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What was the enlightenment and when is it associated with?

An intellectual movement associated with the 18th century


What did the enlightenment grow from?

Grew from the Scientific Revolution of the 17thC and associated with the rise of Capitalism and Imperial Expansion


Who were the continental thinkers?

The 'philosophes' - the American and Scottish thinkers


In what ways can it be seen as an English enlightenment?

The contribution of Newton and Locke and the example of the Revolution Settlement in 1688-9


What are the main ideas put forward by the enlightenment that link with modernity? (4)

1. Its the foundation of 'modern ideas'
2. Rational thought and empirical experiment are the ways to discover truth
3. Starting to question orthodoxy like religion
4. Championed natural sciences


What was nature and natural law?

The idea that the world had a natural order, a dynamic order, and that humans have the capability to understand and manipulate these concepts of nature


What was rationalism?

The ability for us to reason and understand things, allowing us to understand how the natural world works meaning we can control it


Who was Descartes? What is he most famous for?

The Father of European philosophy.
"I think therefore I am" - the idea that by questioning things it shows you're alive


What is empiricism?

The opposite of rationalism - knowledge based off experience, for something to be true it has to be verifiable - in science, its based off evidence, we have hypotheses and investigations through empirical methods`


What did materialism extend?

The views of natural law - the function of the human body, society etc


What was atomism?

The idea that the 'atom' was the basic unit of everything. It was applied to society to suggest that we are the atoms that make up society


What did the belief in progress mean?

That we are perfectable, and that if we understand how everything works then we can become better people


What did this line the enlightened way of thinking encourage?

Scepticism - starting to question things they had once taken for granted like religion, the divine right of monarchs etc


What can be argued are the 3 main origins of the enlightenment?

1. The Scientific Revolution c1500-1700
2. Capitalism from the 1500s onwards
3. Exploration by West of rest of world in the 1400s - exposed Britain and Europe to foreign ideas and beliefs


What was the pre-enlightened world view?

Most people didn't have access to education and instead had scripture. Where priests would tell you what knowledge was needed.
A geocentric model of the universe - the Great Chain of Being. Where everything has its place, everything is in order and everything is subordinate to something else


What are the 3 main scientific advances and who made them?

1. Copernicus (1473-1543) - Heliocentrism
2. Galileo (1564-1642) - the telescope altered our understanding of the universe, could understand using mathematics
3. Harvey (1578-1657) - empirical study of the body - experiment and observation


Who are often labelled the 'Godfathers of the Enlightenment'?

Isaac Newton (1642-1727) - scientific method and the laws of the universe, mechanistic understanding of politics, economy

John Locke (1652-1704) - was also an empiricist - the self: tabula rasa (blank slate) - the brain was born being able to understand and observe information, the Social Contract - we enter bodies of government in order to obtain our social freedom. An individualist - people should be free to pursue their dreams as long as it doesn’t interfere with others’


What are some of the enlightenment figures of the c18?

The French philosophes include: Voltaire (1694-1778), Montesquieu (1714-1755), etc
Scotland: David Hume, Adam Smith
America: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson
Later enlightenment figures: Immanuel Kant, Jeremy Bentham, Tom Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft


What political impacts did the Enlightenment have?

Notions of individual rights (not necessarily new ideas)
Locke's ideas of Contractual Government -- American and French Revolutions
The British Example, 1688 - replacing one King with another - destroys this idea of divine right, contractual monarchy?
Secure individual rights


What impacts did the Enlightenment have on Religion?

1. Challenge to the authority and irrationality of religion
2. Separation of Church and State
3. Atheism - isn’t widely supported by English philosophes - as they just disagreed with religious trappings
4. Religious toleration
5. Reason and Science and Christianity - the British Example?


What impact did the Enlightenment have on Science and Technology?

Diderot and D’Alembert - The Encyclopedia c1761 - providing as much info as possible, to be passed down through generations - everyone should be educated
The Lunar Society - interested in the practical application of new scientific thought -- Josiah Wedgewood, James Watt and Matthew Boulton, Erasmus Darwin


What effect did the Enlightenment have on the Economy?

The creation of wealth and codification of capitalism
Laissez-faire or free-market economy
Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776)


What effect was had on society?

1. Human improvement - a happier society?
2. Tolerance
3. Reform - people were perfectible, you could turn a criminal into a positive member of society
4. Sociability and Manners: demonstrate the ability to reason, through self control, politeness and manners


To what extent did people become enlightened?

The intelligencia, the middling sort. Some argue that most were illiterate and intolerant, adhered to more traditional ideas of society and the cosmos. Couldn’t afford to engage with fashionable society.


What evidence is there to suggest the English Enlightenment has been overlooked by historians?

Ernst Cassirer’s influential The Philosophy of the Enlightenment (1951) - didn’t even mention Bolingbroke and Bentham, Priestley, Price and Paine or Godwin and Wollstonecraft
Leonard Marsak’s anthology The Enlightenment presented no readings at all from English writers while Lester Crocker’s equivalent barely did better, with a token four out of fifty


What evidence is their to suggest that Britain played a significant role in the Enlightenment?

The philosophes (Voltaire etc) looked to England as the birthplace of the modern - European nations celebrated Britain’s constitutional monarchy and freedom under the law, its open society, its prosperity and religious toleration
Called England a ‘nation of philosophers’ and the cradle of liberty, tolerance and sense
France ‘owes to England the great revolution which has taken place…”
Various ‘Anglophiles’ adopted English ideas and celebrated them
Diderot - “without the English, reason and philosophy would still be in the most despicable infancy in France”
British fiction became fashionable - Robinson Crusoe (1726) took Germany by storm, as did the verse of Ossian (the ‘Scottish Homer”)


Why would the British contribution to the Enlightenment have been overlooked?

So commonly ignored because the Englightenment has always been seen as a French Phenomenon, or at least French centred
The fact that there was not a revolution akin to that of France and America at that time- shows that there could not have been an English Enlightenment ‘worthy of the name’
Men in England at the time didn’t call themselves ‘enlighteners’ and the phrase ‘the Enlightenment’ enter English usage until mid-Victorian era


What arguments are there for the lack of British contribution?

Britain made the Enlightenment more basic so it would appeal to the masses - while the Enlightenment as we know it was done by the middle and upper classes
Depends how you define the enlightenment - if you base it solely on philosophical developments, the English contribution doesn’t necessarily fit in