Enlightenment Essay, Research Paper
Enlightenment s Faith in Human Progress
The intellectual movement that swept across Europe and its colonies in the mid and late 18th century is called Enlightenment. It is known as the Age of Discovery , because many advance in both science and global exploration greatly expanded human knowledge and confidence. Not everyone had confidence in progressing, but for the most part those involved in the process of gaining human progress had no doubt that it would be successful. Many philosophers and mathematicians influenced Europe into following their knowledge leading to a reform.
Enlightenment s faith in human progress was structured so it could be successfully began for an upward march of progress. The philosophers perceived themselves as the forefront of the movement. They formed ideas as a community and debating over them making them into stronger thoughts. The people had to bind together forming a single idea propelling them forward in society. Much of the Enlightenment was based solely on faith. Other individuals had to believe or gain the respect of truth from philosophers and mathematicians that what they were bringing information out to the public.
Enlightenment s thinkers had different views on the idea of progress . Progress could be anything that moved human life in a direction of gaining knowledge to improve society as a whole. Immanuel Kant had two ideas on progress, individual reason and individual freedom. Kant believed human beings should emerge from their self-imposed immaturity by using reasoning and the use of analytical thinking to pursue moral truth and progress. Kant s key to transformation was public discussion. What he means by that is to display your own thoughts on new happenings so that a community can get a round view. People in the community may be able to persuade those who disagree into agreeing was his approach.
The philosophers believed that living in a new era was better than that of the past. They began to move away from the idea of relying on teachings of the church and using their own thoughts and feelings to begin moving out of the barbaric age into the Age of Discovery . They thought succeeding was very possible and they did eventually succeed. They believed the public sphere would help them to succeed. Creating coffee houses, salons, reading societies, formed academics and essay contests made public socialization and sharing ideas easier than in the past. They encouraged humans to enjoy getting information and sharing it. The public sphere created had no political power, but it had group discussion, journalism and literature present. It allowed all interested people to gather and discuss public issues.
The primary goal of the reform was to bring the idea of individualism to the table and focus on working as a group to strengthen the society. Many philosophers did not think that though. They thought that it was corrupting the minds of the people with wrong information.
Although the 16th and 20th centuries are very far apart they had some similarities and difference within each period. In the 20th century technology is the big gain. We are acquiring so much information from little discoveries as did the mathematicians in the 16th century. Isaac Newton was a 16th century mathematician who wrote Principia Mathematica. He created basic laws that still are a part of today s society like the law of velocity, force, inertia and acceleration. The knowledge in the 16th century was much less than the knowledge in the 20th century. Today, people are very intelligent in what they say and do. Also, money was different. It barely existed back in the 16th century and now it is a necessity to have as much money as possible. The publishing of encyclopedia impacted the society making them gain fact without any questioning or guessing involved.
Enlightenment was progressing forward to better the society of that time. It tells how you can gain ground in scientific and political areas without causing much warfare over it. The society today still accepts it, but change is not taken easily by the society. There are always debates over change. Will it affect the society positively or negatively? Everyone has there different reasons to why they feel the way they do, making it more difficult to change or reform any aspect of life today.
Society today is much more civilized than those of the 16th century. Civilized to me means cultural development. The cultural development of today is much greater than in the 16th or even 18th centuries. Today s society is has achieved much greater things than those before our time. Disease control and immunizations have saved millions of lives, where in the 16th and 18th centuries people were left to die.
My views of the Enlightenment period come basically from my knowledge of right and wrong. It comes from society today. We are taught to know what not to do and what to do. In the 16th century it was structured so only leading powers could display their results of ideas. Today society is changing everyday. Laws play a big factor in this. It tells us what we can and cannot do. It is the enforcing system that keeps society moving. Knowledge has changed for the better expanding what the human body can do. In the Enlightenment many philosophers had vast knowledge that led the upward march of progress. In the end though, the Enlightenment was wildly successful as a critical movement.