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[14] The Philosophes.doc

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Kenneth Bartlett

November 22, 2010 The Philosophes (the philosophers) - Francois MarieAbout de VOLTAIRE - Calas - La Barre - Escresez l’infame - People could apply experimentation, empirical observation - Revlution changed continent - Who made changes and why? - Why was there a serious attempt to shift collective unconscious --> changes role of individual in community The Enlightenment - Scientists established new world view: chaged relationship b/w man and nature - Mind of man is caable of comprehending laws of nature - Aplication of human reason --> age of reason/enlightenment (light shines through darkness --> beore there we a misunderstanding) - Publication of discourse on menthod (1637) - Age of reason = identifiable --> separates it from before nd affer 1. Education and learning = secular needs and goals -- reformation, middle ages: assumes religious, scriptural texts are true b/c it reveals God - Descates’discourse -- exploded belief that there can be anything that can be acceptd w.o proff (a priori) - Descartes, galiieo, newton: human reason, human agency rather than divine revalation to learn (some people say religion is a distraction, superstition) 2. After newton proves natural laws --> growing belief that nature itself + society of mankind could be undetstoof and controlled - application of human reaon = better results (in temrns of decision making => now use logic) - Changes made that could make human society closer to nature --> if you believe laws of nature are good, human sociert is good - Follow laws of nature and you’ll be good - Men and women through reason + intelligence can alter their own lives: olitical, social, eco- nomic chages: make more like laws of nature - To know what is immutable and why = what is changeable and how - Can’t change laws of nature (e.g. making it summer instead of winter) - Categories which don’t fit into immutable (nature) must be able to be changed: social system, etc. --> these aren’t laws of nature but rather laws of human discretion - Needs to be a goal: why are we going through process of reevaluating old ideas -- has to be a reason - Why we’re rethinking requires a goal: must have utility (must be useful) - Must be applied to human condition --> how is it applicable to US??And how can it benefit us? - Stress on empirical observation: independent of God, church -- distant authority - Whatever is useful = good; what’s useful is determinded by how it affects our social goals (life, liberty, property) and antying that sustains these are GOOD - Anything that’s human = deserves life, liberty, pursuit of happiness -->revolutionary!! - People are now questioning why should someone have total authority just because of an acci- dent of birth? - Why should you sacrifice the happiness of many for the benefit of a few? - Why should you burn someone alive because of a slght difference of religious belief?) ** Based on utility: how can we make worled happier, better? Ensure basic human rights are guaranteed, people have right to equal wealth - revikution in attitude 3. Beliefs led to self-confidence - Philosophes = disciples of rationalists - Reduce as much as possible that is irrationalbe, unable to be proved - Revolution = challenge ideas on which society was built - Position of people = very different - World was seen as “veil of tears” = pilgrims en route to better life (heaven) - Now: people are trying to create a world which may not be heaven, but is pretty good! (you aren’t suffering your entire life) - Build better life on earth via rationalism -- all we have to do is control institutions - Intellectual elite: newton, galileo etc. -- created new bassis for human society (founded on utli- ty, natural law) - Decalrion of war = against world they lived in, traditions and institutions of anciens regime (e.g. against king, church…) - Reason will clear up mess of superstition Example: Voltaire - represents style of values of the age - When confronted of power of absolute state -- faced danger, possibility of dying - Wasn’t born noble - bourgeois - End of 17 c.h - Experimented in all kinds of literary works and genres -- style was brilliant - Very witty, satirical - Imprisoned in Bastille (can’t get out unless king remembers you’re in there -- lettres de cachet), beaten up because of who he made fun of -- but also made powerful friends - Given position @ court: royal historiographer - Even though he was powerful, he was still in danger (people wanted to kill him for making fun of them) --> had to avoid versailles, court - Lived in the country, isolated from court - Voltaire = natural traveller; lived in englnd and observing constitutional institution there, stud- ied newton - Used newton as example of difference b/w france and england --> newton had a huge funeral and buried in Westminster abbey with kings - no autocratic king or church --> in elgnad: constitutional monarchy (king cant make decisions w/o gov’t) * king and church don’t have complete control - Book: Elements of the philosophy of newton --> comparing laws of nature to human thought - Don’t sit and think about things -- empirical observation - Voltaire saw england having free press, egalitarian (not really but compared to france it was paradise) - Through writings he made thought of english theorists availale to europe - Louis xiv conquered europe thorught culture and french language -- everyone knew french as 1 or 2 language - Voltaire translated newton to french -- and it spread - Voltaire = not consistent - Voatire was seduced by realms of glory: almost idolized louis xiv, thought of him as a hero - Since he was royal historiographer -- had to idolize louis xv (who he served) - Afer 1740: increased engergies of abuses of catholic church: how institutionalized repression prevented french nation from developing - Calas = protestant, accused of killing son because he said he’d conert to catholicism; was exe- cuted - Church uses this as opportunity to advance themselves while making protestants look bad - He didnt get a fair trial -- he was protestant - Voltaire worked tirelessly to clear his name - Chevalier de la barre: young boy caught desecrating roadside shrine --> sentenced to death - Church made such an issue of this -- we will kill anyone who doesn’t take our religion seriously - La barre = executed * both cases = turned it into national issue --> church was seen as institution that kept france from development (turn church into enemy) - church stands in your way just as much as absolute monarchy --> movement of social, ecomon- ic change - Ecrasez ‘infame = crush the infamy - The church could do whatever it wanted; voltaire was upset - vaoltiare realized something needded to speak to the people as spiritual comfort => something had to replace the church - Rational, natural alternative: deism (belief in supernatural being) --> no need for scripture, bib- ble -- our reason should explain how this works - Attacked judeo-christian religion: element of divinity = reason - If we rely on reason, evil in world would diminish - Essay on manner and spruity of nations = universal history - Human civilization = dependent on human causation --> world progresses b/c people decide to do things, those actions have consequences which drive other people to act... - Book doesn’t start w/ creation or revelation: set in ancient china and progreess form there com- paring one civilization to the next - Everything is dependent on human action - Civilization: based upon rational thought - Believed jesuits corrupted people’s minds - Hated most groups -- but made generalizations of people - Voltaire: low opinion of the common man (liked witty people -- people as smart as him, didn’t think they deserved much authority b/c they didn’t have the education he did) November 29, 2010 The Philosophes: Rousseau - J.J. Rousseau (1712-1778) - Emile (1762) - The Social Contract (1762) - Different than volaire - Voltaire = didnt’
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