Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Short Summary: Philosophy of the Enlightenment - History of Philosophy

The characteristics of the French Enlightenment philosophers are opposition to authority, rationalism, cultural optimism, return to nature, natural religion and human rights were all themes of the Enlightenment. Here are some basic tenets of the era:

1) Enlightenment philosophers felt that the individual must find their own answer to each question.(Clergy, kind, nobility)
2) Locke – God and moral norms are within human reason. This was the core idea of the movement.

3) The movement was characterized by an unshakable faith in human reason. (Due to much of the new science around.) There was a need to enlighten the masses – a great focus on education(pedagogy). First encyclopedia is compiled.

4) cultural optimism – once reason and knowledge are widespread, humanity will progress greatly.

5) Noticed that savages were healthier and happier than Europeans. This prompted a “return to nature” sentiment. A child should be allowed to be naturally innocent. People wanted a natural harmony between religion and reason.

6) It was believed to be rational to believe in God and an immortal soul. They wanted to strip religion of irrational dogmas. Deism -–God never reveals himself in supernatural ways.

7) Fought for the natural rights of citizens, freedom of the press, freedom of thought, abolition of slavery, and more humane treatment of criminals. Declaration of the Rights of Man. Condorcet – focused on the rights of women as well. Olympe de Gauges also fought for women’s rights. She was beheaded and women for forbidden from politics.

Previous summary: David Hume and George Berkeley
Next summary: Immanuel Kant
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Good to books to start exploring the history of philosophy: