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What is the Enlightenment.docx

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Zaheer Baber

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What is the Enlightenment?
Cultural movement of intellectuals in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Began first in Europe and later in American Colonies.
Purpose was to reform society, using reason, challenge the ideas of faith &
tradition, and advance knowledge through the scientific method.
Promoted Scientific thought, skepticism and intellectual exchange.
It opposed superstition, and intolerance. Catholic churches were the main targets.
The ideas of the enlightenment have had a major impact on culture, politics, and
governments of the Western World.
The scientific revolution is closely tied to the Enlightenment as its discoveries
overturned many traditional concepts and introduced new perspectives on nature
and man’s place within it.
There was a rise of capitalism and a birth of socialism
Sparked by:
Baruch Spinoza
John Locke
Pierre Bayle
Isaac Newton
What is the Social Contract?
The aim of the social contract is to determine whether there can be a legitimate
political authority.
In order to accomplish more and remove himself from the state of nature, a person
must enter into a social contract with others.
Everyone will be free because they all forfeit the same amount of rights and
impose the same duties on all.
Rousseau argues it is illogical for a man to give in his freedom for slavery.
Two parts:
a. General Will
i. The legislative power within the state.
ii. The sovereign, which consists of the whole population including
iii. Common good or Common interest
iv. Example: Legitimate laws are founded on the general wills of the
citizens. In obeying the law, the individual citizen is only obeying
himself as a member of the political society.
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