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Lecture

SOAN 2111 Lecture Notes - Age Of Enlightenment, Jean-Antoine Watteau, The Burning Times


Department
Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2111
Professor
Linda Hunter

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SOAN 2111 October 22, 2012
THE FRENCH ENGLIGHTENMENT, MONTESQUIEU AND VOLTAIRE
I. The French Enlightenment: Philosophical Foundations
II. Rococo Artists: Watteau (1684-1721) and Chardin (1699-1779)
III. Montesquieu
a. Introduction and background
b. Social science spirit of laws
c. Montesquieu’s classification of society: republic, monarchy,
despotism, nature and types
d. Social phenomena laws cause/effect
e. Conclusions and critique
IV. Voltaire
a. Introduction and background
b. Keeping freedom and belief
I. Enlightenment: Philosophical Foundations
European 18th century was a very important time in terms of colonial expansion
and development
- perfectibility of humanity
- reforms in education, medicine… movements to abolish slavery
- the Neoclassical and romantic movements in art reflection of the impulse
and changes
- there was still intellectual repression: censorship, book burning
o many philosophers sent to jail for their new thoughts
- witch burning all over Europe
- peasants suffered severe poverty and powerlessness
- legal disabilities of women; exclusions from education
o any women with money could get education very few women
- the century ended with the French Revolution
- “The Age of Reason”
- because the physical world was dominated by natural laws it was likely that
the social world was too
- many philosophers disagreed about how the world is and should be
- boils down to reason and observation
- philosophers inspired by John Locke and Newton
o they had to also be skeptical of inherited ‘truths’
- they had to have a reason ‘age of reason’
- create a more rational world with reason
Some core propositions common to 18th century rationalism
1) reason is the universally distinguishing property of humans
2) human nature is everywhere the same
3) institutions are made for ‘men’ rather than ‘men’ for institutions
4) progress is the central law of society
5) the guiding ideal of humankind is the realization of humanity
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