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The Enlightenment


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Title: The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment
  • Siecle de Lumiere
  • The Century of Light

An Overview of the 18c
  • Political History ?gtgtgt Reform
  • Intellectual History ? Newtonian Physics
    ? Reason
  • Cultural History ? Individualism
  • Social History ? Increased Literacy
    ? Age of Aristocracy
  • Economic History ?gt Mercantilism to Capitalism

18c Politics
  • BRITAIN ? Constitutional Monarchy
  • FRANCE ? Royal Absolutism
    (cultural and religious unity)
    Enlightened Despotism
  • OTTOMAN EMPIRE ? traditional

What is Enlightenment? by I. Kant
  • "Enlightenment is mankinds exit from its
    self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the
    inability to make use of ones own understanding
    without the guidance of another"
  • Motto of the Enlightenment Sapere aude!
  • What does it mean?

The Enlightenment
  • Enlightened thinkers believed that human reason
    could be used to combat ignorance, superstition,
    and tyranny and to build a better world.
  • Principal targets Religion and the domination of
    society by hereditary aristocracy. In other
    words, the church and the state, who often worked

Centers of the Enlightenment
I. What was the Enlightenment?
  • Progressive, Rationalistic, Humanistic worldview
  • Emerged out of the Scientific Revolution and
    culminated in the French Revolution
  • Spokesmen Rising Middle Class
  • Paris Center of Enlightenment
  • Optimism about mankinds abilities

The Enlightenment17th Century
  • Enlightenment philosophers combined logic and
  • Logic formal logic is the process(es) by which
    an argument can be determined as valid or not. An
    argument is valid if the premises are all true,
    then the conclusion must also be true.
  • Example All humans have heart. Tom is a human.
    Therefore, Tom has a heart.
  • Reason Enlightenment thinkers stated that it
    consisted of common sense, observation, and their
    own unacknowledged prejudices in favor of
    skepticism and freedom.

The Characteristics of the Enlightenment
  • Rationalism ? reason is the arbiter of all
  • Cosmology ? a new concept of man, his existence
    on earth, the place of the earth in the
  • Secularism ? application of the methods of
    science to religion philosophy.
  • Scientific Method
  • Mathematical analysis
  • Experimentation
  • Inductive reasoning.
  • Utilitarianism ? the greatest good for the
    greatest number.
  • Tolerance ? No opinion is worth burning your
    neighbor for.

The Characteristics of the Enlightenment
  • Optimism Self-Confidence
  • The belief that man is intrinsically good.
  • The belief in social progress.
  • Freedom
  • Of thought and expression.
  • Bring liberty to all men modern battle against
  • Education of the Masses
  • Legal Reforms
  • Justice, kindness, and charity ? no torture or
    indiscriminant incarceration.
  • Due process of law.
  • Constitutionalism
  • Written constitutions ? listing citizens, rights.
  • Cosmopolitanism.

Enlightenment Attacks the Old Regime
The Enlightenment17th Century
  • The 17th century scene Dogma Fanaticism
  • Witch-hunts and wars of religion
  • Protestants Catholics denounced each other as
    followers of Satan
  • People imprisoned for attending wrong church
  • All publications censored by church and state
  • Slavery widely practiced, defended by religious
  • Despotism of monarchsdivine right of kings
  • Any opposition was imprisoned or executed
  • Reason and Logic had no room for these matters

A. The World of the Old Regime
  • Built on tradition
  • World of hierarchy, privilege and inequality
  • Allied with the Church
  • Challenged by the reform impulse of supporters of
    the Enlightenment

B. Conflict with the Capitalistic Middle Class
  • Support for the Middle Class social order against
    the traditional social order
  • Size and increasing power of the Middle Class
  • New notion of wealth
  • Tension and discord created by the Middle Class

The Enlightenment17th Century
  • Political Economic Background
  • Wealth from Asia Americas catapulted a new
    class of merchants into prominence, partially
    displacing the aristocracy whose power had been
    rooted in land ownership
  • These bourgeoisie had there own ideas about the
    worldmain agents of change in the arts,
    government, and the economy
  • Naturally convinced that their earnings were
    result of their individual merit and hard work
  • Absolutist kings and dogmatic churches were the
    biggest obstacle to change for the merchant class

C. Popularization of Science
  • The popularity of science in the 17th and 18th
  • Conversations on the Plurality of the Worlds
    (1686)Bernard de Fontenelle
  • The Scientific Revolution looked at the workings
    of the universe

D. A New World of Uncertainties
  • The Idea of Progress
  • The anti-religious implications of the
  • The relativity of truth and morality
  • John Lockes New Psychology
  • --Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)
  • -- Tabula Rasa

William Blakes Newton, 1795
  • The word "Deism" is derived from the Latin word
    for God "Deus." Deism involves the belief in the
    existence of God, on purely rational grounds,
    without any reliance on revealed religion or
    religious authority.
  • Deists
  • Do not accept the belief of most religions that
    God revealed himself to humanity through the
    writings of the Bible, the Qur'an or other
    religious texts.
  • Disagree with strong Atheists who assert that
    there is no evidence of the existence of God.

  • Deists regard their faith as a natural religion,
    as contrasted with one that is revealed by a God
    or which is artificially created by humans. They
    reason that since everything that exists has had
    a creator, then the universe itself must have
    been created by God. Thomas Paine concluded a
    speech shortly after the French Revolution with
    "God is the power of first cause, nature is the
    law, and matter is the subject acted upon.

The Philosophes
  • 18th century French intellectuals
  • Paris was the capital
  • Desire to change the world
  • Interest in addressing a broad audience
    committed to reform
  • Call for a spirit of rational criticism
  • Celebrated the scientific revolution
  • The Mystique of Newton
  • They believed that that natural science should be
    used to examine and understand ALL elements of
  • Reason over and above faith everything is
  • that the Scientific method can discover ALL laws
    of human society AND nature
  • in progress it is POSSIBLE for man to create a
    better society (hope)

Who were the philosophes?
  • Literary figures, historians, economists
  • Today many are thought of philosophers
  • Not an organized group BUT agreed that religion,
    government/politics, economy and society needed
    to be reformed for the sake of human liberty
  • All applied skepticism and rules of reason when
    questioning the status quo
  • Followers commercial class, professional urban
    class, forward thinking aristocracy
  • Supported improvement in agriculture,
    transport and industry itransformation of
    society and economy

The Problem of Censorship
  • The attempt of the Old Regime to control new
  • Publishers and writers hounded by censors
  • Over 1000 booksellers and authors imprisoned in
    the Bastille in the early 1700s
  • Battling censorship

The Role of the Salon
  • Protection and encouragement offered by French
    aristocratic women in their private drawing rooms
  • Feminine influence on the Enlightenment

A Parisian Salon
Madame Geoffrins Salon
The Salonnieres
Madame Geoffrin (1699-1777)
Madame Suzanne Necker (1739-1794)
Mademoiselle Julie de Lespinasse (1732-1776)
Female Philosophes
  • Emilie du Chatalet, a French noblewoman (1706-174
  • Wrote extensively about the mathematics
    and physics of Gottfried Wilhelm von Lebnitz
    and Isaac Newton.
  • Her lover, Voltaire, learned much of his science
    from her.

The Royal Academy of Sciences, Paris
Diderots Encyclopedia
  • Ultimate strength of the philosophes lay in their
    numbers, dedication and organization
  • Written between 1751-1772
  • Attempted to illustrate all human knowledge
  • Problems with publication
  • Emphasis on practical science

Diderots Encyclopedia (cont)
  • Desire to change the general way of thinking
  • Greater knowledge leads to human progress
  • Emphasized moderation and tolerance
  • Human nature can be molded
  • Inalienable rights and the social contract
  • Knowledge improves goodness

Pages from Diderots Encyclopedie
Encyclopedia, 28 volumes
Pages from Diderots Encyclopedie
Pages from Diderots Encyclopedie
Subscriptions to Diderots Encyclopedie
Reading During the Enlightenment
  • Literacy
  • 80 o/o for men 60 o/o women.
  • Books were expensive (one days wages).
  • Many readers for each book (20 1)
  • novels, plays other literature.
  • journals, memoirs, private lives.
  • philosophy, history, theology.
  • newspapers, political pamphlets.

An Increase in Reading
Reading in the Enlightenment
  • Birth of the Novel
  • Writing of History
  • Inclusion of political, economic, social,
    intellectual, cultural happenings over time
  • Monthly Journals and Magazines daily newspapers
  • What is low literary culture and what effect
    did it have on lower-class audiences?

VIII. Famous Enlightenment Thinkers
  • In nature, people were cruel, greedy and selfish.
    They would fight, rob, and oppress one another.
  • To escape this people would enter into a social
    contract they would give up their freedom in
    return for the safety and order of an organized
  • Therefore, Hobbes believed that a powerful
    government like an absolute monarchy was best for
    society it would impose order and compel
    obedience. It would also be able to suppress

Hobbes 2
  • His most famous work was called Leviathan.
  • Hobbes has been used to justify absolute power in
  • His view of human nature was negative, or
    pessimistic. Life without laws and controls would
    be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

Hobbes 3 - Quotes
  • A man's conscience and his judgment is the same
    thing and as the judgment, so also the
    conscience, may be erroneous.
  • Curiosity is the lust of the mind.
  • In the state of nature profit is the measure of
  • Not believing in force is the same as not
    believing in gravitation.
  • Leisure is the Mother of Philosophy.

Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755)
  • The Spirit of the Laws (1748)
  • Despotism could be avoided if political power
    were divided and shared by a diversity of classes
  • Power must check power
  • Admires British government
  • French parliaments must be defenders of liberty
  • Influence in the US
  • Attacks traditional religion, advocacy of
    religious toleration, denunciation of slavery,
    use of reason

Voltaire (1694-1778)
  • Enthusiasm for English institutions
  • Reformer not a revolutionary
  • Admirer of Louis XIV
  • Relationship with Frederick the Great
  • Criticism of Traditional Religion believed in

Voltaires Wisdom (I)
  • Every man is guilty of all the good he
    didnt do.
  • God is a comedian playing to an audience
    too afraid to laugh.
  • If God did not exist, it would be necessary
    to invent him.
  • It is dangerous to be right when the
    government is wrong.
  • Love truth and pardon error.

Voltaires Wisdom (II)
  • Judge of a man by his questions rather than by
    his answers.
  • Men are equal it is not birth, but virtue
    that makes the difference.
  • Prejudice is opinion without judgment.
  • The way to become boring is to say
  • I may not agree with what you have to say, but
    I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Baron Paul dHolbach (1723-1789)
  • Deterministic view of human beings
  • Free will, God and immortality of the soul are
    foolish myths
  • His views dealt the unity of the Enlightenment a
    severe blow
  • Other thinkers repelled by this inflexible atheism

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
  • Turns his withering critique of the Old Regime
    increasingly on the Enlightenment itself
  • Rather than liberation, rationalism and
    civilization destroys the individual
  • Man by nature was solitary, good and free

Rousseau (cont)
  • Civilization represents decay, not progress
  • Emileprotect children from too many books
  • The Social Contract (1762) and the General Will
  • Civilized man is an alienated man
  • Transitional intellectual figure

Rousseaus Philosophy (II)
  • Virtue exists in the state of nature, but lost
    in society.
  • Government must preserve virtue and liberty.
  • Man is born free, yet everywhere he is in chains.
  • The concept of the Noble Savage.
  • Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
  • Civil liberty ? invest ALL rights and liberties
    into a society.

Rousseaus Philosophy (III)
  • In The Social Contract
  • The right kind of political order could make
    people truly moral and free.
  • Individual moral freedom could be achieved only
    by learning to subject ones individual interests
    to the General Will.
  • Individuals did this by entering into a social
    contract not with their rulers, but with each
  • This social contract was derived from human
    nature, not from history, tradition, or the Bible.

Rousseaus Philosophy (IV)
  • People would be most free and moral under a
    republican form of government with direct
  • However, the individual could be forced to be
    free by the terms of the social contract.
  • He provided no legal protections for individual
  • Rousseaus thinking
  • Had a great influence on the French
    revolutionaries of 1789.
  • His attacks on private property inspired the
    communists of the 19c such as Karl Marx.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
  • One of few philosophes to live to see the French
  • Enlightenment was a personal processrelease from
  • More optimistic than Rousseau
  • Dare to KnowEnlightenment was an act of
    personal courage

Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
  • The Rights of Man, 1791
  • Common Sense, 1776

John Locke (1632-1704)
  • Letter on Toleration, 1689
  • Two Treatises of Government, 1690
  • Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 1693
  • The Reasonableness of Christianity, 1695

John Lockes Philosophy (I)
  • The individual must become a rational creature.
  • Virtue can be learned and practiced.
  • Human beings possess free will.
  • they should be prepared for freedom.
  • obedience should be out of conviction, not out of
  • Legislators owe their power to a contract with
    the people.
  • Neither kings nor wealth are divinely ordained.

John Lockes Philosophy (II)
  • There are certain natural rights that are endowed
    by God to all human beings.
  • life, liberty, property!
  • The doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings was
  • He favored a republic as the best form of

Locke 4 - Quotes
  • No man's knowledge here can go beyond his
  • All mankind... being all equal and independent,
    no one ought to harm another in his life, health,
    liberty or possessions.
  • I have always thought the actions of men the best
    interpreters of their thoughts.
  • The reason why men enter into society is the
    preservation of their property.

  • She argued that women had not been included in
    the Enlightenment slogan free and equal. Women
    had been excluded from the social contract.
  • Her arguments were often met with scorn, even
    from some enlightened men.
  • Wollstonecraft and Catherine Macaulay were
    British feminists. The most famous French
    feminist was Germaine de Stael.

Mary Wollstonecraft 2
  • She wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women in
  • Wollstonecraft believed in equal education for
    girls and boys. Only education could give women
    the knowledge to participate equally with men in
    public life.
  • She did argue that a womans first duty was to be
    a good mother. But, a woman could also decide on
    her own what was in her interest without
    depending on her husband.

Mary Wollstonecraft 3 - Quotes
  • If women be educated for dependence that is, to
    act according to the will of another fallible
    being, and submit, right or wrong, to power,
    where are we to stop?
  • The divine right of husbands, like the divine
    right of kings, may, it is hoped, in this
    enlightened age, be contested without danger.
  • Let not men then in the pride of power, use the
    same arguments that tyrannic kings and venal
    ministers have used, and fallaciously assert that
    women ought to be subjected because she has
    always been so.
  • Strengthen the female mind by enlarging it, and
    there will be an end to blind obedience. Virtue
    can only flourish among equals.

The Womans Question in the Enlightenment
  • Most philosophes agreed that the nature of women
    make them inferior
  • Mary Astell (1666-1731)
  • A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, 1697
  • Better education and equality in marriage