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The Enlightenment Background Key People Key Ideas Relevance Modern thinkers/artists who help to shape and challenge societal acceptances.

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Presentation on theme: "The Enlightenment Background Key People Key Ideas Relevance Modern thinkers/artists who help to shape and challenge societal acceptances."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Enlightenment Background Key People Key Ideas Relevance Modern thinkers/artists who help to shape and challenge societal acceptances

2 Background Named in mid-18 th century Movement of thinkers not confined to one area or line of thinking Enlightenment provides basic assumptions, values and attitudes of modern history- the West The values of human rights and individuality expressed then and now- roots in Enlightenment

3 What was Enlightenment? Principals taught and explored were identified as enlightened… Applied methods of modern science and re- definition –Methods sought to understand human nature, society and politics Renaissance started inquiry of and experimenting of natural phenomena Belief that universe worked via natural laws- not supernatural

4 Renaissance to Enlightenment From sciences, ideas of nature surfaced- –study not only gravity or the circulatory system, but also human behavior New sciences of psychology and politics were developed- –Social Sciences; political science, geography, sociology, history, civics, economics, etc… Advocates of Enlightenment claim governing laws dictate human nature, society and politics

5 Philosophes French for philosophers- a bit overused Loosely united group who shared attitudes towards society Saw themselves as critics and reformers Opposed supposed truths of Christianity –Some atheist, but others saw truth in Godliness and spirituality Attempted to find truth in God with an explanation to the natural world Believed in divine governance –God transcended Christianity, found in all world religions

6 Cultural Hearth of Enlightenment Glorious Revolution provided English w/ new freedoms- envied by Philosophes in authoritative France Paris became cultural hub of European society Salons- social gatherings in parlors- hosted by wealthy women of Parisian prestige Salons would be opportunity for men and women to speak w/out hushed tones Poems read/discussed; music pieces played; literature read/discussed Individuals used Salons to show breadth of knowledge and challenge preconceived ideas

7 Elements of Enlightenment Enlightened Philosophes and supporters urged the use of : –Reason: absence of intolerance, bigotry or prejudice in ones thinking; beliefs should be rational and free of biases –Nature: natural laws exist w/out mans creation; what was natural was good and reasonable –Happiness: a person who lives by natures law finds happiness; argued against medieval notion that people should accept misery as part of lifes circle; Philosophes believed in well-being on earth –Progress: Philosophes believed individuals could seek perfection and in return, society seek perfection; looked at human being as capable of progress, making something better –Liberty: freedoms should not be merely granted, but expected; beliefs that we are born with liberties in nature

8 Enlightened Thinkers John Locke ( ) –Studied human reason, rationale –Used empirical studies to interpret human behavior –Individuals are autonomous- no longer dependent on Church or King to make decisions –Each person free to decide personal matter –Each person free to decide matters of the state Opposes absolute ideas of governance

9 Philosophes Cont Jean-Jacques Rousseau ( ) –Believed in human independence and political liberty –Impacted both thought and social behavior –Concerned himself w/ nature of morality and definition and need for liberty –Argued that real source of power came from legitimate authority –Legitimate meant an agreement between government and those being governed –Believed in an education system that would produce citizens, capable of partaking in society

10 Philosophes Cont The Marquis Antoine de Condorcet ( ) –Acquisition of knowledge led to better society, better human spirit –History is progress of human mind and betterment –French Revolution illustrated strength of ideas of liberty and equality –Believed the period after Fr. Rev would be limitless advancement of man and ideas –Argued that education should promote liberal principles in hopes of improving man

11 Philosophes Cont Immanuel Kant ( ) –Concerned with moral law and autonomy of will –Freedom was/is autonomy –Laws necessary for freedoms continued existence- conditions (laws) that combined one mans freedoms to anothers –Mans actions a result of reason- internal law of right and wrong –Every action should and reaction should not hamper anothers right of existence- use principles of morality –Stressed equality before the law, rights of man and enlightened education

12 In Conclusion The Enlightenment birthed two revolutions imperative to Western Civilization: –American Revolution –French Revolution The Enlightenment created an outlet for intellectuals/educated to openly debate issues w/in society This era allowed for a greater sense of universalism where peoples did not live for their own sake, but sought betterment for others

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