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.
References in periodicals archive ?
This "defamiliarizing perspective" exists across discourses as a kind of unifying grid that connects Enlightenment philosophy and fiction in substantive ways.
McInelly presents students, academics, researchers, and general interest readers with a collection of academic papers and scholarly articles focused on religious attitudes and practices during the age of Enlightenment, the impact of the Enlightenment on religion and religious thought and practice, and the ways in which religion shaped Enlightenment philosophy.
He combined the old and proven Prussian administrative model with the new French bureaucracy concepts inspired by Enlightenment philosophy.
He traces this back to Enlightenment philosophy, especially the thought of Immanuel Kant.
The Stolen Generations policy had been inspired by an Enlightenment philosophy of human progress that claimed a superior stage for European civilisation into which inferior races could and should be assimilated by training and education.
Karen Stolley's Domesticating Empire: Enlightenment in Spanish America examines a corpus of relevant but seldom read eighteenth-century texts for which the topics of conquest, the indigenous Other, nature, God, and gold are critically developed within the parameters of Enlightenment philosophy and culture.
Gottlieb's chapters treat 1) the harmony between Judaism and enlightenment philosophy, 2) philosophy and law, presenting Mendels-sohn's political philosophy and how he situates Judaism in modern society, and 3) Jacobi's attack on rationalism and enlightenment (abusing Mendelssohn as his target).
Here too, Ford alternates ambitiously between surveying various intellectual threads of Enlightenment philosophy and detailed accounts of Mozart's musical processes.
The reflexivity which Wellmon finds at the heart of Enlightenment philosophy is not, throughout most of his account, a source of deathly relativism or nihilism, but instead a kind of productive openness, intellectual modesty, and pragmatism.
Seeskin's primary source is Kant's Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, around which his other interlocutors elaborate in their fashion, absorbing and critiquing German Enlightenment philosophy.
Without doubt the cultural revolution produced great scientists who for the most part remain aloof to Enlightenment philosophy, often at variance with actual practice in the sciences.
In his review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Nomad (TOS Fall 2011), Joseph Kellard expressed disappointment that Hirsi Ali "promotes Christianity as a means to bring Western ideas to Muslim minds," and he suggested that she might instead have advocated adherence to Enlightenment philosophy, especially as she identifies Enlightenment thinking as the source of the good aspects within current Christian teachings.