Science, Epistemology and Metaphysics in the Enlightenment In this era dedicated to human progress, the advancement of the natural sciences is regarded as the main exemplification of, and fuel for, such progress.
Europe, to The term " Enlightenment " refers to a loosely organized intellectual movement, secular, rationalist, liberal, and egalitarian in outlook and values, which flourished in the middle decades of the eighteenth century.
Although it was international in scope, the center of gravity of the movement was in France, which assumed an unprecedented leadership in European intellectual life.
The cosmopolitanism of the Enlightenment was genuine, however. It was a German admirer of d'Alembert and Diderot, Immanuel Kantwho produced the most enduring definition of the movement.
In a famous essay ofKant defined enlightenment as "emancipation from self-incurred tutelage" and declared that its motto should be sapere aude —"dare to know. But the common aspiration defined by Kant—knowledge as liberation—is what permits us to see a unified movement amid much diversity.
ORIGINS In a long-term perspective, the Enlightenment can be regarded as the third and last phase of the cumulative process by which European thought and intellectual life was "modernized" in the course of the early modern period. Its relation to the two earlier stages in this process— Renaissance and Reformation—was paradoxical.
In a sense, the Enlightenment represented both their fulfillment and their cancellation. As the neoclassical architecture and republican politics of the late eighteenth century remind us, respect and admiration for classical antiquity persisted throughout the period.
Yet the Enlightenment was clearly the moment at which the spell of the Renaissance—the conviction of the absolute superiority of ancient over modern civilization—was broken once and for all in the West. The Enlightenment revolt against the intellectual and cultural authority of Christianity was even more dramatic.
In effect, the Protestant critique of the Catholic church—condemned for exploitation of its charges by means of ideological delusion—was extended to Christianity, even religion itself.
At the deepest level, this is what Kant meant by "emancipation from self-incurred tutelage": What made this intellectual liberation possible? The major thinkers of the Enlightenment were in fact very clear about the proximate origins of their own ideas, which they almost invariably traced to the works of a set of pioneers or founders from the mid-seventeenth century.
First and foremost among these were figures now associated with the "scientific revolution"—above all, the English physicist Isaac Newtonwho became the object of a great cult of veneration in the eighteenth century.
Similarly honored were the founders of modern " natural rights " theory in political thought— Hugo GrotiusHobbes, Locke, and Samuel Pufendorf.
These thinkers did not see themselves as engaged in a common enterprise as did their successors in the Enlightenment. What they did share, however, was the sheer novelty of their ideas—the willingness to depart from tradition in one domain of thought after another.
Nor is it an accident that this roster is dominated by Dutch and English names or careers. For the United Provinces and England were the two major states in which divine-right absolutism had been successfully defeated or overthrown in Europe.
If the ideological idiom of the Dutch Revolt — and the English Revolutions —, remained primarily religious, their success made possible a degree of freedom of thought and expression enjoyed nowhere else in Europe. The result was to lay the intellectual foundations for the Enlightenment, which can be defined as the process by which the most advanced thought of the seventeenth century was popularized and disseminated in the course of the eighteenth.
What these countries did provide, however, was the indispensable staging ground for the central practical business of the movement, the publication of books. For most of the century, Amsterdam and London—together with the city-states of another zone of relative freedom, Switzerland—were home to the chief publishers of the Enlightenment, many of whom specialized in the printing of books for clandestine circulation in France.
For France was the leading producer and consumer of "enlightened" literature in the eighteenth century, occupying a dominant position in the movement comparable to that of Italy in the Renaissance or Germany in the Reformation.
The reasons for this centrality lie in the unique position of France within the larger set of European nations at the end of the seventeenth century.
At the end of the long reign of Louis XIV inCatholic France remained by far the most powerful absolute monarchy in Europe—yet one whose geopolitical ambitions had clearly been thwarted by the rise of two smaller, post-absolutist Protestant states, the United Provinces and Great Britain.
The remote origins of the French Enlightenment can be traced precisely to the moment that the sense of having been overtaken by Dutch and English rivals became palpable. The key transitional work, the French Protestant Pierre Bayle 's Dictionnaire historique et critique Critical and historical dictionarywas published from Dutch exile in As the Enlightenment unfolded in France, the promptings of international rivalry remained central.
The major texts of its early phase, Charles-Louis de Secondat de Montesquieu's Lettres persanes ; Persian letters and Voltaire's Lettres philosophiques ; Philosophical letters both held up a critical mirror to what was now theorized as "despotism" in France—an imaginary Muslim one in the case of the first, a very real English mirror in the second.
The last years of the French Enlightenment saw the emergence of a distinctive school of political economy, whose conscious purpose was to find means of restoring the economic and political fortunes of France, in the face of British competition.
By this point, the example of the French Enlightenment had long since inspired or provoked a sequence of other national "enlightenments," according to a similar dynamic of international rivalry and influence.
Second only to France in terms of its contribution to the Enlightenment was its perennial ally in political and cultural contention with England:The Enlightenment brought logic and reason into the way colonists thought about the natural world.
However, religion remained a critical aspect of each colonist’s daily life. The biggest issue the church faced at the beginning of the eighteenth century was the fact that many settlers lived outside the reach of organized churches.
In fact, some thought all the major religions worship the same God! Natural religion was the religion of all mankind. It was centered on man, and it bound all men to a common moral law.
It was centered on man, and it bound all men to a common moral law. The Enlightenment took a delight in finding patterns and order in the natural world and developing taxonomies to organize that knowledge.
The natural world was assumed to have an underlying order and harmony that would be uncovered with increasing knowledge--essentially the ongoing completion of the classification of it.
The Enlightenment, or Age of Enlightenment, rearranged politics and government in earthshaking ways. This cultural movement embraced several types of philosophies, or approaches to thinking and exploring the world.
Generally, Enlightened thinkers thought objectively and without prejudice. Reasoning. How did Enlightenment thinkers affect understandings of the relationships between the natural world and humans? -A new view on the world and many strived to change the way people fought.
How did the Enlightenment evaluate the role of religion in public life? The Enlightenment Set the Stage for New Imperialism - New imperialism was the mid nineteenth and twentieth centuries cultural equivalent to a modern day mafia, its roots entangled in the economic, cultural, and humanistic aspects of life.