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Lecture

SOAN 2111 Lecture Notes - Social Forces, Mary Wollstonecraft, Social Enterprise


Department
Sociology and Anthropology
Course Code
SOAN 2111
Professor
Linda Hunter

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IV Voltaire (1694-1778)
1) Introduction and Background
• a radical, a liberal
• main philosophical contribution was in the realm of natural religion
Voltaire and Enlightenment
• “rational religion” or “natural religion”
Worked for political reform—feared for his life because of some
of his writings
• Christianity could not enjoy special privilege
• the power of the organized clergy posed an obstacle to civilization
• economic and social exploitation – the atmosphere of censorship –
intellectual rigidity was
Faithful association to Church worldview
Concerned deeply with oppression
Organized clergy posed a threat to progression of society
oMost philosophs believed it to be oppressive—directly
attributed to church
Voltaire saw consequence of religion
Armed with science, reason and empirical facts
Thought backward structure of political organization corruption
Admired England for progress and new empirical thinking
attributable to the church
• new empirical thinking – new ideas, including religion
2) Keeping Freedom and Belief: The New God of Reason
Religion was a touchy subject during the Enlightenment
• attitudes range from blind obedience to outright atheism
• Voltaire was one of the more outspoken critics of religious tolerance
Englightenment Philosophs believed religion needed to be
stripped of all irrational dogmas or doctrines that came with
teachings of Jesus (Deism)
Deism and Voltaire
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Deism – the belief in an unknowable God who set the world in motion
at the beginning of time but has done little to interfere with nature
since then
Allows people to exercise their reason
Can’t believe god exists or does not exist because of existing
religion
He believed you should try to figure our how the world
works and how people get along best
He complained about bureaucracy—about how men held
customary positions
Believed that celibacy of priests goes against nature
• Voltaire’s deism allows people to exercise their reason rather than
rely solely on faith
VIDEO: “ART OF WESTERN WORLD: AGE OF REASON, AGE OF PASSION”
oArt for arts sake enjoyed by Voltaire, challenged by everyday
people
oMore political kinds of art
oMore informal, nature is free and unconstraint
oTime when nature was debated
oEngland picturesque, French is constrained
oGarden is a symbol of world at large
oLandscape of garden gives pleasure
oArt derived from landscape—pictureseque
oArt can be used socially to understand culture
BRITISH ENLIGHTENMENT: SMITH, MACAULAY AND WOLLSTONECRAFT
I CONTEXT: INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
a) Intro to Industrial Revolution and other social forces in the
development of sociological theory
b) Images of the Industrial Revolution and Discussion (Nisbett)
c) Utilitarianism
II ADAM SMITH (1723-1790)
a) Intro and works
III CATHERINE MACAULAY (1731-1791)
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