the Early Enlightenment

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Published on 3 Jan 2011
School
UTSG
Department
History
Course
HIS109Y1
The Early Enlightenment
Voltaire
Calas
La Barre
Ecrasez l’infame
-The victory of rationalism, one of the great revolutions of Europe
-Application of empiricism
-What is the context of the revolution
oChange the collective conscious on the continent
oRelationship between man and nature and within community
-Premise: the mind of mind is able to perceive the secrets of nature
-Age of reason: beginning: Discourse on Method
-End: Romantic reaction
The age of reason is clearly identifiable and it is separated from what came before and after
1. Education were seen in term of secular goals and needs
a.Systematic doubt – Discourse on Method
i.Nothing cannot be accepted without evidence
ii.Theology was overthrown as unsupported theories, because there is no prove
iii.Galileo and Newton – human reason than divine revelation
1. Religion is nothing but a superstition
2. After Newton proved the universal laws there developed a growing believe that nature could be understood
and the society of man could be understood, it could be controlled
a.The society could be changed to the better
i.Would be intoned with the laws of nature and human society would operate from laws of
nature
ii.Nature, by definition good, society could be good
iii.If the universe is an elegant machine, and its principles are understood the men could change
the society in order to be more like nature and the universe
iv. Even though we cannot change the absolute laws of the universe, there are things that are
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within out grasp, which cannot change – these are not immutable laws of nature – economic
condition example
b. The needs to be a goal, why is this thinking going on, why are ideas being reevaluated?
i.The reason or goal is utility or practicality
1. Utility – what is useful is good, whatever provided the happiness of people
a.Social goals – society struggles for there to make society better, any theory
which furthers these goals is by definition is good
b. Any human being human deserve life, liberty and happiness – undermined
everything before the age of reason
i.Class structure, absolute authority – just because of the accident of
birth
ii.Why can the church
iii.Happiness of the view for the happiness of the many
iv. The assumption of the world – wrong and working against the
happiness of man
ii.Principles and knowledge must be applied to the human condition in order to make a
difference in out life
1. Take information and make it useful
2. Depended on empirical observation
3. How can the world be better and happier?
4. How can this be institutionalized, so they are able to self regulate
3. The believe on reason lead to pride and confidence among the philosophers
a.Sought to reason to every aspect of the human condition an reduce anything which is irrational and
not provable
b. The revolution has begun
c.The Earth is the vial of tears, full of challenges (before), after trying to create a better place on Earth
i.Attempt to build a better society based on reason, rather than waiting until the next world
ii.Remarkable, intellectual elite: discovered the laws of nature
1. Others applied those laws, founded on the utility and operation of reason
a.What they wrote were increasingly a declaration of war against the world
they were born into
i.Doctrine of rationalist
1. Prove that the king id the best form of government, in fact
other forms are government might be better because they
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Document Summary

The victory of rationalism, one of the great revolutions of europe. What is the context of the revolution: change the collective conscious on the continent, relationship between man and nature and within community. Premise: the mind of mind is able to perceive the secrets of nature. Age of reason: beginning: discourse on method. Example of voltaire: style and value structure of the early age of reason: problems encountered.  england: constitutional experiment, the powers within the state are checked and power of the king is limited and the power of the church cannot decide who is good and bad.  wrote two books: letters on england and newton"s philosophy.  you go by looking and experimenting rather than only thinking about it: principles of empiricism and his experiences, especially in comparison to france it was almost a paradise.  voltaire made the english writings accessible to the rest of europe, by translating them into.