The best word to describe the period of the Enlightenment is rationality. During this period in history the mind of the human being was felt to be capable of engaging the world and coming up with answers through the concept of science…
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The human being could look at nature and rather than only seeing God, see how things in nature worked through discovery. This shift is significant as up until this period people had been defined by looking at the world and determining God and His intentions towards human beings rather than looking at it and seeing how human kind could understand how nature worked. This shift in cultural belief systems provided for the development of science and philosophy as a primary means of understanding nature over myth. One of the contributing factors to the development of the Enlightenment philosophies was the emergence of cafe’s. According to Noble et al the development of the cultural establishment known as the cafe was to the 18th century what the internet is to modern 21st century information exchange. Profound changes in thinking in relationship to rationality were exchanged between those who attended the cafe houses in order to discuss politics and associated social topics (507). Francois-Marie Arouet, or Voltaire as he was known, was one of the more well known writers of the Enlightenment who frequented cafe’s. According to Weinberg and Bealer, Voltaire was known to have a caffeine addiction and be an avid coffee drinker who frequented cafe’s and engaged in meaningful discussions about academics and philosophy (43). Voltaire’s contributions to philosophy were numerous, but one of his greatest contributions was in spreading the work of Isaac Newton. Simosan writes about Voltaire as his writing was influential in bringing the knowledge of mathematics into the public sphere. His fascination with the work of Sir Isaac Newton also included a fascination for mathematics and Voltaire was responsible for translating Newton’s Principia into French from its original Latin. In translating the work into a vernacular, Voltaire had put into practice the idea that knowledge should be accessible. One of his novels used the backdrop of Newton’s discoveries in science as a way in which to combine mathematics and fiction. The book Micromegas is a work of science fiction in which an expedition is led to Lapland in order to “measure the length of a degree of arc along a line of latitude” in order to explore the theory that the Earth flattened at the poles and bulged at the equator as had been suggested by Newton. Although the work included aliens that came and encountered the scientists, this also contributed to the public knowledge about mathematics (Simosan and Voltare 2). The influence of Voltaire in spreading the knowledge of higher level thinkers such as Newton changed an element of the nature of knowledge. Voltaire influenced his immediate society in the short term by contributing to the shifting thought and in the long term by recording and spreading knowledge as a public commodity. Newton wrote in Latin which was considered an academic language, but Voltaire took that knowledge and translated it for the common reader. Education had not advanced to the point that literacy was high, but in translating an academic book into a vernacular language Voltaire changed the influence that Newton could have over culture. Newton’s work was not the only way in which he expanded theory about social life and knowledge. He also engaged his own nation, France, with the progressive ideas that were part of the political and economic system in Britain (Noble 507). Voltaire was influenced by his experiences in travel, especially during his exile into Britain. Just as the cafe’s had allowed for the exchange of knowledge, Voltaire’s travel allowed him to expand his ideas about society and its traditions. Voltaire believed British society to be more rational than his own country of
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It has rightfully been referred so because before that Europe was dwelling in the dim light of the middle ages. Then suddenly the human mind was enlightened by the light of knowledge and education which helped mankind to move forward. The main goal of the Enlightenment movement was the understanding of the world and the place of the human kind in it alone on the basis of reason and understanding without referring to the religious beliefs.
This was due to Scientific Revolution that started in the outset of 1500. Scientific Revolution opened people’s mind to think independently and thereby expanding the fields of astronomy, physics, philosophy, mathematics, medicine, and economics (Zack, 2010:157).
Two prominent French thinkers: Jacques Rousseau and Charles Montesquieu had their influence from two main intellectual currents during the period; science and 17th century philosophy. The enlightenment did not contribute to the revolution directly. However, the French revolution embodies some enlightenment themes and ideas.
in their construction of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. This philosophical core of enlightened thought promotes reason and rationality as a way of establishing a social arrangement of knowledge and ethics as well as art and culture. This era was paralleled with the emergence of classical and baroque music and neo-classical arts.
They condemned monarchal establishments, created new churches, and suggested a wide range of modifications designed to eradicate abuses and to encourage individual autonomy. While the Enlightenment was a wide-ranging international movement, most of its leading contributors were French nationals.
French Revolution during 18th century is event that shook France between 1787 and 1799 which took its violent form when the Controller General of Finances, Charles-Alexandre de Calonne proposed to design the reform to eliminate budget deficit by increasing the taxation of privileged classes by summoning the assembly by ‘notables’ like prelates.
Jean Paul Marat (1743-1793) who was a politician and a journalist but most significantly he was leader of Montagnard movement (in French mountain man) who were radical Jacobin deputies during French revolution and instituted the reign of terror during French Revolution.
Where the French Revolution changed the political map of Europe forever, it brought the people to the forefront of politics and set the precedence for bringing about social and political change through revolution. The old order in France was the absolutist monarchy of the Bourbons led at the time of the evolution by Louise XVI but supported by the nobility and the clergy.
The French Revolution is considered by many historians to be the first modern revolution in history. It did not only overthrow the existing leaders but, most importantly, it also change the existing structure of society. Moreover, even if the Revolution was initiated by
As the word suggests the movement celebrated human reason above everything and presented a worldview that expressed in terms of knowledge, freedom, and happiness. The themes of the Enlightenment were popularly human dignity, freedom, equality, and
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