« 11/5 to 11/09 | Main | "Whelp, that certainly went by quickly." »

Sunday, November 11, 2018



Hard: There is nothing other than material objects/world. If it’s not physical, it’s not real.
Soft: There may be a spirit realm, but since we can’t study it, we’ll agree to just ignore it
Thomas Hobbes was the first modern materialist. (in public)
Modern Science assumes a (soft) materialism. It’s part of the basic definition.
Although Deism was THE concept in the Enlightenment, some philosophes began embracing a more materialistic concept of the world.

John Locke
(POLITICAL): Natural Rights, Consent of the Governed, Right to revolt,
(SOCIAL): Tabula Rosa - humans are a blank slate at birth. experience

Voltaire (557)
The most influential and famous philosophe. Outspoken advocate for free speech and religious toleration. He rejected democracy and supported enlightened absolutism.

Candide (558)
Voltaire’s most famous work. It’s a satirical attack on 18th century Europe that supporters of the enlightenment loved. It was ALSO an attack on the Enlightenment optimistic assumption that 1) human society could be improved and 2) the optimistic notion that a deistic God has created the best of all possible worlds.

John Locke (552)
Human Nature: Humans have no innate nature. All humans enter the world a blank page (tabula rasa). Personality is the result of external experiences. Experience shapes character. Improve human conditions = improved humans : )
Rejection of predestination and ‘original sin’

Philosophes (554)
Enlightenment writers and critics who were the leaders of the new ‘public opinion’. In general they favored change, reform, and toleration. They were not an organized group and often disagreed with one another.

Baron de Montesquieu
Argued that the British Constitutional system was the best. Argued for Separation of Powers between the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches. Believed that each would check and balance the others. Had a major impact on the constitutional form of liberal democracies for the next two centuries.
Separation of Powers (567)
Idea articulated by Montesquieu in which he described the brilliance of the British system.
Government power (which is dangerous to individual liberty) is spread out between competing institutions in government. Executive power to enforce the laws (with the King), Legislative Power to create the laws (with Parliament), and the Judicial power to interpret the laws (in the courts).

Checks and Balances (567)
Ideas articulated by Montesquieu in which he described the means in which individual rights are protected from government encroachment. Competing institutions within government would not be able to act without some form of limiting force from the other branches. In this way, no one power in government could become too dangerous without being ‘smacked down’ by another.
Example: how parliament ‘checked’ the power of the monarchy . . . by chopping off Charles I’s head.

Deism (559)
Common enlightenment religious belief of the hipster set.
They believed that God existed, but only as a creator, not as a meddler

Philosophe who compiled the Encyclopedia.

The Encyclopedia
17 volume work spanning 20 years. Edited by Diderot, written by philosophes, it’s the greatest monument to the enlightenment. It was an attempt to compile all knowledge and secularize it. It spread enlightenment thought.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Political Philosophy)
Man in a state of nature had been a “noble savage” and when we form governments we lose some of that nobility. When we form government we give up our “individual will” and infuse the government with what he called the “general will” It’s a radical form of democracy. Since the government represent the will of us all (general will), to obey the general will was the definition of freedom. ??!! [ As I hope you notice, this could easily degenerate into a form of tyranny of the majority. ]

“Man was born free, and everywhere is in chains.”
First sentence of Rousseau’s The Social Contract. He is diametrically opposed to Hobbes’ view of human nature and the state of nature. He believed man was a noble savage and that modern societies have a corrupting influence. (but an positive one as well)

Rousseau (child rearing philosophy)
Rouseau’s Emile was a novel setting forth his radical version of family and childrearing.
He believed that women were inferior to men and should make themselves pleasing to men.
He also advocated a ‘laissez faire’ approach to childhood education. Children’s interest should determine their education.

David Hume (560)
Radical enlightenment thinker who
1) attacked Christianity and its miracles on a rational basis
2) attacked enlightenment faith in rationality. Created the famous “hume’s fork” in which he questioned the ability of humans to know anything with certainty.

“Dare to Know!”
Emmanuel Kant’s call for people to put away the ideas and assumptions that they have been taught and search for truth themselves. A nice motto for the Enlightenment,

Cesare Beccaria
Applied reason to the laws and criminal punishment. He attacked torture and capital punishment as irrational. Believed that laws should produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number.

Reading Revolution

A salon is a gathering of stimulating people of quality under the roof of an inspiring hostess or host, partly to amuse one another and partly to refine their taste and increase their knowledge through conversation and readings. Hosting Salons was a major way women contributed to the spread of enlightenment ideas.

18th century art style that embraced a lavish, lighthearted style. It often dealt with the lives of the idle aristocracy and was often associated with them.

18th century art /architectural style that was a throwback to the renaissance and classical worlds. Whereas Rococo was associated with the old regime, NeoClassical is often associated with the enlightenment values.

Jacques Louis David was the most famous of this genre.

Public Sphere

Coffeehouses (555)
A new creation of the enlightenment. A public space that provided a social spot for discussions of politics, literature, & ideas. Helped spread enlightenment ideas.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)