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The Birth of Modern European Thought


The Birth of Modern European Thought Andre McDermott Evan Fisher Andre Kratzer – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Birth of Modern European Thought

The Birth of Modern European Thought
  • Andre McDermott
  • Evan Fisher
  • Andre Kratzer

Toward a Twentieth-Century Frame of Mind
  • During the last quarter of the 19th century
    philosophers, scientists, psychologists, and
    artists began to portray physical reality, human
    nature, and society in ways different from those
    of the past.
  • These new concepts challenged the major
    presuppositions of min 19th century science.

Science The Revolution in Physics
  • 1883, Ernst Mach (1883-1916) published The
    Science of Mechanics urging that scientist begin
    being descriptive of the sensations that they
    experience and not only that of the physical
  • In December of 1895 Wilhelm Roentgen published a
    paper on his discovery of X rays, a form of
    energy that penetrated carious opaque materials.
    After this discovery exploration of radioactivity
    began to flourish.
  • Henri Becuerel- Discovered that uranium emitted a
    similar form of energy
  • J.J. Thompson- Formulated the theory of the
  • Ernest Rutherford- Explained the cause of
    radiation through the breakdown of the atoms of
    radioactive materials

Science The Revolution in Physics
  • In 1900 Max Planck pioneered the articulation of
    the quantum theory of energy
  • In 1905 Albert Einstein published his first epoch
    making papers on relativity in which he contended
    that time and space exist not separately, but
    rather as a combined continuum.
  • In 1927 Werner Heisenberg set forth is
    uncertainty principle
  • The successful explorations in physics made
    science once again very popular which lead to
    government funding in the various fields of

Literature Realism and Naturalism
  • The realist movement in literature portrayed the
    hypocrisy, brutality, and the dullness that
    underlay bourgeois life.
  • Realism rejected the romantic idealization of
    nature, the poor, love, and polite society.
    Realist novelists portrayed the dark side of
  • Charles Dickens (1812-1870) and Honore de Balzac
    (1799-1850) portrayed the cruelty of industrial
    life and of a society based on money.
  • Gustave Flauberts (1821-1880) wrote Madame
    Bovary which was critiqued as the first realistic
  • Emile Zola (1840-1902) turned realism into a
    movement with his Introduction to the Study of
    Experimental Medicine. Between 1871 and 1893
    Zola published twenty novels exploring subjects
    normally untouched by writers alcoholism,
    prostitution, adultery, and labor strife.

Literature Realism and Naturalism
  • Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) a Norwegian playwright
    carried realism into the dramatic presentation of
    domestic life in a series of plays. He wanted to
    strip away the misleading mask of middle-class
  • George Shaw (1856-1950) defended Ibsens work
    with his own work which includes Mrs. Warrens
    Professions (1893-dealt with prostitution), Arms
    and the Man (1894), and Man and Superman (1903)
    in which both dealt with his hate on romantic
    ideals of love and war. In Androcles and the Lion
    (1913), he pilloried Christianity.
  • Realist writers believed that it was their duty
    to portray reality and the commonplace and by
    doing so they helped change the moral perception
    of the good life.

Modernism in Literature
  • Another movement known as modernism touched all
    the arts throughout Europe from the 1870s
    onward. Just like realism, modernism was critical
    of middle-class society and morality.
  • Modernism had a concern that focused less on
    social issues and more on aesthetic or the
  • Walter Pater (1839-1903) set the tone of the
    movement when he declared in 1877 that all art
    constantly aspires to the condition of music.
  • In England, members of the Boomsbury Group lead
    the movement. In this group were authors Virginia
    Woolf (1882-1941), and Leonard Woolf (1880-1969),
    artists Vanessa Bell (1879-1961) and Duncan Grant
    (1885-1978), the historian and literary critic
    Lytton Strachey (1880-1932), and the economist
    John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946)

Modernism in Literature
  • Keynesian economics eventually challenged much of
    the structure of 19th century economic theory. In
    both personal practice and theory, the Bloomsbury
    Group rejected what they regarded as the
    repressive sexual morality of their parents
  • In Germany, Thomas Mann (1875-1955), through a
    long series of novels, the most famous being
    Buddenbrooks (1901) and The Magic Mountain
    (1924), explored both the social experience of
    middle-class Germans and how they dealt with the
    intellectual heritage of the 19th century.
  • Modernism in literature arouse before WWI and
    flourished after the war. The war helped people
    accept the works of modernism due to all the
    turmoil and social dislocation it created.

The Coming of Modern Art
  • A change in European painting primarily began in
    Paris and had two major different characteristics
    that marked this change.
  • First instead of portraying religious,
    mythological, and historical themes, painters
    began to depict modern life itself, focusing on
    the social life and leisured activities of the
    urban middle and lower middle classes.
  • Second, many of these artists were fascinated
    with light, color, and the representation through
    painting itself of momentary, largely unfocused,
    visual experience whether of social life or of
  • These types of paintings were called
    impressionistic and were considered them curious
    and artistically shocking when they were first

The Coming of Modern Art
  • Impressionists artists include Edward Manet
    (1837-1883), Claude Monet (1840-1926), Camille
    Pissaro (1830-1903), Pierre-Auguste Renoir
    (1841-1919), and Edgar Degas (1834-1917)
  • These paintings would become the most popular
    works visited in both European and American art
    museums, and would bring the various social
    classes together while enjoying a leisure
  • By the 1880s impressionists had had an enormous
    impact on contemporary art, and their work was
    followed by younger artists who used their
    techniques but also tried to relate it to earlier
    artistic traditions.
  • This new group of artists were known as
  • The main figures associated with the new style
    included Georges Seurat, Paul Cezanne, Vincent
    Van Gogh, and Paul Gauguin.

The Coming of Modern Art
  • The single most important new departure in early-
    twentieth-century Western art was cubism, a term
    first coined to describe the paintings of Pablo
    Picasso (1881-1973) and Georges Braque
  • Picasso and Braque rejected the belief that
    painting is supposed to represent the appearance
    of reality but instead believed that finished art
    should serve no certain purpose.
  • The painter thinks in forms and colors, The aim
    is not to reconstitute an anecdotal fact but to
    constitute a pictorial fact. One does not
    imitate the appearance the appearance is the
  • Each of these artist echoed the art of ancient
    Egypt, medical primitives, and Africa, using only
    two dimensions in their paintings.

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Friedrich Nietzsche and the Revolt Against Reason
  • German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche
    (1844-1900) attacked Christianity, democracy,
    nationalism, rationality, science, and progress.
    His first well known work The Birth of Tragedy
    (1872) he emphasized is belief that rational
    characteristics are just as important as
    non-rational aspects of human nature.
  • Important quotes of Nietzsche- There are no
    moral phenomena at all, but only a moral
    interpretation of phenomena., W need a critique
    of moral values the value of these values
    themselves must first be called in question.

The Birth of Psychoanalysis
  • Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) is known as the Father
    of Psychology
  • Freud believed that dreams had a scientific
    meaning which led him to conclude that dreams
    allow unconscious wishes, desires, and drives
    that had been excluded from everyday conscious
    life to enjoy free play in the mind. Further
    explanations can be found in his book The
    Interpretation of Dreams
  • He believed there are three internal conflicters
    in our minds Id-consist of amoral, irrational,
    driving instincts for sexual gratification,
    aggression, and general pleasure. Superego-
    embodies the external moral imperatives and
    expectations imposed on the personality by
    society and culture. Ego- mediates between the
    impulses of the id and the superego.

The Birth of Psychoanalysis
  • By the early 1900s Freud had gathered around him
    a small group of followers. Most importantly Carl
    Jung (1875-1961) who was a highly praised student
    of Freud.
  • Jung believed the human subconscious contains
    inherited memories from previous generations,
    which collectively influence the traits of the
  • The Psychoanalytic movement influenced not only
    psychology, but also sociology, anthropology,
    religious studies, and literary theory.

Retreat from Rationalism in Politics
  • A German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920)
    regarded the emergence of rationalism throughout
    society as the major development of human
  • Unlike most social scientist, Weber put emphasis
    on the individual and on the dominant role of
    rationality. Socialist such as Gustave LeBon
    (1841-1931) studied the behaviors of people while
    in large crowds. He believed that crowds behave
    irrationally as if it were instincts
  • Besides Weber all theorists emphasized the role
    of collective groups in politics rather than that
    of the individual, formerly championed by