Essay The Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason Analysis

Essay The Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason Analysis

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The “Age of Enlightenment” also known as the “Age of Reason” took place around Europe between the 17th and 18th century. It was a movement that took place to emphasize the use of reason and science in the world. In addition, it was to enlighten or shed light upon the use of factual reasoning and promote the use of evidence when doing things. Thinkers and well-known philosophers of the time such as Voltaire, Diderot, D'Alembert, Descartes, Montesquieu and more were beginning to understand and promote reasoning beyond the traditional ways of doing things. The main goal of this movement was to encourage moving past religious beliefs and superstitious prejudices into a world that is more evolved and reason is the basis of all knowledge and authority. During this age, several theories were proven false on the basis of reasoning. The movement encouraged rationality upon the basis of which a reliable system of ethics, aesthetics, and knowledge was formed

Furthermore, movements such as rationalism, empiricism, subjectivism and skepticism were also bought to notice upon which further “enlightenment” was accomplished. The 18th century was a period in which all intellectual, political and social matters were developed. These matters involved science, politics, society and philosophy and together they shaped the modern, western view of the world. Out of the many developments made in the 18th century, rationalism was one that was widely known and was established by one of the many well-known philosophers, René Descartes. By rationalism, Descartes attempted to persuade the application of doubt in any given scenario that can be doubted. In simple terms, it was a way of questioning every proposition under a false light to be able to reach an imp...


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...y that states that only the mind, its contents and its perceptions and ideas exist. Berkeley explained that subjective idealism rejects the idea of materialism or dualism and that anything materialistic is independent of its own reality but just a perception of the mind. He further explained his theory by stating that “to be is to be perceived” which essentially meant that objects such as pens or papers only exist when we, humans, perceive their existence. George Berkeley’s philosophy of subjective idealism played a significant role in understanding the human mind during the 18th century.

The Age of enlightenment also marked the advancements of political theories as three major political revolutions took place during the 18th century. These three revolutions, the English, French and British revolutions identified the basis of modern, constitutional democracies.

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