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Age of Enlightenment

Age of Enlightenment

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Age of Enlightenment

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  1. Age of Enlightenment • Enlightenment, “aufklarung”: A German word c.1850 to describe 18th C. French Philosophy, “The Clearing,” refers to the post-renaissance growth of exploration, capitalism, middle class, science, urbanization, industry, and printing and education. • Enlightenment, an “Awakening” in Science, Philosophy, Politics (for example?), and Art.

  2. Charles Wilson Peale, “The Artist in his Museum,” 1822 • Though coming at the end of the age of enlightenment, this picture captures the Enlightenment Mindset of codification. • Peale, 1741 – 1827. American Painter, Inventor, Ethnographer, Writer, Curator, Taxidermist, Portraitist • Codify and preserve, to study, understand, and transcend death (founding fathers, Franklin) • Portraitist of the Revolution • He, and America, encapsulates the values of the “Enlightenment,” both are products of Enlightenment.

  3. Foundations of the Enlightenment • Rise of Scientific Method • Age of Categorization • Science and Experimentation (Francis Bacon, 1561-1626, created the “new science” which utilized the “Baconian Method” of observation and understanding.) • Lead to Experimental Philosophy • Reordered our understanding of the Practical World • resulted in the Post-Renaissance use of Knowledge, the organization and institutionalization of the sciences • Rise of Rationalism (Rene Descartes, 1596-1650, Mathematician and Philosopher, father of modern philosophy, invented the Cartesian Coordinate System which was key in the Scientific Revolution in physics, astronomy, biology, geology, etc.) • “Rationalism”: deduction, “I think therefore I am”

  4. …Foundations of the Enlightenment continued… • Scientists and Philosophers (like Hobbes, Bacon, Newton) illustrated how enlightenment contradicted the traditional and religious schema of the world (otherwise known as “The Great Chain of Being”) • —Religion replaced by reason…

  5. —Well, to an extent since this also resulted in means to integrate the two. • —Rise of Natural Sciences also resulted in a new sense of History and nature, one seen as dark and destructive. • —geology and “Earth as a Graveyard” • -- manifested itself in art as “catastrophism” (example of blending of natural science and religion)

  6. John Martin, 1789-1853 “The Deluge”

  7. "The Great Day of His Wrath"

  8. "The Last Man"

  9. …foundations of Enlightenment cont… • The idea of the Natural Man / Benevolent man • (Jean Jacques Rousseau, 1712—1778, Philosopher) • —believed in the Noble Savage, Man in his natural state • —man is born Free and Benevolent, has a right to freedom and equality • —man is corrupted by society (through his dependence upon others) • —It is possible to live in a civil society w/a social contract based upon general will • —counter to the established social order (chain of being) since there is no mobility, still based upon feudalism • --consider how this was influenced by and influenced European explorers contact with indigenous people during this growing age of exploration • --consider this in terms of the debate about slavery

  10. …foundations of The Enlightenment… • Empiricism • Belief in Experiential Knowledge  “I feel therefore I am” • (John Locke, 1632-1704) • “Reason must be our last judge and guide to everything” • [Look to Wollstonecraft, pg 160] • —rejected medieval “superstition” for experience and sensation. • Locke believed: • Man is peaceful by nature, Tabula Raza • Man is reasonable by nature • Man has natural rights: Land, liberty, equality (somewhat ironic since he was a slave owner) • Gov’tis a “public servant” that protects these rights • influenced Jefferson, Paine, Voltaire • Resulted in the American Revolution and the French Revolution (1789). • These revolutions and the ideas behind them were thought of as…

  11. “The Spirit of the Age”

  12. Examples of this in England: • William Godwin, and his idea of Benevolent Anarchy, and the French Revolution • 1793: An inquiry concerning Political Justice, gov't is corrupting force (dependence and ignorance, w), will be replaced by knowledge and personal morality thanks to education of/and reason. communal living based on public discussion, education, the end of private property, marriage, law --all of which lead to mental enslavement. • --experience forms character • --we are all equal, with equal capacities for reason • --society over gov't • --social judgment over emotion (fire clause)-- (imagine being is daughter) • In the heyday of the rev., a beloved figure: by 1800, wrote: I have fallen (if I have fallen) in one common grave with the cause and love of liberty; and in this sense I have been more honoured and illustrated in my decline, than ever I was in the highest tide of my success. • --influenced Coleridge, Wordsworth (though they turned their backs on him in the post-revolution conservatism), Byron, and of course, Shelley. • --Central to liberal (radical) social and artistic circles. • --Married Mary Wollstonecraft • --1794, Caleb Williams

  13. British Reactions to the French Revolution… • Seemingly, the embodiment of Enlightenment thought and philosophy • Starts as a pragmatic and rational revolution, informed by the main (and liberal) philosophies of the time…

  14. …was a cause for fear for Britain’s conservative ruling class (how would you react to the toppling of a monarchy by a forming democracy if you were part of a monarchic gov’t like in England?)

  15. …was a cause for fear for Britain’s conservative ruling class (how would you react to the toppling of a monarchy by a forming democracy if you were part of a monarchic gov’t like in England?)

  16. Edmund Burke, “Reflections on the Revolution in France” (pgs 152 – 158): • All circumstances taken together, the French Revolution is the most astonishing that has hitherto happened in the world. Everything seems out of nature in this chaos of levity and ferocity, and of all sorts of crimes jumbled together with all sorts of follies. In viewing this monstrous tragi-comic scene, the most opposite passions succeed, and sometimes mix with each other in the mind; alternate contempt and indignation; laughter and tears; scorn and horror. (152) • …Our [Britain’s] political system is placed in a just symmetry with the order of the world, and with the mode of existence decreed to a permanent body composed of transitory parts; wherein, by the disposition of a stupendous wisdom, moulding together the great, mysterious incorporation of the human race, the whole, at one time, is never old, or middle-aged, or young, but, in a condition of unchangeable constancy, moves on through the varied tenor of perpetual decay, fall, renovation and progression. (153)

  17. [on Monarchy (156 -57)] But now all is to be changed. All the pleasing illusions, which made power gentle and obedience liberal, which harmonized the different shades of life, and which, by a bland assimilation, incorporated into politics the sentiments which beautify and soften private society, are to be dissolved by this new conquering empire of light and reason. All the decent drapery of life is to be rudely torn off. All the superadded ideas, furnished from the wardrobe of a moral imagination, which the heart owns, and the understanding ratifies, as necessary to cover the defects of our naked, shivering nature, and to raise it to dignity in our own estimation, are to be exploded as a ridiculous, absurd, and antiquated fashion. On this scheme of things, a king is but a man, a queen is but a woman; a woman is but an animal, and an animal not of the highest order. All homage paid to the sex in general as such, and without distinct views, is to be regarded as romance and folly. Regicide, and parricide, and sacrilege, are but fictions of superstition, corrupting jurisprudence by destroying its simplicity. The murder of a king, or a queen, or a bishop, or a father, are only common homicide; and if the people are by any chance, or in any way, gainers by it, a sort of homicide much the most pardonable, and into which we ought not to make too severe a scrutiny.  On the scheme of this barbarous philosophy, which is the offspring of cold hearts and muddy understandings, and which is as void of solid wisdom as it is destitute of all taste and elegance, laws are to be supported only by their own terrors, and by the concern which each individual may find in them from his own private speculations, or can spare to them from his own private interests. In the groves of their academy, at the end of every vista, you see nothing but the gallows. Nothing is left which engages the affections on the part of the commonwealth.

  18. Political fallout of the Revolution in England • Burke and English Conservatism (reading) • Burke & the "Body Politic" (pgs 152-158) ("monstrous" -- monstre) –guillotine • Natural order of leadership/Social Position (inversion of social order) • English Pride & Propriety • conflict of oppositions (horrible to Burke, central to Romanticism) • Sold 30,000 in two years (Paine’s Rights of Man sold 200,000!!) • --English Conservatism • --fear of the public, repression of social rights (such as Habeus Corpus) • But Also, previous to this and as a reaction against this….

  19. Political fallout of the Revolution in England • Burke and English Conservatism (reading) • Burke & the "Body Politic" (pgs 152-158) ("monstrous" -- monstre) –guillotine • Natural order of leadership/Social Position (inversion of social order) • English Pride & Propriety • conflict of oppositions (horrible to Burke, central to Romanticism) • Sold 30,000 in two years (Paine’s Rights of Man sold 200,000!!) • --English Conservatism • --fear of the public, repression of social rights (such as Habeus Corpus) • B) But also, a reaffirmation of Rationality and Liberal Humanism (at least before the disillusionment from the Horrors of the Revolution) • For Example….

  20. Mary Wollstonecraft, “A Vindication of the Rights of Men” (pgs 160-161) Quitting now the flowers of rhetoric, let us, Sir, reason together; The birthright of man, to give you, Sir, a short definition of this disputed right, is such a degree of liberty, civil and religious, as is compatible with the liberty of every other individual with whom he is united in a social compact, and the continued existence of that compact. Liberty, in this simple, unsophisticated sense, I acknowledge, is a fair idea that has never yet received a form in the various governments that have been established on our beauteous globe; the demon of property has ever been at hand to encroach on the sacred rights of men, and to fence round with awful pomp laws that war with justice. But that it results from the eternal foundation of right–from immutable truth–who will presume to deny, that pretends to rationality–if reason has led them to build their morality and religion on an everlasting foundation–the attributes of God? The civilization which has taken place in Europe has been very partial, and, like every custom that an arbitrary point of honour has established, refines the manners at the expense of morals, by making sentiments and opinions current in conversation that have no root in the heart, or weight in the cooler resolves of the mind.–And what has stopped its progress?– hereditary property–hereditary honours. The man has been changed into an artificial monster by the station in which he was born, and the consequent homage that benumbed his faculties like the torpedo’s touch;–or a being, with a capacity of reasoning, would not have failed to discover, as his faculties unfolded, that true happiness arose from the friendship and intimacy which can only be enjoyed by equals; and that charity is not a condescending distribution of alms, but an intercourse of good offices and mutual benefits, founded on respect for justice and humanity. And of Course….

  21. Romanticism!

  22. IN general – Effects of the Enlightenment: • —the enlightenment’s navigation of spirituality and science is seen as an overthrow of spirituality for science. (codification vs. great chain of being) • —systematic thinking vs. church and state repression • --promotes man’s need to think reflect upon one’s place in the natural order • --a conflict between spirituality (emotion) and physicality (experience) • Results in a fascination with THE SUBLIME -- The Capturing of the Invisible or Intangible in the Nature • Examples…

  23. Romanticism and the Sublime • What does science do with the uncodifiable? • How does the “great categorization of things” account for emotion and spirituality? • These “Unknowables” are called “The Sublime,” which are the uncapturable or uncodifiable aspects of nature

  24. Definition The sublime can be best distinguished in relationship to the beautiful. The beautiful is that in nature which can be admired calmly and appreciated for its surface appearance (color, depth, material, balance). The sublime is that in nature which is so much greater than man that its attraction actually includes a certain degree of fear and trepidation on the part of the beholder, although a fear not so immediate that it traumatizes. For Wordsworth, it is a terrible, frightening, but nonetheless attractive, side to Nature's otherwise gentle and calming beauty. Hugh Holman's A Handbook to Literature: Edmund Burke in 1756 wrote A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful . Kant followed Burke's line of thinking in his Critique of Judgment (1790), where he linked beauty with the finite and the sublime with the infinite. Burke's doctrine of the sublime was powerfully influential on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century writers. He believed that a painful idea creates a sublime passion and thus concentrates the mind on that single facet of experience and produces a momentary suspension of rational activity, uncertainty, and self-consciousness. If the pain producing this effect is imaginary rather than real, a great aesthetic object is achieved. Thus, great mountains, storms at sea, ruined abbeys, crumbling castles, and charnel houses are appropriate subjects to produce the sublime.