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HISTORY 3CG3 Lecture Notes - Tabula Rasa, Persian Letters, Scientific Revolution

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Stephen Heathorn

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January 9, 2014
The Enlightenment
The Nature of the Enlightenment
Philosophers, scientists, and in general , the thinkers did not have uniform ideas
Much debate and intellectual unorganized discussion about universal rights
Enlightenment thinkers were usually of the middle class, or autocracy (?) and were not
usually taught and thought because of university knowledge
 universities were owned by Church and a number of thinkers were Christian but a
greater number of them were the opposite
Three Factors crucial to the Enlightenment
1. Scientific Revolution
Newton, Einstein (Theory of Relativity), Galaleo
Scientists changing the world around them through experiments
Newtonian synthesis; created Laws that he argued were the basis of the universe
For example: Gravitational Pull
If we can understand the laws of the universe, we can understand the
John Locke’s New Epistemology
Pioneer of epistemology (understanding of how knowledge works)
Provided a theoretical foundation of what happened before him, and what
will happen after him
Locke argued that when we are born, we are born as a blank slate: we are
Inprintabale: argues against The Original Sin, we are not born with a
fundament of greed, and other sins: we are made into vessels of such due to
our environment
2. New Public Culture
Cafes, salons and House meetings were planned to discuss new ideas, and
debate about reformist ideas
Groups were usually organized by women, and intellectuals who wanted to voice
their opinions

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January 9, 2014
In most of Europe (France) censorship blocked any revolutionary ideas, and
anything not against the social norm
Word of mouth travelled fast: ideas were spread all across Europe
Individuals interested in intellectual ideas who were deemed revolutionary,
dangerous and controversial
 You had to invited into this and they create lodges where social restrictions
were ignored; people of all status were equal there: there were kings,
peasants, middle class men, and even peasants
Lodges were so prone after time, that were was almost 1 in every city
Scientific Academies
Men, and women came together to discuss scientific revolutionary ideas
3. Revolt against Absolutism
Avenues and places of skeptical, controversial thinking were created into society
and was against uniform control of the state, and the Church
Catholic Church was under attack: philosophes argued that Christian dogma
contradicted the laws of the universe/ the logic of the world
Questioning and criticizing the Church, because of its enforcement of ideas that
others (enlighten thinkers) thought were wrong
Christianity concerned about the afterlife; Locke argues that we should make the
world into what we want it to be, not the hereafter; something completely
Types of religious contradictions:
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