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Secular Humanism. Niccolo Machiavelli John locke Thomas hobbes Jean jacques rousseau. A little history…. Medieval [Western] Civilizations Environment of fear and insecurity Challenged by bandits, vikings and anarchy Historically crippled by famines and plagues

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secular humanism

Secular Humanism

Niccolo Machiavelli

John locke

Thomas hobbes

Jean jacquesrousseau

a little history
A little history….
  • Medieval [Western] Civilizations
    • Environment of fear and insecurity
    • Challenged by bandits, vikings and anarchy
    • Historically crippled by famines and plagues
    • All philosophy was based on theology
    • Man was weak and God was great
    • Limited awareness or potential for independent thinking
  • The Renaissance
    • Term used to describe a mobilization of ideas
    • Artistic, literary, cultural
niccolo machiavelli
Niccolo Machiavelli

1469 to 1527 – Florence Italy

  • BIO: diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, civil servant, poet, song writer and founder of modern political science… then exiled.
  • THE PRINCE – more a “how to” than “philosophy.
    • Considers the possibility of a “new prince” as opposed to the traditional monarchical prince.
    • New prince must first stabilize his power as it is not given, assumed or divinely protected.
    • New prince must be willing to act immorally.
    • Is it better to be feared than loved?
thomas hobbes
Thomas Hobbes

1588-1679 - England

  • BIO: political philosopher, champion of absolutism, founder of materialism, historian and translator of Greek and Latin writing.
  • LEVIATHAN: one of the earliest and most influential examples of social contract theory
  • Leviathan:
  • Written during English Civil War
  • The state = great artifical man or monster (leviathan)
  • Argues for an absolute sovereign as the best way to avoid the chaos of civil war
  • Man is inherently selfish and aggressive

The notion of the social contract implies that the people give up sovereignty to a government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order through the rule of law. It can also be thought of as an agreement by the governed on a set of rules by which they are governed.

john locke
John Locke

1632-1704 - England

  • BIO: philosopher, physician, father of Liberalism and regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers.
  • Theory of the mind: origin of modern notions of identity and the self – first to define the self through consciousness, experience, sense perception and knowledge. Defines the self as “that conscious thinking thing,”
  • TWO TREATISES OF GOVERNMENT (published anonymously)
    • outlines a theory of political/civil society based on natural rights and contract theory
    • All men are created equal in the state of nature by God
    • Only legitimate governments are those who have the support and consent of the people. (all others should be overthrown)
    • Man is naturally tolerant, reasonable and selfish
    • Revolution is not only a right but an obligation
jean jacques rousseau
Jean Jacques Rousseau

BIO: philosopher, writer, composer, musical theorist and national hero

1712-1778 - Geneva

  • Inspired political revolutions and reforms all over the western world
  • Argues against the idea that monarchs were divinely empowered to rule
  • In order to move beyond the state of nature, man must enter into a Social Contract with others
  • All men surrender the same amount of freedom and impose the same duties and responsibilities evenly
  • Participant must be free – slavery is illogical
  • Man can exit from this contract at any time and be free once again (unless in a time of need)
absolutism monarchies 1600 1715
Absolutism & Monarchies: 1600-1715

Much of what broke down absolutism in monarchies was the religious deconstruction of the time and the growing divide between church and science.

political history
Political History

Thirty Years War

Treat of Westphalia (1648)