The Enlightenment The Enlightenment was both a movement and a state of mind. The term represents a phase in the intellectual history of Europe, but it also serves to define programs of reform in which influential literati, inspired by a common faith in the possibility of a better world, outlined specific targets for criticism and proposals for action. The special significance of the Enlightenment lies in its combination of principle and pragmatism. Consequently, it still engenders controversy about its character and achievements.
When these modern conditions did not exist, the Enlightenment or something like it did not emerge, simply because there was no need for a new epistemology. There was no Enlightenment in Africa, Asia or India, meaning that any discussion of the Enlightenment must acknowledge and deal with its limitations.
For example, although the Enlightenment was confined to Europe and America, the philosophical systems it engendered were not extended to either women or people of color. By the eighteenth century, a critical mass of philosophical thinking and social custom had emerged, reflecting a newly capitalistic form of exchange and the consequent rise of a middle class.
The Enlightenment can be understood precisely in terms of its entomology—that which sheds light: Upon this dialectic between faith and science, struggles for social, political, and economic parity would be launched and would last to this very day. First, the Enlightenment established new philosophical ideas concerning the grounds of knowledge—epistemology—that is the knowledge was based upon empirical observation and provable hypotheses.
Second, the new economic system, capitalism was global by the eighteenth century and created new wealth for an emergent class, constructing itself in the space in between the aristocrats who inherited their power and the lower classes who were legally powerless. What were essentially political slogans, designed to delegitimize the ruling class, became, over time, ideals which would not be forgotten, but it would take time for the Enlightenment to become more than the concepts of speculative philosophers and the cant of aspiring politicians to become a gradually unfolding reality that would impact all people, not just white males with property.
A complex phenomenon, the Enlightenment was defined by one central question: The Enlightenment was confronted with Counter-Enlightenments, such as Romanticism and Catholic revivals, but politics, society and economics continued their inexorable march down the secular path.
The twenty-first-century saw the rise of fundamentalism in the Muslim communities of the Middle East and Asia as a direct counter response to the invasion of modernity from the West.
The new century would witness the reemergence of faith-based thought, resistant to science and to empirical testing.
Unquestioning belief in God was challenged by two forces that proved to be critical to Enlightenment thinking. Although there were certain scientific discoveries that particularly irked the religious authorities, such as the findings of Galileo, the combined weight of empiricism and the scientific method undermined the ability of religion to insist upon unquestioning belief, once these beliefs had been scientifically disproven.
Doubt entered into society. Western culture shifted decisively towards secular questions and secular answers. It was not just a question of government in the sense of whether or not to continue with Kings and Emperors but government in the sense of self-governance. Just as scientists rewrote the knowledge of the universe, philosophers sought a new epistemology or ground for social relations.
But even more urgent was the problem of knowledge. Without God, what was knowable and how? A new epistemology of knowledge had to be established. The profound secularization that is the Enlightenment has installed suspicion of authority, tradition, and divine right to rule in the West.
To the extent it was successful, the Enlightenment ended eighteen hundred years of spiritualized thinking. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another.
A civilized nation has no other internal danger to fear than the excess of its national happiness, which, like the most perfect health of the human body, may be called either in itself a disease, or at least a passage to it. A nation which has through civilization attained the highest pinnacle of national happiness, is for that very reason in danger of falling; whereas it cannot rise higher: In his recent book, The Enlightenment: He credited this century of philosophers as creating not so much an epistemology as a compelling narrative of Enlightenment which explained the ideas of Reason and Natural Rights that would change the culture.
It should be noted that there is a reason why the Enlightenment is as Charles W. Withers asserted that the philosophical revolution had a particular geographic location: Europe and its tributaries.
The geography of the Enlightenment mirrored the geography of the Industrial Revolution and of Imperialism and of urban centers. Willette and Art History Unstuffed.Toward the middle of the eighteenth century a shift in thinking occurred.
This shift is known as the Enlightenment. You have probably already heard of some important Enlightenment figures, like Rousseau, Diderot and Voltaire.
The Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was both a movement and a state of mind. The term represents a phase in the intellectual history of Europe, but it also serves to define programs of reform in which influential literati, inspired by a common faith in the possibility of a better world, outlined specific targets for criticism and proposals for action.
ABSTRACTThis article is an introduction to a special issue on ‘Religious Toleration in the Age of Enlightenment’. It begins by characterizing the Enlightenment's attitude towards religion as an opposition to bigotry and ecclesiastic authority based on a particular interpretation of the European Wars of Religion.
The Enlightenment And The Age Of Reason In Philosophy Western Europe's worship of reason, reflected only vaguely in art and.
literature, was precisely expressed in a set of philosophic ideas known. collectively as the Enlightenment. It was not originally a popular movement. 1 The Age of Enlightenment Overview Students will explore the Age of Enlightenment through a Power Point presentation and class discussion.
Students will then further explore this period of history and its prominent figures by designing a dinner party. Enlightenment: Enlightenment, a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and humanity were synthesized into a worldview that gained wide assent in the West and that instigated revolutionary developments in art, philosophy, and politics.