The Enlightenment Chapter 17 Section 2
The Great Thinkers • Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Baron Charles de Montesquieu, Jean- Jacques Rousseau, Pierre Bayle, Denis Diderot (dee-duh-roh), Voltaire -- Francois Marie Arouet, David Hume, Baruch Spinoza, Edward Gibbon ….
The Great Thinkers • Shared a belief in the progress of knowledge and in using their critical understanding of society to help make the world better
The Enlightenment • Overview – The Scientific Revolution and Early Thinkers • Locke and Hobbes • The Philosophes • Principles • Montesquieu, Rousseau, Voltaire, Bayle, Diderot (dee-duh-roh)
The Enlightenment • The main components of Enlightenment thought are as follows: • The universe is fundamentally rational, that is, it can be understood through the use of reason alone; • Truth can be arrived at through empirical observation, the use of reason, and systematic doubt; • Human experience is the foundation of human understanding of truth; authority is not to be preferred over experience;
The Enlightenment • Human history is largely a history of progress; • Human beings can be improved through education and the development of their rational facilities; • Religious doctrines have no place in the understanding of the physical and human worlds;
The Philosophes Three central ideas of the Philosophes • Progress • Deism • Tolerance
Thomas Hobbes 1588-1679 The Leviathan 1651
Thomas Hobbes • “The life of Man is nasty brutish and short.” • Perpetual and restless desire for power”
Thomas Hobbes • All human law derives from natural law; when human law departed from natural law, disaster followed. • All monarchs ruled not by the consent of heaven, but by the consent of the people.
Thomas Hobbes • For Hobbes, humanity is better off living under the circumscribed freedoms of a monarchy rather than the violent anarchy of a completely equal and free life.Using this reasoning, Hobbes argued for unquestioning obedience of authority.
Thomas Hobbes • “Realistic politics” • Confirmed royalist yet open • Benevolent/enlightened despotism • Self-preservation is key for man -- Therefore he will seek power in all its forms
Thomas Hobbes • Power = “Coercive use of force to compel compliance” • Absolute monarchy best suited to maintain order and suppress raw acquisitive instincts
John Locke 1632-1704 Two Treatises of Government Essay Concerning Human Understanding 1690
John Locke • Very critical of Absolutism • Influenced by Bacon, Descartes and Newton • People in “nature” are rational and generally peaceful -- Therefore want a contract
John Locke • Tabula Rasa and interaction between mind and world • All human thought, then, and all human passion is ultimately derived from sensation and sensation alone. In Locke's view, the human mind is completely empirical.
John Locke • In Two Treatises of Government -- Opposed idea of rights of kings over people/fathers over kids • People enter “social contracts” with leaders • “all mankind are equal and independent, and no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or passions.”
John Locke • For Locke, humans enter into social contracts only to help adjudicate disputes between individuals or groups. Absolute power, then, is an unnatural development in human history.
John Locke • For Locke, the purpose of authority is to protect human equality and freedom; this is why social groups agree to a "social contract" that places an authority over them. When that authority ceases to care for the welfare, independence, and equality of individual humans, the social contract is broken and it is the duty of the members of society to overthrow that ruler.
Baron Charles de Montesquieu 1689-1755 The Spirit of the Laws 1748
Montesquieu • No ideal government • Gov’t should adapt to the size, the climate, and the social maturity of the people for whom it was intended.
Montesquieu • Republican democracy = small state • Limited monarchy (honour)= middle size • Despotism = vast tropical countries
Montesquieu • Most enthused by visit to England • “England is the freest country in the world.”
Montesquieu • Divided power -- Monarch -- Parliament -- Courts • Balance and “checks” were in place to avoid oppressive power control
Jean Jacques Rousseau 1712-1778 The Social Contract 1762
Rousseau • “Man was born free and everywhere he is in chains.” • The Social Contract
Rousseau • Rather than agree with Hobbes analysis of man’s “state of nature”, Rousseau said people in a state of nature had “natural pity.” Empathy with others.
Rousseau • He pictured a primitive and bygone Golden Age in which man lived close to nature and a return to “community” • A place where property did not exist and all men were created equal.
Rousseau • Political power must rest in the hands of the governed. Politicians should be the servants, not the masters of the people.
Rousseau • Political power was man-made and governments had grown tyrannical and cruel • They had destroyed liberty by means of unjust laws, taxes, police and armies.
Rousseau • A “General Will” existed representing the larger interest • Sovereignty of a state rests with each individual in the state
Rousseau Assault on the “Cult of the Individual”
Rousseau • Ruthlessly egalitarian • Believed in direct democracy • Unlike other thinkers he did not defend property because it meant a structure of unjust authority.
Pierre Bayle 1647-1746 Historical and Critical Dictionary
Bayle • Adopted Descartes and Bacon’s assertion that nothing was true unless it could be proven and was verifiable.
Bayle • Pierre Bayle was foundation, along with Diderot, for critics in the next two generations.
Bayle • He adopted methods of rationalism and empiricism to analyse historical “facts” • Nothing was true unless it could be substantiated
Bayle • Bible was his primary focus. He believed it could not be given special treatment and should be subjected to the same rigorous analysis. • Nothing is sacred • Both blemishes and respect must be examined
Bayle • Original “Social Scientist” • Stated that a good student of history is an enemy to lying. • Lies should not be used for secular or personal advantage
Voltaire Francois Marie Arouet 1694-1778 Essay on Man Candide
Voltaire • Twice imprisoned in the famous Paris Bastille, he left France for three years exile in England. • Another of the ‘Philosophes who was impressed by the British freedoms.
Voltaire The Court Case of Jean Calas Candide
Voltaire • “An Englishman goes to heaven by the road he pleases. There are no arbitrary taxes. The peasant eats white bread and is well clothed and is not afraid of adding to his land for fear that the taxes will be raised next year.”