preview

The Enlightenment

analytical Essay
1244 words
1244 words
bookmark

The history of Western civilization cannot be neatly divided into precise linear sections. Instead, it must be viewed as a series of developing threads that combine, interact, and, at various intervals, take pervasive shifts. The Enlightenment of the eighteenth century was one of these paradigm historical shifts, challenging the traditional notions of authority by investing reason with the power to change the human condition for the better. This ecumenical emphasis on reason and independent thought led to an explosion of change and development across science, philosophy, religion, and politics. Later ideologies that would shape the socioeconomic landscape of the next two centuries were themselves shaped by the threads of Enlightenment thought. These threads did not abruptly end, as some would suppose, with the French Revolution, but can still be seen in various modes of thought today.

The importance that the Enlightenment placed upon reason was most obvious in the spheres of science and philosophy. Although this time period saw a rapid increase in scientific knowledge, the overarching idea behind the discoveries was that man could realize his full potential and progress towards perfection through the application of reason. Descartes’ epistemological foundationalism encouraged skeptical analysis in order to arrive at indubitable truth, and set the tone for the new metaphysics that emerged along with a vigorous interest in “natural philosophy” and the inductive study of the physical realm. At the same, however, there was intense philosophical discussion about the nature of the material world that was being studied. Some, like David Hume, believed that we had no way of knowing if our perceptions and the external world actually co...

... middle of paper ...

...f the Modern Mind . Cedarville, Ohio.

Clauson, M. (2010, February). The Nineteenth Century Powerpoint. Making of the Modern Mind . Cedarville, Ohio.

Enlightenment. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 15, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/188441/Enlightenment

Gonzalez, J. L. (2007). The Story of Christianity. Peabody, Massachusetts: Prince Press.

History of Europe. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 15, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/195896/history-of-Europe

Lawhead, W. F. (2002). The Voyage of Discovery: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Mills, D., Clauson, M., Chamberlain, T., & Mortensen, J. (2010, January). Class Notes. Making of the Modern Mind . Cedarville, Ohio.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the enlightenment gave birth to a wide range of ideologies, including liberty, natural rights, and the structure of government.
  • Explains clauson, m., the nineteenth century powerpoint, making of the modern mind, cedarville, ohio.
  • Argues that the enlightenment was a paradigm shift in western civilization. it was an ecumenical emphasis on reason and independent thought that led to an explosion of change across science, philosophy, religion, and politics.
  • Argues that the enlightenment's anthropological optimism has been tainted by the atrocities of the past two centuries of human history, but its scientific optimism continues to thrive.
  • Explains the history of europe in encyclopdia britannica. lawhead, w. f., and mills, d.
Get Access