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Encyclopedia > The Age of Enlightenment
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History of Western philosophy
Pre-Socratic philosophy
Ancient philosophy
Medieval philosophy
Renaissance philosophy
17th-century philosophy
18th-century philosophy
19th-century philosophy
20th-century philosophy
Postmodern philosophy
Contemporary philosophy
See also:
Eastern philosophy
Haskalah

The Age of Enlightenment refers to the 18th century in European philosophy, and is often thought of as part of a larger period which includes the Age of Reason. Western philosophy has a long history conventionally divided into three large eras: the Ancient, Medieval and Modern. ... Pre-Socratic philosophers are often very hard to pin down, and it is sometimes very difficult to determine the actual line of argument they used in supporting their particular views. ... This page lists some links to ancient philosophy. ... Medieval philosophy is the philosophy of Western Europe in the era now known as medieval or the Middle Ages, the period roughly extending from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance. ... By Region: Italian Renaissance Northern Renaissance -French Renaissance -German Renaissance -English Renaissance As with all periods, there is a wide drift of dates, reasons for catagorization and boundaries. ... (Redirected from 17th century philosophy) 17th-century Western philosophy is conventionally seen as being dominated by the coming of symbolic mathematics and rationalism to philosophy, many of the most noted philosophers were also mathematicians. ... (Redirected from 19th century philosophy) In the 18th Century the philosophies of The Enlightenment would begin to have dramatic effect, and the landmark works of philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau would have an electrifying effect on a new generation of thinkers. ... The 20th century brought with it upheavals that produced a series of conflicting developments within philosophy over the basis of knowledge and the validity of various absolutes. ... Postmodern philosophy is an eclectic and elusive movement characterized by the postmodern criticism and analysis of Western philosophy. ... It is almost always difficult, some would say impossible, to describe the shape of any particular era while it is happening. ... In the West, the term Eastern philosophy refers very broadly to the various philosophies of the East, namely Asia, including China, India, Japan, and the general area. ... Haskalah (Hebrew: השכלה; enlightenment, intellect, from sekhel, common sense) was a religious movement among European Jews in the late 18th century that advocated adopting enlightenment values, pressing for better integration into European society, and increasing education in secular studies, Hebrew, and Jewish history. ... (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ... A satellite composite image of Europe Europe is geologically and geographically a peninsula, forming the westernmost part of Eurasia. ... The Age of Reason is either Thomas Paines book The Age of Reason. ...


The term also more specifically refers to a historical intellectual movement, "The Enlightenment." This movement advocated rationality as a means to establish an authoritative system of ethics, aesthetics, and knowledge. The intellectual leaders of this movement regarded themselves as courageous and elite, and regarded their purpose as leading the world toward progress and out of a long period of doubtful tradition, full of irrationality, superstition, and tyranny (which they believed began during a historical period they called the "Dark Ages"). This movement also provided a framework for the American and French Revolutions, as well as leading to the rise of capitalism and the birth of socialism. It is matched by the high baroque era in music, and the neo-classical period in the arts. Rationalism, also known as the rationalist movement, is a philosophical doctrine that asserts that the truth should be determined by reason and factual analysis, rather than faith, dogma or religious teaching. ... Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the science (study) of morality. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is good or right. ... Aesthetics (also esthetics) is the philosophy of beauty and art. ... Knowledge is the awareness and understanding of facts, truths or information gained in the form of experience or learning (a posteriori), or through introspection (a priori). ... Progress can refer to: The idea of a process in which societies or individuals become better or more modern (technologically and/or socially). ... A tradition is a story or a custom that is memorized and passed down from generation to generation, originally without the need for a writing system. ... The Dark Ages (or Dark Age) is a metaphor with multiple meanings and connotations. ... The period of the French Revolution is very important in the history of France and the world. ... Capitalism has been defined in various ways (see Capitalism). ... The color red and particularly the red flag are traditional symbols of Socialism. ... Adoration, by Peter Paul Rubens: dynamic figures spiral down around a void: draperies blow: a whirl of movement lit in a shaft of light, rendered in a free bravura handling of paint In arts, the Baroque (or baroque) is both a period and the style that dominated it. ... Neoclassicism (sometimes rendered as Neo-Classicism or Neo-classicism) is the name given to quite distinct movements in the visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture. ...


Another important movement in 18th century philosophy, which was closely related to it, was characterized by a focus on belief and piety. Its proponents attempted to use rationalism to demonstrate the existence of a supreme being. In this period, piety and belief were integral parts in the exploration of natural philosophy and ethics in addition to political theories of the age. However, prominent Enlightenment philosophers such as Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau questioned and attacked the existing institutions of both Church and State. Natural philosophy is a term applied to the objective study of nature and the physical universe before the development of modern science. ... Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the science (study) of morality. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is good or right. ... The Elections and Parties Series Democracy Liberal democracy History of democracy Referenda Representative democracy Representation Voting Voting systems Elections Elections by country Elections by calender Electoral systems Politics Politics by country Political campaigns Political science Political philosophy Related topics Political parties Parties by country Parties by name Parties by ideology... Voltaire François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, deist and philosopher. ... Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778) was a Franco-Swiss philosopher, writer, political theorist, and self-taught composer of The Age of Enlightenment. ... A church building is a building used in Christian worship. ... A state is an organized political community occupying a definite territory, having an organized government, and possessing internal and external sovereignty. ...


The 18th century also saw a continued rise of empirical philosophical ideas, and their application to political economy, government and sciences such as physics, chemistry and biology. Empiricism (greek εμπειρισμός, from empirical, latin experientia - the experience) is generally regarded as being at the heart of the modern scientific method, that our theories should be based on our observations of the world rather than on intuition or faith; that is, empirical research and a posteriori inductive reasoning rather... Political economy was the original term for the study of production and the relationships of buying and selling and their relationship to laws, customs and government. ... When stuff moves. ... Chemistry (in Greek: χημεία) is the science of matter and its interactions with energy and itself (see physics, biology). ... Main article: Life There are many universal units and common processes that are fundamental to the known forms of life. ...


According to scholarly opinion, the Age of Reason preceded the Enlightenment (if it is thought of as a short period), and the Renaissance and Reformation preceded it (if it is thought of as a long period). Furthermore, Romanticism followed the Enlightenment. The Age of Reason is either Thomas Paines book The Age of Reason. ... By Region: Italian Renaissance Northern Renaissance *French Renaissance *German Renaissance *English Renaissance The Renaissance was an influential cultural movement which brought about a period of scientific revolution and artistic transformation, at the dawn of modern European history. ... The Protestant Reformation was a movement which began in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church, but ended in division and the establishment of new institutions, most importantly Lutheranism, Reformed churches, and Anabaptists. ... Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement in the history of ideas that originated in late 18th century Western Europe. ...

William Blake's Newton as a divine geometer (1795)
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William Blake's Newton as a divine geometer (1795)

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William Blakes Newton (1795), colour print with pen & ink and watercolour. ... William Blakes Newton (1795), colour print with pen & ink and watercolour. ... William Blake (November 28, 1757 – August 12, 1827) was an English poet, painter and printmaker, or Author & Printer, as he signed many of his books. ...


Short history of Enlightenment philosophy

According to historians, the boundaries of the Enlightenment cover much of the 17th century as well, though others term the previous era "The Age of Reason." For the present purposes, these two eras are split; however, it is equally acceptable to think of them conjoined as one long period. This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... 17th-century Western philosophy is conventionally seen as being dominated by the coming of symbolic mathematics and rationalism to philosophy, many of the most noted philosophers were also mathematicians. ... Lumping and splitting refers to a well known problem in any discipline which has to place individual examples into rigorously defined catagories. ...


Throughout the 1500s and half of the 1600s, Europe was ravaged by religious wars. When the political situation stabilized after the Peace of Westphalia and at the end of the English Civil War, there was an upheaval which overturned the notions of mysticism and faith in individual revelation as the primary source of knowledge and wisdom - perceived to have been a driving force for instability. Instead, (according to those that split the two periods), the Age of Reason sought to establish axiomatic philosophy and absolutism as the foundations for knowledge and stability. Epistemology, in the writings of Michel de Montaigne and René Descartes, was based on extreme skepticism, and inquiry into the nature of "knowledge." This goal in the Age of Reason, which was built on self-evident axioms, reached its height with Benedictus de Spinoza Ethics, which expounded a pantheistic view of the universe where God and Nature were one. This idea became central to the Enlightenment from Newton through to Jefferson. Centuries: 15th century - 16th century - 17th century Decades: 1450s 1460s 1470s 1480s 1490s - 1500s - 1510s 1520s 1530s 1540s 1550s Years: 1500 1501 1502 1503 1504 1505 1506 1507 1508 1509 1510 Events and Trends Leonardo da Vinci paints the Mona Lisa External links 1500-1524 Events 1500-1509 Events Categories... Centuries: 16th century - 17th century - 18th century Decades: 1550s 1560s 1570s 1580s 1590s - 1600s - 1610s 1620s 1630s 1640s 1650s Years: 1600 1601 1602 1603 1604 1605 1606 1607 1608 1609 Events and Trends November 5, 1605 - The Gunpowder Plot to blow up the British Parliament. ... The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster by Gerard Terborch (1648) Banquet of the Amsterdam Civic Guard in Celebration of the Peace of Münster by Bartholomeus van der Helst, 1648 The Peace of Westphalia, also known as the treaties of Münster and Osnabrück, is the series... The term English Civil War (or Wars) refers to the series of armed conflicts and political machinations which took place between Parliamentarians and Royalists from 1642 until 1651, specifically to the first (1642–1645) and to second (1648–1649) (civil wars between the supporters of King Charles I and the... Michel de Montaigne Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (February 28, 1533 – September 13, 1592) was an influential French Renaissance writer, generally considered to be the inventor of the personal essay. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher, mathematician and part time mercenary. ... ...


The Enlightenment was, in many ways, influenced by the ideas of Pascal, Leibniz, Galileo and other philosophers of the previous period. There was a wave of change across European thinking, which is exemplified by the natural philosophy of Sir Isaac Newton, a mathematical genius and brilliant physicist. The ideas of Newton, which combined his ability to fuse axiomatic proof with physical observation into a coherent system of verifiable predictions, set the tone for much of what would follow in the century after the publication of his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. Portrait of Blaise Pascal Blaise Pascal (June 19, 1623 – August 19, 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. ... Gottfried Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (July 1, 1646 in Leipzig - November 14, 1716 in Hannover) was a German philosopher, scientist, mathematician, diplomat, librarian, and lawyer of Sorb descent. ... Galileo Galilei (Pisa, February 15, 1564 – Arcetri, January 8, 1642), was a Tuscan astronomer, philosopher, and physicist who is closely associated with the scientific revolution. ... Natural philosophy is a term applied to the objective study of nature and the physical universe before the development of modern science. ... Sir Isaac Newton in Knellers portrait of 1689. ... Newtons own copy of his Principia, with hand written corrections for the second edition. ...


But Newton was not alone in the "systematic revolution" in thinking; he was merely the most visible and famous example. The idea of uniform laws for natural phenomena mirrored the greater systematization in a variety of studies. If the previous era was the age of reasoning from first principles, the Enlightenment saw itself as looking into the mind of God by studying creation and deducing the basic truths of the world. This view may seem over-reaching to some in the present present-day, where the belief that human beings apprehend a truth that is more provisional, but in that era it was a powerful notion, which turned on its head the previous basic notions of the sources of legitimacy.


For those that divide the "Age of Reason" from the "Enlightenment," the precipitating figure of Newton offers a specific example of the importance of the difference, because he took empirically observed and codified facts, such as Kepler's planetary motion, and the "opticks" which had explained lenses, and began to create an underlying theory of how they functioned. This shift united the pure empiricism of Renaissance figures as Sir Francis Bacon with the axiomatic approach of Descartes. The belief in a comprehensible world, under an orderly Christian God, provided much of the impetus for philosophical inquiry. On the one hand, religious philosophy focused on the importance of piety, and the majesty and mystery of God's ultimate nature; on the other hand, ideas such as Deism stressed that the world was accessible to the faculty of human reason, and that the "laws" which governed its behavior were understandable. The notion of a "clockwork god" or "god the watchmaker" became prevalent, as many in the time period saw new and increasingly sophisticated machines that kept order as a powerful metaphor for a seemingly orderly universe. Sir Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans (January 22, 1561 – April 9, 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, spy, freemason and essayist. ... Historical and modern Deism are defined by the view that reason, rather than revelation or tradition, should be the basis of belief in God. ...


Central to this philosophical tradition was the belief in objective truth independent of the observer, expressible in rigorous human terms. The quest for the expression of this truth would lead to a series of philosophical works which alternately advanced the scepticist position that it is impossible to know reality in the realm of experience, and the idealist position that the mind was capable of encompassing a reality which lies outside of its direct experience. The relationship between being and perception would be explored by George Berkeley and David Hume, and would eventually be the problem that occupied much of the Kant philosophy. Skepticism (Commonwealth spelling: Scepticism) can mean: Philosophical skepticism - a philosophical position in which people choose to critically examine whether the knowledge and perceptions that they have are actually true, and whether or not one can ever be said to have absolutely true knowledge; or Scientific skepticism - a scientific, or practical... In philosophy, idealism is any theory positing the primacy of spirit, mind, or language over matter. ... Bishop George Berkeley George Berkeley (bark-lee) (March 12, 1685 – January 14, 1753), also known as Bishop Berkeley, was an influential Irish philosopher whose primary philosophical achievement is the advancement of what has come to be called subjective idealism, summed up in his dictum, Esse est percipi (To be is... David Hume David Hume (April 26, 1711 (May 7th by the Gregorian reckoning of his time, his birthday is celebrated by the International Humanist and Ethical Union on May 7th)– August 25, 1776) was a Scottish philosopher and historian and, with Adam Smith and Thomas Reid among others, one of... A painting of Immanuel Kant in his middle age Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 in Königsberg – February 12, 1804) was a German philosopher from Prussia, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ...


The focus on law, involving the separation of rules from the particulars of behavior or experience, was essential to the rise of a philosophy which had a much stronger concept of the individual; according to this concept, his rights were based on ideals other than ancient traditions, or tenures, and instead reflected the intrinsic quality of a person as defined by the philosophers of the age. John Locke wrote his Two Treatises on Government to argue that property was not a family right by tenure, but an individual right brought on by mixing labour with the object in question, and securing it from other use. This focus on process and procedure would be honoured, at times, in the breach, as England's own "Star Chamber" court would attest to. However, once the concept established that there were natural rights, as there were natural laws, it became the basis for the exploration of what we would now call economics, and political philosophy. John Locke John Locke (August 29, 1632–October 28, 1704) was a 17th-century philosopher concerned primarily with society and epistemology. ... The Star Chamber was an English court of law at the royal Palace of Westminster that began sessions in 1487 and ended them in 1641 when the court itself was abolished. ... Economics (deriving from the Greek words οίκω [oikos], house, and νέμω [nemo], rules hence household management) is the social science that studies the allocation of scarce resources to satisfy unlimited wants. ... Political philosophy is the study of the fundamental questions about the state, government, politics, property, law and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should...


In his famous 1784 essay "What Is Enlightenment?," Immanuel Kant defined it as follows: 1784 was a leap year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... A painting of Immanuel Kant in his middle age Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 in Königsberg – February 12, 1804) was a German philosopher from Prussia, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ...

"Enlightenment is man's leaving his self-caused immaturity. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one's own understanding without the guidance of another. Such immaturity is self-caused if its cause is not lack of intelligence, but by lack of determination and courage to use one's intelligence without being guided by another. The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! Have courage to use your own intelligence!"

The Enlightenment began then, from the belief in a rational, orderly and comprehensible universe - then proceeded, in stages, to form a rational and orderly organization of knowledge and the state, such as what is found in the idea of Deism. This began from the assertion that law governed both heavenly and human affairs, and that law invested the king with his power, rather than the king's power giving force to law. The conception of law as a relationship between individuals, rather than families, came to the fore, and with it the increasing focus on individual liberty as a fundamental right of man, given by "Nature and Nature's God," which, in the ideal state, would encompass as many people as possible. Thus The Enlightenment extolled the ideals of liberty, property and rationality which are still recognizable as the basis for most political philosophies even in the present era; that is, of a free individual being mostly free within the dominion of the state whose role is to provide stability to those natural laws. Intelligence is usually said to involve mental capabilities such as the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend ideas and language, and learn. ... A motto is a phrase or collection of words intended to describe the motivation or intention of a sociological grouping or organization. ... Sapere aude is a Latin phrase meaning Dare to know. ... Historical and modern Deism are defined by the view that reason, rather than revelation or tradition, should be the basis of belief in God. ...


The "long" Enlightenment is seen as beginning the Renaissance drive for humanism and empiricism. It was built on the growing natural philosophy that espoused the application of algebra to the study of nature, and the discoveries brought about by the invention of the microscope and the telescope. There was also an increasingly complex philosophy of the role of the state and its relationship to the individual. The turbulence of religious wars had brought about a desire for balance, order, and unity. 1852 microscope Compound microscope made by John Cuff in 1750 A microscope (Greek: micron = small and scopos = aim) is an instrument for viewing objects that are too small to be seen by the naked or unaided eye. ... 50 cm refracting telescope at Nice Observatory. ... The term nation-state, while often used interchangeably with the terms unitary state and independent state, refers properly to the parallel occurence of a state and a nation. ...


Two good examples which help illustrate why many historians split the Age of Reason from the Enlightenment are the works of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. Hobbes, whose ideas are a product of the age of reason, systematically pursues and categorizes human emotion, and argues for the need of a rigid system to hold back the chaos of nature in his work Leviathan. While John Locke is clearly an intellectual descendant of Hobbes, for him the state of nature is the source of all rights and unity, and the state's role is to protect, and not to hold back, the state of nature. This fundamental shift, from a rather chaotic and dark view of nature, to a fundamentally orderly view, is an important aspect of the Enlightenment. Frontispiece of Leviathan Leviathan (1651) by Thomas Hobbes, is one of the most famous and influential books of political philosophy. ...


A second wave of Enlightenment thinking began in France with the Encyclopædists. The premise of their enterprise was that there is a moral architecture to knowledge. Mixing personal comment with the attempt to codify knowledge, Diderot and D'Alembert sought liberation for the mind in the ability to grasp knowledge.


The Enlightenment was suffused with two competing strains. One was characterised by an intense spirituality, and faith in religion and the church. In opposition to this, there was a growing streak of anti-clericalism which mocked the perceived distance between the supposed ideals of the church, and the practice of priests. For Voltaire "Écrasez l'infâme!" would be a battle cry for the ideal of a triumphant, rational society. Anti-clericalism is a historical movement that opposes religious (generally Catholic) institutional power and influence in all aspects of public and political life, and the encroachment of religion in the everyday life of the citizen. ...


By the mid-Century, what was regarded by many as the pinnacle of purely Enlightenment thinking was being reached with Voltaire - whose combination of wit, insight, and anger made him the most hailed man of letters since Erasmus. Born Francois Marie Arouet in 1694, he was exiled to England between 1726 and 1729, and there he studied Locke, Newton, and the English Monarchy. Voltaire's ethos was that "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" - that if people believed in what is unreasonable, they will do what is unreasonable. Voltaire François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, deist and philosopher. ... Erasmus Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus (also Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam) (October 27, probably 1466 – July 12, 1536) was a Dutch humanist and theologian. ...


This point is, perhaps, the central point of contention over the Enlightenment: whether the construction of reason and credibility creates, inherently, as many problems as it deals with. From the perspective of many crucial figures of the Enlightenment, credible reports, viewed through the lens of reason annealed knowledge, empirical observation, and knowledge should be compiled into a source which stood as the authoritative one. The opposing view, which was held with increasing force by the Romantic movement and its adherents, is that this process is inherently corrupted by social convention, and bars truth which is unique, individual and immanent from being expressed.


The Enlightenment balanced then, on the call for "natural" freedom which was good, without a "license" which would, in their view, degenerate. Thus the Age of Enlightenment sought reform of the Monarchy by laws which were in the best interest of its subjects, and the "enlightened" ordering of society. The idea of enlightened ordering was reflected in the sciences by, for example, Carolus Linnaeus' categorization of biology. A painting of Carolus Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as Carl von Linné   listen?, and who wrote under the Latinized name Carolus Linnaeus (May 23, 1707 – January 10, 1778), was a Swedish botanist who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of taxonomy. ... Main article: Life There are many universal units and common processes that are fundamental to the known forms of life. ...


In mid-century Germany, the idea of philosophy as a critical discipline began with the work of Lessing and Herder. Both argued that formal unities that underlie language and structure hold deeper meaning than a surface reading, and that philosophy could be a tool for improving the virtue, political and personal, of the individual. This strain of thinking would influence Kant's critiques, as well as subsequent philosophers seeking an apparatus to examine works, beliefs and social organization, and it is particularly notable in the history of later German philosophy.


These ideas became volatile when it reached the point where the idea that natural freedom was more self-ordering than hierarchy, since hierarchy was the social reality. As that social reality repeatedly disappointed the fundamentally optimistic ideal that reform could end disasters, there became a progressively more strident naturalism which would, eventually, lead to the Romantic movement.


Thinkers of the last wave of the Enlightenment - Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant as well as Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson and the young Johann Wolfgang von Goethe adopted the increasingly used biological metaphor of self-organization and evolutionary forces. This represented the impending end of the Enlightenment: which believed that nature, while basically good, was not basically self-ordering - see Voltaire's Candide for an example of why not. Instead, it had to be ordered with reasoning and maturity. The impending Romantic view saw the universe as self-ordering, and that chaos was, in a real sense, the result of excesses of rational impositions on an organic world. Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778) was a Franco-Swiss philosopher, writer, political theorist, and self-taught composer of The Age of Enlightenment. ... A painting of Immanuel Kant in his middle age Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 in Königsberg – February 12, 1804) was a German philosopher from Prussia, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ... His Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was one of the earliest attempts to study the historical development of industry and commerce in Europe. ... Order: 3rd President Vice President: Aaron Burr; George Clinton Term of office: March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809 Preceded by: John Adams Succeeded by: James Madison Date of birth: April 13, 1743 Place of birth: Shadwell, Virginia Date of death: July 4, 1826 Place of death: Charlottesville, Virginia First Lady... Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (pronounced [gø tÉ™]) (August 28, 1749 – March 22, 1832) was a German writer, politician, humanist, scientist, and literary philosopher. ...


This boundary would produce political results: with increasing force in the 1750s there would be attempts in England, Austria, Prussia and France to "rationalize" the Monarchical system and its laws. When this failed to end wars, there was an increasing drive for revolution or dramatic alteration. The Enlightenment idea of rationality as a guiding force for government found its way to the heart of the American Declaration of Independence, and the Jacobin program of the French Revolution, as well as the American Constitution of 1787. Events and Trends Scientific navigation is developed. ... A declaration of independence is a proclamation of the independence of a newly formed or reformed independent state, usually from a part or the whole of the territory of another nation, or a document containing such a declaration. ... The period of the French Revolution is very important in the history of France and the world. ... Page I of the Constitution of the United States of America Page II of the United States Constitution Page III of the United States Constitution Page IV of the United States Constitution The Syng inkstand, with which the Constitution was signed The Constitution of the United States is the supreme...


The French Revolution, in particular, represented the Enlightenment philosophy through a violent and messianic lens, particularly during the brief period of Jacobin dictatorship. The desire for rationality in government led to the attempt to end the Catholic Church, and indeed Christianity in France, in addition to changing the calendar, clock, measuring system, monetary system and legal system into something orderly and rational. It also took the ideals of social and economic equality further than any other major state to that time. In the context of the French Revolution, a Jacobin originally meant a member of the Jacobin Club (1789-1794). ...


But with Napoleon the Enlightenment and its style breathed its last, and longest breath. Napoleon reorganized France into departments, and funded a host of projects. One example of the Enlightenment at work in Revolutionary and Imperial France was the metric system. In a uniform system of weights and measures, based on axiomatic units - the radius of the earth, the weight and thermodynamic properties of water - prices would float based on measurable quantities, rather than price being fixed. It was thought that this would liberate industry from the tyranny of old production laws, and hence from Medieval structure. Bonaparte as general Napoleon Bonaparte ( 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a general of the French Revolution and was the ruler of France as First Consul (Premier Consul) of the French Republic from November 11, 1799 to May 18, 1804, then as Emperor of the French (Empereur des Français... The International System of Units (abbreviated SI from the French phrase, Système International dUnités) is the most widely used system of units. ...


Key conflicts within Enlightenment-period philosophy

As with most periods, the individuals present within the Enlightenment were more aware of their differences than their similarities; within the period there were schools of thought which saw themselves as widely divergent, even as later perspective has come to consider them similar.


One key conflict is on the role of theology - during the previous period, there had been the splintering of the Catholic Church, not, as with previous schisms, largely along political control of the papacy, but along doctrinal lines between Catholic and Protestant theologies. Consequently, theology itself became a source of partisan debate, with different schools attempting to create rationales for their viewpoints, which then, in turn, became generally used. Thus philosophers such as Spinoza searched for a metaphysics of ethics. This trend would influence pietism and eventually transcendental searches such as those by Immanuel Kant. Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... Baruch Spinoza Benedictus de Spinoza (November 24, 1632 - February 21, 1677), named Baruch Spinoza by his synagogue elders and known as Bento de Spinoza or Bento dEspiñoza in the community in which he grew up. ... Pietism was a movement, in the Lutheran Church, lasting from the late-17th century to the mid-18th Century. ... A painting of Immanuel Kant in his middle age Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 in Königsberg – February 12, 1804) was a German philosopher from Prussia, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ...


Religion was linked to another feature which produced a great deal of Enlightenment thought, namely the rise of the Nation State. In medieval and Renaissance periods, the state was restricted by the need to work through a host of intermediaries. This system existed because of poor communication, where localism thrived in return for loyalty to some central organization. With the improvements in transportation, organization, navigation and finally the influx of gold and silver from trade and conquest, the state began to assume more and more authority and power. The response against this was a series of theories on the purpose of, and limits of state power. The Enlightenment saw both the cementing of absolutism and counter-reaction of limitation advocated by a string of philosophers from John Locke forward, who influenced both Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The term nation-state, while often used interchangeably with the terms unitary state and independent state, refers properly to the parallel occurence of a state and a nation. ... The term absolutism can mean: A belief in absolute truth moral absolutism, the belief that there is some absolute standard of right and wrong political absolutism, a political system where one person holds absolute power, also called apolytarchy from Gr. ... John Locke John Locke (August 29, 1632–October 28, 1704) was a 17th-century philosopher concerned primarily with society and epistemology. ... Voltaire François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, deist and philosopher. ... Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778) was a Franco-Swiss philosopher, writer, political theorist, and self-taught composer of The Age of Enlightenment. ...


Within the period of the Enlightenment, these issues began to be explored in the question of what constituted the proper relationship of the citizen to the monarch or the state. The idea that society is a contract between individual and some larger entity, whether society or state, continued to grow throughout this period. A series of philosophers, including Rousseau, Montesquieu, Hume and ultimately Jefferson advocated this idea. Furthermore, thinkers of this age advocated the idea that nationality had a basis beyond mere preference. Philosophers such as Johann Gottfried von Herder reasserted the idea from Greek antiquity that language had a decisive influence on cognition and thought, and that the meaning of a particular book or text was open to deeper exploration based on deeper connections, an idea now called hermeneutics. The original focus of his scholarship was to delve into the meaning in the Bible and in order to gain a deeper understanding of it. These two concepts - of the contractual nature between the state and the citizen, and the reality of the "nation" beyond that contract, had a decisive influence in the development of liberalism, democracy and constitutional government which followed. Johann Gottfried Herder Johann Gottfried von Herder (August 25, 1744 - December 18, 1803), German poet, critic, theologian, and philosopher, is best known for his concept of the Volk and is generally considered the father of ethnic nationalism. ... Hermeneutics (Hermeneutic means interpretive), is a branch of philosophy concerned with human understanding and the interpretation of texts. ... The holy jewish scripture: The Torah. ... Note: This is not an article about Liberalism in the United States or in any other specific country, but it discusses liberalism as a world wide ideology. ...


At the same time, the integration of algebraic thinking, acquired from the Islamic world over the previous two centuries, and geometric thinking which had dominated Western mathematics and philosophy since at least Eudoxus, precipitated a scientific and mathematical revolution. Sir Isaac Newton's greatest claim to prominence came from a systematic application of algebra to geometry, and synthesizing a workable calculus which was applicable to scientific problems. The Enlightenment was a time when the solar system was truly "discovered": with the accurate calculation of orbits, such as Halley's comet, the discovery of the first planet since antiquity, Uranus by William Herschel, and the calculation of the mass of the Sun using Newton's theory of universal gravitation. The effect that this series of discoveries had on both pragmatic commerce and philosophy was momentous. The excitement of creating a new and orderly vision of the world, as well as the need for a philosophy of science which could encompass the new discoveries would show its fundamental influence in both religious and secular ideas. If Newton could order the cosmos with "natural philosophy," so, many argued, could political philosophy order the body politic. Algebra is a branch of mathematics which studies structure and quantity. ... Geometry (from the Greek words Geo = earth and metro = measure) is the branch of mathematics first popularized in ancient Greek culture by Thales (circa 624-547 BC) dealing with spatial relationships. ... Eudoxus was the name of two ancient Greeks: Eudoxus of Cnidus (c. ... For other uses of the term calculus see calculus (disambiguation) Calculus is a central branch of mathematics, developed from algebra and geometry, and built on two major complementary ideas. ... Comet Halley as taken with the Halley Multicolor Camera on the ESA Giotto mission. ... Atmospheric characteristics Atmospheric pressure 120 kPa Hydrogen 83% Helium 15% Methane 1. ... Sir Wilhelm Friedrich Herschel (Hanover, November 15, 1738 – August 25, 1822 Slough, then in Buckinghamshire now in Berkshire) was a German-born British astronomer and composer who became famous for discovering the planet Uranus, and made many other astronomical discoveries. ...


Within the Enlightment there were two main theories contending to be the basis of that ordering: "divine right" and "natural law." It might seem that divine right would yield absolutist ideas, and that natural law would lead to theories of liberty. The writing of Jacques-Benigne Bossuet (1627-1704) set the paradigm for the divine right: that the universe was ordered by a reasonable God, and therefore his representative on earth had the powers of that God. The orderliness of the cosmos was seen as proof of God; therefore it was a proof of the power of monarchy. Natural law, began, not as a reaction against divinity, but instead, as an abstraction: God did not rule arbitrarily, but through natural laws that he enacted on earth. Thomas Hobbes, though an absolutist in government, drew this argument in Leviathan. Once the concept of natural law was invoked, however, it took on a life of its own. If natural law could be used to bolster the position of the monarchy, it could also be used to assert the rights of subjects of that monarch, that if there were natural laws, then there were natural rights associated with them, just as there are rights under man-made laws. Jacques-Benigne Bossuet (September 27, 1627 - April 12, 1704) was a French bishop, theologian, and court preacher. ... Thomas Hobbes: detail from a portrait by John Michael Wright (National Portrait Gallery, London) Thomas Hobbes (April 5, 1588 – December 4, 1679) was a noted English political philosopher, most famous for his book Leviathan (1651). ... Frontispiece of Leviathan Leviathan (1651) by Thomas Hobbes, is one of the most famous and influential books of political philosophy. ... Human rights are rights which some hold to be inalienable and belonging to all humans. ...


What both theories had in common, however, was the need for an orderly and comprehensible function of government. The "Enlightened Despotism" of, for example, Catherine the Great of Russia is not based on mystical appeals to authority, but on the pragmatic invocation of state power as necessary to hold back chaotic and anarchic warfare and rebellion. Regularization and standardization were seen as good things because they allowed the state to reach its power outwards over the entirety of its domain and because they liberated people from being entangled in endless local custom. Additionally, they expanded the sphere of economic and social activity. Catherine II (Екатерина II Алексеевна: Yekaterína II Alekséyevna, April 21, 1729 - November 6, 1796), born Sophie Augusta Fredericka, known as Catherine the Great, reigned as empress of Russia from June 28, 1762, to her death on November 6, 1796. ...


Thus rationalization, standardization and the search for fundamental unities occupied much of the Enlightenment and its arguments over proper methodology and nature of understanding. The culminating efforts of the Enlightenment: for example the economics of Adam Smith, the physical chemistry of Antoine Lavoisier, the idea of evolution pursued by Goethe, the declaration by Jefferson of "inalienable" rights, in the end overshadowed the idea of "divine right" and direct alteration of the world by the hand of God. It was also the basis for overthrowing the idea of a completely rational and comprehensible universe, and led, in turn, to the metaphysics of Hegel and the search for the emotional truth of Romanticism. His Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was one of the earliest attempts to study the historical development of industry and commerce in Europe. ... Portrait of Monsieur Lavoisier and his Wife, by Jacques-Louis David Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (August 26, 1743 – May 8, 1794) was a French nobleman prominent in the histories of chemistry, finance, biology, and economics. ... Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement in the history of ideas that originated in late 18th century Western Europe. ...


Role of the Enlightenment in later philosophy

The Enlightenment's role in modern and post-modern thought

The Enlightenment occupies a central role in the justification for the movement known as modernism. The neo-classicizing trend in modernism came to see itself as being a period of rationality which was overturning foolishly established traditions, and therefore analogized itself to the Encyclopediasts and other philosophes. A variety of 20th century movements, including liberalism and neo-classicism traced their intellectual heritage back to the "reasonable" past, and away from the "emotionalism" of the 19th century. Geometric order, rigor and reductionism were seen as virtues of the Enlightenment. The modern movement points to reductionism and rationality as crucial aspects of Enlightenment thinking which it is the inheritor of, as opposed to irrationality and emotionalism. In this view, the Enlightenment represents the basis for modern ideas of liberalism against superstition and intolerance. Influential philosophers who have held this view are Jürgen Habermas and Isiah Berlin. Le Corbusiers Villa Savoye, 1929-30: The modern style is noted for its rigorous geometrical forms. ... Note: This is not an article about Liberalism in the United States or in any other specific country, but it discusses liberalism as a world wide ideology. ... Neoclassicism (sometimes rendered as Neo-Classicism or Neo-classicism) is the name given to quite distinct movements in the visual arts, literature, theatre, music, and architecture. ... Reductionism in philosophy describes a number of related, contentious theories that hold, very roughly, that the nature of complex things can always be reduced to (explained by) simpler or more fundamental things. ... In philosophy, the word rationality has been used to describe numerous religious and philosophical theories, especially those concerned with truth, reason, and knowledge. ... Note: This is not an article about Liberalism in the United States or in any other specific country, but it discusses liberalism as a world wide ideology. ... Superstition is a set of behaviors that are related to magical thinking, whereby the practitioner believes that the future, or the outcome of certain events, can be influenced by certain specified behaviors. ... There is also a movie called Intolerance. ... Habermas speaking with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, 2004 Jürgen Habermas (born June 18, 1929 in Düsseldorf, Germany) is a philosopher and social theorist in the tradition of critical theory. ... Sir Isaiah Berlin OM (June 6, 1909 – November 5, 1997) was a political philosopher and historian of ideas, born in Riga, now in Latvia. ...


This view asserts that the Enlightenment was the point where Europe broke through what historian Peter Gay calls "the sacred circle," where previous dogma circumscribed thinking. The Enlightenment is held, in this view, to be the source of critical ideas, such as the centrality of freedom, democracy and reason as being the primary values of a society. This view argues that the establishment of a contractual basis of rights would lead to the market mechanism and capitalism, the scientific method, religious and racial tolerance, and the organization of states into self-governing republics through democratic means. In this view, the tendency of the philosophes in particular to apply rationality to every problem is considered to be the essential change. From this point on, thinkers and writers were held to be free to pursue the truth in whatever form, without the threat of sanction for violating established ideas. Statue of Liberty - Liberty is one meaning of freedom. For proper-noun uses of Freedom, see Freedom (disambiguation). ... In philosophy, reason (from Latin ratio, by way of French raison) is the faculty by means of which or the process through which human beings perform thought, especially abstract thought. ... Capitalism has been defined in various ways (see Capitalism). ... The characterization phase can require extended and extensive study, even centuries. ... Tolerance is a social, cultural and religious term applied to the collective and individual practice of not persecuting those who may believe, behave or act in ways of which one may not approve. ... The Philosophes (French for Philosophers) were a group of French thinkers of the 18th century Enlightenment. ...


With the end of the Second World War and the rise of post-modernity, these same features came to be regarded as liabilities - excessive specialization, failure to heed traditional wisdom or provide for unintended consequences, and the "romanticization" of Enlightenment figures - such as the Founding Fathers of the United States, prompted a backlash against both "Science" and Enlightenment based dogma in general. Philosophers such as Michel Foucault are often understood as arguing that the "age of reason" had to construct a vision of "unreason" as being demonic and subhuman, and therefore evil and befouling, whence by analogy to argue that rationalism in the modern period is, likewise, a construction. Alternatively, the Enlightenment was used as a powerful symbol to argue for the supremacy of rationalism and rationalization, and therefore any attack on it is connected to despotism and madness, for example in the writings of Gertrude Himmelfarb and Robert Nozick. Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... Postmodernity (also called post-modernity or the postmodern condition) is a term used by philosophers, social scientists, art critics and social critics to refer to aspects of contemporary art, culture, economics and social conditions that are the result of the unique features of late 20th century and early 21st century... Founding Fathers are persons instrumental not only in the establishment (founding) of a political institution, but also in the origination of the idea of the institution. ... Michel Foucault Michel Foucault (October 15, 1926 – June 26, 1984) was a French philosopher and held a chair at the Collège de France, a chair to which he gave the title The History of Systems of Thought. His writings have had an enormous impact on other scholarly work: Foucault... Gertrude Himmelfarb (born August 8, 1922) is an American historian known for her studies of the intellectual history of the Victorian era, particularly of Social Darwinism; and as a conservative cultural critic. ... Robert Nozick (November 16, 1938 – January 23, 2002) was an American philosopher and Pellegrino University Professor at Harvard University. ...


This is not to be confused with the role of specific philosophers or individuals from the Enlightenment, but the use of the term in a broad sense by writers in the present of varying points of view.


Precursors of the Enlightenment

Polish Brethren (also called Antitrinitians, Arians, or Socinians) was the name of a Christian Polish sect from the 16th century. ... Louis XIV King of France and Navarre By Hyacinthe Rigaud (1701) Louis XIV (Louis-Dieudonné) (September 5, 1638–September 1, 1715) reigned as King of France and King of Navarre from May 14, 1643 until his death. ... Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547) was King of England and Lord of Ireland (later King of Ireland) from 22 April 1509 until his death. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ... Portrait of Blaise Pascal Blaise Pascal (June 19, 1623 – August 19, 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. ... Thomas Hobbes: detail from a portrait by John Michael Wright (National Portrait Gallery, London) Thomas Hobbes (April 5, 1588 – December 4, 1679) was a noted English political philosopher, most famous for his book Leviathan (1651). ... Sir Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans (January 22, 1561 – April 9, 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, spy, freemason and essayist. ... Galileo Galilei (Pisa, February 15, 1564 – Arcetri, January 8, 1642), was a Tuscan astronomer, philosopher, and physicist who is closely associated with the scientific revolution. ... Algebra is a branch of mathematics which studies structure and quantity. ... Analytic geometry, also called coordinate geometry and earlier referred to as Cartesian geometry, is the study of geometry using the principles of algebra. ...

Important figures of the Enlightenment era

  • French Encyclopédistes
  • Jean le Rond d'Alembert (1717-1783) French. Mathematician and physicist, one of the editors of Encyclopédie
  • Thomas Abbt (1738-1766) German. Promoted what would later be called Nationalism in Om Tode für's Vaterland (On dying for one's nation).
  • Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) French. Literary critic known for Nouvelles de la république des lettres and Dictionnaire historique et critique.
  • James Boswell (1740-1795) Scottish. Biographer of Samuel Johnson, helped established the norms for writing Biography in general.
  • Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Irish. Parliamentarian and political philosopher, best known for pragmatism, considered important to both liberal and conservative thinking.
  • Denis Diderot (1713-1784) French. Founder of the Encyclopédie, speculated on free will and attachment to material objects, contributed to the theory of literature.
  • Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American. Statesman, scientist, political philosopher, author. As a philosopher known for his writings on nationality, economic matters, aphorisms published in Poor Richard's Alamanac and polemics in favor of American Independence. Involved with writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of 1787.
  • Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) English. Historian best known for his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
  • Johann Gottfried von Herder German. Theologan and Linguist. Proposed that language determines thought, introduced concepts of ethnic study and nationalism, influential on later Romantic thinkers. Early supporter of democracy and republican self rule.
  • David Hume Scottish. Historian, philosopher and economist. Best known for his empiricism and scepticism, advanced doctrines of naturalism and material causes. Influenced Kant and Adam Smith.
  • Immanuel Kant German. Philosopher and physicist. Established critical philosophy on a systematic basis, proposed a material theory for the origin of the solar system, wrote on ethics and morals. Influenced by Hume and Isaac Newton. Important figure in German Idealism, and important to the work of Fichte and Hegel.
  • Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American Statesman, political philosopher, educator. As a philosopher best known for the Declaration of Independence and his interpretation of the Constitution which he pursued as president. Argued for natural rights as the basis of all states, argued that violation of these rights negates the contract which bind a people to their rulers and that therefore there is an inherent "Right to Revolution."
  • Gotthold Lessing (1729-1781) German Dramatist, critic, political philosopher. Created theatre in the German language, began reappraisal of Shakespeare to being a central figure, and the importance of classical dramatic norms as being crucial to good dramatic writing, theorized that the center of political and cultural life is the middle class.
  • John Locke (1632-1704) English Philosopher. Important empricist who expanded and extended the work of Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes. Seminal thinker in the real of the relationship between the state and the individual, the contractual basis of the state and the rule of law. Aruged for personal liberty with respect to property
  • Moses Mendelssohn
  • Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu
  • Leandro Fernández de Moratín (1760-1828) Spanish. Dramatist and translator, support of republicanism and free thinking. Transitional figure to Romanticism.
  • Isaac Newton
  • Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American. Pamphleteer and polemicist, most famous for Common Sense attacking England's domination of the colonies in America.
  • Abbé Raynal
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Adam Smith
  • Benedict Spinoza
  • Voltaire
  • Condorcet
  • Helvétius
  • Cesare Beccaria
  • Mikhail Lomonosov
  • Ekaterina Dashkova
  • Marquis de Condorcet
  • Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Olympe de Gouges
  • Paul d'Holbach
  • Fontenelle
  • Madame de Geoffren
  • Antoine Lavoisier
  • G.L. Buffon
  • Francois Quesney
  • John Wilkes

The 18th century writers in France who compiled the French Encyclopédie (Encyclopedia), most prominently Diderot, were known as the Encyclopédistes. ... Jean le Rond dAlembert, pastel by Maurice Quentin de la Tour Jean Le Rond dAlembert (November 16, 1717 – October 29, 1783) was a French mathematician, mechanician, physicist and philosopher. ... Thomas Abbt (born 25 November 1738 in Ulm - died 3 November 1766 in Bückeburg) was a mathematician and German writer. ... Nationalism is an ideology which holds that the nation, ethnicity or national identity is a fundamental unit of human social life, and makes certain political claims based on that belief, above all the claim that the nation is the only legitimate basis for the state, and that each nation is... Pierre Bayle (November 18, 1647 – December 28, 1706) was a French philosopher and writer. ... James Boswell James Boswell (October 29, 1740 - May 19, 1795) was a lawyer, diarist, and author born in Edinburgh, Scotland. ... Samuel Johnson circa 1772, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. ... Biography (from the Greek words bios meaning life, and graphein meaning write) is a genre of literature and other forms of media like film, based on the written accounts of individual lives. ... Edmund Burke The Right Honourable Edmund Burke (January 12, 1729 – July 9, 1797) was an Anglo-Irish statesman, author, orator and political philosopher, who served for many years in the British House of Commons as a member of the Whig Party. ... Note: This is not an article about Liberalism in the United States or in any other specific country, but it discusses liberalism as a world wide ideology. ... Conservatism is any of several historically-related political philosophies or political ideologies. ... Portrait of Diderot by Louis-Michel van Loo, 1767 Denis Diderot (October 5, 1713 – July 31, 1784) was a French philosopher and writer. ... Free will is the philosophical doctrine that holds that our choices are ultimately up to ourselves. ... Benjamin Franklin by Jean-Baptiste Greuze 1777 For the former mayor of Nepean, see Ben Franklin (politician) Dr. Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 – April 17, 1790) was an American printer, journalist, publisher, author, philanthropist, abolitionist, public servant, scientist, librarian, diplomat, and inventor. ... A declaration of independence is a proclamation of the independence of a newly formed or reformed independent state, usually from a part or the whole of the territory of another nation, or a document containing such a declaration. ... Edward Gibbon. ... Johann Gottfried Herder Johann Gottfried von Herder (August 25, 1744 - December 18, 1803), German poet, critic, theologian, and philosopher, is best known for his concept of the Volk and is generally considered the father of ethnic nationalism. ... Self rule is the term used to described a people or group being able to exercise all of the necessary functions of power without intervention from any authority which they cannot themselves alter. ... David Hume David Hume (April 26, 1711 (May 7th by the Gregorian reckoning of his time, his birthday is celebrated by the International Humanist and Ethical Union on May 7th)– August 25, 1776) was a Scottish philosopher and historian and, with Adam Smith and Thomas Reid among others, one of... Empiricism (greek εμπειρισμός, from empirical, latin experientia - the experience) is generally regarded as being at the heart of the modern scientific method, that our theories should be based on our observations of the world rather than on intuition or faith; that is, empirical research and a posteriori inductive reasoning rather... Skepticism (Commonwealth spelling: Scepticism) can mean: Philosophical skepticism - a philosophical position in which people choose to critically examine whether the knowledge and perceptions that they have are actually true, and whether or not one can ever be said to have absolutely true knowledge; or Scientific skepticism - a scientific, or practical... Naturalism refers to a number of different topics: Philosophical naturalism: the view that nothing exists but the world — that there are no supernatural entities. ... A painting of Immanuel Kant in his middle age Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 in Königsberg – February 12, 1804) was a German philosopher from Prussia, generally regarded as one of Europes most influential thinkers and the last major philosopher of the Enlightenment. ... Johann Gottlieb Fichte Johann Gottlieb Fichte (May 19, 1762 - January 27, 1814) has significance in the history of Western philosophy as one of the progenitors of German idealism and as a follower of Kant. ... Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ... Order: 3rd President Vice President: Aaron Burr; George Clinton Term of office: March 4, 1801 – March 4, 1809 Preceded by: John Adams Succeeded by: James Madison Date of birth: April 13, 1743 Place of birth: Shadwell, Virginia Date of death: July 4, 1826 Place of death: Charlottesville, Virginia First Lady... A declaration of independence is a proclamation of the independence of a newly formed or reformed independent state, usually from a part or the whole of the territory of another nation, or a document containing such a declaration. ... Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (January 22, 1729 - February 15, 1781), writer, philosopher, publicist, and art thinker, is the most outstanding German representative of the Enlightenment era. ... John Locke John Locke (August 29, 1632–October 28, 1704) was a 17th-century philosopher concerned primarily with society and epistemology. ... // Use of the term The concept of property or ownership has no single or universally accepted definition. ... Moses Mendelssohn. ... Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (January 18, 1689 – February 10, 1755) was a French political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment and is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, taken for granted... Leandro Fernández de Moratín, born March 10, 1760 – died June 21, 1828, was a Spanish dramatist and neoclassical poet. ... This article is on the political theory of republicanism. ... Sir Isaac Newton in Godfrey Knellers 1689 portrait Sir Isaac Newton (25 December 1642 – 20 March 1727 by the Julian calendar in use in England at the time; or 4 January 1643 – 31 March 1727 by the Gregorian calendar) was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and alchemist who... Thomas Paine Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737–June 8, 1809), intellectual, scholar, and idealist, is widely recognized as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. ... Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean Jacques Rousseau (June 28, 1712 – July 2, 1778) was a Franco-Swiss philosopher, writer, political theorist, and self-taught composer of The Age of Enlightenment. ... His Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations was one of the earliest attempts to study the historical development of industry and commerce in Europe. ... Baruch Spinoza Benedictus de Spinoza (November 24, 1632 _ February 21, 1677), named Baruch Spinoza by his synagogue elders and known as Bento de Spinoza or Bento dEspiñoza in the community in which he grew up. ... Voltaire François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 – May 30, 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, deist and philosopher. ... Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas Caritat, marquis de Condorcet (September 17, 1743 - March 28, 1794) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and early political scientist who devised the concept of a Condorcet method. ... Claude Adrien Helvétius (January 1715 - December 26, 1771) was a French philosopher and litterateur. ... Cesare, Marquis of Beccaria (or the Marchese de Beccaria-Bonesana) (March 11, 1738 - November 28, 1794) was an Italian philosopher and politician. ... Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov (Михаи́л Васи́льевич Ломоно́сов) (November 19 (November 8, Old Style), 1711 – April 15 (April 4, Old Style), 1765) was a Russian writer and polymath who made important contributions to literature, education, and science. ... Portrait of Princess Dashkov from the Hermitage Museum. ... Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas Caritat, marquis de Condorcet (September 17, 1743 - March 28, 1794) was a French philosopher, mathematician, and early political scientist who devised the concept of a Condorcet method. ... Mary Wollstonecraft; stipple engraving by James Heath, ca. ... Olympe de Gouges (May 7, 1748 - November 3, 1793) (born Marie Gouze) was a playwright and journalist whose feminist writings reached a large audience. ... For other uses of Fontenelle, see Fontenelle (disambiguation). ... Portrait of Monsieur Lavoisier and his Wife, by Jacques-Louis David Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (August 26, 1743 – May 8, 1794) was a French nobleman prominent in the histories of chemistry, finance, biology, and economics. ... Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (September 7, 1707 – April 16, 1788) was a French naturalist, mathematician, biologist, cosmologist and author. ... François Quesnay. ... Statue of John Wilkes (Fetter Lane London) John Wilkes (October 17, 1727 – December 26, 1797) was an English radical, journalist and politician. ...

See also

French materialism combined the associationist psychology and Empiricism of John Locke with the Totality of Isaac Newton to create a complex world view in diametrical opposition to the Cartesian dualist world view. ... The Protestant Reformation was a movement which emerged in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe. ... Pierre Bayle (November 18, 1647 – December 28, 1706) was a French philosopher and writer. ... Enlightened absolutism (also known as enlightened despotism) is the absolutist rule of an enlightened monarch. ... The Scottish Enlightenment was a period of intellectual ferment in Scotland, running from approximately 1740 to 1800. ... The American Enlightenment is a term sometimes employed to describe the intellectual culture of the British North American colonies and the early United States (as they became following the American Revolution). ... Francisco de Goya, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (1799): the artists exhausted and feverish doze In the history of ideas, the counter-Enlightenment is a name first given by Isaiah Berlin to currents of thought that opposed the rationalist and liberal ideals of the Enlightenment. ... Reactionary (sometimes: reactionist; the term Reaction is used as a general term for the informal political grouping of reactionaries) is an epithet often applied to those seen to be on the Right of the political spectrum. ... The Middle Ages in history is an overview of how previous periods have portrayed the Middle Ages. ... The Philosophes (French for Philosophers) were a group of French thinkers of the 18th century Enlightenment. ...

External links

  • Dictionary of the History of Ideas: The Enlightenment
  • Dictionary of the History of Ideas: The Counter-Enlightenment

References

  • Ernst Cassirer, The Philosophy of the Enlightenment, Princeton University Press 1992
  • Mark Hulluing Autocritique of Enlightenment: Rousseau and the Philosophes 1994
  • Gay, Peter. The Enlightenment: An Interpretation. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996
  • Redkop, Benjamin, The Enlightenment and Community, 1999
  • Melamed, Yitzhak Y, Salomon Maimon and the Rise of Spinozism in German Idealism, Journal of the History of Philosophy, Volume 42, Issue 1
  • Porter, Roy The Enlightenment 1999
  • Jacob, Margaret Enlightenment: A Brief History with Documents 2000
  • Thomas Munck Enlightenment: A Comparative Social History, 1721-1794
  • Arthur Herman How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of how Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything in It 2001
  • Stuar Brown ed., British Philosophy in the Age of Enlightenment 2002
  • Alan Charles Kors, ed. Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment. 4 volumes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003
  • Buchan, James Crowded with Genius: The Scottish Enlightenment: Edinburgh's Moment of the Mind 2003
  • Louis Dupre The Enlightenment & the Intellctural Foundations of Modern Culture 2004
  • Himmelfarb, Gertrude The Roads to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments, 2004
  • Stephen Eric Bronner Interpreting the Enlightenment: Metaphysics, Critique, and Politics, 2004
  • Stephen Eric Bronner The Great Divide: The Enlightenment and its Critics

  Results from FactBites:
 
Age of Enlightenment - MSN Encarta (685 words)
Age of Enlightenment, a term used to describe the trends in thought and letters in Europe and the American colonies during the 18th century prior to the French Revolution (1789-1799).
The age was enormously impressed by the discovery by Isaac Newton of universal gravitation.
Enlightenment thinkers placed a great premium on the discovery of truth through the observation of nature, rather than through the study of authoritative sources, such as Aristotle and the Bible.
Enlightenment, Age of - MSN Encarta (2006 words)
Enlightenment, Age of, term for the trends in 18th-century thought and letters in Europe and the American colonies before the French Revolution.
The Enlightenment was a profoundly cosmopolitan movement with representatives throughout Europe and the American colonies: David Hume in Scotland; in Italy, Cesare Beccaria (a determined opponent of torture and capital punishment); and Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson in the American colonies.
Many ideas of the Enlightenment were useful to rulers: educational and judicial reform, a trained bureaucracy, the ending of noble and clerical exemption from taxation, tolerance of (often talented and industrious) religious dissidents, and the abolition or amelioration of serfdom, enabling peasants to pay more taxes.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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