Modern World Civilization
The Role of Reason
The Enlightenment stressed that
could cure mankind of all past injustices.
In such a new world a perfect
society was almost insured.
Through reason man could
discover the Natural Laws
that regulated society.
Once that is done man can reach
that would guarantee human betterment.
The Intellectuals and the Enlightenment
The intellectuals who adopted
this position were called Philosophes.
Not all of them were French.
Few were Philosophers in the
strict sense of the term.
were social critics, publicists, political
scientists, economists, and social reformers.
The Age of Optimism
This was the work of
who believed that it was the best of all possible worlds.
Not everyone agreed.
Once such person was
Voltaire did this in a satire
While others agreed with
Voltaire, for the most part, the age was overly optimistic.
Concerns of the Philosophes
They attacked laws,
institutions, and practices.
Everything that they considered
to be unreasonable or unnatural.
The Philosophes believed that
the people had the capability to make the changes that would make life better.
Their view of the future was
A Practical Example
The American Revolution was a
The Declaration of Independence.
The Declaration stressed The
Pursuit of Happiness was a fundamental human right.
Which was on par with Life and
The view people could possibly
obtain them was revolutionary.
This was a clear departure from
the Middle Ages.
Early Background to the Enlightenment
The key players in this were
Locke, and Newton.
Of these men, Descartes at first
He sought to find a universal
mathematical formula that would explain everything.
Descartes Methodological Principles
Strict progression of synthesis.
Careful review of procedures.
He wanted to use mathematics as
a language of universal precision.
The World of Isaac Newton (1642-1727)
Newton is important for his work
But more important was he work
on the Social Order of the Universe
Newtons Important Work
Mathematical Principles of Natural
Philosophy was published in Latin in
He should the whole universe
worked according to fixed laws.
Those laws were Natural Laws.
He saw the world as a great
mechanical work of God.
Soon people thought this was
better than Revelation.
John Locke (1632-1704)
He wrote a treatise on the
defense of Englands Glorious
Revolution of 1688.
This was called
Two Treatises of Government
In the Second Treatise he noted
men are free, equal, and independent.
People submit to government
because they find it convenient.
Not because of a divine right of
People make a compact or contract
with the government to be governed.
He denied that people submit to
authority from birth.
Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Locke believed that the newborn
mind was tabula Rasa,
a blank slate.
In other words, environment and
reason were more important than heredity and faith.
The Result of Lockes Work
Locke paved the way for a
critical examination of the Old Regime.
Consequently the men of the
enlightenment grasped for what they called The Newtonian World Machine.
The Dark Side: A Question of Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) had a
He believed that man was driven
to government by the fear of extinction.
He supports absolute monarchy.
His main work was the
The New Thinking Supports the Philosophes
Technological advances were
supported by the public faith in natural law and progress.
The Philosophes cheered each and
every new advance in scientific research.
Advances in Biology
A key player was
He demonstrated the natural laws
in family relationships.
He classified every known plant
and animal and classified them by species.
He placed species in a genus and
then into a class.
Work in Chemistry
Two important figures were
(1728-88) and Lavoisier
Lavoisier studied gasses and
introduced the term oxygen.
Lavoisier also discovered that
water is composed of both hydrogen and oxygen.
Lavoisier believed that all
substances were composed of a relatively small number of basic elements.
That number was 23.
One important person was
He was called The Newton of
He worked on celestial mechanics
and explained the movement of the solar system in as a series of mathematical
formulas and theorems.
An significant American was
He demonstrated that lightening
and electricity were one and the same.
His experiment with a kite in a
thunderstorm drew worldwide attention.
He even visited Versailles.
Impact on the Philosophes
Almost everybody in the 18th
Century who thought they were somebody tried an experiment.
Voltaire was serious about
Montesquieu studied Physics.
Many European countries had a
Royal Society to promote knowledge.
Soon this fanned out into the
The Internationalization of Knowledge
The scholars or philosophes paid
little attention with national borders.
Even in wartime they
corresponded with each other.
In other words, it was business
The Cosmopolitan World of the Eighteenth
The roots of the movement were
found in France and England.
Soon it spread to Scotland,
Germany, Italy, Spain, and even the New World.
But more importantly, it
demonstrated French domination of the cultural scene.
Thomas Jefferson on France
The Importance of Speaking French
What Made France So Important?
French was the mode of
The Salons of Paris help spread
the ideas of the Enlightenment.
served as a tool to spread the ideas of the movement.
French was the language of
It was edited by Denis Diderot
First published in 1751.
Included articles by
Montesquieu, Rouseau, Voltaire, Turgot, Candorcet, and Quesnay.
Not everyone liked it, including
Louis XV, the Printers, and the Church.
Louis XVs mistress, Madame de
Pompadour managed to get it in print.