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Modernity enlightenment.docx

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Western University
Sociology 2270A/B
Scott Schaffer

Modernity Pages 19-54 The Enlightenment and the Birth of Social Science Introduction: - one of the formative moments in the process came about in the 18 century, in the work of a key group of thinkers: Enlightenment philosophers and their successors - figures like Bacon, Hobbes, Locke effectively expressed their ideas in writing that which was open to the public - understanding modern societies is all about the formation – the invention and reproduction of a modern way of thinking about society - Durkheim said we are concerned with the emergence of new group of ideas about society and the realm of the social - these ideas reflect a changing/evolution society - these helped people to think about society in a different way - Brinton: this period of intense concentration of the social produced an emergent “science of society” seems in controvertible - critical rationalism of the enlightenment is the precursor of the “positivism” of Saint Simon and Comte - critical rationalism combines the application of reason to social, political, and economic issues with a concern with progress emancipation, and improvement, and is critical to the status quo - its application would eliminate prejudice, ignorance, superstitions and intolerance - classical sociologists created a “paradigm,” interconnect ideas, values, principles, and fact which provide both an image of the natural and social world, and a way of thinking about it - the philosophers agreed on the following: - reason: a way of organizing knowledge, tempered by experiment and experience  rational thought based upon clear, innate ideas independent of experience - empiricism: all thought and knowledge about the natural and social world is based on empirical facts  can be apprehend through their sense organs - science: - scientific knowledge was the key to expanding all human knowledge - universalism:- reason and science could be applied to any situation  principles were the same in every situation - progress: - natural/social condition of humans could be improved, resulting in an ever- increasing level of happiness and well-being - individualism: starting point for all knowledge and action  individual reason cannot be subject to a higher authority  therefore society is the sum or product of the thought and action of large number of individuals - toleration:- humans are essentially the same - freedom:- an opposition to constraints on beliefs, trade, communications social interaction, sexuality, and ownership of property - uniformity of human nature – principle characteristics are the same - secularism: secular knowledge free of religion What is Enlightenment? : 1) Bundle of Ideas 2) Intellectual Movement 3) Communicating group/network of intellectuals 4) Institutional centers where intellectuals clustered 5) Publishing industry, an audience for its output 6) Intellectual fashion 7) Belief system, would view, zeitgiest (spirit of age) 8) History and geography - challenged existing concepts about man, society, nature (key domain were clergy) - influenced many cultural innovations, agriculture and manufacturing The Social, Historical, and Geographical location of Enlightenment: - centred in France by “free thinkers” - influenced by English political philosophers - fashionable ripples extended out to Germany, Italy, Russia, America, etc. The Encyclopédie: - treating all aspects of human life and the natural world as open to rationed study is displayed in astonishing depth - commitments to pursuit of knowledge - its plan was to be “instructive and grand” – place man at the center - truly “universalistic” in its approach, all human knowledge could be reconstructed Tradition and Modernity: - until the 18 century, knowledge was continually referred to scriptural sources in the Bible - transmitted though religious institutions which taught of human history tracing back to Adam and Eve  6000 years ago - Kepler, Copernicus, and Galileo’s observation on the universe, which used empirical science, challenged religious views on Earth-centered universe - they challenged the traditional role of clergy because they wanted to redefine knowledge and what was socially important  kept people ignorant and superstitious Social orders/structure: - most philosophers were born into an elite culture - audience was lower middle class, those who’s structure littler to offer - social structure was based off of ownership of land - “new” middle class involved in new forms of manufacture and trade, as well as the traditional merchant order of feudalism, which included the craftsmen, gold smith, tailors, printers, etc. - working class included domestic servants - peasants accounted for 20 million of Frances’s population - clergy, nobility, third estate - philosophers at first at little to offer for lower cases  they were not worth it - equality, democracy, and emancipation had little impact on poor and uneducated - philosophers thought that progress could come about in existing culture by spreading their ideas and influences the common man - Diderot – revolution… take place in the minds of man Women and the enlightenment: the salon: - enlightenment was promoted and prosecuted by a male intellectual elite - women were silent, or as the hostesses of the regular salons and soirées where the philosophers would meet - salon enables some women to rise through both marriage and influence - rational conversations between men and women - men either ignored women completely or upheld traditional views on them - they championed rights of slaves, Jews, children, citizen, but not those of women - still inferior to men and should be their subordinates - women: silent, obedient, subservient, modest, chaste - the saloniéré, who were witty, independent, powerful, well-read; were condemned and mocked Enlightenment as the Pursuit of Modernity: 1) Anti-clericalism: - crush the infamous t
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