The Enlightenment

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The Enlightenment

  1. 1. The Enlightenment The philosophies and powers that be...
  2. 2. PHILOSOPHY—epistemology (the theory of knowledge) <ul><li>How do we know truth? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Through experience? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Through reasoning?…. </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Two strands of truth… <ul><li>a priori </li></ul><ul><ul><li>truth/falsity known independently of observation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>a posteriori </li></ul><ul><ul><li>truth/falsity known only by appealing to observation </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. RATIONALISM: a priori <ul><li>Descartes— </li></ul><ul><li>based on search to find something that could not be doubted… </li></ul><ul><li>“ I doubt I have a body.”— can be doubted! </li></ul><ul><li>“ I doubt I have a mind.”— cannot be doubted! </li></ul><ul><li>“ I think; therefore, I am.” [ Cogito ergo sum. ] </li></ul>
  5. 5. Descartes— <ul><li>through reason one can discover universal truth—innate ideas—mathematical! </li></ul><ul><li>the “divine plan” could be discovered through the use of reason, not faith </li></ul>
  6. 6. RATIONALISM: a priori <ul><li>Leibniz—German mathematician/philosopher </li></ul><ul><li>PRINCIPLE OF THE BEST: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>God is rational, not capricious. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He created a rational universe. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everything has its place. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. PRINCIPLE OF THE BEST <ul><li>Humans have limited vision so cannot see disease/death as part of harmony…. </li></ul><ul><li>Every effect has a cause… </li></ul><ul><li>and a purpose… </li></ul><ul><li>ALL IS FOR THE BEST </li></ul>
  8. 8. EMPIRICISM a posteriori <ul><li>John Locke </li></ul><ul><li>Experience is the source of knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Tabula rasa— blank tablet at birth that you fill with experience… </li></ul>
  9. 9. John Locke <ul><li>[problem: language/linguistic issues—Noam Chomsky—child will say “hitted” rather than hit; ability to form totally unique sentences rather than rote learning—linguistic parameters] </li></ul>
  10. 10. Locke on Social Contract <ul><li>Individual has “inalienable rights” given by the Creator– joins together to preserve these and ensure others the same – presupposes condition of abundance </li></ul><ul><li>A ruler must supply protection or he/she will be deposed. </li></ul>
  11. 11. SOCIETY AND THE INDIVIDUAL NATURALISM -- a posteriori <ul><li>Rousseau </li></ul><ul><li>“Man is born free and everywhere is in chains.” </li></ul><ul><li>Humanity—good by nature; corrupted by institutions—concept of the “noble savage” who is untainted until he is touched by civilization. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Rousseau <ul><li>Child-rearing— Emile— experience alone, in natural surroundings, read only Robinson Crusoe </li></ul>
  13. 13. Rousseau <ul><li>Social contract—rights and responsibilities of the individual are derived from any agreement between the individual and the ruler—agree to create a society based on the general will—true democracy </li></ul>
  14. 14. SOCIETY AND THE INDIVIDUAL EGOISM -- a posteriori <ul><li>Thomas Hobbes </li></ul><ul><li>Man by nature greedy—people choose what is in their own best interest—accept sovereign’s power to avoid consequences of greedy nature. </li></ul>
  15. 15. SOCIETY AND THE INDIVIDUAL EGOISM <ul><li>No altruism—( alter =other)—only egoism </li></ul><ul><li>Presupposes a condition of scarcity </li></ul>
  16. 16. I saved the drowning child because… <ul><li>I saw that she would drown if I didn’t go in after her. (Somebody had to do it!) [ responsibility ] </li></ul><ul><li>I recognized it was my duty to try and save her. [duty] </li></ul><ul><li>Only an animal would have stood by and let her drown. [ natural sentiment ] </li></ul><ul><li>I know that family, and I love that little girl. [ love ] </li></ul><ul><li>Her father helped me once when I was down and out. [debt ] </li></ul><ul><li>Well, I don’t know why I did it; I’m as surprised as you are. [?] </li></ul><ul><li>My conscience would have plagued me for the rest of my life if I hadn’t tried. [guilt] </li></ul><ul><li>I didn’t want people to say I was a coward. [ reputation] </li></ul><ul><li>I hope I would get some recognition out of all this. [reputation] </li></ul><ul><li>I wanted to satisfy a need I have to help others. [ self-aggrandizement—perhaps out of guilt or feelings of inferiority] </li></ul><ul><li>I wanted to achieve a benefit for myself. [ Hobbesian honesty] </li></ul><ul><li>I wanted a pleasant sensation. [ hedonism] </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>According to Hobbes, reasons A-J are versions of K; K is a version of L; “benefits” are defined in terms of pleasure. </li></ul><ul><li>(source -Donald Palmer - </li></ul><ul><li>Does the Center Hold? 248-249.) </li></ul>
  18. 18. POLITICS, SCIENCE, et al <ul><li>The emperors —“benevolent despots” </li></ul><ul><li>Louis XIV </li></ul><ul><li>Frederick of Prussia </li></ul><ul><li>Catherine of Russia </li></ul>
  19. 19. POLITICS, SCIENCE, et al <ul><li>Deists —God created world, set the machine on “GO,” and then left it on its own. </li></ul><ul><li>Isaac Newton — </li></ul><ul><li>“ clockwork universe” </li></ul>

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