Age of Enlightenment

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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.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
In musical terms, for Kramer this dialectic of Aufklarung and Uberraschungsurfaces in moments of intense chromaticism that disrupt the diatonic framework of eighteenth-century composition but that are, simultaneously, an integral part of this framework.
Einen prominenten Verbundeten im Geiste der neuen Aufklarung erkennt der CoR in Papst Franziskus, der in seiner Enzyklika Laudato Si' die kurzfristige Wirtschaftslogik attackiert.
Desde esta perspectiva, insiste el filosofo frances, el verdadero coraje de saber por si mismo, demandado por la Aufklarung, estriba en reconocer estos limites.
Volksbildung und Schulen der Esten in Est- und Livland im Zeitalter der Aufklarung.--In: Elias, O.-H.
En Soziologische Aufklarung, Band 5: Konstruktivistische Perspektiven.
Der Ausweg aus dieser Situation, den man seitens der Zivilbevolkerung in der Eroffnung des Securitate-Archivs sah und wodurch sowohl eine Aufklarung als auch eine strafrechtliche Vergangenheitsbewaltigung oder ggf.
However, almost unknown to most historians, including most Catholic historians, was the flourishing in the latter eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries throughout much of southern Germany and Switzerland of Aufklarung Katholizismus (Enlightenment Catholicism).