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Age Of Enlightenment Liberalism

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Age Of Enlightenment Liberalism

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  • Both the Age of Enlightenment and the birth of liberalism can be viewed as starting with the father of liberalism John Locke (1632 - 1704), although he was informed by thinkers like the Greeks, Machiavelli, Hobbes, and the events of the English Civil War.(More...)
  • The political version of enlightenment is liberalism, the idea that all men are created equal, and have a right to life and liberty, and that this should be reflected in government.(More...)
  • If one classical liberal insight was that human institutions can be better trusted with the enterprise of enlightenment than human individuals, contemporary liberalism is coming to believe--almost as a matter of perceived necessity--that human institutions are inadequate to protect and advance the enlightenment enterprise against the new upsurge of illiberalism online.(More...)
  • For Gray, liberalism is at the core of "the Enlightenment project" that has shaped all of modern Western thought, including that of conservative thinkers who viewed themselves as opponents of the Enlightenment.(More...)

POSSIBLY USEFUL
  • They introduced his Egyptian audience to the liberal ideas of the Enlightenment such as secular authority and political rights and liberty, his ideas regarding how a modern civilized society ought to be and what constituted by extension a civilized or "good Egyptian", and his ideas on public interest and public good.(More...)
  • By the mid-eighteenth century, the basic conceptual vocabulary of the natural rights tradition — "natural rights," "state of nature," "civil society," " social contract " — had entered the mainstream of Enlightenment political thought, which embraced, nearly unanimously, the belief that the only legitimate basis of political authority was consent.(More...)
  • In the general indeterminate sense of the term "enlightenment," of course, that is arguable; in terms of the values and political ideas deriving from the specific movement of 1650-1830, however, it is obviously nonsense.(More...)



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Both the Age of Enlightenment and the birth of liberalism can be viewed as starting with the father of liberalism John Locke (1632 - 1704), although he was informed by thinkers like the Greeks, Machiavelli, Hobbes, and the events of the English Civil War. [1] Liberalism became a distinct movement in the Age of Enlightenment, when it became popular among Western philosophers and economists. [2] Classical liberalism arose in opposition to state-imposed religion and aristocracy in the 1600 1700's during the Age of Enlightenment in Europe and America. [1]

Most historians will slip a mainly 17 th- century "Age of Reason" into outline chronologies of intellectual history, and this makes a great deal of sense; the great thinkers of the 17 th century didn't have quite the fervor for empiricism and hadn't quite embraced the political liberalism that would characterize the European Enlightenment. [3] People first began embracing the concept of liberalism during the Age of Enlightenment, and it grew in popularity because it rejected the social and political norms of time, which included state religion and absolute monarchy. [4] Liberalism first became a powerful force in the Age of Enlightenment, rejecting several foundational assumptions that dominated most earlier theories of government, such as nobility, established religion, absolute monarchy, and the Divine Right of Kings. [5]

The American Age of Enlightenment, as an example of liberalism, also saw the promotion of religious tolerance, and a restored importance and appreciation being placed on creative fields, such as literature, arts, and music, as professions worthy of being studied. [4]


The political version of enlightenment is liberalism, the idea that all men are created equal, and have a right to life and liberty, and that this should be reflected in government. [1] A thought occurs to me you keep saying that liberalism is based in the Enlightenment idea that rationality and reason can lead society to the truth. [6] The rise and development of liberalism in Enlightenment political thought has many relations with the rise of the mercantile class (the bourgeoisie) and the development of what comes to be called "civil society", the society characterized by work and trade in pursuit of private property. [7] Week 7: political ideas in the Enlightenment (i) liberalism, Rousseau and Condorcet. [8] Liberalism is perhaps the most characteristic political philosophy of the Enlightenment, and Spinoza, in this text primarily, is one of its originators. [7] Below we will start by explaining liberalism and enlightenment, and then we will go onto the story of the history of liberalism from its roots with the Greeks in the west and other cultures in the east, to its evolution in Rome, to its evolution in the Italian Republics, to its true birth in its modern form in Locke's Europe. [1] In this view, the Enlightenment represents the basis for modern ideas of liberalism against superstition and intolerance. [9] Things are complex in-practice, but the above offers the essentials idea: that liberalism is an ideology of liberty and equality that is generally to the left of Kings and comes from the use of reason and the enlightenment and from there we get countless sub-types based on countless positions within those spheres. [1] The development of liberalism continued throughout the 18th century with the burgeoning Enlightenment ideals of the era. [2]

D'Alembert, a leading figure of the French Enlightenment, characterizes his eighteenth century, in the midst of it, as "the century of philosophy par excellence ", because of the tremendous intellectual and scientific progress of the age, but also because of the expectation of the age that philosophy (in the broad sense of the time, which includes the natural and social sciences) would dramatically improve human life. [7] Enlightenment philosophy tends to stand in tension with established religion, insofar as the release from self-incurred immaturity in this age, daring to think for oneself, awakening one's intellectual powers, generally requires opposing the role of established religion in directing thought and action. [7] Skepticism enjoys a remarkably strong place in Enlightenment philosophy, given that confidence in our intellectual capacities to achieve systematic knowledge of nature is a leading characteristic of the age. [7] The Age of Enlightenment, sometimes called the Age of Reason, refers to the time of the guiding intellectual movement, called The Enlightenment. [9] Although Britain's Glorious Revolution happens in Locke's time, in 1688, and other thinkers inspire Locke, the Age of Enlightenment begins with those who read Locke's works and were influenced by it. [1] Despite the confidence in and enthusiasm for human reason in the Enlightenment - it is sometimes called "the Age of Reason" - the rise of empiricism, both in the practice of science and in the theory of knowledge, is characteristic of the period. [7] The enthusiasm for reason in the Enlightenment is primarily not for the faculty of reason as an independent source of knowledge, which is embattled in the period, but rather for the human cognitive faculties generally; the Age of Reason contrasts with an age of religious faith, not with an age of sense experience. [7] The Age of Enlightenment AKA the Age of Reason starts with the Scientific Revolution (as far back as Copernicus) and goes on until at least the end of the French Revolution (the dates are fuzzy, but the reasoning isn't). [1]

It is certainly clear that liberalism is an Enlightenment ideal which focuses on real information and clear thought. [6] In fact I was astounded at the mischaracterizations used to force through his arguments -- namely that the Enlightenment liberalism has triumphed and will continue to triumph over intransigent conservatism. [10] Since liberalism follows enlightenment, lets start by discussing enlightenment. [1] This article may be cited as: Faria MA. The Enlightenment -- A triumph of classical not modern liberalism! HaciendaPublishing.com, September 29, 2015. [10]

The Enlightenment, as the age in which experimental natural science matures and comes into its own, admires Bacon as "the father of experimental philosophy." [7] In this regard, this age is the age of enlightenment, the century of Frederick. [8] Brown, Stuart, ed. British Philosophy in the Age of Enlightenment. [9] It expanded rapidly during the Age of Enlightenment, reaching practically every country in Europe, as well as the British and Spanish overseas colonies. [11] The age of Enlightenment is typified in Europe by the great system-builders--philosophers who present unified systems of epistemology, metaphysics, logic, and ethics. [9] During the age of Enlightenment, there was so-called "enlightened despotism," a form of despotism where the rulers were influenced by the Enlightenment. [9] The age of Enlightenment is considered to have ended with the French Revolution, which had a violent aspect that discredited it in the eyes of many. [9]

It was the enlightened thinkers of the age who concluded some of the natural ends of reason, thus giving birth to liberalism. [1] Liberalism evolved over time from classic liberalism to social liberalism (as liberalism was influenced by socialist thinkers like Marx and radical democrats like Rousseau, and also Presidents like Lincoln and Roosevelt who pushed back against institutions like slavery and Gilded Age big businesses.) [1] As to the asserted positivism reinforcing modern liberalism (socialism), one should recall that 200 years of beneficially evolving changes in ancient Greek (Athenian) democracy and 500 years of the Roman Republic were followed by empire, the Dark Ages, feudalism, and monarchism (not to mention the savagery in many parts of the world) for nearly two millennia until the 20th century. [10] Despite the reservations of Europeans regarding the legacy of their own supposed Enlightenment, the traditional narrative of Enlightenment liberalism has been appropriated by social theorists in regions briefly (although brutally) colonized and dominated by the European states in the nineteenth and twentieth century. [12] Both the modernist view of Enlightenment liberalism as an alternative to twentieth-century totalitarianism and the postmodernist view of the Enlightenment as the source of that same totalitarianism depended on selective readings of eighteenth-century social theorists. [12]

This passage appeared in the entry on “ Giambattista Vico ” in the first edition of the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (1968), published in an age in which the Enlightenment had fallen on such hard times that it did not even rate a separate entry in that Encyclopedia. [12] The Enlightenment discovery or construction of science, in this sense, owed everything to the idea of a heroic age of scientific achievement just behind it, in the development of modern astronomy and physics from Nicolaus Copernicus to Newton. [12] Enlightenment (Age of Reason) Intellectual temper of Western Europe in the 18th century. [12] Montesquieu was a French lawyer, man of letters, and one of the most influential political philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment. [13] The American Age of Enlightenment, which was heavily influenced by the European Age of Enlightenment, encouraged scientific reasoning to be used to evaluate differing ideals, such as religion, politics, and even scientific notions. [4] The Enlightenment was the age of the triumph of science (Newton, Leibniz, Bacon) and of philosophy (Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Kant, Voltaire, Diderot, Montesquieu). [3] The Age of Enlightenment was a period in history during which people were continually questioning the traditions they had been taught. [4] Even prior to the Age of Enlightenment, Europe was home to several republican (non-monarchical) governments. [14] The Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot epitomized the spirit of the Age of Enlightenment, or Age of Reason, as it is also called. [15] It was Kant himself who answered the question, "Do we now live in an enlightened age?" by saying: "No, but we live in an age of enlightenment" — a judgment that perhaps remains as true today as when it was first rendered. [12]

The original strain of liberalism was not entirely evil and was concerned to protect and to grant rights to ordinary men, women and children in an often harsh and cruel age. [15]

Politically, the Age of Revolutions afforded opportunities for state construction beyond what any Enlightenment thinker had envisaged. [12] He recognized that Enlightenment thinkers accomplished much that was good; indeed, modern liberalism would be unthinkable without their critique of cruelty, domination and arbitrary authority. [16]

The Lockean idea of liberalism was part of the intellectual engine behind the Age of Enlightenment - a philosophical movement centered on reason and the birthplace of ideas such as liberty, progress, tolerance, constitutional government, and the separation of church and state. [17] American political conservatism and American political liberalism are both products of the Age of Enlightenment. [17] Both religious liberalism and American democracy are products of the Age of Enlightenment. [17]


If one classical liberal insight was that human institutions can be better trusted with the enterprise of enlightenment than human individuals, contemporary liberalism is coming to believe--almost as a matter of perceived necessity--that human institutions are inadequate to protect and advance the enlightenment enterprise against the new upsurge of illiberalism online. [18] The Enlightenment was, in short, a genuinely international phenomenon with a political and ideological dynamic whose core values derived from the burgeoning liberalism of the 17th century. [19] Even in the realm of political theory, which is the issue here, its emphasis on abstract universal precepts of "reason" and the egoistic individual along with not just the "right" to property, but the right to employ it without any regard to the public interest, has led to much disillusionment with the legacy of the Enlightenment in general and liberalism in particular. [19] In the name of opposing the abstract rationalism and "Eurocentrism" deriving from the Enlightenment, even the best communitarians will find themselves in a situation where the benefits of liberalism or social democracy can exist only for those nations already in the possession of them. [19] The connection between liberalism and the Enlightenment is indisputable. [19] Lenin's "dictatorship of the proletariat" was actually less a product of liberalism, Enlightenment politics, or even the Jacobins than a response to their perceived failings. [19] Vietnam had symbolized the connection of liberalism and imperialism and many were led to question the "Eurocentric" character of the Enlightenment. [19] The machinery of enlightenment, in short, requires of liberalism a new digital immune system. [18] They can be programmed or taught to be truly better at liberalism; they possess the capability to better operate and manage the machinery of enlightenment in ways that better harmonize peace and knowledge. [18]

Adam Smith (1723 - 1790) was a Scottish philosopher and political economist of the Age of Enlightenment and a key figures in the Scottish Enlightenment. [20] The result is, in keeping with the practical emergence of a new conservatism, a new ideological attack on the Enlightenment and the political legacy of what R.R. Palmer called the "age of the democratic revolution." [19] The Enlightenment had given way to the materialist age, and the new age’s ideologies--progress, science, and positivism as already listed, as well as secularism, the subjective individual, the nation-state, and so on--had begun to reveal a darker side. [21] Myth had originally sought to control nature and now, in the age of fascism, Enlightenment simply made room for myth. [19] A re we turning our backs on the age of enlightenment? Reading the rightwing press in Britain would suggest we have. [22] No age can swear an oath to commit its successors to a condition in which it would be impossible to extend knowledge, correct errors, and generally foster progress in Enlightenment. [19]


For Gray, liberalism is at the core of "the Enlightenment project" that has shaped all of modern Western thought, including that of conservative thinkers who viewed themselves as opponents of the Enlightenment. [23] Many of the actors who formulated their goals in Enlightenment rhetoric were aiming to transform society under the auspices of liberalism and market integration. [24]

Vico, Herder, and Burke, of course, lived in the eighteenth century, but where their successors are concerned, the age of Enlightenment and the French Revolution fixed the pattern of the political and cultural life of the two following centuries. [25] The Enlightenment, broadly conceived, was thus fragmented, socially and across gender lines. 11 The entrenched dichotomy of Enlightenment and Counter-Enlightenment has also been called into question. 12 And finally, the convenient fiction of the eighteenth century as the Age of Reason has begun to recede. [24] This literature suggests that to a large degree, the production of knowledge in the Age of Enlightenment was not confined to the academy and the laboratory, but came out of forms of "open air science" in a multiplicity of contact zones in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. [24] It has become increasingly clear that the Enlightenment cannot simply be equated with secularization, but on the contrary was deeply embedded in religious world views. 13 Therefore, the stylization of the period as an age of disenchantment is itself a modern myth. [24] Schleiermacher came of age as Romanticism began to supplant the Enlightenment. [26]

A few years later, the Liberal government led Britain into the calamitous World War I, which put a bloody end to the Age of Liberalism and inaugurated a new age of total war, totalitarianism, and managerial statism. [27] The modern world of ever improving living standards, marvelous technology, and astounding opportunity that we enjoy today is a product of the Age of Liberalism. [27] "It is a purposeful distortion of facts to blame the age of liberalism for an alleged materialism. [27]

POSSIBLY USEFUL
They introduced his Egyptian audience to the liberal ideas of the Enlightenment such as secular authority and political rights and liberty, his ideas regarding how a modern civilized society ought to be and what constituted by extension a civilized or "good Egyptian", and his ideas on public interest and public good. [11] It isn't that no early liberal were equatable to today's social liberal (consider the founder Gouverneur Morris ), it was that in general for those classical liberals in their era the focus was on reason, individualism, liberty, right, reason, and enlightenment more than on social equity (what we today might denote as "the welfare state.") [1] As heirs of the Enlightenment, liberals believed that any given social and political order emanated from human interactions, not from divine will. [2] After the end of the Second World War the Enlightenment tradition reemerged as a key organizing concept in social and political thought and the history of ideas. [9] In initiating this model, Hobbes takes a naturalistic, scientific approach to the question of how political society ought to be organized (against the background of a clear-eyed, unsentimental conception of human nature), and thus decisively influences the Enlightenment process of secularization and rationalization in political and social philosophy. [7] Taking as the core of the Enlightenment the aspiration for intellectual progress, and the belief in the power of such progress to improve human society and individual lives, this entry includes descriptions of relevant aspects of the thought of earlier thinkers, such as Hobbes, Locke, Descartes, Bayle, Leibniz, and Spinoza, thinkers whose contributions are indispensable to understanding the eighteenth century as "the century of philosophy par excellence ". [7]

Here is perhaps my biggest objection to his thesis: The modern liberal vs. conservative political conflict of today did not begin with the Enlightenment; it originated later in the 19th century, consequent to the upheaval of the French Revolution, fomented with Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto (1848), and crystallized with the meeting of the left-wing socialists and communists at the First International (1866). [10] The Enlightenment not only produced modern democracy, it also laid the foundation of liberal political values still winning victories today. [10]

The political revolutions of the Enlightenment, especially the French and the American, were informed and guided to a significant extent by prior political philosophy in the period. [7] The intellectual progress of the Enlightenment, which questioned old traditions about societies and governments, eventually coalesced into powerful revolutionary movements that toppled what the French called the Ancien Régime, the belief in absolute monarchy and established religion, especially in Europe, Latin America and North America. [11] Most of the philosophes of the French Enlightenment were progressive in the liberal sense and advocated the reform of the French system of government along more constitutional and liberal lines. [11]

Besides the Enlightenment, a rising tide of industrialization and urbanization in Western Europe during the 18th century also contributed to the growth of liberal society by spurring commercial and entrepreneurial activity. [11]

Liberalism - both as a political current and an intellectual tradition - is mostly a modern phenomenon that started in the 17th century, although some liberal philosophical ideas had precursors in classical antiquity and in the Imperial China. [2] The moral and political suppositions of liberalism have been based on traditions such as natural rights and utilitarian theory, although sometimes liberals even requested support from scientific and religious circles. [2] British philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) is widely regarded as the pioneer of liberal feminism, with A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) expanding the boundaries of liberalism to include women in the political structure of liberal society. [2] In a few years, this New Liberalism had become the essential social and political programme of the Liberal Party in Britain, and it would encircle much of the world in the 20th century. [2] The diversity of liberalism can be gleaned from the numerous adjectives that liberal thinkers and movements have attached to the very term liberalism, including classical, egalitarian, economic, social, welfare-state, ethical, humanist, deontological, perfectionist, democratic and institutional, to name a few. [2]

Though the Enlightenment, as a diverse intellectual and social movement, has no definite end, the devolution of the French Revolution into the Terror in the 1790s, corresponding, as it roughly does, with the end of the eighteenth century and the rise of opposed movements, such as Romanticism, can serve as a convenient marker of the end of the Enlightenment, conceived as an historical period. [7] The Prussian enlightened despot, Frederick the Great, famously criticizes d'Holbach's book for exemplifying the incoherence that troubles the Enlightenment generally: while d'Holbach provides passionate moral critiques of existing religious and social and political institutions and practices, his own materialist, determinist conception of nature allows no place for moral "oughts" and prescriptions and values. [7] According to a common Enlightenment assumption, as humankind clarifies the laws of nature through the advance of natural science and philosophy, the true moral and political order will be revealed with it. [7] If our conception of nature is of an exclusively material domain governed by deterministic, mechanical laws, and if we at the same time deny the place of the supernatural in the cosmos, then how does humanity itself fit into the cosmos? On the one hand, the achievements of the natural sciences in general are the great pride of the Enlightenment, manifesting the excellence of distinctively human capacities. [7] Samuel Clarke, an influential rationalist British thinker early in the Enlightenment, undertakes to show in his Discourse concerning the Unchangeable Obligations of Natural Religion (1706), against Hobbes, that the absolute difference between moral good and moral evil lies in the immediately discernible nature of things, independently of any compacts or positive legislation by God or human beings. [7] Some important thinkers of the Enlightenment - notably Shaftesbury and Rousseau - present religion as founded on natural human sentiments, rather than on the operations of the intellect. [7]

The Enlightenment advocated reason as a means to establishing an authoritative system of aesthetics, ethics, government, and even religion, which would allow human beings to obtain objective truth about the whole of reality. [9] For all the enduring accomplishments of Enlightenment political philosophy, it is not clear that human reason proves powerful enough to put a concrete, positive authoritative ideal in place of the objects of its criticism. [7] Spinoza's employment of philosophical reason leads to the denial of the existence of a transcendent, creator, providential, law-giving God; this establishes the opposition between the teachings of philosophy, on the one hand, and the traditional orienting practical beliefs (moral, religious, political) of the people, on the other hand, an opposition that is one important aspect of the culture of the Enlightenment. [7]

This entry describes the main tendencies of Enlightenment thought in the following main sections: (1) The True: Science, Epistemology, and Metaphysics in the Enlightenment; (2) The Good: Political Theory, Ethical Theory and Religion in the Enlightenment; (3) The Beautiful: Aesthetics in the Enlightenment. [7] Influenced by the 18th-century European Enlightenment and its own native American Philosophy, the American Enlightenment applied scientific reasoning to politics, science and religion, promoted religious tolerance, and restored literature, the arts, and music as important disciplines and professions worthy of study in colleges. [11]

It also favors liberty for individuals (and to some extent collectives), private property ownership, capitalism as an economic system, separation of powers (church and state, and branches of government), limited laws, and generally values science and wisdom (enlightenment). [1] Hobbes' work originates the modern social contract theory, which incorporates Enlightenment conceptions of the relation of the individual to the state. [7] After scantily listing the contributions of Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), John Locke (1632-1704; photo, right), Baron Montesquieu (1689-1755) and even Voltaire, he goes on to characterize our Founders: "Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, etc. were brilliant radicals who absorbed the Enlightenment ideas and incorporated them into the first modern democracy." [10] In his First Treatise of Government, Locke attacks Robert Filmer's Patriarcha (1680), which epitomizes the sort of political theory the Enlightenment opposes. [7] This entry is not the place to delineate strains of opposition to the Enlightenment, but it is worth noting that post-Enlightenment social and political struggles to achieve equality or recognition for traditionally marginalized or oppressed groups are sometimes self-consciously grounded in the Enlightenment and sometimes marked by explicit opposition to the Enlightenment's conceptions or presuppositions. [7] Enlightenment philosophers find that the existing social and political orders do not withstand critical scrutiny. [7] Adam Smith, a prominent member of the Scottish Enlightenment, describes in his An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776) some of the laws of civil society, as a sphere distinct from political society as such, and thus contributes significantly to the founding of political economy (later called merely "economics"). [7] The collaborative nature of the project, especially in the context of state opposition, contributes significantly to the formation of a shared sense of purpose among the wide variety of intellectuals who belong to the French Enlightenment. [7] Atheism (combined with materialism) in the French Enlightenment is perhaps most identified with the Baron d'Holbach, whose System of Nature (1770) generated a great deal of controversy at the time for urging the case for atheism explicitly and emphatically. [7]

As characteristic of Enlightenment epistemology, Kant, in his Critique of Pure Reason (1781, second edition 1787) undertakes both to determine the limits of our knowledge, and at the same time to provide a foundation of scientific knowledge of nature, and he attempts to do this by examining our human faculties of knowledge critically. [7] According to the natural law tradition, as the Enlightenment makes use of it, we can know through the use of our unaided reason that we all - all human beings, universally - stand in particular moral relations to each other. [7] Locke's reliance on the natural law tradition is typical of Enlightenment political and moral theory. [7] I didn't know he was going to offer a thesis so in line with the one that I've been pushing myself lately that when it comes to history, liberals are wedded to an Enlightenment tradition that creates its own biases and myopias. [6] Enlightenment philosophers are given credit for shaping liberal ideas. [2] In nineteenth century Russia, Alexander II adopted Enlightenment ideas and liberated the serfs. [9] Cartesian philosophy also ignites various controversies in the latter decades of the seventeenth century that provide the context of intellectual tumult out of which the Enlightenment springs. [7] It's as if the terrible, violent confessional strife in the early modern period in Europe, the bloody drawn-out wars between the Christian sects, was removed to the intellectual arena in the Enlightenment and became a set of more general philosophical controversies. [7] Newton's system strongly encourages the Enlightenment conception of nature as an orderly domain governed by strict mathematical-dynamical laws and the conception of ourselves as capable of knowing those laws and of plumbing the secrets of nature through the exercise of our unaided faculties. - The conception of nature, and of how we know it, changes significantly with the rise of modern science. [7] Our Founding Fathers were brilliant men, sons of the Enlightenment, but as to being called "radicals" that is subject to debate, as is the assertion of their alleged founding of the first modern democracy. [10] In the Enlightenment, philosophical thinkers confront the problem of developing ethical systems on a secular, broadly naturalistic basis for the first time since the rise of Christianity eclipsed the great classical ethical systems. [7] At the end of the eighteenth century, Christian thinkers such as Kant and Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) were actually appreciative of the Enlightenment, but at the same time, they were of Pietistic background. [9] The heart of the eighteenth century Enlightenment is the loosely organized activity of prominent French thinkers of the mid-decades of the eighteenth century, the so-called " philosophes "(e.g., Voltaire, D'Alembert, Diderot, Montesquieu). [7] If the French Enlightenment tends to advance this-worldly happiness as the highest good for human beings more insistently than the Enlightenment elsewhere, then Rousseau's voice is, in this as in other respects, a discordant voice in that context. [7] Hobbes' conception of human beings as fundamentally motivated by their perception of what is in their own best interest implies the challenge, important for Enlightenment moral philosophy, to construct moral duties of justice and benevolence out of such limited materials. [7] The general philosophical problem emerges in the Enlightenment of how to understand the source and grounding of ethical duties, and how to conceive the highest good for human beings, within a secular, broadly naturalistic context, and within the context of a transformed understanding of the natural world. [7] The faith of the Enlightenment - if one may call it that - is that the process of enlightenment, of becoming progressively self-directed in thought and action through the awakening of one's intellectual powers, leads ultimately to a better, more fulfilled human existence. [7] The American Enlightenment is a period of intellectual ferment in the thirteen American colonies in the period 1714-1818, which led to the American Revolution and the creation of the American Republic. [11] Though philosophical rationalism forms the basis of aesthetics in the early Enlightenment in France and Germany, thinkers in the empiricist tradition in England and Scotland introduce many of the salient themes of Enlightenment aesthetics. [7] The intellectual leaders of the Enlightenment regarded themselves as a courageous elite who would lead the world into progress from a long period of doubtful tradition and ecclesiastical tyranny, which had resulted in the bloody Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) and the English Civil War (1642-1651). [9] The Enlightenment includes a general recovery and affirmation of the value of pleasure in human lives, against the tradition of Christian asceticism, and the flourishing of the arts, of the criticism of the arts and of the philosophical theorizing about beauty, promotes and is promoted by this recovery and affirmation. [7] The Enlightenment in general re-discovers the value of the senses, not only in cognition, but in human lives in general, and so, given the intimate connection between beauty and human sensibility, the Enlightenment is naturally particularly interested in aesthetics. [7] The political Counter-revolution had its counterpart in a religious reaction to its Enlightenment values, especially in France. [9] In ethical thought, as in political theory, Hobbes' thought is an important provocation in the Enlightenment. [7] Baruch Spinoza also greatly contributes to the development of Enlightenment political philosophy in its early years. [7] Guided by D'Alembert's characterization of his century, the Enlightenment is conceived here as having its primary origin in the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries. [7]

Though Thomas Hobbes, in his Leviathan (1651), defends the absolute power of the political sovereign, and is to that extent opposed to the revolutionaries and reformers in England, this work is a founding work of Enlightenment political theory. [7] This view is expressed explicitly by the philosophe Marquis de Condorcet, in his Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Mind (published posthumously in 1795 and which, perhaps better than any other work, lays out the paradigmatically Enlightenment view of history of the human race as a continual progress to perfection). [7] Locke undertakes in this work to examine the human understanding in order to determine the limits of human knowledge; he thereby institutes a prominent pattern of Enlightenment epistemology. [7] In spite of its great contributions to the awareness of human dignity and the development of science, the Enlightenment apparently had its own limitations. [9] In any case, as Perlstein goes on to argue, Enlightenment history has the virtue of being rigorous and accuratelike science doesbut all the rigor, and all the details, can get in the way of telling an inspiring and motivating story. [6] Typically, the French philosophes draw more radical or iconoclastic implications from the new "science of man" than English or Scottish Enlightenment figures. [7] The Encyclopedia (subtitled: " systematic dictionary of the sciences, arts and crafts ") was published in 28 volumes (17 of text, 11 of plates) over 21 years (1751-1772), and consists of over 70,000 articles, contributed by over 140 contributors, among them many of the luminaries of the French Enlightenment. [7]

Enlightenment typically champions values of liberty, progress, science, tolerance, wisdom, and fraternity ( as Kant explains for instance), but the exact meaning of enlightenment and the view on the meaning of these subsequent terms differs from one philosopher to another. [1] Whereas Leibniz exerts his influence through scattered writings on various topics, some of which elaborate plans for a systematic metaphysics which are never executed by Leibniz himself, Wolff exerts his influence on the German Enlightenment through his development of a rationalist system of knowledge in which he attempts to demonstrate all the propositions of science from first principles, known a priori. [7] Through their articulation of the ideal of scientia, of a complete science of reality, composed of propositions derived demonstratively from a priori first principles, these philosophers exert great influence on the Enlightenment. [7] Modern systematic philosophical aesthetics not only first emerges in the context of the Enlightenment, but also flowers brilliantly there. [7] The modern movement points to reductionism and rationality as crucial aspects of Enlightenment thinking, of which it is the inheritor, as opposed to irrationality and emotionalism. [9] This response embraces the Enlightenment and interprets more recent emancipation movements and achievement of recognition of the rights and dignity of traditionally oppressed and marginalized groups as expressions of Enlightenment ideals and aspirations. [7] Strictly speaking, these "enlightened" rulers were distinguished from the kings of the divine right in that the former embraced the basic principles of the Enlightenment such as reason and humanism. [9] Whereas early in the Enlightenment, in French classicism, and to some extent in Christian Wolff and other figures of German rationalism, the emphasis is on the more-or-less static rational order and proportion and on rigid universal rules or laws of reason, the trend during the development of Enlightenment aesthetics is toward emphasis on the play of the imagination and its fecundity in generating associations. [7] Wolff's rationalist metaphysics is characteristic of the Enlightenment by virtue of the pretensions of human reason within it, not by reason's success in establishing its claims. [7] In science enlightenment it is the process by which one uses pure reason, logic, empirical data, and skepticism to find truths and advance technology. [1] Hume's skeptical arguments regarding causal reasoning are more radical than his skeptical questioning of reason as such, insofar as they call into question even experience itself as a ground for knowledge and implicitly challenge the credentials of Newtonian science itself, the very pride of the Enlightenment. [7] The enthusiasm for the scientific study of humanity in the period incorporates a tension or paradox concerning the place of humanity in the cosmos, as the cosmos is re-conceived in the context of Enlightenment philosophy and science. [7] Spinoza's denial, on the basis of strict philosophical reasoning, of the existence of a transcendent supreme being, his identification of God with nature, gives strong impetus to the strands of atheism and naturalism that thread through Enlightenment philosophy. [7] It belongs centrally to the agenda of Enlightenment philosophy to contribute to the new knowledge of nature, and to provide a metaphysical framework within which to place and interpret this new knowledge. [7] The Enlightenment also enthusiastically embraces the discovery and disclosure of rational order in nature, as manifest most clearly in the development of the new science. [7] In placing the emphasis on the subject's response to beauty, rather than on the objective characteristics of the beautiful, Shaftesbury makes aesthetics belong to the general Enlightenment interest in human nature. [7] Both of these points (the commonality of human nature and the securing of 'objectivity' in judgments based on sentiments by appeal to the normative responses of appropriately placed observers) are typical of the period more generally, and especially of the strong empiricist strain in the Enlightenment. [7] Rousseau's romantic sentimental longing for nature was an influence for the emergence of a new movement called Romanticism around the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century, as an another reaction against the Enlightenment. [9]

This asserted relationship between natural scientific knowledge and the political and moral order is under great stress already in the Enlightenment. [7] The French Revolution was a political outcome of the Enlightenment. [9] The Enlightenment is often associated with its political revolutions and ideals, especially the French Revolution of 1789. [7] The Enlightenment is most identified with its political accomplishments. [7]

In a recent op-ed entitled, "The "Enlightenment’ keeps on winning," James A. Haught, an editor emeritus of a West Virginia newspaper, asserts in his latest column that since the advent of the Enlightenment, for three centuries, liberals have scored a string of historical victories over conservatives, and he "hopes the progressive pattern keeps rolling forever." [10] Several writers, such as Arthur Herman and James Buchan, point to the high level of Scottish contributions to Enlightenment thought, represented by such thinkers as Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746), David Hume, and Adam Smith (1723-1790). [9] René Descartes' rationalist system of philosophy is one of the pillars on which Enlightenment thought rests. [7] The controversies themselves - regarding the nature of God, mind, matter, substance, cause, et cetera, and the relations of each of these to the others - provide tremendous fuel to Enlightenment thought. [7] Enlightenment philosophers from across the geographical and temporal spectrum tend to have a great deal of confidence in humanity's intellectual powers, both to achieve systematic knowledge of nature and to serve as an authoritative guide in practical life. [7] Kant's stark dichotomy between a person's practical reason and her sensible nature is strongly criticized, both by the subsequent Romantic generation and in the contemporary context; but this dichotomy is bound up with an important benefit of Kant's view - much promoted by Kant himself - within the context of the Enlightenment. [7] While it is common to conceive of the Enlightenment as supplanting the authority of tradition and religious dogma with the authority of reason, in fact the Enlightenment is characterized by a crisis of authority regarding any belief. [7] Kant's epistemology exemplifies Enlightenment thought by replacing the theocentric conception of knowledge of the rationalist tradition with an anthropocentric conception. [7] They attempted to critically accept Enlightenment thought, by synthesizing both traditions. [9] From within the tradition of the Enlightenment, there emerged some notable critiques of the Enlightenment, such as Hume's skepticism and Kant's critical philosophy. [9] During the Enlightenment, this changes, certainly within philosophy, but to some significant degree, within the population of western society at large. [7] Controversy regarding the truth-value or reasonableness of religious belief in general, Christian belief in particular, and controversy regarding the proper place of religion in society, occupies a particularly central place in the Enlightenment. [7] Deism is the form of religion most associated with the Enlightenment. [7] It is convenient to discuss religion in the Enlightenment by presenting four characteristic forms of Enlightenment religion in turn: deism, religion of the heart, fideism and atheism. [7] Indeed the effort to discern and advocate for a religion purified of such features - a "rational" or "natural" religion - is more typical of the Enlightenment than opposition to religion as such. [7] In one of the most important philosophical texts on natural religion to appear during the Enlightenment, David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (published posthumously in 1779), this supposition is criticized relentlessly, incisively and in detail. [7] Hume is mainly concerned in the Dialogues with the other major pillar of natural religion in the Enlightenment, the "empirical" argument, the teleological argument or the argument from design. [7] Naturally, the critical, questioning attitude characteristic of the Enlightenment in general is directed against the arguments on which natural religion is based. [7] The success at explaining and understanding the natural world encourages the Enlightenment project of re-making the social/political world, in accord with the models we allegedly find in our reason. [7] The devolution of the French Revolution into the Reign of Terror is perceived by many as proving the emptiness and hypocrisy of Enlightenment reason, and is one of the main factors which account for the end of the Enlightenment as an historical period. [7] The French revolutionaries meant to establish in place of the ancien régime a new reason-based order instituting the Enlightenment ideals of liberty and equality. [7] Locke's sensationalism exerts great influence in the French Enlightenment, primarily through being taken up and radicalized by the philosophe, Abbé de Condillac. [7] Another important figure of the French Enlightenment was Voltaire. [11] Atheism is more present in the French Enlightenment than elsewhere. [7]

Where do we begin? First of all, democracy began with ancient Greece, not with the Enlightenment (listen to Pericles’ Funeral Oration during the Peloponnesian War and read the arguments in Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics ). [10] The Enlightenment was a time when the solar system was truly discovered: With the accurate calculation of orbits, such as Halley's comet, the discovery of the first planet since antiquity, Uranus by William Herschel (1738-1822), and the calculation of the mass of the Sun using Newton's theory of universal gravitation. [9] The characteristic Enlightenment suspicion of all allegedly authoritative claims the validity of which is obscure, which is directed first of all against religious dogmas, extends to the claims of metaphysics as well. [7]

The legacy of the Enlightenment has been of enormous consequence for the modern world. [9] The Platonic identification of the good with the real and the Aristotelian teleological understanding of natural things are both difficult to square with the Enlightenment conception of nature. [7] Newton's success early in the Enlightenment of subsuming the phenomena of nature under universal laws of motion, expressed in simple mathematical formulae, encourages the conception of nature as a very complicated machine, whose parts are material and whose motions and properties are fully accounted for by deterministic causal laws. [7] Diderot's emphasis on the primeval productive power and abundance of nature in his aesthetic writings contributes to the trend toward focus on artistic creation and expression (as opposed to artistic appreciation and discernment) that is a characteristic of the late Enlightenment and the transition to Romanticism. [7]

I don't know that that necessarily equals the American left being more driven by an Enlightenment ethic. [6] Kant attempts to show that morality "leads ineluctably to" religious belief (in the supersensible objects of God and of the immortal soul) while being essentially not founded on religious belief, thus again vindicating the ordinary understanding of morality while still furthering Enlightenment values and commitments. [7] This epistemological attitude, as manifest in distrust of authority and reliance on one's own capacity to judge, expresses the Enlightenment values of individualism and self-determination. [7] S. H. Nasr expresses Muslim criticism of the Enlightenment as separating knowledge from value. [9] For all the public concern with the allegedly universal "rights of man" in the Enlightenment, the rights of women and of non-white people are generally overlooked in the period. (Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) is a noteworthy exception.) [7] What makes for the unity of such tremendously diverse thinkers under the label of "Enlightenment"? For the purposes of this entry, the Enlightenment is conceived broadly. [7] Fideism is most often associated with thinkers whose beliefs run contrary to the trends of the Enlightenment (Blaise Pascal, Johann-Georg Hamann, Søren Kierkegaard), but the skeptical strain in the Enlightenment, from Pierre Bayle through David Hume, expresses itself not only in atheism, but also in fideism. [7]

Thomas Reid, a prominent member of the Scottish Enlightenment, attacks the way of ideas and argues that the immediate objects of our (sense) perception are the common (material) objects in our environment, not ideas in our mind. [7] He corresponded regularly with Frederick II (The Great) of Prussia, but the latter only implemented some enlightenment ideas. [8]

Herman explores how Scotland's 1707 union with England transformed the country from one of the poorest in Europe to an affluent and highly educated society, giving birth to the Scottish Enlightenment. [9] In the face of such tensions within the Enlightenment, one response is to affirm the power of the Enlightenment to improve humanity and society long beyond the end of the eighteenth century, indeed, down to the present day and into the future. [7] Aesthetics in Germany in the eighteenth century, from Wolff to Herder, both typifies many of the trends of the Enlightenment and marks the field where the Enlightenment yields to competing worldviews. [7]

Its violent extremes (particularly during the Reign of Terror ) fueled a major reaction against the Enlightenment, which many writers blamed for undermining traditional beliefs that sustained the ancien regime, thereby fomenting revolution. [9] This oddity is at least softened by the point that much skepticism in the Enlightenment is merely methodological, a tool meant to serve science, rather than a position embraced on its own account. [7] Hume's placing the science of man at the foundation of all the sciences both exemplifies the privilege afforded to "mankind's study of man" within the Enlightenment and provides an interpretation of it. [7] The commitment to careful observation and description of phenomena as the starting point of science, and then the success at explaining and accounting for observed phenomena through the method of induction, naturally leads to the development of new sciences for new domains in the Enlightenment. [7] Alongside the rise of the new science, the rise of Protestantism in western Christianity also plays an important role in generating the Enlightenment. [7]



RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(33 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)

1. (132) Enlightenment (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

2. (116) Enlightenment facts, information, pictures | Encyclopedia.com articles about Enlightenment

3. (60) Liberalism - Wikipedia

4. (58) The Great Divide: The Enlightenment and its Critics

5. (46) The Age of Enlightenment and the Birth of Liberalism - Fact / Myth

6. (46) Age of Enlightenment - New World Encyclopedia

7. (37) History of liberalism - Wikipedia

8. (31) Automated Liberalism?

9. (26) The Limits of Liberalism | The Point Magazine

10. (25) Liberalism - Mises Wiki, the global repository of classical-liberal thought

11. (21) Liberalism - Liberalism in the 19th century | Britannica.com

12. (18) Enlightenment Thinkers | Boundless World History

13. (16) Enlightenment in Global History: A Historiographical Critique | The American Historical Review | Oxford Academic

14. (15) The Enlightenment -- A triumph of classical not modern liberalism! | Hacienda Publishing

15. (14) Liberalism and Its Origins

16. (13) Liberalism - Definition, Examples, Cases, processes

17. (12) Are Liberals on the Wrong Side of History? | The New Yorker

18. (10) Tracking the Evolution of Conservatism, Liberalism in the US & Europe | Observer

19. (8) Seeking the Principles of Power and Danger: Liberalism and Colonialism.

20. (7) Contradictions of the Enlightenment: Liberal Individualism versus the Erosion of Personal Identity

21. (6) Liberalism and Enlightenment History - The Intersection : The Intersection

22. (5) The Anti-Enlightenment Tradition on JSTOR

23. (5) What's the difference between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment?

24. (5) Influence of the Enlightenment on Democratic Thought - Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com

25. (5) Political ideas in the Age of Enlightenment - liberalism (Locke, Montesquieu), Rousseau, Condorcet

26. (4) Is liberalism really to blame for Britain's (and America's) ills? | Media | The Guardian

27. (3) Politically Conservative and Religiously Liberal? - BeyondBelief

28. (3) The Crisis of the Liberal Order and Pankaj Mishra’s "Age of Anger’ | The Nation

29. (3) The Epic Triumph of Liberalism and Its Tragic Betrayal - Foundation for Economic Education

30. (2) Friendly Theological Liberalism: A Threat in Every Age

31. (1) Adam Smith > By Individual Philosopher > Philosophy

32. (1) Project MUSE - Two views of liberalism

33. (1) Enlightenments Wake: Politics and Culture at the Close of the Modern Age | Foreign Affairs


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