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5 major themes of the enlightenment

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Sociology 2240E
Charles Levine

5 Major Themes of the Enlightenment • potential for human perfectibility • refers the growth of rationality and the growth of reason ■ science moral judgement • science is the tool that rationality can use to build a better world • we judge what aught to be a case before we do it • we don't do things because we can simply do them, we do them if we reason that we aught to do them • science is the tool of prior moral judgement • degree's of freedom - the idea that we can and do make mistakes • social change is due to human intervention - social stability is due to human intervention - change and stability aren't natural • they're nominalists and atomists ( things are due to human intention and people can step outside and think about them) The Romantic Conservative Reaction to the Enlightenment • going to attack the enlightenment on two points ◦ the person ◦ the image of the social • they deny our potential for perfectibility ◦ rational ■ science - has limits ■ cannot have unbiased, perfect knowledge of the world ■ multiple ways of knowing the world - intuition, religion, art , music, magic - each equally valid ◦ reason ■ Kant and Hume attack reason - cause, time and space are hardwired in brains, used to make a sense of surroundings ◦ emotion - our emotional reactions are tied to our physical/biological nature, we can't fully control them, they exert limits on our ability to be rational and reasonable ■ emotions, feeling states due to very early socialization put limits on our ability to be rational and reasonable • Burke - 1729- 1797 ◦ most famous for a book called "refections of the revolution in france" ◦ idea was not to make the mistake the french would have made ◦ the first person to start to develop a systemic notion of the social ■ starts to play with the idea of organism - ◦ argues that people have pro social tendencies by nature ◦ we are disposed to being social , were willing to trust ◦ must be properly regulated in order to produce the social bond ( require language, tradition and social order) ◦ without socialization family and education society starts to disintegrate ◦ underlying the contracts of society is what burke is talking about ◦ the idea that were willing to trust and willing to play the game - willing to be with the other ◦ something moulds us to participate ◦ we don't have the knowledge or science that will allow us to fully understand how social order does or works ◦ people are the carriers of meaning across time ◦ organism exists now and is a function of time Sat Nov 24 th Xmas exam 12:00PM 50 M/C – Readings Short Answer & Definitions Major Themes of The Enlightenment 1. Potential for human perfectibility 2. Potential refers to growth of rationality (science) and growth of reason (moral judgments) 3. We do things if we reason that we ought to do them 4. Science is the tool of prior moral judgment 5. Degrees of freedom (idea that we can and do make mistakes) 6. Social change is
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