Develops out of the ideas of the Scientific Revolution
- an expansion of the worldliness and secularism of the Renaissance
I. What is (the) Enlightenment? B. Immanuel Kant – “ What is Enlightenment?” Enlightenment is man's release from his self-incurred tutelage. Tutelage is man's inability to make use of his understanding without direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another. Sapere aude![Dare to know!] "Have courage to use your own reason!"- that is the motto of enlightenment.
III. The Philosophes men of letters who wrote for public consumption, using humor, wit, satire A. Denis Diderot - The Encyclopedia - a compilation of all knowledge!
The Encyclopedia “ [Our aim] is to collect all the knowledge scattered over the face of the earth, … and to transmit this to those who will come after us.... It could only belong to a philosophical age to attempt an encyclopedia; … All things must be examined, debated, and investigated without exception and without regard for anyone’s feelings…. We have for quite some time needed a reasoning age.” “ It is impious to want to impose laws upon man’s conscience; this is a universal rule of conduct. People must be enlightened and not constrained.” “ War is the fruit of man’s depravity; it is a convulsive and violent sickness of the body politic … If reason governed men and had the influence over the heads of nations that it deserves, we would never see them inconsiderately surrender themselves to the fury of war; they would not show that ferocity that characterizes wild beasts.”
The Encyclopedia “ No man has received from nature the right to command others.... The government, although hereditary in a family…, is not private property, but public property that consequently can never be taken from the people, to whom it belongs exclusively…. It is not the state that belongs to the prince, it is the prince who belongs to the state.” “ It is of the greatest importance to conserve this practice [the free press] in all states founded on liberty.” “ The buying of Negroes, to reduce them to slavery, is one business that violates religion, morality, natural laws, and all the rights of human nature.”
Sample Pages of the Encyclopedia Shoes Button-making
2. ridiculed the clergy for their bigotry, intolerance, and superstition
3. Admired Louis XIV and Frederick the Great - thought people unable to govern themselves
III. The Philosophes (cont)
The Wit and Wisdom of Voltaire “ I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.” “ Almost everything that goes beyond the adoration of a Supreme Being and submission of the heart to his orders is superstition. One of the most dangerous is to believe that certain ceremonies entail the forgiveness of crimes. Do you believe that God will forget a murder you have committed if you bathe in a certain river, sacrifice a black sheep…? … Do better miserable humans, have neither murders nor sacrifices of black sheep.” God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
1. Society is artificial and corrupt - state of nature is better - education
2. Valued impulse and emotion more than reason
3. Believed in contract government and individual freedom
4. “General Will” - republic as ideal government
III. The Philosophes (cont)
Historians often refer to the “Enlightenment project.” What was the “project” of the Enlightenment? What reforms were the philosophes seeking? What kind of society were they trying to create? Discussion Question