During the eighteenth century, Europeans experienced the dawning of an age ofknowledge, reasoning, and of great scientific achievements. Their views towardnew discoveries and advancements were optimistic.
People began to turn toscience for a better understanding of their world and their society. Literatureand essays were commonly used to express their hopes for further developments insociety, politics, economy, and education. I. Individuals A. John Locke 1) EssayConcerning Human Understanding (1690) a) Regarded the human mind of a person asa blank slate. b) Did not believe in intuition or theories of innate conceptions2) Two Treatise of Government.
a) Attacked the theory of divine right of Kings. b) Argued that sovereignty did not reside in the state but with the people. 3)Some thoughts concerning education. a) Recommended practical learning to preparepeople b) Locke’s curriculum included conversational learning of foreignlanguages, especially French, mathematics, history, physical education, andgames.Order now
B. Rene Descartes 1) Descartes’s philosophy, sometimes calledCartesianism. a) Elaborate explanations of a number of physical phenomena. 2)Physiology a) Part of human blood was a subtle fluid, that he called animalspirits. 3) Study of Optics a) Fundamental law of reflection: that the angle ofincidence is equal to the angle of reflection. b) Paved the way for theudulatory theory of light.
4) Mathematics a) Systematization of analyticgeometry. b) First mathematician to attempt to classify curves according to thetypes of equations that produce them. c) Made contributions to the theory ofequations. d) First to use the last letters of the alphabet to designate unknownquantities and the first letters to designate known ones. e) Invented the methodof indices (as in x2) to express the powers of numbers.
f) Formulated the rulefor finding the number of positive and negative roots for any algebraicequation. C. Sir Isaac Newton 5) Mathematics a) Calculus: Generalized methodsbeing used to draw tangents to curves and to calculate the area swept by curves6) Optics a) Opticks: Sunlight is a heterogeneous blend of different rays?eachof which represents a different color -and that reflections and refractionscause colors to appear by separating the blend into its components. b)Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica 7) Also showed interest in alchemy,mysticism, and theology D.
Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet) 1) La Henriade (TheHenriad) 2) Two essays, one on epic poetry and the other on the history of civilwars in France. 3) Lettres Philosophiques (The Philosophical Letters, 1734) 1. Acovert attack upon the political and ecclesiastical institutions of France. 4)?lements de la philosophie de Newton (Elements of the Philosophy of Newton) 5)Po?me de Fontenoy (1745), describing a battle won by the French over theEnglish during the War of the Austrian Succession.
6) Si?cle de Louis XIV, ahistorical study of the period of Louis XIV. 7) Essai sur l’histoire g?n?raleet sur les moeurs et l’esprit des nations (Essay on General History and on theCustoms and the Character of Nations, 1756) a. Decries supernaturalism anddenounces religion and the power of the clergy, although he makes evident hisown belief in the existence of God. 8) Le d?sastre de Lisbonne (The LisbonDisaster, 1756); a number of satirical and philosophical novels 9) He rejectedeverything irrational and incomprehensible and called upon his contemporaries toact against intolerance, tyranny, and superstition. E.
Denis Diderot 1) Pens?esphilosophiques (1746), which stated his deist philosophy. 2) Encyclop?die oudictionnaire raisonn? des sciences, des arts et des metiers, which is usuallyknown as the Encyclop?die a) French translation of the English Cyclopaedia byEphraim Chambers b) Used the Encyclop?die as a powerful propaganda weaponagainst Ecclesiastical authority and the superstition, conservatism, andsemifeudal social forms of the time. 3) La religieuse (The Nun, 1796), an attackon convent life. 4) Le neveu de Rameau (1805; translated as Rameau’s Nephew) F. Jean Jacques Rousseau 1) French philosopher, social and political theorist,musician, botanist, and one of the most eloquent writers of the Age ofEnlightenment.
) 2) Discourse on the Origin of Inequality Among Mankind 3)Expounded the view that science, art, and social institutions have corruptedhumankind and that the natural, or primitive, state is morally superior to thecivilized state 4) The Social Contract 5) Developed a case for civil liberty andhelped prepare the ideological background of the French Revolution by defendingthe popular will against divine right. 6) ?mile a) expounded a new theory ofeducation emphasizing the importance of expression rather than repression toproduce a well-balanced, freethinking child. 7) The New Heloise and Confessionsintroduced a new style of extreme emotional expression, concern with intensepersonal experience, and exploration of the conflicts between moral and sensualvalues. The Age of Enlightenment proposed ideas of reformation, and greaterhuman advancement.
Europeans’ ideas of education, society, and politics wereoptimistic. Their works of art, literature, and science, helped pave the way forfuture advancements. Bibliography”Age of Enlightenment,” Microsoft? Encarta? Encyclopedia 99 “ReneDescartes” Microsoft? Encarta? Encyclopedia 99 “John Locke” Microsoft?Encarta? Encyclopedia 99 “Sir Isaac Newton Microsoft? Encarta? Encyclopedia99 Buckler, John, Bennett D. Hill and John P.
McKay. A History of WesternSociety, A. 6th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.
“Age ofEnlightenment” http://www.EuroHist.org