Classical Theory Review
Watteau-A pilgrimage to Cythera-Fantasy elements, smaller and intimate. Represents the life of
aristocrats; scenes of high fashionable people usually in gardens. Pay homage to Venus, mostly
lovers, cupids etc.
Chardin-More realistic, scenes of what actually happens in domestic life. Not art for arts sake
like Watteau; points to the real people of the revolution. Distain for aristocracy and focuses on
the common man and their humble private lives.
-Virtue and strength resides in the lower class, ordinary, people.
Montesquieu- Philosopher with great curiosity about the world and travelled extensively.
-Had 2 ideas; people can develop laws that are reasonable and that reasonable laws differ from
one society to the next.
-He believed laws should allow people as much freedom as possible and allow human nature to
rule most of society.
-He opposed the rule of despotism and believed social phenomenon could be explained through
the same laws as natural sciences.
-Ideal types and laws-Comparative studies of elements of a society that are functioning
-He was very interested in how England was run and he believed it encouraged lots of social
effects due to the separation of powers.
Critiques-Theory is weak, non grounded observations. Too many generalizations.
Relativism-Laws should be based on the way people live and think and not on the desire of
Spirit of laws-Book he wrote that deals with laws and customs and uses a comparative
methodology. He believed there were 2 types of laws; physical laws and the laws of human life.
-He was interested in time and place, geography, laws of nature and thus moved around a lot to
compare and assess cultures.
-Nature is what gives government its form.
-He began to look at social types and distinctions and came up with 3 classifications for society.
Republic-Usually small cities, either democracy (people as a body, manner is established laws,
for the people) or aristocracy (Part of the people, manner is established laws).
-Virtue-They work towards a better society and political virtue resides in love of the country.
Monarchy-A single person; fixed established laws. There are complex systems of stratification
through the division of labour and everyone has a role and the do not deviate from it.
-Honour-Work towards bettering yourself but it is actually unconsciously for the common good.
To your own mind you are working for yourself.
-Monarchy is in medium sized cities and flows naturally into despotism.
Despotism-System where all orders of society have become so weakened that they can offer no
organized resistance to the despot.
-Everyone is equal, but the ruler; governed by fear; large cities.
Voltaire-Focused on the realm of natural religion a radical, novelist, liberal and philosopher, he
was arrested because of his writing because it was so radical.-Attempted to set man free from orthodox religion and believed that man isnt created just by
God but by nature. Idea that the West met many cultures and religions so Christianity could
have no special privilege.
-He wrote the novel candeed where the hero is tested greatly. Idea that early enlightenment
religion still held but was transformed by the scientific mind. He believed that an impersonal
rational deity presided over an orderly creation and that this should be the general religion.
-The power of the organized clergy posted an obstacle to civilization through the restriction of
intellectual life as well as the oppressiveness of the king.
Keeping Freedom and Belief-Religion was a touchy subject during this time but Voltaire
criticized access in religious thinking.
-Non-Catholics had to be careful. But the belief was that religion need to be stripped of the
irrational ideas of religion. He professed the idea of deism.
-Wanted to look at how we can better society and interact better and believed that organized
religion gives false impressions.
Deism-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. Reason and faith are combined.
British Enlightenment-Industrial revolution and other social forces in the development of
sociological theory. People became aware of their world and that it was not an inevitable fate but
a society created by and serving the interests of human beings.
-This period shaped sociological theory and the whole social sciences.
-Great interest in the nature of socie