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Chapter 8: The Age of Enlightenment

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  1. Chapter 8: The Age of Enlightenment Section 8.36 The Philosophes and Others

  2. Enlightenment Newton’s Principia Diderot’s Encyclopedie Rousseau’s Social Contract & Emile Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations 1687 1748 1751 1759 1762 1764 1776 1794 Condorcet & Maximilien Robespierre executed Voltaire’s Candide Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws Beccaria’s On Crime and Punishment

  3. Reason Progress All of mankind will eventually share in the benefits of reason Natural/Universal laws universe is governed by natural laws which are knowable scientific method can unlock fundamental answer in all areas In nature and in human mind education All humans can be taught to reason Will infinitely improve it past regarded dark & barbaric Religious toleration Equality Fair and equal legal system and tax The main agency of progress was to be the state Limited monarchy: Montesquieu Enlightened despotism: Voltaire Republican commonwealth: Rousseau Extremely skeptical of tradition Rejected superstitions rejected revealed religion Deistic- God is a clockmaker Basic Premises

  4. Reactionary Movement in Religion • Still a religious time • Congregations first sang Adeste Fideles (Oh Come All Ye Faithful) • Pietism movement stirred in Germany • stressed inner spiritual experience of ordinary person and quest for an inner light of the soul John Wesley and Methodism • student at Oxford • Led prayer groups • Good works • Initiated religious revival in England • Methodists Whitfield in the Americas • Preacher (Toured America) • Democratizing effect individual worth • Spawned the Great Awakening

  5. The Philosophes • Leaders of the Enlightenment period • French for philosopher • Writers • not philosophers in the metaphysical sense • Were social, literary writers, critics, who discussed matters with each other • Diffused Enlightenment ideas

  6. Philosphes: Audience and Style • Literacy rising by mid 18th century • Literacy rates 47 % men, 27% women • Approach any subject in a critical and inquiring spirit • Through their writings they spread the ideas of the Enlightenment • Writers independent of aristocratic patrons • (grub-street writers) Freelancers that wrote for the public • Public opinion becomes important • Had to deal with Censorship • Metaphoric style

  7. Paris: The Epicenter • Paris • Epicenter of the enlightenment • Salon • held in the townhouses of the wealthy • usually conducted by women • Facilitated the exchange of ideas • Promoted the “Republic of Letters” • authors could introduce new works and engage in lively conversation among of ‘rock stars’

  8. Encyclopedie • Compendium of scientific, technical, & historical knowledge • 17 volumes (1751-1772) • a summation and means of diffusing the most recent knowledge in science, philosophy, and technology • meant to be read through and not used as a reference • all traditions must be examined • directly challenged the Church • helped spread Enlightenment ideas • distinguished list of contributors • Diderot (1713-1784) • Chief editor • had a materialistic philosophy • 25 thou sold before Rev.

  9. Montesquieu (1689-1755) • Spirit of Laws (1748) • looked at the way environments and religious traditions influenced governments • forms of government varied according to climate and circumstances • empires worked in hot climates • democracy worked in small city-states • in spite of environmental handicaps gov. can imitate English system • Separate and balanced powers (executive, judicial, legislative) • Prevented arbitrary power by having a system of checks and balances • Balance of powers by dividing the jobs of government • Executive, legislative, and judicial • Part of the noble resurgence that began about 1715 • Nobility would be the most powerful • technically a reactionary • A strong nobility to check power of absolute monarch

  10. Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet) (1694-1778) • greatest Philosophes • made French thinkers more practical, less theoretical • 1st to present a purely secular conception of world history • politically not a liberal or democrat • low opinion of humanity • Favored Enlightened Despotism (not quite absolutism) • must fight against sloth, stupidity, keep clergy in place, freedom of religion/speech • but he had no developed political theory

  11. Voltaire’s Social Views • ardent spokesman for civil liberties • “Crush Infamy” (Ecrasez l’infame) he called for the eradication of all forms of repression, fanaticism, and bigotry • “the individual who persecutes another because he is not of the same opinion is nothing less than a monster” • “I do not agree with a word you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” • Hated religious bigotry the most • “It is forbidden to kill therefore all murders are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

  12. Candide (1759) • Satire on Enlightenment (Optimists) • Written shortly after the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 • Rejects unquestioned optimism • Candide is lulled into false security that he is in the “best of all possible worlds” by his tutor, Dr. Pangloss and journeys throughout the world • has one misfortune after another • “Eldorado” • a land that has no priests, law courts, or prisons but $ and a place of sciences and math • a rip on idea of perfectibility • Candide gets bored in Eldorado (being a restless mortal) and leaves • ‘we must tend our garden’

  13. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) • Promoted the idea of the “noble savage” • Civilization was the source of corruption • Only in a natural state could man live an uncorrupted existence • Considered an outsider who quarreled with other philosophes • Concerned with reforming society, diffusing useful knowledge, freedom • despised privilege & believed that just and moral society could be created by crushing repressive governments • Nature over Reason • Considered the forerunner of the French Revolution, American Revolution, Communism (Pol Pot), Romanticism, and Totalitarianism • Had greatest influence on education and political theory

  14. Origin of Inequality Among Men (1753) • Essay contest of Academy of Dijon • Has the progress of arts and sciences benefited man? • NO • Man in original state • Good • Amour de soi (good self love) • Agriculture led to concept of private property • Led man to judge others • Judgments led to the creation of laws • Man lost his freedom • Amour propre (conceit, vanity, self-love)

  15. The Social Contract (1762) • Not a contract between a ruler and the ruled • An agreement among the people • Individuals surrendered their natural liberty to each other • This fused into the General Will • Rulings of the General Will were final and all agreed to accept them • The general will was the sovereign • Kings, officials, representatives were delegates of a sovereign people • Created a state in which all persons had a sense of membership • complimented Origins of Inequality & Emile in creating a moral society • said in the state of nature “man is born free” • institution of private property led to owners creating instruments of repression (laws, police, slavery)

  16. Emile (1762) • source of progressive education • maxim that first impulses of nature are always right • insisted that children are not miniature adults • drilling and discipline not proper for them • learn by doing (experience) • book learning postponed until adolescence since books “teach us only to talk about things we do not know” • reason is last thing to develop and it is pointless to teach child to reason • education should create moral and useful citizens • women belong at home serving men • written as a “how to” in which Rousseau takes an imaginary boy (orphan) and raises him to adulthood

  17. Condorcet (1743-1794) & Faith in Progress • considered the last of the philosophes b/c his work was cut short by the Revolution • mathematician but known most for his belief in progress • thinkers of the 1600s regarded themselves modern and intellectually superior to the ancients • Progress of the Human Mind (1794) attested that the moderns were more advanced and unlimited progress lay ahead • predicted healthier society in which “moment will come…when tyrants and slaves will exist only in history or on the stage” • Ironically he would be killed during the Terror

  18. Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) • Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788) • covers Roman and Byzantine history from Augustine to fall of Constantinople (1453) • says Empire was brought down by barbarian invasions, and Christianity • Christianity was worst calamity b/c “the servile and pusillanimous reign of the monks debased and vitiated the faculties of the mind”

  19. Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794) • Milanese jurist who wrote On Crimes and Punishments (1764) • questioned the view that punishment represent the vengeance of society • said that punishment should serve as a deterrent and that leniency was best deterrent • opposed the death penalty • book translated into 12 languages and most European countries abolished torture (1800) and reserved death penalty for capital crimes, adopted imprisonment rather than maiming

  20. Adam Smith (1723-1790) • Wealth of Nations (1776) • opposed mercantilism • gov. purpose should be limited to defense, internal security, give fair laws • innovations would come from private persons, not the state • proponent of free trade, free market • comparative advantage • individuals should be allowed to pursue their own self-interests • termed “laissez-faire” from French expression “laissez-faire la nature” (let nature run its course) • believed that like the law of gravity keeps planets in orbit the “invisible hand” of free market and competitive forces will balance out wealth for all • thought himself a champion of the poor • Natural laws of supply and demand • Required the mutual interaction of the enlightened self-interest of millions of people

  21. Impact of Enlightenment