Essay about The Enlightenment : An Age Of Reason

Essay about The Enlightenment : An Age Of Reason

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The Enlightenment was an age of reason in the 18th century that brought about many changes in intellectual life. Philosophers of the Enlightenment had a commitment to spread the use of reason from nature to human society by creating concepts of human rights, progress, and tolerance. Many great historians have attempted to recover knowledge to give their perspectives on the era and to establish elaborate descriptions of past events. While some mostly focused on the rise and history of the ideas, others were more concerned with the social and cultural context of these ideas. Some Enlightenment historians consist of Peter Gay, Dena Goodman, and Fredrick Artz. Each individual has taken a different approach on the Enlightenment with the intentions of educating their readers about such a great intellectual era.
In The Enlightenment: An Interpretation – The Rise of Modern Paganism, Peter Gay gives a great overview of the intellectual heritage during the 18th century. He focuses mainly on the philosophes and presents solid knowledge of their education and ideas. Gay states that, “There were many philosophes in the eighteenth century, but there was only one Enlightenment” (3). He considered the philosophes to be a family and believed their accomplishments should be honored. Despite their strong debates, they all presented a mutual obligation. Each philosophes believed that everything about the past and the division of the world was pessimistic. They sought to get rid of old habits and change the way of thinking through knowledge, education, and science. In doing so, the philosophes attempted to apply critical thinking, more than ever before, to move towards modernity. Gay believes that they were unique and unlike any other man because th...


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...ed the amount of progress that was brought about. It is smart to think and focus on how intellect had changed the world as a whole. To take a deeper look into this idea helps to concentrate on changes in the ways of thinking and styles of behavior among many people during this era. The purpose of this age of reason was to change the minds of people and to encourage them to think in different ways than they were normally taught. So it is essential to play close attention to the outcome of this time period. We must see that the Enlightenment was a time to educate all and not just those of Church and royalty. Today, it is clear that the Enlightenment continues to stretch way beyond the philosophes. Cultural historians turn to new thinking in reading newspapers, novels, prints, etc. To this day the Enlightenment lives on as a living language and important teaching tool.

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