HIS109Y1 Lecture Notes - Age Of Enlightenment

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Published on 30 Nov 2011
School
UTSG
Department
History
Course
HIS109Y1
Alexandra Zylka February 7th, 2011
HIS109Y – Science and Progress
The idea of scientism and progress
- The idea that tomorrow will be better than today
- The idea of being part of western civilization
- Science and technology will ensure that we will be happier, wealthier…
- The idea of progress enters along with the enlightenment that the idea of progress
becomes a part of our vision
- Any improvement to the human condition was left to the next world.
- The only way for the world to get better – in the view of divine revelation – if God made it
better.
- The idea that we are in control of our own destinies.
- The eternal absolutes must always be obeyed – any deviance, must be punished.
- The Enlightenment changed the traditions and the patterns of western thought.
oGalileo, Newton
- Superstitious, the divine = the unanswerable, unknown forces.
- If we understand the universe, we will get away from the things we thought ran the
universe.
- Complete faith in reason
oChanged our world
- Reason set of the idea of progress
oApplication of reason in the 19th century was scientific
oIn order to discover what is true and good
- “Scientism” – forces us to be rational and reasonable.
oResponsibility of scientists, thinkers, to guide progress to be good.
- Facilitate this production of a better world
- European society had problems
oConditions that were too obvious – the poor
- Progress allowed for you to change the situation; human needs.
- Establish what you want to do – political power to those with no property, power to those
that do.
- Karl Marx – identified progress, believed that progress can be achieved through Utonian
laws.
- Aftermath of WW1 – the belief in progress – became seriously questioned.
oHuman reason
o1960s – Western societies questioned progress as a goal itself.
- 19th century
oAny nation in western, it was hard to believe that progress wasn’t there.
oCatalogue, observe the obvious clear benefits.
oScience and reason created a better world for us.
- Mechanized industry was the single most powerful force in shaping the 19th century.
o2.5 x population in one century in Europe
oExplosion of population = explosion in demand = produce more goods = prices
fell
oEuropeans had to go off the continent to search for new raw materials
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Document Summary

The idea that tomorrow will be better than today. The idea of being part of western civilization. Science and technology will ensure that we will be happier, wealthier . The idea of progress enters along with the enlightenment that the idea of progress becomes a part of our vision. Any improvement to the human condition was left to the next world. The only way for the world to get better in the view of divine revelation if god made it better. The idea that we are in control of our own destinies. The eternal absolutes must always be obeyed any deviance, must be punished. The enlightenment changed the traditions and the patterns of western thought: galileo, newton. Superstitious, the divine = the unanswerable, unknown forces. If we understand the universe, we will get away from the things we thought ran the universe. Scientism forces us to be rational and reasonable.

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