Monday, April 8, 2013

The Enlightenment and the Role of the Philosophers

The Enlightenment is a name given by historians to an understanding movement that was

predominant in the Western world during the 18th century. strongly influenced by the

rise of modern science and by the aftermath of the desire unearthly conflict that followed

the Reformation, the thinkers of the Enlightenment (called philosophes in France) were

committed to secular views establish on reason or human understanding only, which they hoped

would hand over a basis for beneficial changes affecting every stadium of life and thought.

The more extreme and radical philosophes--Denis Diderot, Claude Adrien Helvetius, Baron

dHolbach, the Marquis de Condorcet, and Julien Offroy de La Mettrie (1709-51)--advocated

a philosophical rationalism deriving its methods from science and natural philosophy that

would replace religion as the means of knowing record and destiny of humanity; these men

were materialists, pantheists, or atheists. Other enlightened thinkers, much(prenominal) as Pierre

Bayle, Voltaire, David Hume, Jean Le Rond Dalembert, and Immanuel Kant, opposed

fanaticism, but were either sceptic or left room for some kind of religious faith.

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All of the philosophes saw themselves as continuing the work of the great seventeenth century

pioneers--Francis Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Leibnitz, Isaac Newton, and John Locke--who

had developed fruitful methods of rational and empirical research and had demonstrated the

possibility of a world remade by the application of friendship for human benefit. The

philosophes believed that science could reveal nature as it unfeignedly is and show how it could

be controlled and manipulated. This belief provided an incentive to extend scientific

methods into every force field of inquiry, thus laying the groundwork for the development of the

modern social sciences.

The enlightened understanding of human nature was one that emphasized the proper(a) to self-

expression and human fulfillment, the right to think freely and express ones views publicly

without censorship or fear of...

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