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SOCY 122

The Age of Reason • Galileo represents emergence of growth of scientific world view, gives people accurate perception in the world in which they live • Bacon- early imperialist, knowledge should emerge from observation • Isaac newton introduces element of science that reflect great chain of being, assumes that there is an order to the world, can be reduced to set of mathematical principles • Scientific world view is looking for most simple laws that will explain the most phenomena The Age of Reason • Free thinkers see them self as a new republic, part of a free republic : "Republic of Letters", see same objective of expanding knowledge, free thought would be expressed all across western europe Descartes • Wrote "discourse on method", written in french • Wanted ideas to be understood and shared broadly throughout the population, wrote it in french so that everyone could read and understand it, democracy of language • Eliminates knowledge based on prejudice, tradition, or religious precept • Enlightenment: freedom, mastery, progress • Descartes is a rationalist, believes that human mind can understand the world around us • Wants to free mind of all early prejudices, freeing all ideas, rejecting knowledge given before and begin from start • Find fundamental basis of knowledge • "radical doubt" • Four rules: o In order to use radical doubt to get to basis of knowledge, descartes thinks that everyone that used radical doubt can start to gain useful knowledge o Wants us to let go of all prejudices, don’t worry about the scripture, be sceptical, doubt everything o Take any questions and divide them into small parts, analyze the smallest part and then link it back o Review thoroughly • Reject all previous knowledge, notion of doubting • He begins to doubt whether this is a useful quest, if he doubts everything than it means he is thinking, if he thinks than he must exist • "I think therefor I am", (I doubt therefor I am) • Didn’t see self as imperialist, he was a rationalist because always exploring his mind • Challenge all truths • Assemble variables into general laws which establishes an experimental basis for natural sciences The enlightenment Period • French philosophes: smith hume rousseau, represent french thinkers that look at the world around them and how humanity can shape a better world in which they live • Hume, smith, ferguson are part of scottish enlightenment • Enlightenment thinkers have many interests, most comes to fundamental logic or scientific knowledge, based on gathering of observational material • Emerging sociological perspective • Perfectibilty of human kind through and understanding of the world, best knowledge possible= progress Montesquieu • Philosophe • Creates basis for early form of sociological thought, need to study society to change it politically • Was fairly right, travelled a lot "world of letters" • Wanted to explore the ideas by directly talking to scientists as they develop their ideas • "persian letters" wrote about france in 19th century, uses travellers in persian who are coming into france to write about their experience • Use persian travellers to reflect on life in france • Brings free thinkers in "salon", structure was first discussion of gov't and then he would have someone make a presentation • Goal of salon: Keep people focused on gov't, identify biggest issue, someone systematically present ideas to the group • major concern was political subject of france wanted to eliminate inequality • Went to england to see its emerging parliamentary system • Wanted to look at the Roman Empire • Studied fall of the roman empire, gathered historical information and looks through it to try to understand the structure of rome and why it failed • Not just chance or fortune whether a gov't succeeds or not, has to do with "the spirit of the people", if gov't governs in spirit of the people than they will be happy • "spirit of the laws" is his biggest project • Wants to get at spirit of people and laws that govern these people • Thought that as he studies
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