Age of Enlightenment


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Related to Age of Enlightenment: Age of Reason, industrial revolution

Age of Enlightenment

the period of intellectual ferment leading up to the French Revolution, which was distinguished by a fundamental questioning of traditional modes of thought and social organization, and sought to replace these with an exclusive reliance on human reason in determining social practices. Many thinkers and philosophers were associated with these developments, amongst them Voltaire (1694-1778), MONTESQUIEU, Holbach (1723-89), Helvétius (1715-71), Diderot (1713-84) and ROUSSEAU. Nor was the movement merely confined to France; it also embraced numerous other thinkers elsewhere, including members of the so-called SCOTTISH ENLIGHTENMENT, such as Adam FERGUSON and John MILLAR, whose work was especially sociological. Despite a common accord on the importance of reason in human affairs, major differences of view existed between thinkers: Voltaire popularized English liberal doctrines of NATURAL RIGHTS; Holbach and Helvétius took these doctrines further and argued for UTILITARIANISM and representative government; while Rousseau's concept of the SOCIAL CONTRACT led to holistic conceptions of state and society realized in the French Revolution. In retrospect, much Enlightenment thought is seen as superficial, lacking an adequate empirical research base, and above all overconfident about human PROGRESS and the ultimate triumph of Reason. However, the Enlightenment era signalled a final decisive break between traditional and modern thought, and between traditional and modern forms of social organization. See also COMTE, RATIONALISM, GRAND NARRATIVES.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the 1600s, skeptical philosophers questioned religious and political institutions and scientific advances; this study looks at how scholars, scientists, and philosophers overcame the skeptical trend to allow the Age of Enlightenment to commence in Europe.
Organised by the Saltire Society, a non-political independent charity founded in 1936, the Saltire Literary Awards also awarded book the 2014 Saltire Society Scottish Research Book of the Year award to The Scottish Town in the Age of Enlightenment 1740-1820.
RSA, founded in a London coffee shop in 1754, is a classic product of the Age of Enlightenment belief in progress and improvement.
APA runs His Majesty'sTheatre, the Music Hall and the LemonTree and has blockbusters superstar young cellist Philip Higham, Scottish author Janice Galloway, former BBCYoung Musician of the Year violinist Jennifer Pike, Scots crime writer Denise Mina, Glasgow's Treacherous Orchestra with Norwegian MUSICIANTUVA Livsdatter Syvertsen; Skye's energetic Peatbog Faeries with the Swedish folk-rock group Hedningarna and the innovative and unique ensemble, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
A thorough exploration of the role the discovery of the New World played in ushering in the Age of Enlightenment, this work analyzes how the expansion of geographical knowledge subverted the existing paradigm, changing the conception of the place of humanity on the cosmos.
Thanks to "modernity," based on the ideals of the Age of Enlightenment and its basic presumptions, modern man found the right in himself, probably for the first time in history, to meddle in religion.
Sorin, like the great thinkers of the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment, seeks to break free of these artificial restraints, which he believes "attempt to reduce real-world problems to neat hierarchical structures of data, operations and features.
RENOWNED: Johnson The London Handel Players will play The Best Of Baroque at Holy Trinity Church on October 20 and there will be more Baroque music when harpsichordist Steven Devine, co-principal keyboard player with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, plays harpsichord hits in the Guild Chapel, Chapel Street, on October 17.
Symposium: The Journey of Music(s): Colonial Music Practice in the Age of Enlightenment Symposium as part of the 15th International Congress of the Gesellschaft fur Musikforschung, "Music/Musics: Structures and Processes," will take place September 4-8, 2012, Georg-AugustUniversitat Gottingen, Germany.
Inspired by the controversial Age of Enlightenment and by the 18th century French philosopher Diderot's very first set of encyclopaedia, the resulting choreography is both physical and immediate, yet intensely cerebral.
Helen discovers that she is a Keeper, one of three remaining angelic descendants responsible for protecting the world, and she has been training for this her entire life, though she has not yet reached the Age of Enlightenment.
Symphony Hall's highly successful Back Weekend, part of its 21st birthday celebrations, ended with a delicious programme of some of the composer's best-loved orchestral music from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment - actually in the appropriate ambience of Birmingham Town Hall, elder sister to the bigger venue.