What were the main characteristics of the Enlightenment?

Do not show me this again

Are you in the right place?

Jump to Buddhism and see how teachers think you should prepare in:

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Date 24.11.2000 Course title: Sociology Surname: Manesi Forename: Sofia Course code: SO 300 Essay No1 Essay title: What were the main characteristics of the Enlightenment? This essay is going to discuss the main characteristics of the most important event that took place during the 18th century, Enlightenment (1715 - 1799). However, before my analysis of its main characteristics begins, it would be helpful making a small review of how things were in society before the start of this movement. Until the 18th century, just before the Enlightenment era started, people's knowledge was really limited. The only information they had about world nature and society, human creation and about people's place, duties and destiny in the world, was from what the Christian Church was popularising through the Bible and many other religious scripts. The Bible and the several religious scripts were transmitted in religious institutes, colleges, schools, and churches. Obviously, the Christendom in combination to the monarchs was the ruler of the epoch. People strictly leant on tradition, and had total faith in religion. The clergy had managed to make them believe that there was no way of improvement and that they should blindly trust the Church. Consequently, commonalty could not understand the ideas and the expectations for any different in the future.

Middle

They paid more attention in many different kinds of individual necessities like power, happiness, pleasure and security where each one of these requirements were creating different societies depending on individual's choices. A representative supporter of individualism is Jean Jacques Rousseau. He fought the contract theorists who supported the notion that individuals were the consequence of society. Rousseau on the other hand supported the idea that the basic elements of human nature were rather the product of society. John Stuart Lock also supported this idea, as he believed in the freedom of the human being and in its right to live, to have personal freedom and have its own property. Progress Enlightenment was mainly an idea of progress, which means those fields of nature and society that concerned people could become better by the use of science and reason. That way, the world would be forever in a continuous increasing level of happiness and well being. Many theorists tried to explain the deeper meaning of progress; they therefore divided it in two parts, that of reason and of science. Kant, in his book "Critique of Pure Reason" explained how he understood reason; he viewed it as both the subject and the object of the Critique. He also expressed some questions such as, "what are the conditions of our knowledge through which modern natural science is possible?"

Conclusion

Through every legacy, change has both negative and positive results, winners and losers, as it also disposes of as well as creates problems. In the case of the Enlightenment the winners were the 3rd Estate who gained power and the losers were the Nobility and the Clergy whose power was dissolved. As far as the problems were concerned it threw away many problems as prejudice and inactivity was replaced by scientific research and rationalism. However, modernity brought new responsibilities and fresh challenges and it was not known if people would be able to deal with these new responsibilities or if they were going to reap the benefits by using their power in the right way. It is obvious in the above essay that Enlightenment made an important try to bring equality to the whole community, by challenging the power that was collected in the hands of the minority. People found it difficult to accept progress and the idea of change was really frightening for them. In contrast to nowadays, were people take progress for granted and at the same time people have started losing their ultimate values. Modernity is just a movement, which will slowly end to its starting point. 'Our civilisation destines us to realise more clearly these struggles again after our eyes have been blinded for thousand years - blinded by the allegedly or presumably orientation towards the grandiose moral favour of Christian ethics.

The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • Over 150,000 essays available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Over 180,000 student essays
  • Every subject and level covered
  • Thousands of essays marked by teachers

Related University Degree Buddhism

  1. Choderlos de Laclos: Les Liaisons Dangereuses - In what ways may "Les Liaisons Dangereuses" ...

    It is instead in the way she spars with him, and jests calling him her lover, and the flirtatious attitude she takes with him. The reader is left wondering what the outcome of a stable sexual relationship between the two would be like.

  2. Not an age of reason, but a revolt against rationalism. (Peter Gay) Discuss this ...

    This forced him into a situation whereby the world, and therefore, humans are based on clockwork, we simply exist and can play no part in changing the course of out life or existence. Descartes believed everything must be proved through thought and thus set about proving God's existence through thought.

  1. The Enlightenment was an intellectual movement in the Western world

    One of these laws is what we now call the law of inertia, that a body continues its motion in a straight line until something intervenes to stop it. Hobbes looked for similar axioms, or basic premises, on which to 3found a science of society.

  2. The development of the Enlightenment.

    Censorship was strict and ruled by church and state, often working hand in hand. The despotic monarchs were supported by the doctrine of 'Divine Right of Kings', which showed that the revolution was detested by God. Speakers of sedition or blasphemy quickly found themselves imprisoned or even executed.

  1. Explain Rousseau's dissent from Enlightenment politcal thought.

    Whereas the Enlightenment's concern with the pre-eminence of reason had led it to deny that feelings played any role, Rousseau believed that compassion and sympathy were crucial human motivations. His concern to "accommodate both the heart and the head" (HAMPSON, 1968, p194)

  2. The Dialectic of Enlightenment.

    Unity resides in agreement; the task of science is to comprehend the particulars from the universal - "Knowledge consists of subsumption under principles. Any other than systematically directed thinking is unoriented or authoritarian."[] The essence of this new quantitative knowledge of nature is technology; "It does not work by concepts

  1. Buddhism: The Concept of Dukkha

    In order to find a remedy to dukkha, it is important to first recognize that Dukkha exists and then try to understand its nature. In order to understand, dukkha must be experienced without being evaluated and without reacting in the habitual way.

  2. Why were the topics of human nature and morality so important in the enlightened ...

    As a consequence, the Church's status quo started to fissure from inside. Although there appeared to be an overwhelming Christian majority, there was not any unity of such. There arise a general question on religious tolerance8 as the religious domination started to openly break apart from inside.

  • Over 180,000 essays
    written by students
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to write
    your own great essays

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.

Do not show me this again

Are you in the right place?

Jump to Buddhism and see how teachers think you should prepare in: