POL320- sept. 13, 2012
The Enlightenment: not a tight philosophical tradition.
- Period refers to cultural ideas and literary ideas, philosophical ideas and political ideas
- Participants in the enlightenment thought of themselves living in the enlightenment
- The enlightenment calls themselves as enlightenment
- Self-conscious identification with light
- Shedding light towards reason
*****Enlightenment themes****** (think about this for the exam!!)
- Public sphere
******Enlightenment values****** (this as well)
Rationalism th the Age of Reason
- 17 century rationalism:descarte-1637, hobbes-1658, Spinoza-1663, newton-1687, *LOCKE-
o Applies reason.
- 18 C as an age of reason: Voltaire-1759, Rousseau-1760, Adam Smith-1776, Kant-1785,
o Radical form of rationalism
a) First difference is that everyone to use their own reason.
- Enlightenment: everyone has reason. Not just using philosophical reason. But everyone uses
reason. Its generalized rationalism
b) Reason functions the same way for all human beings. (Fundamental principle) doesn’t
matter where you are born. External influences to shut down reason. But its not the same
conclusion but in principle there are something called ‘human reason’
- We have to get to that. Makes us different… that’s surface. But we are trying to get at what we
are the same. Everyone use reason will solve problems
c) Using one’s own reason, one is liberated
a. From ignorance (enlightenment): reason will give good answers to moral, scientific
questions. Bad answers mean not enough info. If you want to make better place,
you need to use reason and educate them/ 17 rationalism is stressed of general
public to use their ‘reason’
b. From external authority (autonomy): tradition ex. (your parents) act like your
parents do. They had negative influence so they want you to be your own person.
Encourage to use reason
c. From the past: liberates you from the past. Meaning that this tradition is a burden.
Stuck with it. Ex. Cant choose your family. Enlightenment says that you can break
the change of your past. Ex. French Rev. Radical swiping the past-institution is gone and got rid of it. And started the calendar all over again. Idea that you can start
time again was radically liberating. Because they did it for 100s of years… is it right?
Idea that simply because it existed for a long time doesn’t give authority over you.
- This is the reason for the theme of enlightenment
a) Pernicious influence of the Church
a. Anti-clerical not anti-God
- 17 C, intro of idea of toleration. Don’t become clear form of secularism until 18 C. 18h C,
enlightenment figure made them use reason. Science making world a better place. Asking
themselves…”what’s holding us back’ and they aimed at religion in the form of anti-clerical. Ex.
Marx against God..religion and wants independence…
- For enlightenment thinkers they dislike the church. They thought they were thriving on
ignorance, corrupt, interested in material power. If you only liberate them, they will give reason
b) Religion within the bounds of reason
a. Deism, natural religion: idea looking out in the world that there is a God. Universe itself
is evidence that there is a God. Everyone has access to religion via religion. religion
without church or priest
- Trying to develop religious belief within reason. Outside of the church, enlightenment begins a
very complex fraught relationship with politics and religion..
- Enlightenment is a radical movement of secular state with independences with religion and it
becomes part of a private sphere. It is not to say th