What Is Enlightenment Essay Research Paper What

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What Is Enlightenment Essay, Research Paper What is Enlightenment? In the eighteenth century in France Britain and Germany a general intellectual move towards greater reliance on the human sciences and their relevance to the boundaries of existing knowledge began. This movement was referred to as “The Enlightenment”. As the name suggests the movement set out to shed a greater on humanity, human nature and the nature of existence. A great desire was shared to determine the extent of our knowledge of the world and for ways to gain a greater understanding of it. This movement relied on a mass rejection of tradition and already called for the removal of all established conceptions and prejudices commonly held. The Catholic Church, and indeed all religions came under heavy

scrutiny and rejection due to their all pervasive grip on all matters educational, scientific and philosophical. Religious morals and guidelines also came to be disregarded in philosophical terms. Science, logic and rationalism became the principal tools of philosophy in this era as was evidenced by the new methods employed in argument, debate, analysis and critique. Tradition in all its forms, be it religious or scientific was eschewed in favour of a clean slate from which to begin re-assessing what we can know. Although Descartes was the first Philosopher to employ reason 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 movement. In France

a legion of intellectuals known as the philosophes became a phenomena, and globally thinkers such as Hume and Kant helped define the enlightenment movement. In order to understand what the Enlightenment is one must consider the historical period it influenced and took its influence from. SOCIAL CLIMATE AND CULTURE. The enlightenment took place against a historical background of momentous cultural change. The reformation of the fifteenth century and the great split of the Catholic Church into Roman Catholicism and the various forms of Protestantism led to much intellectual chagrin with the prevalent Churches. The main effect of the reformation was its undermining of clerical authority in all things intellectual, artistic and philosophical. This factored greatly in paving the way

for the rejuvenating Renaissance period experienced in Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. During the Renaissance scholars began to study in their own right, free of the shackles of religous sponsorship and its entailing limitations. This form of study and self-improvement is exactly what the enlightenment was intended to allow the common man. One of the implications of the movement is that any man can better himself through education. As such modern science and philosophy prospered and flourished and began to advance at a more rapid pace than had ever been seen before. A scientific revolution took place. This revolution further tore down reliance on tradition. Man began to re-assess his position in nature through scientific method. This reliance on scientific

method became all pervasive in the philosophy of the time. Furthermore the enlightenment heralded in a more rational time in political thought and came at a time of great revolution. In England inspired by this new Enlightenment thought, the Monarchy abdicated its sovereignty to the English Parliament in sixteen-eighty-eight, indicative of a re-appraisal of the belief that the monarch was God’s voice on earth and ruled by divine right. This led to a time of great growth and change in England. England established the first “Bill of rights” protecting its subjects and itself. London became a cosmopolitan capital and a centre of great learning and innovation. The country experienced an Agricultural revolution as a result of the rapidly advancing scientific progress brought