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HIS109Y1 (520)

The Early Enlightenment: The Philosophers

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University of Toronto St. George
Kenneth Bartlett

The Early Enlightenment: The Philosophers Montesquieu Dideret Alembert Buffon Encyclopedie - As cleaver as Voltaire was, his satire was destructive, he did not offer anything in exchange, did not offer an alternative paradigm - Good at poking fun, but not good at providing solutions Montesquieu - Was engaged as a politician, but was self consciously rural, but is one of the brightest minds of the th 18 century - Realized that the world needed fundamental changes and understood that he needed to offer alternatives - First book: the Persian letters: observations of Persian traveler in France o Made fun of the institutions o Euro-centric looking at the world from a very small perspective o Absurdities of France, it was a weird place to be o Genre: critiquing ones nation from the eyes of a foreign travelers Gave rise to political debate: spirit of the laws Lockes political treaties American constitution Social view of constitutional development rejected divine interference in human affairs, it only confuses the question Recognized that human beings have control over their lives and can change them People have a context geography, climate, social practices, religious traditions, soil all have a driving effect on creating a mentality Molding men into a pattern forging a new person by making laws
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