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SOAN 2111 Lecture Notes - Montesquieu, History Of Europe, Ideal Type

Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2111
Linda Hunter

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October 26, 2012 SOAN 2111
Enlightened Guys
Charles-Louis baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) separation of powers in
Voltaire (1964-1778) a novelist and outspoken social critic, a figurehead for the
Jean Jacque Rousseau (1712-1778) the best political system is one the reflects “the
general will” of the people
- unity of reason and observation in the scientific method
- what is, but also what is possible
- they were all interest in what is, or what is philosophically possible
- measuring rod of reason philosophes believe they could distinguish those aspects
that were reasonable and good from those that were not
- a better society, a better social arrangement
- all previous knowledge was to be challenged all to be tested and scrutinized and
subjected to the test of reason
- religion, natural sciences, everything was criticized
- the twin foundations of authority sustaining the old regime the church and the
unenlightened state they wanted to change that I want to enlighten people and
criticize the established institutions
- greatest political theorist of the political enlightenment Montesquieu -
Montesquieu (she said this is mostly from the reading because it’s right after the
Introduction and Background
- sought laws
- 2 related ideas
o people can develop laws and that are reasonable
they can do it if they have the freedom to do so
o reasonable laws for one society may be different from those of
another society
good laws depend on what the society is like
- relativism
the idea of what is good or bad depends on the way a particular
society works
- Montesquieu was building society from bottom up
o Law should be based on the way people live and think rather then the
rulers to have subjects to obey them
- allow people as much freedom as possible
- he said that social phenomenon need to be governed by the same laws by the
rest of the universe (that’s positivistic)
Social Science Spirit of Laws
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