what is enlightenment essay research paper what

What Is Enlightenment Essay, Research Paper

What is Enlightenment?

In the 18th century in France Britain and Germany a general

rational move towards greater trust on the human scientific disciplines and their

relevancy to the boundaries of bing cognition began.

This motion was referred to as “The Enlightenment”. As the name

suggests the motion set out to cast a greater on humanity, human nature

and the nature of being. A great desire was shared to find the

extent of our cognition of the universe and for ways to derive a greater

apprehension of it.

This motion relied on a mass rejection of tradition and already called for

the remotion of all established constructs and biass normally held.

The Catholic Church, and so all faiths came under heavy examination

and rejection due to their all permeant clasp on all affairs educational,

scientific and philosophical. Religious ethical motives and guidelines besides came to be

disregarded in philosophical footings.

Science, logic and rationalism became the principal tools of doctrine in

this epoch as was evidenced by the new methods employed in statement,

argument, analysis and review.

Tradition in all its signifiers, be it spiritual or scientific was eschewed in favor

of a clean slate from which to get down re-assessing what we can cognize.

Although Descartes was the first Philosopher to use ground as a tool and

Francis Bacon greatly influenced Enlightenment thought it is John Locke,

an English Protestant philosopher based in Amsterdam who is perceived to

be the father figure of this motion. In France a host of intellectuals

known as the philosophes became a phenomena, and globally minds such

as Hume and Kant helped specify the enlightenment motion.

In order to understand what the Enlightenment is one must see the

historical period it influenced and took its influence from.


The enlightenment took topographic point against a historical background of momentous

cultural alteration. The reformation of the 15th century and the great split

of the Catholic Church into Roman Catholicism and the assorted signifiers of

Protestantism led to much rational humiliation with the prevalent Churches.

The chief consequence of the reformation was its undermining of clerical authorization

in all things rational, artistic and philosophical. This factored greatly in

paving the manner for the rejuvenating Renaissance period experienced in

Europe in the sixteenth and 17th centuries.

During the Renaissance bookmans began to analyze in their ain right, free of

the bonds of religous sponsorship and its entailing restrictions. This signifier

of survey and self-reformation is precisely what the enlightenment was

intended to let the common adult male. One of the deductions of the

motion is that any adult male can break himself through instruction. As such

modern scientific discipline and doctrine prospered and flourished and began to

progress at a more rapid gait than had of all time been seen earlier. A scientific

revolution took topographic point. This revolution farther tore down trust on


Man began to re-assess his place in nature through scientific method.

This trust on scientific method became all pervasive in the doctrine of

the clip.

Furthermore the enlightenment heralded in a more rational clip in political

idea and came at a clip of great revolution. In England inspired by this

new Enlightenment idea, the Monarchy abdicated its sovereignty to the

English Parliament in sixteen-eighty-eight, declarative of a re-appraisal of the

belief that the sovereign was God’s voice on Earth and ruled by Godhead right.

This led to a clip of great growing and alteration in England. England

established the first “Bill of rights” protecting its topics and itself. London

became a widely distributed capital and a Centre of great acquisition and invention.

The state experienced an Agricultural revolution as a consequence of the quickly

progressing scientific advancement brought approximately through the Enlightenment.

In France a similar growing period was being experienced. Paris became the

focal point of all enlightenment idea. Philosophic texts the universe over

were being universally written in French, which was seen as declarative mood of


new rational edification turning around the universe in this clip

period. Paris had become the prototype of cultural edification and was

seen as the pinnacle of what society can be. It set the tone in literature, art,

manner and scientific discipline. Within this freshly rational society an elect group of

prevalent minds, known as the “Philosophes” became cardinal to the spread of

the enlightenment and its ideals.


The Philosophes were Parisian Lords who shared a common involvement in

all things philosophical and scientific. Their hunt and thirst for cognition

exemplifies the rational clime of the enlightenment epoch. They could be

described as the “hawkish wing” of the enlightenment motion as they

were dedicated to the spread of these new ideals. These work forces were non

professional philosophers nor even faculty members in the classical sense, but


her a community of intellectuals with common involvements.

As was encouraged by the scientists, philosophers and novelists of the clip

this group discussed, argued, dissected collaborated and created the key

thoughts prevalent at the clip. They shared a common desire for cognition

and went out of their ways to guarantee the spread of this cognition to all.


unfastened houses were held in the “Salons” of Paris which could be attended by

anyone with an involvement could come and portion in the argument of cognition.

It was one of these work forces, Denis Diderot, who made perchance the most

relevant part of the enlightenment to society. It is a part

characteristic and important of the enlightenment and its relevancy is

Unarguable – The Encyclopaedia. This encyclopedia aimed to be the

comprehensive resource of all the cognition in the universe. It took 20

old ages to finish the undertaking which consisted of about 75,000

entrys and 2,500 illustrations and engravings. It held adequate information to

do up 28 separate volumes.

The Encyclopaedia was of huge captivation to the populace at big. With

the encyclopedia, the Philosophes campaigned to distribute the new scientific discipline

and doctrine to the public readership. This was made possible due to the

farther advances the enlightenment encouraged in the field of printing and

the printed word.


Although the tradition and divinity of the Christian faiths were widely

debated and criticised it would be incorrect to believe that the enlightenment

heralded an age of diminution for the church.

In clip, and after much argument many of the enlightenment minds began to

extole God as still being of scientific and philosophical relevancy. God

became identified with nature in certain thesiss. It was held that the

freshly discovered regularities of the natural universe testified to the being

of a higher power. The illustration of the ticker found in the desert is used to

verify this; If one was to happen a absolutely working ticker in the desert, one

would presume that it was left at that place by a horologist. God is compared to

this horologist and the universe the ticker. The many elaborately working

procedures of the universe are so perfect that they can merely hold been instigated

by some first beginning.

Rather than the fright of a public recoil, the churches jobs lay

elsewhere. The theological trust on miracles and Bible was seen as

ignorant or blind to the new scientific “certainties” discovered by the

Enlightenment. The Scots philosopher David Hume was the principal

critic of this trust on the unprovable non-scientific universe.

The existent relevancy to faith of the enlightenment was its delegating from

being the front man of all scientific and philosophical idea that it had

come to be. Humanity became viewed in a more non-denominational visible radiation,

instead as separate groups of different Religions or credos. Atheism and religion

were viewed every bit, and as such every bit irrelevant to enlightenment

idea. It no longer mattered what you believed in or if you believed in

anything at all. Religous effects on doctrine and scientific discipline was now


Chemical reaction to the Enlightenment

It is undeniable that the enlightenment has profoundly affected the universe today.

The American and Gallic revolutions were innately inspired by the

Enlightenment. Humanity’s renewed religion in the possibility of alteration and

positive advancement was cardinal to the seeds of these revolutions being sown.

However, a greater trust on Science has lead to a similar blind religion in

Sciences across-the-board relevancy. Many would postulate that scientific

idea is no more relevant to the universe than religous ideas and can

merely as easy be called into inquiry.

Criticism of the enlightenment.

The terminal of the Enlightenment period came with the beginning of the

Romantic period of the early 19th century. It was in fact one of the

most celebrated Enlightenment minds Jean-Jacque Rousseau who was at the

head of the Romanticism period.

Rousseau criticised the enlightenment for being to concerned with the

external universe, and that the lone manner one could truly larn anything about

oneself or the universe a greater accent should be placed on internal survey.

Rather than analyze knowledge’s relevancy to the universe, Rousseau wanted to

survey knowledge’s relevancy to himself. Rousseau sought to convey about an

“Inner Enlightenment”.

The Romanticism epoch became a clip where blind optimism, pessimism and

idea were used instead than using ground, principle or scientific discipline. A new

epoch of idea was heralded in.

In modern times such minds as Hans-Georg Gadamer attempt to knock the

still permeant influence of the enlightenment. Gadamer criticicizes the

enlightenment s misgiving of tradition and established boundaries. To disregard

these factors like the enlightenment does denies the impossibleness of doing

them irrelevant. He contends that the clean slate analysis of the universe as

used in the enlightenment can ne’er let us a realistic position of the universe as

in our day-to-day lives there is no manner we can disregard them.

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