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The Enlightenment

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The Enlightenment Powered By Docstoc
					 In general, the Enlightenment had a positive impact
on society but it also provided justification for racism
                       and sexism.
   Rationalism: All truths must be arrived at through
    logical, critical thinking, and none should be accepted
    on faith or authority alone.
   Science: Scientific methods could be used to examine
    the human world as well as the natural world to
    discover the laws of human society as they had
    discovered the laws of the physical world.
   Progress: Humans could use scientific research to find
    ways to improve life and advance humanity.
     The golden age was not behind us in classical
      antiquity or the Garden of Eden but ahead of us.
   There was a belief that human reason, given by God to all
    people, who are born with a tabula rasa, will lead the efforts to
    establish democratic forms of government.
   A wealthy or talented individuals gained influence because of
    their intellect.
   The reading revolution empowered individual readers to learn
    and interpret on their own.
   The huge explosion in publishing and empowered people
    without formal education.
   Libraries disseminated books to the poor.
   Coffeehouses provided venues for the discussion of new ideas.
   Legal reforms enacted by enlightened monarchs eliminated or
    reduced torture and the worst abuses of the traditional legal
    system.
   Enlightened monarchs also encouraged the education of the
    lower classes in order to have better trained soldiers and
    workers.
   The secular and skeptical spirit of both movements helped
    reduce the influence of religion and the church – could be see as
    a negative effect by some.
   The highest level of philosophical inquiry and discussion
    was reserved for the elites in salons run by wealthy
    women.
   There was little improvement in working or living
    conditions;
     Russia, the conditions of the serfs worsened under
      Catherine the Great.
   The philosophers' provided justification for traditional
    sexism
       Women were excluded from scientific academies and were limited
        mostly to a supporting role during the Enlightenment.
   Philosophes often used non-European cultures as foils in their work
   As some scientists had observed nature as being organized
    hierarchically, humans too were organized into hierarchies
    determined by race, defined as biologically determined differences,
    which was new .
       Previously, Europeans grouped other peoples into “nations” based on their
        historical, political, and cultural affiliations, rather than on supposedly
        innate physical differences
   Europeans began to define themselves as not only culturally superior
    but racially superior as well.
   Hume and Kant both popularized such ideas, describing other races as
    uncivilized, inferior, degenerate.
   Some intellectuals challenged such ideas
     Diderot criticized European arrogance and exploitation
     Beattie pointed out that Europeans started out as savages and that non
      Europeans had achieved high levels of civilization
     Herder argued that it was silly to classify humans into races by skin color
      and that each culture was as intrinsically worthy as any other.
   These challenges to ideas of racially inequality were in the minority.
    Most Enlightenment thinkers agreed with Kant and Hume.

				
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posted:10/24/2012
language:English
pages:5