SOAN 2111 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: History Of Science, Social Forces, Philosophes

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Chapter 1: The Enlightenment Philosophical Foundations
The Basics
- the term enlightenment refers to the intellectual movement that developed
within the 100 year span beginning with the English Revolution and
culminated in the French Revolution
- the movement’s leading representatives were theorists who exercised
considerable influence from Edinburgh to Napes, Paris to Berlin, Boston to
Philadelphia
- they were all committed to the rational pursuit of truth but also had their
philosophical and political differences
- the British thinkers were relatively content with their social and political
institutions
- the Germans were almost entirely un-political
- French Philsophes who were vehemently criticized both church and state,
campaigning unrelentingly for the basic freedoms freedom from arbitrary
power, freedom of speech, freedom of trade, freedom to realize one’s talents
Prehistory of the Enlightenment
- a secular mode of thought had been slowly developing several centuries
earlier
- 1300-1700, social forces first weakened and then shattered whatever unity
Christendom had possessed
- medieval science was teleological:
o it’s purpose was to attain knowledge for the sake of God
o the purpose of science was to discover God’s intentions for his
creation
- the medieval mind was dominated by the Church
The Enlightenment
- regarded all aspects of human life and works as the subject to critical
examination
- self-examination was essential function of thought
- through reason and science, humanity could attain ever greater degrees of
freedom, and hence, ever greater degrees of perfection
- the Philosophes attacked the privileges of the feudal classes and their
restraints upon the commercial and industrial classes
- Newton believed that order is immanent in the universe and is discovered by
observation
o That became the methodological presmise of the 18th century and it is
this premise that distinguishes it from the 17th century
- Condillac argues the necessity of a new method that unities the empirical
with the rational
- Galileo’s discovery that falling bodies accelerate at a constant rate, and
Kepler’s observation that there exists a fixed relationship between the
distance of a planet from the sun and the speed of it’s revolution, Newton
arrived at the law that the sun attracted planets to itself at a rate directly
proportional to their mass and inversely proportional to the square of the
distance between them.
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Document Summary

Philadelphia they were all committed to the rational pursuit of truth but also had their philosophical and political differences the british thinkers were relatively content with their social and political institutions the germans were almost entirely un-political. French philsophes who were vehemently criticized both church and state, campaigning unrelentingly for the basic freedoms freedom from arbitrary power, freedom of speech, freedom of trade, freedom to realize one"s talents. A secular mode of thought had been slowly developing several centuries earlier. 1300-1700, social forces first weakened and then shattered whatever unity. Medieval science was teleological: it"s purpose was to attain knowledge for the sake of god: the purpose of science was to discover god"s intentions for his creation the medieval mind was dominated by the church. Newton believed that order is immanent in the universe and is discovered by observation: that became the methodological presmise of the 18th century and it is this premise that distinguishes it from the 17th century.

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