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The Enlightenment - Online Term Paper

The Enlightenment


is a name given by historians to an intellectual movement that was predominant in the Western world during the 18th century. Strongly influenced by the rise of modern science and by the aftermath of the long religious conflict that followed the Reformation, the thinkers of (called philosophes in France) were committed to secular views based on reason or human understanding only, which they hoped would provide a basis for beneficial changes affecting every area of life and thought.
The more extreme and radical philosophes--Denis Diderot, Claude Adrien Helvetius, Baron d'Holbach, the Marquis de Condorcet, and Julien Offroy de La Mettrie (1709-51)--advocated a philosophical rationalism ...

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Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Leibnitz, Isaac Newton, and John Locke--who had developed fruitful methods of rational and empirical inquiry and had demonstrated the possibility of a world remade by the application of knowledge for human benefit. The philosophes believed that science could reveal nature as it truly is and show how it could be controlled and manipulated. This belief provided an incentive to extend scientific methods into every field of inquiry, thus laying the groundwork for the development of the modern social sciences.
The enlightened understanding of human nature was one that emphasized the right to self-expression and human fulfillment, the right to think freely and express one's views publicly without censorship or fear of repression. Voltaire admired the freedom he found in England and fostered the spread of English ideas on the Continent. He and his followers opposed the intolerance of the established Christian churches of their day, as well as the European ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 1/6/2008 01:47:47 AM
Category: Social Issues
Type: Free Paper
Words: 878
Pages: 4

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