• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The development of the Enlightenment.

Extracts from this document...


THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT The Background for the Thoughts One could say that the background for the time of Enlightenment comes all the way back from Antiquity. The cornerstone for the Enlightenment-way-of-thinking could have been placed when Thomas Aquinas recovered the Aristotelian logic in the 13th century. That particular logic was used to defend the dogmas of Christianity a couple of centuries later in the hands of other thinkers as they tried to replace every aspect of faith with logic. These thinkers were known as "scholastics" and Voltaire, one of the most influential philosophers of Enlightenment who we are going to get to know better later, often referred to them as "doctors", by which he meant "doctors of theology". The Course of Politics and Economy During the late Middle Ages peasants had started moving from the rural estates to the towns in search of increased freedom and economic prosperity: this continued during the Enlightenment. The population had increased immensely; the inhabitants had nearly doubled in number since there hadn't been any bigger or more harmful conflicts in the 17th century. The towns became more crowded as people from the countryside, mostly peasants, moved to them and more food was needed. ...read more.


Everybody believed by common consent that the basic values of civilized people were fundamentally equal. But what they wanted to replace the religion with was science. Science had improved in various areas since the 17th century and it was easier to rely on it now. According to their way of thinking Nature would create a perfect world and human beings should try to interfere as little as possible to what Nature does. Voltaire Francois-Marie Arouet, i.e. Voltaire, was, as already said, one of the most influential philosophers of the Enlightenment. His aim in life was to set the European life on a new basis by creating a follower to Christianity. Voltaire's basic principal was that the command of the church had to submit to the command of the Science. With most of his life-work he did, he concentrated explicitly to inventing a modern religion, even though it remained from time to time in the shadow of his hatred towards the dogmas of Christianity. Voltaire was an active writer. His writings weren't anyway original; he mainly applied the thoughts of other philosophers. However, he illustrated and demonstrated the limits and conflicts of the Enlightenment better than any other philosopher at that time. ...read more.


They were open to new situations. Therefore it's not such a big surprise that the ideas of Enlightenment were so easily spread among the people - the people needed those ideas. The Enlightenment thinkers just put the dreams of the average dwellers into words and in a sense made them come true. Enlightenment's Impact on Today's Society If we think about how the way of thinking during the Enlightenment has inherited to the nowadays Europe we might even say that Voltaire, who we had a little closer look at before, succeeded with his project: Christianity no longer forms the basis of the European life. It has been replaced by the faith in humanity, just like the Enlightenment wanted. When it comes to what Voltaire wanted the world to be like, it has not fully come true though. But anyway, the ideology of the Enlightenment has affected on us immensely - it's nearly in our blood. In many ways Enlightenment has never been more alive than now. The notions of the human rights are powerfully attractive to oppressed peoples everywhere, who appeal to the same notion of natural law as the Enlightenment thinkers did. The way of thinking inherited from the Enlightenment has become a basic part of our self-concepts and we cannot really deny the Enlightenment without in a sense abandoning ourselves. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Buddhism section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Buddhism essays

  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. The Eighteenth century saw a radical change in the way the church and state ...

    All aspects of the Jewish predicament were taken into consideration by all of the host nations in both the legal side and the public domain. While these events took place all over Europe, it was Germany where the most

  1. Comparison between Christianity and Buddhism

    Through the fourth truth Buddhism becomes a technique. It declares that the way of the Buddha is to be found in the "Noble Eightfold Path" or "Magga". It is a set of moral teachings that must be pursued with intention and deliberation. It encourages self-discipline and development of wisdom through which the overcome of a life condition can be achieved.

  2. Summarise and discuss the origin and development of Mahayana Buddhism.

    These Buddhas live in their Akanistha heaven, overseeing the world system in which they were enlightened. The highest level is that of Dharma-Kaya or the Omnipresent Buddha. This is believed to be the absolute nature of the Buddha and reality combined.

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

    When he applied these explanatory principles to politics and states, he arrived at two radical and far-reaching conclusions: All human law derives from natural law; when human law departed from natural law, disaster followed All monarchs ruled not by consequent of heaven, but consent of the people (Hooker 1996).

  2. What is meant by the phrase 'The normative content of modernity'? Is it a ...

    confidence in the powers of the human intellect, in opposition to faith and blind acceptance of institutional authority, as a source of knowledge. The Enlightenment's main social and political consequence in Europe was the French Revolution. The Enlightenment can therefore be understood as a culmination of the move away from

  1. What were the main characteristics of the Enlightenment?

    The era of Enlightenment is placed between the death of Louis XIV (king of France) and the coup d'�tat of the 18th Brumaire, which took place on the 9th November 1799. Enlightenment started in France as a result of the stagnant atmosphere that the French monarchical authorities and the clergy had created.

  2. Religion is both a problemwhere its structures of dominance have oppressed women, as ...

    Considering these facts it is evident that religion has brought about both oppressed and liberal roles for women that eventually influence their social lives. The image and status of women in each of the major religions in the world Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism are discussed furthers to reach a conclusion.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work