy
• optimism that reason will promote human progress, see Age of Enlightenment

****end of reason defined

Rationalism:

Empiricism

Logic:

Knowledge:

Theoretical to practical, reform, progress:

******

Early Influences on the Enlightenment

The Renaissance was a period of tremendous cultural achievement in Europe that began in the early 14th century and ended about 1600. The scientific revolution can be seen as a major aspect of the sweeping and far-reaching changes of the Renaissance. In broad terms the scientific revolution had four major aspects: the development of the experimental method, the realization that nature obeys mathematical rules, the use of scientific knowledge to achieve practical aims, and the development of scientific institutions.

Experimentalism, or research and experimentation, along with mathematical methods and applications received impetus from an increasing concern that knowledge of nature should be practical and useful, providing benefits to the general public. The notion that knowledge should useful to all people was espoused by the Renaissance humanists who claimed that the vita activa (active life) was more beneficial to humanity than the vita contemplativa (contemplative life) of church monks because of the benefits it could bring to others.

Fontenelle (Bernard le Bovier, Sieur de Fontenelle, 1657-1757), French writer and scientist, was educated at the college of the Jesuits at Rouen and studied law but chose a literary career. At age 30, he had already written dramas, operas, dialogues, short stories, and dissertations on science. The philosophical work Dialogues des morts (Dialogues of the Dead, 1683) established his reputation as a man of letters, and in 1691 he was admitted to the French Academy.
From 1699 until 1739 Fontenelle served as secretary of the Academy of Sciences, writing during that time several works dealing with the history of the academy. He became particularly well known for these and other writings on science. His most important works attempted to popularize the scientific learning of his age. In his greatest work, Entretiens sur la pluralité des mondes (Discourses on the Plurality of Worlds, 1686), he presented the astronomical principles of the Copernican system in a clever literary form. In other writings he attacked religious superstition. Fontenelle's questioning attitude predated the inquiring spirit of the 18th-century Enlightenment.
 

Baruch Spinoza and Pierre Bayle were two philosophers who contributed to the intellectual currents of their time on the eve of the Enlightenment.  Bayle (1647-1706) was a  French philosopher and  professor of philosophy.  He compiled his Historical and Critical Dictionary in 1697. The skeptical tone of this work, which strongly advocated freedom of thought on all subjects, had great influence on the French Encyclopedists and the rationalist philosophers of the 18th-century Enlightenment.

Sir Francis Bacon

One of the major proponents of the new focus in natural philosophy was Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher and statesman, who is considered one of the pioneers of modern scientific thought.  Bacon promoted his highly influential vision of a reformed empirical knowledge of nature that he believed would result in immense benefits to mankind. The best of his philosophical works are The Advancement of Learning (1605), a review of the state of knowledge in his own time, and Interpretation of Nature (1620), which influenced the acceptance of accurate observation and experimentation in science and had an important influence on the subsequent development of empiricist thought. Bacon's philosophy emphasized the belief that people are the servants and interpreters of nature, that truth is not derived from authority, and that knowledge is the fruit of experience.  Bacon is generally credited with having contributed to logic the technique of inductive reasoning.  

In the new philosophical climate, experience and reason became the sole standards of truth. The first great spokesman for the new philosophy was the English philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon, who denounced reliance on authority and verbal argument and criticized Aristotelian logic as useless for the discovery of new laws. Bacon called for a new scientific method based on reasoned generalization from careful observation and experiment. He was the first to formulate rules for this new method of drawing conclusions, now known as inductive inference.

René Descartes

A completely new philosophy of nature evolved that incorporated Copernican astronomy, Galileo's new theory of motion, Harvey's new physiology, and all the other new discoveries, and showed how they followed from certain basic assumptions. This began to be realized in the early 17th century with the development of mechanical philosophy. There were a number of slightly different versions of this new philosophy, but their common foundation was the belief that the universe functions like clockwork according to rules and without outside intervention. 

The most influential early version of mechanical philosophy was developed by French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist René Descartes (1596-1650).  Powerful as Descartes' system was, its conclusions, which Descartes arrived at purely by a process of abstract reasoning, were not always compatible with experimentally determined phenomena.  Descartes wrote his first major work, Essais philosophiques (Philosophical Essays), published in 1637. The work contained four parts: an essay on geometry, another on optics, a third on meteors, and Discours de la méthode (Discourse on Method), which described his philosophical speculations. This was followed by other philosophical works, among them Meditationes de Prima Philosophia (Meditations on First Philosophy, 1641; revised 1642) and Principia Philosophiae (The Principles of Philosophy, 1644).  Descartes attempted to apply the rational inductive methods of science, and particularly of mathematics, to philosophy. Before his time, philosophy had been dominated by the method of Scholasticism, which was entirely based on comparing and contrasting the views of recognized authorities.  The single sure fact from which his investigations began was expressed by him in the famous words Cogito, ergo sum,”I think, therefore I am.” From this postulate that a clear consciousness of his thinking proved his own existence, he argued the existence of God.  Descartes' philosophy, sometimes called Cartesianism, carried him into elaborate and erroneous explanations of a number of physical phenomena. These explanations, however, had value, because he substituted a system of mechanical interpretations of physical phenomena for the vague spiritual concepts of most earlier writers.

Rationalism (Latin ratio,”reason”), in philosophy, a system of thought that emphasizes the role of reason in obtaining knowledge, in contrast to empiricism, which emphasizes the role of experience, especially sense perception.

Rationalism has appeared in some form in nearly every stage of Western philosophy, but it is primarily identified with the tradition stemming from the 17th-century French philosopher and scientist René Descartes. Descartes believed that geometry represented the ideal for all sciences and philosophy. He held that by means of reason alone, certain universal, self-evident truths could be discovered, from which the remaining content of philosophy and the sciences could be deductively derived. He assumed that these self-evident truths were innate, not derived from sense experience. This type of rationalism was developed by other European philosophers, such as the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza and the German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. It was opposed, however, by British philosophers of the empiricist tradition, such as John Locke, who believed that all ideas are derived from the senses.

Epistemological rationalism has been applied to other fields of philosophical inquiry. Rationalism in ethics is the claim that certain primary moral ideas are innate in humankind and that such first moral principles are self-evident to the rational faculty. Rationalism in the philosophy of religion is the claim that the fundamental principles of religion are innate or self-evident and that revelation is not necessary (see Deism). Since the end of the 1800s, however, rationalism has played chiefly an antireligious role in theology.

More on Descartes

During the 17th century French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher René Descartes attempted to resolve both crises. He followed Bacon and Galileo in criticizing existing methods and beliefs, but whereas Bacon had argued for an inductive method based on observed facts, Descartes made mathematics the model for all science. Descartes championed the truth contained in the “clear and distinct ideas” of reason itself. The advance toward knowledge was from one such truth to another, as in mathematical reasoning. Descartes believed that by following his rationalist method, one could establish first principles (fundamental underlying truths) for all knowledge—about man, the world, and even God.

Descartes resolved to reconstruct all human knowledge on an absolutely certain foundation by refusing to accept any belief, even the belief in his own existence, until he could prove it to be necessarily true. In his so-called dream argument, he argued that our inability to prove with certainty when we are awake and when we are dreaming makes most of our knowledge uncertain. Ultimately he concluded that the first thing of whose existence one can be certain is oneself as a thinking being. This conclusion forms the basis of his well-known argument, “Cogito, ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”). He also argued that, in pure thought, one has a clear conception of God and can demonstrate that God exists. Descartes argued that secure knowledge of the reality of God allowed him to have his earlier doubts about knowledge and science.

Despite his mechanistic outlook, Descartes accepted the traditional religious doctrine of the immortality of the soul and maintained that mind and body are two distinct substances, thus exempting mind from the mechanistic laws of nature and providing for freedom of the will. His fundamental separation of mind and body, known as dualism, raised the problem of explaining how two such different substances as mind and body can affect each other, a problem he was unable to solve that has remained a concern of philosophy ever since. Descartes’s thought launched an era of speculation in metaphysics as philosophers made a determined effort to overcome dualism—the belief in the irreconcilable difference between mind and matter—and obtain unity. The separation of mind and matter is also known as Cartesian dualism after Descartes. 

*****end Descartes
 

Dawn of the Enlightenment

Sir Isaac Newton

In late 17th-century England Sir Isaac Newton developed a more empirically based version of mechanical philosophy. The success of this version was confirmed in 1687 with the publication of his Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.  Ironically, although all of the major figures in the scientific revolution were devoutly religious and saw their scientific work as a way of proving the existence of an omnipotent creator, the new mechanical philosophies were appropriated by atheists. Those who wished to deny the validity of the religious world-view could use the new philosophies to suggest that the world was capable of functioning in an entirely mechanistic way with no need for supernatural intervention or supervision.

Newton's influence upon European culture was entirely unprecedented. The success of his book in understanding and describing the workings of nature convinced many that by applying the same methods, all problems could be solved, even moral, political, and economic problems. Many of the central beliefs of the Enlightenment and new social sciences developed at that time owed their origins to the powerful stimulus of Newtonian science. Newton’s work greatly influenced the development of physical sciences. During the two centuries following publication of the Principia, scientists and philosophers found many new areas in which they applied Newton’s methods of inquiry and analysis.  Newton was especially devout and explicitly stated that his system was intended to demonstrate the existence of God.  Newton wrote, "This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being... All variety of created objects which represent order and life in the universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, Whom I call the Lord God."   But he was powerless to prevent the irreligious interpretation of his science. From then on the secular scientific world-view became increasingly dominant. 

The awe that Newton inspired in the 18th-century philosophes can scarcely be exaggerated. Determined to popularize the scientific worldview and to adapt its methods to the task of social and political criticism, the leaders of the Age of Enlightenment placed the affairs of this world squarely at the center of their work. In the most famous compendium of Enlightenment thought, the Encyclopédie (1751-1772), French philosophers Denis Diderot (the editor), Jean d’Alembert, Voltaire, and others challenged the conventional worldview and championed a scientific humanism based on natural law.

John Locke

John Locke (1632-1704), an English philosopher who was educated at the University of Oxford, founded the school of empiricism.  Locke's empiricism emphasizes the importance of the experience of the senses in pursuit of knowledge rather than intuitive speculation or deduction. The empiricist doctrine was first expounded by the English philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon early in the 17th century, but Locke gave it systematic expression in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). He regarded the mind of a person at birth as a tabula rasa, a blank slate upon which experience imprinted knowledge, and did not believe in intuition or theories of innate conceptions. Locke also held that all persons are born good, independent, and equal. 

Locke's views, in his Two Treatises of Government (1690), attacked the theory of divine right of kings and the nature of the state as conceived by the English philosopher and political theorist Thomas Hobbes. In brief, Locke argued that sovereignty did not reside in the state but with the people, and that the state is supreme, but only if it is bound by civil and what he called “natural” law. Many of Locke's political ideas, such as those relating to natural rights, property rights, the duty of the government to protect these rights, and the rule of the majority, were later embodied in the U.S. Constitution.

Locke further held that revolution was not only a right but often an obligation, and he advocated a system of checks and balances in government. He also believed in religious freedom and in the separation of church and state.

Locke wrote, "Any single man must judge for himself whether circumstances warrant obedience or resistance to the commands of the civil magistrate; we are all qualified, entitled, and morally obliged to evaluate the conduct of our rulers. This political judgment, moreover, is not simply or primarily a right, but like self-preservation, a duty to God. As such it is a judgment that men cannot part with according to the God of Nature. It is the first and foremost of our inalienable rights without which we can preserve no other."

Locke's influence in modern philosophy has been profound and, with his application of empirical analysis to ethics, politics, and religion, he remains one of the most important and controversial philosophers of all time. Among his other works are Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693) and The Reasonableness of Christianity (1695).

******end Locke

The precursors of the Enlightenment can be traced to the 17th century and earlier. They include the philosophical rationalists René Descartes and Baruch Spinoza, the political philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, and various skeptical thinkers in France such as Pierre Bayle. Equally important, however, were the self-confidence engendered by new discoveries in science and the spirit of cultural relativism encouraged by the exploration of the non-European world.

Key Concepts of the Enlightenment

(transition:  science & math, knowledge & learning, church dominance over education late 17th cent & early 18th, etc. evolve & expand into more areas of thought during Enl.)

The Enlightenment, the Ancients and Myth

During the Age of Enlightenment (17th and 18th centuries), with its emphasis on rationality, the allegorical interpretation of myths fell into disfavor. At the beginning of this period, myths were dismissed by intellectuals as absurd and superstitious fabrications, in part because of a climate of hostility toward all forms of religion. The so-called Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns, in which the relative merits of classical and modern literature were debated, lent additional force to the devaluing of myths and myth-making. French writer Pierre Bayle, in his Dictionnaire historique et critique (Historical and Critical Dictionary, 1697), ridiculed the absurdity of the ancient Greek and Roman myths.


In the Age of Enlightenment (early and mid-18th century), thinkers took a special interest in what they termed natural religion—the inborn capacity of all humans to arrive at a belief in the existence of a supreme being and to act on that belief. To thinkers of the Enlightenment, natural religion compared favorably with the supernatural religion of the Bible.  (wrong--opposite is true:  Enl. against myth, supernatural, superstition, church [not religious] conventions & control, esp. over thought, education & reason, but NOT against religion, spiritual aspects of religion, and God.   French philosopher Voltaire condemned the social effects of revealed religion (religion that is communicated through supernatural authorities such as prophets or sacred scriptures), and German philosopher Johann Gottfried von Herder argued that every culture possesses a unique spirit that is part of its religion and its language. In a critique of biblical history, Scottish philosopher David Hume demonstrated the historical difficulties involved in tracing all human cultures to the offspring of the biblical patriarch Noah or in asserting that monotheism is the original form of religion.

Education, Knowledge, the Scientific Method & Reason

The ideals of the Enlightenment arose from faith in the potential of human reason to solve, by means of education and scientific progress, the problems of humanity and thereby transform society. Just as Renaissance beliefs in the power of individual human talents gave way to the confusion and complexities of the baroque period, a swing back to belief in the inherent goodness of humankind and in the capacity of human reason occurred during the Age of Enlightenment.

Of the basic assumptions and beliefs common to philosophers and intellectuals of this period, perhaps the most important was an abiding faith in the power of human reason. The age was enormously impressed by Isaac Newton’s discovery of universal gravitation. If humanity could so unlock the laws of the universe, God’s own laws, why could it not also discover the laws underlying all of nature and society? People came to assume that through a judicious use of reason, an unending progress would be possible—progress in knowledge, in technical achievement, and even in moral values. Following the philosophy of Locke, the 18th-century writers believed that knowledge is not innate, but comes only from experience and observation guided by reason. Through proper education, humanity itself could be altered, its nature changed for the better. A great premium was placed on the discovery of truth through the observation of nature, rather than through the study of authoritative sources, such as Aristotle and the Bible. Although they saw the church—especially the Roman Catholic church—as the principal force that had enslaved the human mind in the past, most Enlightenment thinkers did not renounce religion altogether. They opted rather for a form of Deism, accepting the existence of God and of a hereafter, but rejecting the intricacies of Christian theology. Human aspirations, they believed, should not be centered on the next life, but rather on the means of improving this life. Worldly happiness was placed before religious salvation. Nothing was attacked with more intensity and ferocity than the church, with all its wealth, political power, and suppression of the free exercise of reason.

More than a set of fixed ideas, the Enlightenment implied an attitude, a method of thought. According to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, the motto of the age should be “Dare to know.” A desire arose to reexamine and question all received ideas and values, to explore new ideas in many different directions—hence the inconsistencies and contradictions that often appear in the writings of 18th-century thinkers. Many proponents of the Enlightenment were not philosophers in the commonly accepted sense of the word; they were scholars, researchers, scientists, thinkers, and modernizers engaged in a self-conscious effort to win converts. They liked to refer to themselves as the “party of humanity,” and in an attempt to mold public opinion in their favor, they made full use of pamphlets, anonymous tracts, and the large numbers of new journals and newspapers being created. Because they were journalists and propagandists as much as true philosophers, historians often refer to them by the French word philosophes.

The Enlightenment Scholars

Introduction

Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, and Diderot—all wrote fiction as well as nonfiction essays on a variety of topics. They shared an unshakable belief in the use of reason and scientific method to draw conclusions from observations, a process that leads the observer from particular facts to general laws. These thinkers also believed in the popularization of ideas among the people in order to promote progress and improve society and individual lives. In support of these beliefs, the philosophes were hostile to thought based on authority (medieval scholasticism and excessive reverence for the ancients), prejudice, fanaticism, superstition, and the assumption that one principle can explain all.

In many respects, the homeland of the philosophes was France. It was there that the political philosopher and jurist Charles de Montesquieu, one of the earliest representatives of the movement, had begun publishing various satirical works against existing institutions, as well as his monumental study of political institutions, The Spirit of Laws (1748; trans. 1750). It was in Paris that Denis Diderot, the author of numerous philosophical tracts, began the publication of the Encyclopédie (1751-1772). This work, on which numerous philosophes collaborated, was intended both as a compendium of all knowledge and as a polemical weapon, presenting the positions of the Enlightenment and attacking its opponents.

The single most influential and representative of the French writers was undoubtedly Voltaire. Beginning his career as a playwright and poet, he is best known today for his prolific pamphlets, essays, satires, and short novels, in which he popularized the science and philosophy of his age, and for his immense correspondence with writers and monarchs throughout Europe. Far more original were the works of Jean Jacques Rousseau, whose Social Contract (1762; trans. 1797), Émile (1762; trans. 1763), and Confessions (1782; trans. 1783) were to have a profound influence on later political and educational theory and were to serve as an impulse to 19th-century romanticism.

The Enlightenment was also a profoundly cosmopolitan and antinationalistic movement with representatives in numerous other countries. Kant in Germany, David Hume in England, Cesare Beccaria in Italy, and Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson in the American colonies all maintained close contacts with the French philosophes but were important contributors to the movement in their own right.

 

Montesquieu begin

Montesquieu is perhaps best known for De l'esprit des lois (1748; The Spirit of Laws), the first great work of political sociology. In this work he examines the three main types of government (republic, monarchy, and despotism) and states that a relationship exists between an area’s climate, geography, and general circumstances and the form of government that evolves there. His literary masterpiece is Les lettres persanes (1721; The Persian Letters), fictional letters exchanged between two Persians visiting Paris and their correspondents in Persia. Montesquieu used this device to satirize contemporary French society and its institutions, including the king himself. The themes of visitors from other lands, European visitors in foreign lands, and even visitors from outer space were popular throughout the 18th century and expressed the interest of the time in differences between cultures.

 

Montesquieu, Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de la Brede et de (1689-1755), French writer and jurist, born in the Château of la Brède, and educated at the Oratorian school at Juilly and later at Bordeaux. He became counselor of the Bordeaux parliament in 1714 and was its president from 1716 to 1728. Montesquieu first became prominent as a writer with his Persian Letters (1721; trans. 1961); in this work, through the device of letters written to and by two aristocratic Persian travelers in Europe, Montesquieu satirized contemporary French politics, social conditions, ecclesiastical matters, and literature. the book won immediate and wide popularity; it was one of the earliest works of the movement known as the Enlightenment, which, by its criticism of French institutions under the Bourbon monarchy, helped bring about the French Revolution. The reputation acquired by Montesquieu through this work and several others of lesser importance led to his election to the French Academy in 1728. His second significant work was Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur et de la décadence des Romains (Thoughts on the Causes of the Greatness and the Downfall of the Romans, 1734), one of the first important works in the philosophy of history. His masterpiece was The Spirit of Laws (1748; trans. 1750), in which he examined the three main types of government (republic, monarchy, and despotism) and states that a relationship does exist between an area's climate, geography, and general circumstances and the form of government that evolves. Montesquieu also held that governmental powers should be separated and balanced to guarantee individual rights and freedom.


The 18th-century French political theorist Baron Montesquieu also observed the functioning of checks and balances in English politics. Montesquieu theorized a scheme of checks and balances that advocated the assignment of separate powers to monarchal, aristocratic, and democratic political institutions. In addition, Montesquieu argued in his study The Spirit of the Laws (1748) that the best way to provide a check against the abuse of power by monarchs was through intermediary bodies that the monarch could not abolish, such as the church, guilds, and professional associations. The dispersion of power to these institutions outside of government would make it more difficult for the government to abuse its authority. Montesquieu, along with many theorists before him, assumed that balance could succeed only in a society with a relatively small and homogeneous population.
 

*******(Perhaps put this as side note to right---American statesman James Madison reformulated the theory of checks and balances in the 18th century, decisively challenging the earlier views. Madison argued that the larger the society, and the more diverse the interests of its inhabitants, the more likely each faction was to block and thwart the interests of other factions seeking control. This would prevent the formation of a permanent majority that could oppress minority groups or interests. Madison’s understanding was central to the writing of the Constitution of the United States, which incorporated a separation of powers and many checks and balances.)*******

 

The modern idea of the separation of powers was explored in more depth in The Spirit of the Laws (1748), a study by French political writer Baron Montesquieu. Montesquieu outlined a three-way division of powers in England among the Parliament, the king, and the courts, although such a division (he did not use the term “separation”) did not in fact exist at the time.

Montesquieu followed earlier thinkers in arguing that there was a necessary relationship between social divisions and these different powers. In particular, Montesquieu contended that executive power could be exercised only by a monarch and not by an elected administrator—a view wholly discarded in the Constitution of the United States. Harrington, Locke, Montesquieu, and other writers saw the concept of the separation of powers as a way to reduce or eliminate the arbitrary power of unchecked rulers. Separation of powers thus became associated with the closely related concept of checks and balances—the notion that government power should be controlled by overlapping authority within the government and by giving citizens the rights to criticize state action and remove officials from office.
 

Montesquieu end**************

Diderot begin   ************

Diderot, Denis (1713-1784), French Encyclopedist and philosopher, who also wrote novels, essays, plays, and art and literary criticism.

Diderot was born in Langres on October 5, 1713, and educated by Jesuits. He went to Paris in 1734 and spent ten years as an ill-paid tutor and hack writer. His first serious work, published anonymously, was Pensées philosophiques (1746), which stated his deist philosophy. In 1747 he was invited to edit a French translation of the English Cyclopaedia by Ephraim Chambers. Diderot, collaborating with the mathematician Jean Le Rond d'Alembert, converted the project into a vast, new, and controversial 35-volume work, Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers, which is usually known as the Encyclopédie.

Aided by the most celebrated writers of the day, including Voltaire and Montesquieu, the skeptical, rationalist Diderot used the Encyclopédie as a powerful propaganda weapon against Ecclesiastical authority and the superstition, conservatism, and semifeudal social forms of the time. Consequently, Diderot and his associates became the objects of clerical and royal antagonism. In 1759 the Conseil du Roi formally suppressed the first ten volumes (published from 1751 onward) and forbade further publication. Nevertheless, Diderot continued work on the remaining volumes and had them secretly printed. The 17 volumes of text were completed in 1765, with plates and supplements added until 1780.

Diderot's voluminous writings include the novels La religieuse (The Nun, written 1760, published 1796), an attack on convent life; Le neveu de Rameau (written 1761-1774, published 1805; translated as Rameau's Nephew, 1964), a social satire; and Jacques le fataliste (1796), which explored the psychology of free will and determinism. Lettre sur les aveugles (1749), about the way the blind learn, and the dramatic philosophical dialogue Le rêve d'Alembert (1830) contain his materialist theories. A pioneer in aesthetic criticism, he founded (1759) Les Salons, a journal for which he wrote criticism of the annual Paris art exhibitions. His correspondence was unexcelled in an age of famous letter writers. Diderot won the patronage of the enlightened monarch Catherine the Great of Russia and greatly influenced other Enlightenment thinkers in Europe. He died in Paris on July 30, 1784.

Jacques le fataliste (1796; Jacques the Fatalist) is a novel in the form of a series of dialogues between an author-narrator and the reader, and, within the story, between Jacques and his master. The book illustrates the problems of freedom, fatalism, and the relationship between the two. In his works Diderot alternates between the fear that emotions might take over human action entirely and the certainty that pure reason by itself is blind and arid. The nature and relationship of the human head and heart preoccupied many thinkers of the time.

 

Diderot end  ************

 

During the first half of the 18th century, the leaders of the Enlightenment waged an uphill struggle against considerable odds. Several were imprisoned for their writings, and most were hampered by government censorship and attacks by the church. In many respects, however, the later decades of the century marked a triumph of the movement in Europe and America. By the 1770s, second-generation philosophes were receiving government pensions and taking control of established intellectual academies. The enormous increase in the publication of newspapers and books ensured a wide diffusion of their ideas. Scientific experiments and philosophical writing became fashionable among wide groups in society, including members of the nobility and the clergy. A number of European monarchs also adopted certain of the ideas or at least the vocabulary of the Enlightenment. Voltaire and other philosophes, who relished the concept of a philosopher-king enlightening the people from above, eagerly welcomed the emergence of the so-called enlightened despots, of whom Frederick II of Prussia, Catherine II of Russia, and Joseph II of Austria were the most celebrated examples. In retrospect, however, it appears that most of these monarchs used the movement in large part for propaganda purposes and were far more despotic than enlightened.

 

Voltaire begin*************

Voltaire, assumed name of François Marie Arouet (1694-1778), French writer and philosopher, who was one of the leaders of the Enlightenment.

Voltaire experienced cultural differences firsthand as a young man when he was exiled to England for three years after a quarrel with an illustrious French family. He was impressed with the English constitutional monarchy and with English liberalism and tolerance. In his Lettres philosophiques (1734; The Philosophical Letters), Voltaire admired English customs and institutions while attacking their French counterparts. Voltaire is also known for his attacks on religion and is usually called a deist (someone who believes that God created the world and its natural laws but takes no part in its further functioning). This belief is reflected in his masterpiece, the philosophical tale Candide (1759), which depicts the woes heaped upon the world in the name of religion.
 

For some years Voltaire led a migratory existence, but he finally settled in 1758 at Ferney, where he spent the remaining 20 years of his life. In the interval between his return from Berlin and his establishment at Ferney, he completed his most ambitious work, the Essai sur l'histoire générale et sur les moeurs et l'esprit des nations (Essay on General History and on the Customs and the Character of Nations, 1756). In this work, a study of human progress, Voltaire decries supernaturalism and denounces religion and the power of the clergy, although he makes evident his own belief in the existence of God.

Essentially, he rejected everything irrational and incomprehensible and called upon his contemporaries to act against intolerance, tyranny, and superstition. His morality was founded on a belief in freedom of thought and respect for all individuals, and he maintained that literature should be useful and concerned with the problems of the day. These views made Voltaire a central figure in the 18th-century philosophical movement typified by the writers of the famous French Encyclopédie. Because he pleaded for a socially involved type of literature

The events leading to the American and French revolutions inspired writings that laid the foundations for modern ideas of civil liberties by such authors as the French philosophers Voltaire and Jean Jacques Rousseau,


Voltaire created a new genre in writing his philosophical tales
 

Voltaire end*************

 

Hume begin  **********

Hume, David (1711-1776), Scottish historian and philosopher, who influenced the development of skepticism and empiricism, two schools of philosophy.  Born in Edinburgh on May 7, 1711, Hume was educated at home and at the University of Edinburgh, at which he matriculated at the age of 12. His health was poor, and after working for a short period in a business house in Bristol, he went to live in France. 

From 1734 to 1737 Hume occupied himself intensively with the problems of speculative philosophy and during this period wrote his most important philosophical work, A Treatise of Human Nature (3 volumes, 1739-40), which embodies the essence of his thinking. In spite of its importance, this work was ignored by the public and was, as Hume himself said, “dead-born,” probably because of its abstruse style. Hume's later works were written in the lighter essay or dialogue forms that were popular in his day.

After the publication of the Treatise, Hume returned to his family estate in Berwickshire; there he turned his attention to the problems of ethics and political economy and wrote Essays Moral and Political (2 volumes, 1741-42), which attained immediate success. He failed to obtain an appointment to the faculty of the University of Edinburgh, probably because, even early in his career, he was regarded as a religious skeptic. Hume became, successively, tutor to the insane marquis of Annandale and judge advocate to a British military expedition to France. His Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding (afterward entitled An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding) appeared in 1748. This book, perhaps his best-known work, is in effect a condensation of the Treatise.

Hume took up residence in Edinburgh in 1751. In 1752, his Political Discourses was published, and in the following year, having again failed to obtain a university professorship, he received an appointment as librarian of the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh. During his 12-year stay in Edinburgh, Hume worked chiefly on his six-volume History of England, which appeared at intervals from 1754 to 1762. In the years 1762 to 1765 Hume served as secretary to the British ambassador in Paris. There he was lionized by French literary circles and formed a friendship with the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau. Hume brought Rousseau back with him to England. Rousseau, however, plagued by delusions of persecution, accused Hume of plotting against him, and the friendship dissolved in public denunciations between the two men. After serving as undersecretary of state in London (1767-68), Hume retired to Edinburgh and there spent the rest of his life. He died August 25, 1776. His autobiography was published posthumously (1777), as was his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779). Hume had written the Dialogues in the early 1750s but had withheld the work because of its skepticism.

Hume's philosophical position was influenced by the ideas of the British philosophers John Locke and Bishop George Berkeley. Hume and Berkeley both differentiated between reason and sensation. Hume, however, went further, endeavoring to prove that reason and rational judgments are merely habitual associations of distinct sensations or experiences.

In a revolutionary step in the history of philosophy, Hume rejected the basic idea of causation, maintaining that “reason can never show us the connexion of one object with another, tho' aided by experience, and the observation of their conjunction in all past instances. When the mind, therefore, passes from the idea or impression of one object to the idea or belief of another, it is not determined by reason, but by certain principles, which associate together the ideas of these objects and unite them in the imagination.” Hume's rejection of causation implies a rejection of scientific laws, which are based on the general premise that one event necessarily causes another and predictably always will. According to Hume's philosophy, therefore, knowledge of matters of fact is impossible, although as a practical matter he freely acknowledged that people had to think in terms of cause and effect, and had to assume the validity of their perceptions, or they would go mad. He also admitted the possibility of knowledge of the relationships among ideas, such as the relationships of numbers in mathematics. Hume's skeptical approach also denied the existence both of the spiritual substance postulated by Berkeley and of Locke's “material substance.” Going further, Hume denied the existence of the individual self, maintaining that because people do not have a constant perception of themselves as distinct entities, they “are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions.”

In his ethical thinking, Hume held that the concept of right and wrong is not rational but arises from a regard for one's own happiness. The supreme moral good, according to his view, is benevolence, an unselfish regard for the general welfare of society that Hume regarded as consistent with individual happiness.

As a historian Hume broke away from the traditional chronological account of wars and deeds of state and attempted to describe the economic and intellectual forces that played a part in the history of his country. His History of England was for many years regarded as a classic

Hume's contributions to economic theory, which influenced the Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith and later economists, included his belief that wealth depends not on money but on commodities and his recognition of the effect of social conditions on economics.

 

Hume end*************

 

 

Rousseau begin

Rousseau, Jean Jacques (1712-1778), French philosopher, social and political theorist, musician, botanist, and one of the most eloquent writers of the Age of Enlightenment.

Rousseau was born in Geneva on June 18, 1712, and was raised by an aunt and uncle following the death of his mother a few days after his birth. He was apprenticed at the age of 13 to an engraver, but after three years he ran away and became secretary and companion to Madame Louise de Warens, a wealthy and charitable woman who had a profound influence on Rousseau’s life and writings. In 1742 Rousseau went to Paris, where he earned his living as a music teacher, music copyist, and political secretary. He became a close friend of the French philosopher Denis Diderot, who commissioned him to write articles on music for the French Encyclopédie.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was also concerned with human sentiment and human intellect, but he generally opposed the critical and atheistic outlook of the philosophes and their belief in material progress. Rousseau believed in God, thought that human nature was inherently good but that society corrupted it, and preached a return to nature and to the simple rustic life. His treatise Le contrat social (1762; The Social Contract) helped provide a philosophical basis for the French Revolution. In this work he asserted the rights of equality and of individual liberty for all people and proposed a democratic means of government in which power would rest with the governed.

Like the philosophes, Rousseau also wrote novels. His La nouvelle Héloïse (1761; The New Heloise), a lengthy epistolary novel, dramatizes the struggle of the characters Saint-Preux and Julie, who live under the same roof as Julie’s husband, to transform their passionate love into a platonic friendship. The novel was enormously successful, especially among the French upper classes, who were moved by the frustrated passions and tearful sensibilities of the characters. In his autobiographical Confessions (1781, 1788; The Confessions), Rousseau describes his battle with his own emotions and his lifelong struggle to protect, nurture, and express his individual genius. Rousseau’s writings had an enormous influence on the romantic movement in the early 19th century.

In 1750 Rousseau won the Academy of Dijon award for his Discours sur les sciences et les arts (Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts, 1750), and in 1752 his opera Le devin du village (The Village Sage) was first performed. In his prize-winning discourse and in his Discourse on the Origin and Foundation of Inequality Among Mankind (1755; trans. 1761), he expounded the view that science, art, and social institutions have corrupted humankind and that the natural, or primitive, state is morally superior to the civilized state (see Naturalism). The persuasive rhetoric of these writings provoked derisive comments from the French philosopher Voltaire, who attacked Rousseau’s views, and subsequently the two philosophers became bitter enemies.

Rousseau left Paris in 1756 and secluded himself at Montmorency, where he wrote the romance The New Heloise (1761). In his famous political treatise The Social Contract (1762; trans. 1797) he developed a case for civil liberty and helped prepare the ideological background of the French Revolution by defending the popular will against divine right.

Rousseau, in his Social Contract (1762), accepted Hobbes's theory of a social contract.

In the influential novel Émile (1762; trans. 1763) Rousseau expounded a new theory of education emphasizing the importance of expression rather than repression to produce a well-balanced, freethinking child.

Although Rousseau contributed greatly to the movement in Western Europe for individual freedom and against the absolutism of church and state, his conception of the state as the embodiment of the abstract will of the people and his arguments for strict enforcement of political and religious conformity are regarded by some historians as a source of totalitarian ideology. Rousseau’s theory of education led to more permissive and more psychologically oriented methods of child care, and influenced the German educator Friedrich Froebel, the Swiss educational reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, and other pioneers of modern education. The New Heloise and Confessions introduced a new style of extreme emotional expression, concern with intense personal experience, and exploration of the conflicts between moral and sensual values. In these writings Rousseau profoundly influenced romanticism in literature and philosophy in the early 19th century. He also affected the development of the psychological literature, psychoanalytic theory, and philosophy of existentialism of the 20th century, particularly in his insistence on free will, his rejection of the doctrine of original sin, and his defense of learning through experience rather than analysis. The spirit and ideas of Rousseau’s work stand midway between the 18th-century Enlightenment, with its passionate defense of reason and individual rights, and early 19th-century romanticism, which defended intense subjective experience against rational thought.

Rousseau criticized civilization as a corruption of humanity’s nature and developed Hobbes’s doctrine that the state is based on a social contract with its citizens and represents the popular will.

Rousseau was also concerned with human sentiment and human intellect, but he generally opposed the critical and atheistic outlook of the philosophes and their belief in material progress. Rousseau believed in God, thought that human nature was inherently good but that society corrupted it, and preached a return to nature and to the simple rustic life. His treatise Le contrat social (1762; The Social Contract) helped provide a philosophical basis for the French Revolution. In this work he asserted the rights of equality and of individual liberty for all people and proposed a democratic means of government in which power would rest with the governed.

Influence on Paine's declaration of Rights of Man:  Historians are divided in their opinions on the political origins of Paine's essay. Some see in its revolutionary pronouncements the influence of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and the bills of rights of a number of state constitutions in the United States. Others trace the ideas embodied in the declaration to English principles of democratic rights. Still others interpret its strong emphasis on individual rights as an expression of the Calvinistic doctrine of freedom of conscience. A large body of opinion holds that the declaration was a product of the current of ideas known as the Age of Enlightenment and expounded by the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau in his Social Contract. 

General Will, term popularized by the 18th-century French political philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau. In his book The Social Contract (1762), Rousseau defines the general will (volonté générale) as the civic impulses of citizens seeking to pursue the common good within their community. He contrasts the general will with the particular will of individuals seeking only their personal good. Rousseau argues that the general will of the people, not the individual will of a king or the particular wills of nobility or clergy, should produce the laws that govern that community.

Malebranche insisted that God acted through general laws that served the universal good of mankind. He denied that God would benefit specific individuals or communities through particularistic laws and actions. To Rousseau, the preference in politics towards achieving the general will—that is, the common good over individual interests—is in part a secularized version of this Christian ideal.

In The Social Contract, Rousseau states that individuals in a democracy possess two wills, two contrary inclinations as to how to act politically, socially, and morally. The particular will of individuals represents their selfish impulses, the urge to satisfy personal interests and desires with little regard for the community to which they belong. But according to Rousseau, individuals also possess a general will. They possess a public identity as citizens, a civic capacity to associate their own interests with those of their community. For example, citizens of the United States sometimes resent paying taxes to the government. However, they want the government to provide services that benefit everyone, such as schools and police protection. The tension between these two impulses demonstrates the conflict between the particular and the general will of individuals.

Rousseau envisioned a direct democracy where citizens would meet in public assemblies and pass laws reflecting the interests and goals of the community. In this sense, the function of government for Rousseau was not simply to protect the private rights of individuals, as it was for liberal political theorists, such as John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. Rousseau’s democratic theory emphasized the obligation of citizens to create a moral community where the general good triumphs over the particular will and personal interests. He identified the general will with a public conception of freedom, in which participation in the common life of a community liberates citizens from the chains of a narrow, selfish individualism.

In democratic nations efforts to extend and to improve the quality of civic participation in public life represent a positive expression of Rousseau’s concept.

Rousseau end**************

 

Adam Smith begin

Smith, Adam (economist) (1723-1790), British philosopher and economist, whose celebrated treatise An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was the first serious attempt to study the nature of capital and the historical development of industry and commerce among European nations.

Smith was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and educated at the universities of Glasgow and Oxford. From 1748 to 1751, he gave lectures on rhetoric and belles-lettres in Edinburgh. During this period, a close association developed between Smith and the Scottish philosopher David Hume that lasted until the latter's death in 1776 and contributed much to the development of Smith's ethical and economic theories.

Smith was appointed professor of logic in 1751 and then professor of moral philosophy in 1752 at the University of Glasgow. He later systematized the ethical teachings he had propounded in his lectures and published them in his first major work, Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). In 1763 he resigned from the university to accept the position of tutor to Henry Scott, 3rd duke of Buccleuch, whom he accompanied on an 18-month tour of France and Switzerland. Smith met and associated with many of the leading Continental philosophers of the physiocratic school, which based its political and economic doctrines on the supremacy of natural law, wealth, and order. He was particularly influenced by the French philosophers François Quesnay and Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, whose theories Smith later adapted in part to form a basis for his own. From 1766 to 1776, he lived in Kirkcaldy preparing The Wealth of Nations (1776). Smith was appointed commissioner of customs in Edinburgh in 1778, serving in this capacity until his death. In 1787 he was also named lord rector of the University of Glasgow.

Smith's Wealth of Nations represents the first serious attempt in the history of economic thought to divorce the study of political economy from the related fields of political science, ethics, and jurisprudence. It embodies a penetrating analysis of the processes whereby economic wealth is produced and distributed and demonstrates that the fundamental sources of all income, that is, the basic forms in which wealth is distributed, are rent, wages, and profits.

The central thesis of The Wealth of Nations is that capital is best employed for the production and distribution of wealth under conditions of governmental noninterference, or laissez-faire, and free trade. In Smith's view, the production and exchange of goods can be stimulated, and a consequent rise in the general standard of living attained, only through the efficient operations of private industrial and commercial entrepreneurs acting with a minimum of regulation and control by governments. To explain this concept of government maintaining a laissez-faire attitude toward commercial endeavors, Smith proclaimed the principle of the “invisible hand”: Every individual in pursuing his or her own good is led, as if by an invisible hand, to achieve the best good for all. Therefore any interference with free competition by government is almost certain to be injurious.

Although this view has undergone considerable modification by economists in the light of historical developments since Smith's time, many sections of The Wealth of Nations, notably those relating to the sources of income and the nature of capital, have continued to form the basis for theoretical study in the field of political economy. The Wealth of Nations has also served, perhaps more than any other single work in its field, as a guide to the formulation of governmental economic policies.

Individualism, in political and economic philosophy, the doctrine, promulgated by such theorists as English philosopher Thomas Hobbes and British economist Adam Smith, that society is an artificial device, existing only for the sake of its members as individuals, and properly judged only according to criteria established by them as individuals. Individualists do not necessarily subscribe to the doctrine of egoism, which regards self-interest as the only logical human motivation. They may instead be guided in political and economic thinking by motives of altruism, holding that the end of social, political, and economic organization is the greatest good for the greatest number. What characterizes such individualist thinkers, however, is their conception of the “greatest number” as composed of independent units and an opposition to the interference of the state with the happiness or freedom of these units.

Individualist tendencies or theories play a part in all the sciences that deal with a person as a social being. Although individualism would theoretically consider the state as placing an artificial restraint on a person's individual tendencies, practical distinctions between individualism and its antitheses, such as socialism, are often difficult to make. Like individualism, socialist or collectivist (see Collectivism) theories may place high value on the well-being and free initiative of the individual. Individualism differs from such theories in asserting that the welfare of the individual is of the highest value and that each individual exists as a unique end, with society serving only as a means to accomplish the ends of the individual.

Ben Franklin:  in 1757, Franklin was sent to England by the Pennsylvania Assembly to petition the king for the right to levy taxes on proprietary lands. After completing his mission, he remained in England for five years as the chief representative of the American colonies. During this period he made friends with many prominent Englishmen, including the chemist and clergyman Joseph Priestley, the philosopher and historian David Hume, and the philosopher and economist Adam Smith. 

 

Adam Smith end

 

 

Kant begin

Kant, Immanuel (1724-1804), German philosopher, considered by many the most influential thinker of modern times. 

Born in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad, Russia), April 22, 1724, Kant received his education at the Collegium Fredericianum and the University of Königsberg. At the college he studied chiefly the classics, and at the university he studied physics and mathematics. After his father died, he was compelled to halt his university career and earn his living as a private tutor. In 1755, aided by a friend, he resumed his studies and obtained his doctorate. Thereafter, for 15 years he taught at the university, lecturing first on science and mathematics, but gradually enlarging his field of concentration to cover almost all branches of philosophy.

Although Kant's lectures and works written during this period established his reputation as an original philosopher, he did not receive a chair at the university until 1770, when he was made professor of logic and metaphysics. For the next 27 years he continued to teach and attracted large numbers of students to Königsberg. Kant's unorthodox religious teachings, which were based on rationalism rather than revelation, brought him into conflict with the government of Prussia, and in 1792 he was forbidden by Frederick William II, king of Prussia, to teach or write on religious subjects. Kant obeyed this order for five years until the death of the king and then felt released from his obligation. In 1798, the year following his retirement from the university, he published a summary of his religious views. He died February 12, 1804.

The keystone of Kant's philosophy, sometimes called critical philosophy, is contained in his Critique of Pure Reason (1781), in which he examined the bases of human knowledge and created an individual epistemology. Like earlier philosophers, Kant differentiated modes of thinking into analytic and synthetic propositions. An analytic proposition is one in which the predicate is contained in the subject, as in the statement “Black houses are houses.” The truth of this type of proposition is evident, because to state the reverse would be to make the proposition self-contradictory. Such propositions are called analytic because truth is discovered by the analysis of the concept itself. Synthetic propositions, on the other hand, are those that cannot be arrived at by pure analysis, as in the statement “The house is black.” All the common propositions that result from experience of the world are synthetic.

Propositions, according to Kant, can also be divided into two other types: empirical and a priori. Empirical propositions depend entirely on sense perception, but a priori propositions have a fundamental validity and are not based on such perception. The difference between these two types of proposition may be illustrated by the empirical “The house is black” and the a priori “Two plus two makes four.” Kant's thesis in the Critique is that it is possible to make synthetic a priori judgments. This philosophical position is usually known as transcendentalism. In describing how this type of judgment is possible Kant regarded the objects of the material world as fundamentally unknowable; from the point of view of reason, they serve merely as the raw material from which sensations are formed. Objects of themselves have no existence, and space and time exist only as part of the mind, as “intuitions” by which perceptions are measured and judged.

In addition to these intuitions, Kant stated that a number of a priori concepts, which he called categories, also exist. He divided the categories into four groups: those concerning quantity, which are unity, plurality, and totality; those concerning quality, which are reality, negation, and limitation; those concerning relation, which are substance-and-accident, cause-and-effect, and reciprocity; and those concerning modality, which are possibility, existence, and necessity. The intuitions and the categories can be applied to make judgments about experiences and perceptions, but cannot, according to Kant, be applied to abstract ideas such as freedom and existence without leading to inconsistencies in the form of pairs of contradictory propositions, or “antinomies,” in which both members of each pair can be proved true.  (**NB** last sentence)

In the Metaphysics of Ethics (1797) Kant described his ethical system, which is based on a belief that the reason is the final authority for morality. Actions of any sort, he believed, must be undertaken from a sense of duty dictated by reason, and no action performed for expediency or solely in obedience to law or custom can be regarded as moral. Kant described two types of commands given by reason: the hypothetical imperative, which dictates a given course of action to reach a specific end; and the categorical imperative, which dictates a course of action that must be followed because of its rightness and necessity. The categorical imperative is the basis of morality and was stated by Kant in these words: “Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a general natural law.”

Kant's ethical ideas are a logical outcome of his belief in the fundamental freedom of the individual as stated in his Critique of Practical Reason (1788). This freedom he did not regard as the lawless freedom of anarchy, but rather as the freedom of self-government, the freedom to obey consciously the laws of the universe as revealed by reason. He believed that the welfare of each individual should properly be regarded as an end in itself and that the world was progressing toward an ideal society in which reason would “bind every law giver to make his laws in such a way that they could have sprung from the united will of an entire people, and to regard every subject, in so far as he wishes to be a citizen, on the basis of whether he has conformed to that will.” In his treatise Perpetual Peace (1795) Kant advocated the establishment of a world federation of republican states.

Kant had a greater influence than any other philosopher of modern times. Kantian philosophy, particularly as developed by the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, was the basis on which the structure of Marxism was built; Hegel's dialectical method, which was used by Karl Marx, was an outgrowth of the method of reasoning by “antinomies” that Kant used.

In addition to works on philosophy, Kant wrote a number of treatises on various scientific subjects, many in the field of physical geography. His most important scientific work was General Natural History and Theory of the Heavens (1755), in which he advanced the hypothesis of the formation of the universe from a spinning nebula, a hypothesis that later was developed independently by Pierre de Laplace.

Among Kant's other writings are Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783), Metaphysical Rudiments of Natural Philosophy (1786), Critique of Judgment (1790), and Religion Within the Boundaries of Pure Reason (1793).

 

Kant end  ********

 

Philosopher-Kings 

(and under US Found use "Philosopher-Revolutionaries" or "Scholar-Revolutionaries")

During the second half of the 18th century, the Enlightenment joined hands with absolutism. Inspired by the philosophes, absolute monarchs, such as Frederick the Great of Prussia, Joseph II of Austria, and Catherine the Great of Russia, modeled themselves on the ideal of the philosopher-king, attempting with varying degrees of success to enlist power in the service of the common good. Despite their sincerity, they succeeded in nothing so much as in making absolutism more absolute. At their command, historical particularism continued its retreat before the advance of uniform codes of law and bureaucratic regulations. To be sure, an aristocratic resurgence occurred during the century, but aristocrats owed their new lease on life to their willingness to serve the state. Under the enlightened absolutists, in sum, the centralization of power proceeded apace; in a genuine effort to improve the welfare of their subjects, the enlightened despots insinuated state power more deeply into daily existence.
 

 

During the later 18th century certain changes in emphasis emerged in Enlightenment thought. Under the influence of Rousseau, sentiment and emotion became as respectable as reason. In the 1770s writers broadened their field of criticism to include political and economic issues. Of seminal importance in this regard was the experience of the American Revolution. In the eyes of Europeans, the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War signaled that, for the first time, some individuals were going beyond the mere discussion of enlightened ideas and were actually putting them into practice. The American Revolution probably encouraged attacks and criticisms against existing European regimes.

The Age of Enlightenment is usually said to have ended with the French Revolution of 1789. Indeed, some see the social and political ferment of this period as being responsible for the Revolution. While embodying many of the ideals of the philosophes, the Revolution in its more violent stages (1792-94) served to discredit these ideals temporarily in the eyes of many European contemporaries. Yet the Enlightenment left a lasting heritage for the 19th and 20th centuries. It marked a key stage in the growth of modern secularism. It served as the model for political and economic liberalism and for humanitarian reform throughout the 19th-century Western world. It was the watershed for the pervasive belief in the possibility and the necessity of progress that survived, if only in attenuated form, into the 20th century.  The alliance between science and technology in the West can be seen to have had its origins in the Enlightenment's emphasis on the usefulness of scientific knowledge for the improvement of the human condition.

The Social And Political Thought of the Enlightenment

Introduction

The Enlightenment was a philosophical movement based on the belief that science and human reason can triumph over political and religious tyranny. An intellectual spirit that knew no national boundaries, it drew proponents from America, England, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland, Spain, and Russia.

The politics of the philosophes were diverse, reflecting divergent interests and attempts to persuade different audiences. Their core political value was liberty, but they disagreed on how to best promote it. Some philosophes, like Charles Louis de Montesquieu, believed liberty would be best protected by maintaining the traditional rights of individuals and corporate groups and by expanding the role of the parlements. Others, like Voltaire, believed a strong monarchy was liberty’s best defense. On the margins of the movement were more radical thinkers, such as Jean Jacques Rousseau, who widened the political imagination by proposing models of democracy.

Although its advocates were widespread, 18th-century French thought is usually regarded as best embodying the principles of the Enlightenment, particularly the writings of Denis Diderot, Charles Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, and others. Known by their French label the philosophes, these writers helped define Enlightenment philosophy by publishing their magisterial, 17-volume collaboration, the Encyclopédie (1751-1772). This work was designed as a catalog of all human understanding, containing an exhaustive range of definitive articles on science, the arts, history, and philosophy. The writers expressed unorthodox views in this work, arguing that science and reason could triumph over the blindness of religion and tradition. Although these views caused French royalty and the clergy to condemn the book and persecute its authors, they served to introduce and declare Enlightenment principles.

The philosophes regarded three Englishmen as the prophets of the Enlightenment; thus, they dedicated their Encyclopédie to Francis Bacon, John Locke, and Isaac Newton. American statesman Thomas Jefferson, a disciple of the Enlightenment, agreed with this assessment, ordering for his library in 1789 a composite portrait of the same three men. They had, he wrote to a friend, laid the foundation for the physical and moral sciences of modernity and were “the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception.”

Reason and Reform

The central message of Enlightenment intellectuals was that unassisted human reason, not faith or tradition, was the principal guide to politics and all human conduct. “Have courage to use your own reason—that is the motto of Enlightenment,” the German philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote in 1784.

To Enlightenment thinkers, everything, including political and religious authority, must be subject to a critique of reason if it were to command the respect of humanity. Particularly suspect were religious faith and superstition. Humanity was not innately corrupt, as Catholicism taught, nor was the good life found only in a blissful state of otherworldly salvation. Pleasure and happiness were worthy ends of life and could be realized in this world. The natural universe was not governed by the miraculous whimsy of a supernatural God. Rather, it was ruled by rational scientific laws, which were accessible to human beings through the scientific method of experiment and observation.

Science and technology were the engines of progress, enabling modern people to force nature to serve their well-being and increase their happiness. Science and the conquest of superstition and ignorance provided the prospect to endlessly improve and reform the human condition, to progress toward a future that was perfection. The Enlightenment elevated the individual and the moral legitimacy of self-interest. It sought to free the individual from all kinds of external corporate or communal limitations. Further, it sought to reform the political, moral, intellectual, and economic worlds to serve individual interests.

More than anyone else, Voltaire, with his motto Ecrasez l'infâme ("Crush the infamous thing"), symbolized the war against the evils, including torture and persecution, bred by religious fanaticism and superstition—the “infamous thing.” But virtually all Enlightenment theorists followed the lead of Locke’s famous “Letter on Toleration” (1689) in demanding freedom of religion. They argued that if religion were removed from public life and public authority, it would be reserved for the private sphere of individual preference and individual practice. Public matters in a commercial society concerned markets and property, not the saving of souls. Voltaire approvingly described the Royal Exchange in London as the place where “the Jew, the Mahometan, and the Christian transact together, as though they all professed the same religion, and give the name of infidel to none but bankrupts.” Jefferson, in turn, rendered the same liberal, tolerant theme in simple American folk wisdom: “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

Faith in progress required that the aristocratic, feudal past be viewed critically, and once again Voltaire guided the Enlightenment. History, he wrote, in 1754, is “little else than a long succession of useless cruelties” and “a collection of crimes, follies, and misfortunes.” Progressive Enlightenment philosophers had no respect for the superstitious past and its political traditions in general, which could not pass the skeptical test of reason. The American philosophe Thomas Jefferson summarized this ideal, attacking what he labeled “the Gothic idea,” which dictates that one “look backwards instead of forwards for the improvement of the human mind.” Jefferson argued that Americans would have nothing to do with such errors: “To recur to the annals of our ancestors for what is most perfect in government, in religion, in learning, is worthy of those bigots in religion, and government, by whom it is recommended, and whose purpose it would answer. But it is not an idea which this country will endure.”

Enlightenment thinkers such as Jefferson viewed humanity as no longer chained to the past, with its irrational, repressive, and unjust institutions. Guided by their reason, enlightened men and women could change and reform their political world. They could shake off the oppressive weight of tradition and custom. For most Enlightenment writers this meant political reforms. They directed these reforms against what they considered the tyrannical power of the Church, the nobility, and the monarchy. Such reforms were for the benefit of the free individual.

The Enlightenment and Individualism

The central message of Enlightenment intellectuals was that unassisted human reason, not faith or tradition, was the principal guide to politics and all human conduct. “Have courage to use your own reason—that is the motto of Enlightenment,” the German philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote in 1784.

To Enlightenment thinkers, everything, including political and religious authority, must be subject to a critique of reason if it were to command the respect of humanity. Particularly suspect were religious faith and superstition. Humanity was not innately corrupt, as Catholicism taught, nor was the good life found only in a blissful state of otherworldly salvation. Pleasure and happiness were worthy ends of life and could be realized in this world. The natural universe was not governed by the miraculous whimsy of a supernatural God. Rather, it was ruled by rational scientific laws, which were accessible to human beings through the scientific method of experiment and observation.

Science and technology were the engines of progress, enabling modern people to force nature to serve their well-being and increase their happiness. Science and the conquest of superstition and ignorance provided the prospect to endlessly improve and reform the human condition, to progress toward a future that was perfection. The Enlightenment elevated the individual and the moral legitimacy of self-interest. It sought to free the individual from all kinds of external corporate or communal limitations. Further, it sought to reform the political, moral, intellectual, and economic worlds to serve individual interests.

More than anyone else, Voltaire, with his motto Ecrasez l'infâme ("Crush the infamous thing"), symbolized the war against the evils, including torture and persecution, bred by religious fanaticism and superstition—the “infamous thing.” But virtually all Enlightenment theorists followed the lead of Locke’s famous “Letter on Toleration” (1689) in demanding freedom of religion. They argued that if religion were removed from public life and public authority, it would be reserved for the private sphere of individual preference and individual practice. Public matters in a commercial society concerned markets and property, not the saving of souls. Voltaire approvingly described the Royal Exchange in London as the place where “the Jew, the Mahometan, and the Christian transact together, as though they all professed the same religion, and give the name of infidel to none but bankrupts.” Jefferson, in turn, rendered the same liberal, tolerant theme in simple American folk wisdom: “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

Faith in progress required that the aristocratic, feudal past be viewed critically, and once again Voltaire guided the Enlightenment. History, he wrote, in 1754, is “little else than a long succession of useless cruelties” and “a collection of crimes, follies, and misfortunes.” Progressive Enlightenment philosophers had no respect for the superstitious past and its political traditions in general, which could not pass the skeptical test of reason. The American philosophe Thomas Jefferson summarized this ideal, attacking what he labeled “the Gothic idea,” which dictates that one “look backwards instead of forwards for the improvement of the human mind.” Jefferson argued that Americans would have nothing to do with such errors: “To recur to the annals of our ancestors for what is most perfect in government, in religion, in learning, is worthy of those bigots in religion, and government, by whom it is recommended, and whose purpose it would answer. But it is not an idea which this country will endure.”

Enlightenment thinkers such as Jefferson viewed humanity as no longer chained to the past, with its irrational, repressive, and unjust institutions. Guided by their reason, enlightened men and women could change and reform their political world. They could shake off the oppressive weight of tradition and custom. For most Enlightenment writers this meant political reforms. They directed these reforms against what they considered the tyrannical power of the Church, the nobility, and the monarchy. Such reforms were for the benefit of the free individual.

The Enlightenment and Economic Theory

As the liberalism of the Enlightenment would free the individual from intellectual constraint, so it would also liberate the individual from economic restraints on private initiative. The Enlightenment rejected the ideas of a moral economy in which economic activity was understood to serve moral ends of justice, whether these ends were realized through church-imposed constraints on wages and prices or through magistrates setting prices and providing food to the poor. Church, state, and guilds (powerful trade associations) would no longer oversee economic activity. Instead, individuals would be left alone to seek their own self-interest in a free voluntary market, which would work toward the good of all through “an invisible hand.”

These Enlightenment ideals are associated principally with the British philosopher and economist Adam Smith and the French Physiocrats, the name used for proponents of the economic theories proposed by Anne Robert Jacques Turgot and Françoise Quesnay. However, such ideals pervade the era and are found in the writings of Voltaire and Jefferson as well.

Jefferson knew exactly what he was doing when he changed Locke’s trilogy of rights “life, liberty, and property” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Property, and the individual’s right to it, was but one form of the larger human right to individual happiness. The Enlightenment’s revolutionary objective, enshrined in Jefferson’s text for the Declaration of Independence, was to place the sacredness of each individual’s quest for happiness at the heart of politics. No longer was there assumed to be a Christian conception of the good life or the moral life, defined by the church and state. The Enlightenment assumption was that each individual pursued his or her own happiness and individual sense of the good life—as long as in doing so they did not interfere with other people’s lives, liberty, or pursuit of happiness. Or as Jefferson put it, as long as “it neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.”

France and America:  From Revolutions in Theory to Revolutions in Practice

For many, the Enlightenment’s rejection of feudalism and aristocracy along with its faith in progress through unfettered individualism were realized in the American (1775-1783) and French (1789-1799) revolutions. The French philosophe the marquis de Condorcet described America as, of all nations, “the most enlightened, the freest and the least burdened by prejudices.” Its respect for human rights, he wrote, provided a lesson for all the peoples of the world. He offered what would be the characteristic praise of America, where there were “no distinctions of class” and where property was secure and hard work encouraged. In America no spiritual or political aristocracy, he wrote, held “a part of the human race in a state of humiliation, simplicity, and misery.” Diderot, in turn, saw America as “offering all the inhabitants of Europe an asylum against fanaticism and tyranny.” For Turgot, the American people were “the hope of the human race, they may well become its model.” Anglo-American political philosopher Thomas Paine joined the chorus, writing that the cause of America was “the cause of all mankind.”

The French Revolution, as well, seemed to realize much of the Enlightenment’s agenda. The politics of the aristocratic and monarchical old order were replaced by parliamentary institutions and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Feudal restrictions on individual economic activity were removed. Primogeniture (the firstborn son’s right to property inheritance), enforced tithes, and obligatory service to the lord of the manor gave way to new economic ideals focused on individual property rights and free market principles. The revolutionaries waged a vigorous campaign to “de-Christianize” France. The state took over schools and church property, making the clergy civic employees.

******************

The Enlightenment and The Modern Age

**** Below, the Enl and ..... various areas ***  New Page ***

(origins or major changes in during Enl & influence on them today:  education reform, natural & physical science, economic science, political science, government, law, & others not included below)

The Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution (also add influence on technology ??), place this below but before "Conservatism"  ??)

The Industrial Revolution began in England in the middle of the 18th century when the first modern factories appeared, primarily for the production of textiles. Machines, to varying degrees, began to replace the workforce in these modern factories. The cotton gin, created by the American inventor Eli Whitney in 1793, mechanically removed cotton fibers from the seed and increased production. In 1801 Joseph Jacquard, a French inventor, created a loom that used cards with punched holes to automate the placement of threads in the weaving process. The development of the steam engine as a reliable power source by Thomas Newcomen, James Watt, and Richard Trevithick in England, and in America by Oliver Evans, enabled factories to be built away from water sources that had previously been needed to power machines.

The Enlightenment and Education

The work of English philosopher John Locke influenced education in Britain and North America. Locke examined how people acquire ideas in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). He asserted that at birth the human mind is a blank slate, or tabula rasa, and empty of ideas. We acquire knowledge, he argued, from the information about the objects in the world that our senses bring to us. We begin with simple ideas and then combine them into more complex ones.

Locke believed that individuals acquire knowledge most easily when they first consider simple ideas and then gradually combine them into more complex ones. In Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1697), Locke recommended practical learning to prepare people to manage their social, economic, and political affairs efficiently. He believed that a sound education began in early childhood and insisted that the teaching of reading, writing, and arithmetic be gradual and cumulative. Locke’s curriculum included conversational learning of foreign languages, especially French, mathematics, history, physical education, and games.

The Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century produced important changes in education and educational theory. During the Enlightenment, also called the Age of Reason, educators believed people could improve their lives and society by using their reason, their powers of critical thinking. The Enlightenment’s ideas had a significant impact on the American Revolution (1775-1783) and early educational policy in the United States. In particular, American philosopher and scientist Benjamin Franklin emphasized the value of utilitarian and scientific education in American schools. Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, stressed the importance of civic education to the citizens of a democratic nation. The Enlightenment principles that considered education as an instrument of social reform and improvement remain fundamental characteristics of American education policy.
 

The Enlightenment, Science, and the Scientific Method

Newton’s work demonstrated that nature was governed by basic rules that could be identified using the scientific method. This new approach to nature and discovery liberated 18th-century scientists from passively accepting the wisdom of ancient writings or religious authorities that had never been tested by experiment. In what became known as the Age of Reason, or the Age of Enlightenment, scientists in the 18th century began to actively apply rational thought, careful observation, and experimentation to solve a variety of problems.

Advances in the life sciences saw the gradual erosion of the theory of spontaneous generation, a long-held notion that life could spring from nonliving matter. It also brought the beginning of scientific classification, pioneered by the Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus, who classified close to 12,000 living plants and animals into a systematic arrangement.  Swedish physician and naturalist Carolus Linnaeus had a keen interest in botany and developed a method for classifying plants using a binomial method of scientific nomenclature. His classification system greatly simplified the manner in which organisms were named by organizing them into meaningful groups based upon their physical similarities. Many of his classifications persist unchanged to the present day.

Georges-Louis Leclerc Buffon (Comte de Buffon), (1707-1788), wrote a major work of science titled Histoire naturelle (Natural History), a 36-volume production published between 1749 and 1789. In it, Buffon provided the first naturalistic account of the history of the earth, including a complete description of its mineralogical, botanical, and zoological productions. Using the idea of natural forces from English physicist Sir Isaac Newton, Buffon used only empirical causes to explain natural phenomena. A gifted stylist, Buffon's works became some of the most well-known literary achievements from the Age of Enlightenment. His standing within the French intellectual and political community was underscored by Louis XV, who made him Comte de Buffon in 1773.

In addition to works on philosophy, Kant wrote a number of treatises on various scientific subjects, many in the field of physical geography. His most important scientific work was General Natural History and Theory of the Heavens (1755), in which he advanced the hypothesis of the formation of the universe from a spinning nebula, a hypothesis that later was developed independently by Pierre de Laplace.

Chemistry:  Advances led in the 18th century to the discovery of new metals and their compounds and reactions. Qualitative and quantitative analytical methods began to be developed, and the science of analytical chemistry was born.   the British physiologist Stephen Hales developed the pneumatic trough to collect and measure the volume of gases.  The role of gases in chemistry occurred in Edinburgh in 1756, when British chemist Joseph Black published his studies.   The British physicist Henry Cavendish isolated “flammable air” (hydrogen) in the next decade. He also introduced the use of mercury instead of water as the confining liquid over which gases were collected, making it possible to collect water-soluble gases. This variant was used extensively by the British chemist and theologian Joseph Priestley, who collected and studied almost a dozen new gases. Priestley's most important discovery was oxygen.  In 1774 Priestley visited France and told Lavoisier about his discovery. Lavoisier quickly saw the significance of this substance, and the way was opened for the chemical revolution that established modern chemistry. He used the name “oxygen,” meaning acid former.
 

****

Throughout the 18th century science began to play an increasing role in everyday life. New manufacturing processes revolutionized the way that products were made, heralding the Industrial Revolution. In An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, British economist Adam Smith stressed the advantages of division of labor and advocated the use of machinery to increase production. He urged governments to allow individuals to compete within a free market in order to produce fair prices and maximum social benefit. Smith argued that private competition free from regulation produces and distributes wealth better than government-regulated markets. Since 1776, when Smith produced his work, his argument has been used to justify capitalism and discourage government intervention in trade and exchange. Smith believed that private businesses seeking their own interests organize the economy most efficiently, “as if by an invisible hand.”  Smith’s work for the first time gave economics the stature of an independent subject of study.  

The Enlightenment, Economic Science, and Capitalism

During the Age of Enlightenment, science and logic became new sources of belief for many people living in civilized societies. Scientific studies of the natural world and rational philosophies both led people to believe that they could explain natural and social phenomena without believing in gods or spirits. Religion remained an influential system of belief, however.

Both religion and science drove the development of capitalism, the economic system of commerce-driven market exchange. Capitalism itself influences people’s beliefs, values, and ideals in many present-day, large, civilized societies. In these societies, such as in the United States, many people view the world and shape their behavior based on a belief that they can understand and control their environment and that work, commerce, and the accumulation of wealth serve an ultimate good. The governments of most large societies today also assert that human well-being derives from the growth of economies and the development of technology.

In addition, many people have come to believe in the fundamental nature of human rights and free will. These beliefs grew out of people’s faith in their ability to control the natural world—a faith promoted by science and rationalism. Religious beliefs continue to change to affirm or accommodate these other dominant beliefs, but sometimes the two are at odds with each other.
 

The Enlightenment, Science, and Modern Medicine

The French mathematician and philosopher René Descartes, who also made anatomical dissections and investigated the anatomy of the eye and the mechanism of vision, maintained that the body functioned as a machine.

The end of the 18th century was marked by many true medical innovations. British physicians William Smellie and William Hunter made advances in obstetrics that established this field as a separate branch of medicine. The British social reformer John Howard furthered humane treatment for hospital patients and prison inmates throughout Europe. In 1796 British physician Edward Jenner introduced vaccination to prevent smallpox. His efforts both controlled this dreaded disease and also established the science of immunization.

 

 

The Enlightenment, Medicine, and Human Rights

Improvements in care and treatment began to appear. In 1789 Vincenzo Chiarugi, superintendent of a mental hospital in Florence, Italy, introduced hospital regulations that provided patients with high standards of hygiene, recreation and work opportunities, and minimal restraint. At nearly the same time, Jean-Baptiste Pussin, superintendent of a ward for “incurable” mental patients at La Bicêtre hospital in Paris, France, forbade staff to beat patients and released patients from shackles. Philippe Pinel continued these reforms upon becoming chief physician of La Bicêtre’s ward for the mentally ill in 1793. Pinel began to keep case histories of patients and developed the concept of “moral treatment,” which involved treating patients with kindness and sensitivity, and without cruelty or violence. In 1796 a Quaker named William Tuke established the York Retreat in rural England, which became a model of compassionate care. The retreat enabled people with mental illnesses to rest peacefully, talk about their problems, and work. Eventually these humane techniques became widespread in Europe.

In the painting, Pinel Frees the Insane from Their Chains,French physician Philippe Pinel supervises the unchaining of mentally ill patients in 1794 at La Salpêtrière, a large hospital in Paris. Pinel believed in treating mentally ill people with compassion and patience, rather than with cruelty and violence.   

The Enlightenment, Rationalism and Religion

The influence of scientific thought and the Enlightenment on Protestant theology was reflected in rationalism, a tendency that appeared in the late 17th and 18th centuries.  Rationalism introduced a critical spirit into theology by insisting that traditional beliefs be examined in the light of reason and science. By stressing broad agreement on the major tenets of religion rather than the fine points of theology, it tended to undermine the rigid orthodoxies that had developed earlier in the 17th century. The purest expression of the rationalist tendency was Deism, a philosophical religion that rejected revelation, miracles, and the specific dogmatic teachings of any church.

Another form of Protestant rationalism that became influential in the 18th century was Unitarianism. It had originated in the 16th century on the Continent, where it was called Socinianism, after its founder, Italian reformer Fausto Socinus. After the Toleration Act of 1689, Unitarianism was openly professed in England, and during the 18th century it began to gain adherents in New England as well. Unitarians were less concerned with the doctrines of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus Christ, stressing instead his ethical teachings and example.

The Enlightenment and the Bible

it was not until the Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries that the Bible came to be examined in a truly critical fashion. The Protestant Reformation had reintroduced serious study of the Bible after centuries of neglect, and the new critical methods that developed in historical and literary scholarship during this period were soon applied to biblical texts. Among the first biblical critics were 17th-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, 17th-century Dutch Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza, and French scholar Richard Simon.

The Enlightenment and the Occult

During the Age of Enlightenment, the relationship between science and magic underwent a fundamental readjustment as Western society entered the scientific era.  The rationalists of the Age of Reason and the philosopher-scientists of the Enlightenment, along with the Roman Catholic church and the new Protestantism, pointed out the errors in witchcraft, magic, and the occult arts.  Science was gradually constructing a model for understanding the world that disproved the validity of the main premises of the occult, magic, and similar superstitions,  particularly the theory of correspondences. By the end of the 18th century, witchcraft and the occult had few serious adherents among the enlightened, educated people imbued with the scientific, rational, and logical tenets of the Enlightenment.

*****

Enl, inventions & technology

*******

The Enlightenment and the Study of Cultures

The European Age of Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries marked the rise of scientific and rational philosophical thought. Enlightenment thinkers, such as Scottish-born David Hume, John Locke of England, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau of France, wrote a number of humanistic works on the nature of humankind. They based their work on philosophical reason rather than religious authority and asked important anthropological questions. Rousseau, for instance, wrote on the moral qualities of “primitive” societies and about human inequality. But most writers of the Enlightenment also lacked firsthand experience with non-Western cultures.  (Not true, many Enl. scholars traveled & studied cultures--Humboldt, Bonpland, Mutis, etc.)

Historians became interested in other cultures during the Age of Enlightenment. The development in the 18th century of a secular point of view and principles of rational criticism enabled the French writer and philosopher Voltaire and his compatriot the jurist and philosopher Montesquieu to transcend the provincialism of earlier historical thinking. Their attempts at universal history, however, suffered from their own biases and those prevalent in their culture. They tended to deprecate or ignore irrational customs and to imagine that all people were inherently rational beings and therefore very much alike.  (Also not true--explain why)

The Enlightenment and the Study of Society

As a discipline, or body of systematized knowledge, sociology is of relatively recent origin. The concept of civil society as a realm distinct from the state was expressed in the writings of the 17th century English philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke and of the later thinkers of the French and Scottish enlightenments (see Age of Enlightenment). Their works anticipated the subsequent focus of sociology, as did the later philosophies of history of the Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico and the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel with regard to the study of social change.

The Enlightenment and Marriage

Over the past several hundred years, social, economic, religious, and cultural changes have dramatically altered the institution of marriage, especially the roles of husbands and wives, in Western societies. Many factors contribute to the transformation, including the shift from a rural and agricultural society to an urban industrial economy; the increasing emphasis on individual freedom following the 18th-century Age of Enlightenment; and changes in population characteristics, such as the decline of mortality (death) rates and the increase in average life expectancy.

Scholars have identified two primary themes that influence marital change. First, the trend both in society and within marriage has been toward an increase in equality between men and women. Second, individuals have placed greater emphasis on love as the motivation for—and basis of—marriage. In recent decades, these influences have spread beyond Western societies.

The Enlightenment and Women's Rights

The struggle for women’s rights began in the 18th century during a period of intense intellectual activity known as the Age of Enlightenment. During the Enlightenment, political philosophers in Europe began to question traditional ideas that based the rights of citizens on their wealth and social status. Instead, leaders of the Enlightenment argued that all individuals were born with natural rights that made them free and equal. They maintained that all inequalities that existed among citizens were the result of an inadequate education system and an imperfect social environment. Enlightenment philosophers argued that improved education and more egalitarian social structures could correct these inequalities.

Such radical ideas about equality and the rights of citizens helped inspire both the American Revolution in 1775 and the French Revolution in 1789. However, the ideas of the Enlightenment initially had little impact on the legal and political status of women. Most Enlightenment thinkers had little to say about the position women held in society, and many of their followers assumed that the concepts of liberty, equality, and political representation applied only to men. For example, one of the most influential writers from this period, French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, claimed that women were sentimental and frivolous. Rousseau argued that women were naturally suited to be subordinate companions of men.

In response to Rousseau and others who belittled the role of women in society, English writer Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1791). In this book, Wollstonecraft argued that, like men, women were naturally rational but their inferior education often taught them to be silly and emotional. Education, she believed, should cultivate the natural reasoning capacity in girls. She also claimed that the best marriages were marriages of equals, in which husband and wife were friends as well as legal partners. Wollstonecraft argued that equality in marriage would only come about with equality of education.

The Enlightenment and Concepts of Childhood

The harsh attitudes softened during the Renaissance and Enlightenment as the humanistic spirit of the times caused a rediscovery of the special qualities of childhood. In paintings, for example, young children were depicted more realistically as they played, nursed, and did other childish things, rather than being shown as miniature adults. The importance of childhood as a unique period of development was understood more fully in the 17th and 18th centuries, as reflected in the writings of two important European thinkers. The English philosopher John Locke argued that the newborn infant comes into the world with no inherited predispositions, but rather with a mind as a tabula rasa (Latin for “blank slate”) that is gradually filled with ideas, concepts, and knowledge from experiences in the world. He concluded that the quality of early experiences, particularly how children are raised and educated, shapes the direction of a child’s life. Later, the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau claimed that children at birth are innately good, not evil, and that their natural tendencies should be protected against the corrupting influences of society. The sympathetic, romantic attitude toward children inspired by Rousseau had an important influence on society. For example, the novelists Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo decried the exploitation of child labor and highlighted the need for educational and social reform.

The Enlightenment and Slavery

Humanitarian anti-slavery sentiments began to appear in Europe in the 18th century with roots in Christian religious principles and in the egalitarian philosophy that emerged during the Age of Enlightenment. By 1750 abolitionists were devoting money and time toward ending the slave trade and slavery itself. Their efforts were aided by the egalitarian ideals of the American Revolution (1775-1783) and the French Revolution (1789-1799).  Britain outlawed the slave trade in 1807, as did the United States in 1808. The Netherlands followed in 1814, France in 1815, Spain in 1820.

The Enlightenment and Freedom of the Press

(This section end of Enlightenment page or transition to US Foundations page or move to US Found page)

During the 18th century in Europe and the Americas newspapers became more numerous, books on a greater variety of subjects were published, and arbitrary censorship was slowly reduced. Freedom of the press came about gradually as a result of judicial decisions and popular opposition to political oppression.  (Before judicial & pop opposition, freedom of press leap forward with Enl scholars publishing phil & science, ed reform, tertulias, etc.)

When the American colonists drafted laws before 1776, they borrowed from English precedents regarding personal rights and liberties but went far beyond Great Britain in the fields of freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly. After the American Revolution and the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, these freedoms were guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution.

The first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States, known as the Bill of Rights, guarantee individual rights against intrusion by the federal government. The right to free expression is ensured by the First Amendment, which provides that the government shall make no law abridging freedom of speech or assembly, freedom of the press, or freedom of religion. The 1st Amendment, in broad terms, forbids Congress from enacting laws that would regulate speech or press before publication or punish after publication. At various times many states passed laws in contradiction to the freedoms guaranteed in the 1st Amendment. For example, in the pre-American Civil War period abolitionist literature against slavery was outlawed in the South.  (example of problem of states' rights vs. federalism) 

(return to "Censorship" topic  in Encyclo for info on freedom of press, obscenity, school reading lists, court rulings on it, etc.)

The Enlightenment and Conservatism

Conservatism, a general state of mind that is averse to rapid change and innovation and strives for balance and order, while avoiding extremes. Originally conservatism arose as a reaction against the Age of Enlightenment. Conservatives advocated belief in faith over reason, tradition over free inquiry, hierarchy over equality, collective values over individualism, and divine or natural law over secular law. At a given time in a given society, conservatism emphasizes the merits of the status quo and endorses the prevailing distribution of power, wealth, and social standing. Political conservative thought, however, has reconciled itself with constitutional democracy and individual rights as well as with prudent and orderly social and economic change.

Conservatism received its classic formulation in the works of the British statesman Edmund Burke, notably his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), in which he rejected the principles of the French Revolution and presented a comprehensive philosophy of society and politics. Burke viewed society as an organic whole, with individuals performing various roles and functions. In this society a natural elite—by virtue of birth, wealth, and education—is supposed to provide the leadership. The community is held together by venerable customs and traditions; gradual changes can be made, but only when they have gained wide acceptance.  Burke rejected the principles of equality, popular representation, and popular sovereignty. He also rejected the universal franchise and majority rule (the notion that a numerical majority of the citizenry should be empowered to make decisions). He advocated order, balance, and cooperation in society; restraints on government; and, above all, the supremacy of law—natural, divine, and customary. Burke did allow for limited governmental controls calculated to avoid malfunctions and frictions among the various groups and to moderate economic strife and competition. He was particularly anxious to avoid wide differences—extreme wealth on the one hand and poverty on the other.
 
 

The Enlightenment Heritage Today or            The New Millennium Enlightenment

Introduction

The excesses of the French Revolution, especially Maximilien Robespierre and the Reign of Terror, led many observers associated with the conservative and romantic movements of the late 18th and early 19th centuries to condemn the Enlightenment as having too exalted a view of human reason. These observers argued that the Enlightenment neglected the roles played in human nature by feelings, imagination, spirit, and intuition. Similarly, the Enlightenment, with its zeal for political reform, was criticized as misunderstanding the useful roles that tradition, custom, and habit play in society.

Today, environmentalists criticize the Enlightenment’s worship of science and technology, citing the damage done by human-produced innovations such as pesticides and auto exhaust. Devout Christians find fault with the movement’s strictly secular vision of the state. Communitarians, who believe in a cooperative way of life, take issue with its rampant individualism. Still, Enlightenment social and political ideals live on today in the rhetoric of those who argue for reason, reform, and tolerance in the face of custom, tradition, and orthodoxy.


*********************

The New Millennium Enlightenment

The Combination/Blending of the Enlightenment and Conservatism  (WO's New Mil Enl)

Conservatism, a general state of mind that is averse to rapid change and innovation and strives for balance and order, while avoiding extremes. Originally conservatism arose as a reaction against the Age of Enlightenment. Conservatives advocated belief in faith over reason, tradition over free inquiry, hierarchy over equality, collective values over individualism, and divine or natural law over secular law. At a given time in a given society, conservatism emphasizes the merits of the status quo and endorses the prevailing distribution of power, wealth, and social standing. Political conservative thought, however, has reconciled itself with constitutional democracy and individual rights as well as with prudent and orderly social and economic change.
 

(add notes on above: reconciling Enl thought & conservatism that were in conflict to form WO New Millennium Enlightenment)

Conservatives gradually made important inroads among Republicans and even among Democrats. Eventually the liberal consensus that had been originally established around the New Deal welfare philosophy was seriously challenged. In 1980 renewed support for religious and national values as well as strong opposition to high taxes, government controls, and federal spending accounted for the ascendancy of the conservatives within the Republican Party. This led to the defeat of many liberal senators and representatives in the 1980 national election and the victory of the Republican presidential candidate, Ronald Reagan.

****

for "About" or Enl page, sect. on New Mil Enl.

Comment from:  The "Science" of Sexual Orientation?
Crosswalk, Michael S. Craven Blog, 3.19.2006 

(liberals, secularists, etc.) are only pressing a liberal political agenda when in fact this is simply how many Americans attempt to explain reality. They reject the supernatural as a plausible explanation and therefore can only limit life's answers to the scope of scientific materialism. Former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich articulated this perspective quite clearly in the New Prospect, in which he wrote,

"The great conflict of the 21st century may be between the West and terrorism but terrorism is a tactic and not a belief. The underlying battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernist fanatics; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that beings owe blind allegiance to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is no more than preparation for an existence beyond life; between those who believe that truth is revealed solely through scripture and religious dogma, and those who rely primarily on science, reason, and logic."
 
 

WO purpose is to bridge this conflict, to find common ground, the use of both approaches for reasoned and logical as well as moral and spiritual focus on issues to achieve the common good.

The following on "About" or on Enl page:

However, contrary to Reich's assertion, Christian Theism, at least, is not at odds with legitimate science. In fact, the scientific method which serves as the basis of Western science comes directly from the Christian life and worldview. It was after all Sir Francis Bacon, (1561-1626) known as the "father of inductive reasoning," who led the dramatic shift away from Aristotelian deduction that ruled the intellectual world for nearly 1500 years. This shift in the scientific approach is regarded as a major milestone in Western scientific thought and this shift was the direct result of Bacon's belief in a rational God who was distinct and separate from creation. As such he believed that rational beings made in the image of God could understand nature because it too was created in a rational, orderly manner. Suffice it to say that Christianity and legitimate science are not mutually opposed.

********
 

*****NB!!! Find out more, about this 19th cent. thief of Mutis' cinchona work!!****

In the 19th century, British explorer and ethnobotanist Richard Spruce spent 17 years in the Amazon and Andes regions of South America. He discovered hundreds of new plant species and conducted important research on plants used as hallucinogens for religious purposes by Amazonian tribes. Spruce also collected specimens of the cinchona tree that were later used to establish quinine plantations in Southeast Asia.

**************


Sources:

Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia

Gay, Peter.  The Enlightenment

Hazard, Paul.  The European Mind

Cassirer, Ernst.  The Encyclopedists

Durant, Will and Ariel.  The Story of Civilization.  Vol. 7 Age of Reason, Vol. 8 Voltaire, Vol. 9 Rousseau

 

 

 

 

Johannes Kepler

The contributions of German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler dramatically increased scientists’ understanding of planetary motion; Isaac Newton drew upon Kepler’s work in formulating his theory of gravitation. Kepler also made detailed studies of a supernova.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Precursors of the Enlightenment

Baruch Spinoza  (1632-1677)

A member of the rationalist school of philosophy, Baruch Spinoza pursued knowledge through deductive reasoning rather than induction from sensory experience. Spinoza applied the theoretical method of mathematics to other realms of inquiry.

 

 

 

Sir Francis Bacon

Widely considered the most influential and versatile English writer of the 17th century, Sir Francis Bacon addressed a broad range of topics in his works, including ethics, philosophy, science, law, and history. He also enjoyed a long political career.

 

 

 

 

René Descartes

The first “modern” philosopher and founder of the rationalist school, René Descartes used reason and mathematics to analyze the world. Descartes’ book Meditations on the First Philosophy offered a proof of the existence of God founded on reason. Descartes deduced truths about the outer world based on his sensory perception of it. This method of reasoning became standard philosophical procedure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727)derived the law of universal gravitation, invented the branch of mathematics called calculus, and performed important experiments dealing with the nature of light and color. Newton’s discovery of gravity inspired research on natural laws. The idea that man could unlock the secrets of the natural world helped to bring about the Age of Enlightenment. Reason and education earned a higher status in the society that emerged from this new age.

 

John Locke

In the 17th century English philosopher John Locke developed theories of empiricism that emphasized the role of human experience in the pursuit of knowledge and truth. Many of Locke’s political theories influenced the authors of the Constitution of the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Enlightenment Philosophers

Denis Diderot

Eighteenth-century French philosopher and writer Denis Diderot compiled the Encyclopédie ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des metiers, an encyclopedia that reflected European intellectual thought during the Enlightenment. Diderot spent much of his life writing and editing the 35-volume work, known in short as the Encyclopédie. With this liberal and rationalist reference work, Diderot sought to combat the authority of the church and the prevailing superstitions of his time.

Voltaire

The French writer and philosopher Voltaire is considered one of the central figures of the Age of Enlightenment of the 1700s, a period which emphasized the power of human reason, science, and respect for humanity. Voltaire believed that literature should serve as a vehicle for social change. His biting satires and philosophical writings demonstrated his aversion to intolerance and tyranny.

 

 

Above is on the Scottish Enlightenment

 

 

Above: British Enlightenment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Hume

Scottish philosopher David Hume is considered one of the greatest skeptics in the history of philosophy. Hume thought that one can know nothing outside of experience, and experience—based on one’s subjective perceptions—never provides true knowledge of reality. Even the law of cause and effect was, for Hume, an unjustified belief: If one drops a ball, one cannot be certain it will fall to the ground. Rather, it is only possible to recognize through past experience that certain pairs of events (dropping a ball, the ball striking the ground) have always accompanied one another.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above:  France

 

 

 

Jean Jacques Rousseau

The philosopher and writer Rousseau believed that individuals in a state of nature were morally superior to modern, civilized people. His belief in natural innocence pervaded his ideas on education and society as well as his fiction. In his concern with the exploration of conflicts between moral and sensual values, and his belief in the natural goodness of man, Rousseau was a major influence on 19th-century romanticism, both literary and political.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above: France

Above--The 1700s: Headlines in History

 

Adam Smith

In his famous treatise, The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith argued that private competition free from regulation produces and distributes wealth better than government-regulated markets. Since 1776, when Smith produced his work, his argument has been used to justify capitalism and discourage government intervention in trade and exchange. Smith believed that private businesses seeking their own interests organize the economy most efficiently, “as if by an invisible hand.”

 

Download free trial software from our parent site:  Wilhite Publishing 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Immanuel Kant

Eighteenth-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant explored the possibilities of what reason can tell about the world of experience. In his critiques of science, morality, and art, Kant attempted to derive universal rules to which, he claimed, every rational person should subscribe. In Critique of Pure Reason (1781), Kant argued that people cannot understand the nature of the things in the universe, but they can be rationally certain of what they experience themselves. Within this realm of experience, fundamental notions such as space and time are certain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carolus Linnaeus

 

 

 

 

Comte de Buffon

  

Home About WO Enlightenment US Foundations News/Research News/Opinion WO Advocates Forums & Blogs Take Action WO Contents

Religion & Faith Society Education Children Politics as Usual US Government Judicial & Legal     World News & Issues Country Conditions World Atlas    

Front Page Hot Topics 1, 2, 3