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To what extent was the Enlightenment socially inclusive - Essay Example

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TO WHAT EXTENT WAS THE ENLIGHTENMENT SOCIALLY INCLUSIVE? Date The 18th century was a historical period that experienced significant and radical cultural and social transformation, especially in Europe. Historians and philosophers such as Peter Gay have viewed enlightenment as an integrated cross- European movement that involved specified groups of intellectuals and professionals…
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To what extent was the Enlightenment socially inclusive
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Download file to see previous pages Scholars such as Robert Darnton associated enlightenment with the conventional enlightenment philosophy. As observed by modern scholars, to understand the extent in which enlightenment was socially inclusive, systematic evaluation on intellectual progress that took place to both intellectuals and other people from different social status is vital (Hof 1994, p. 91). Initially, enlightenment involved both low and high enlightenment process in Europe at different levels. The essay will therefore focus on the extent in which enlightenment was socially inclusive. The extent to which enlightenment was socially inclusive in the European continent in the 18th century can best be evaluated by systematically analysing two enlightenments, the low enlightenment and the high enlightenment. The high enlightenment is the intellectual progress among the intelligent people of the 18th century who included professional elites and nobles. These elites and other intellectuals in the society were also in a position of accessing, reading, and writing publications such as encyclopaedia (Israel 2001, p. 127). In addition, high enlightenment received impetus from natural philosophical writings and publications. The works and publications of natural philosophers as well as the role of academic institutions increased the popularity and intellectual curiosity of the high enlightenment. Moreover, the elites and professionals in the 18th century came up with “Republic of Letters” that were read by people from different states in Europe (Chukwudi Eze 1996, P. 256). Professionals and social elites who did not take part in writing publications participated in reading and debating the enlightenment ideas and teaching either in their social gathering or in salon centres. Social and political leaders and advisors also showed endless interests in opinions, teachings, and ideas that were contained in the “Republic Of Letters”. Religious leaders including Frederick the great also confirmed that, the ideas and contents that were contained in the “Republic of Letters” demonstrated religious tolerance in the treatment of Huguenots, Jesuits and Jews (Muthu, 2003, p. 137). Despite being apparent, the definition and the explanation of the ideas that are contained in high enlightenment has proved to be complicated. Example of the existing contradictions in the understanding and definition of the contents contained in enlightenment is found in “Essay on Miracle” composed by David Hume’s in 1748. The essay questions the existence of miracle as stated in the publications that talk about enlightenment. Thomas Sherlock’s “Trial of the Witness of the Resurrection of Jesus” (1729) confirms the existence of miracle in the society. Currently, there is no specific party charter that can be used by scholars to understand the enlightenment principles (Rousseau and Porter 1990, P. 147). Despite insufficient information regarding enlightenment principles, scholars have made several generalisations on the principles of enlightenment. Enlightenment talked about the significance and relevance of intellectual curiosity. Enlightenment also emphasised the importance of pursuing practical ideas that could improve human life. In addition, scholars also taught the significance of independent mind and debate as well as the need for revaluation of the entire bodies of knowledge (Black 1990, p. 91). Low ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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