The ancient or the Classical Greek philosophy starting from Thales , the first western philosopher to Stoics and Skeptics, have opened the doors to a particular pattern of thinking based on which the western intellectual tradition had been expanded. On the other hand, the age of Enlightenment have focused towards shaped philosophical, scientific discourses as well as political aspects from late 17th to early 19th (Tavor,214). Through the Enlightenment age , the rigorous , scientific , philosophical as well as political discourses characterizes the European society which had reflected huge changes in the political and philosophical discourses which have been proved to be decisive in the development of modernity. These two views have been referred as some of the important topics which will be explained later with sudden arguments and logic through which better society can get reformed (Brian)
The ancient civilizations of both Greece and Rome have got revered by the enlightened thinkers who have viewed the communities as the potential models to see that how the modern society is getting organised. During that time, among some of the enlightened thinkers, John Locke was the one philosopher as well as physician who at that time had advocated the separation between church and the state , and also the differences in between right to property ownership and the contractual obligation on the governments so that the innate rights among the people can be recognised (Matthew).
It had been argued by Hobbes who had advocated new form of social contracts between the state as well as the civil society as one of the effective way to unlock the personal happiness for all people. The age of reason that had been chosen is the period of Enlightenment where the new enlightened world views also encapsulates scientific endeavours that had been occurred at the time of 18th century. Through the rapid emergence of the print culture, and the higher levels of literacy rates had been eagerly consumed by the reading public (Kirsten,p.550).
The period of Enlightenment can be regarded as one of the natural philosophy which had been underpinned through the application of rational thoughts and the reasoning based on which certain enquiries can get easily solved starting from the medieval period. This is the way through which certain forms of the superstitious interpretations can be adequately challenged. With the help of the scientific experimentation, shedding of new light on nature had been followed. Again in order to challenge superstitious interpretations in the context of the living world , most of them had been deducted from certain uncritical readings in the context of the historical texts.
According to Kirsten (550), Enlightenment is descried as celebration of reason , the power with the help of which the human beings can be able to properly understand their own universe along with improvement in their own condition. There are certain goals of the rational humanity which involves knowledge, happiness as well as freedom. This is the reason, some of the authors have treated enlightenment as the age of reason. In this period , the Christian thinkers have also explained the Enlightenment period as one of the reconstructed reasoning tool based on which the truths of Christianity as well as the spiritual revelation can get easily reflected and highlighted (Khan Academy).
Through the process of Enlightenment, the intellectuals as well as political edifice of Christianity have found the usage of the Greco-Roman Heritage. In this context, the system of thought is regarded as one of the important tool to understand the spiritual revelation based on which the Christianity truths can get easily revealed. As per Nicola(80) through the Enlightenment, most of the classical cultures have got revived and the humans as he creative beings got reflected in contract to the monolithic authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The Enlightenment Age have been served itself as one of the spectacularly achieved science as well as mathematics through which the logics of induction as well as deduction can be made possible to create and develop new cosmology.
Through Enlightenment, the idea of Universe have been explained and also been governed by some of the simple as well as the discoverable laws where the individual salvation is one of the prime concern behind the Christianity. Again the method of reason have been applied to the religion itself. In this situation, the product of the search for the natural, religion known as Deism which was regarded as not one of the organized cult but also referred as the movement especially in England and France. Beyond the Deist’s natural religion, the more radical products as well as the application of reason to the religion like scepticism, atheism as well as materialism (Paschalis). These are some of the powerful ideas based on which reform in England as well as revolution in France and America have been obtained.
The Age of Enlightenment is also sometimes defined as the Age of Reason through which the intellectual movement have been guided. From the context of socio-political phenomena, the Enlightenment period have been started with the close of the Thirty Years War and have been ended with the French Revolution. As per Robin (343), through enlightenment, the reason had been advocated as one of the important means based on which the authoritative system of aesthetics, government and religion got established through which the objective truth regarding the entire reality can be highlighted. Through the Age of Enlightenment, the general consequences of the modern world have got objectified which have ultimately helped in the creation of intellectual framework not for the American Revolutionary War and liberalism but also for the democracy and the capitalism.
The leaders of the Enlightenment Age have regarded themselves as one of the courageous elite to lead the world towards progress in order to break the doubtful tradition and ecclesiastical tyranny through which the religion have got reduced to those essentials which can be rationally defended. As per Nicola(86) the knowledge on Enlightenment have been gained through the power of reason alone with a belief that all the knowledge’s have been served from senses as well as from experiences where the rationalists took mathematics as one of the important part of knowledge where the empiricists took the physical sciences. Some of the positive examples includes the Scottish Enlightenment where Scotland got benefited economically through the expansion of trade and commerce pointed towards higher level of Scottish contributions towards Enlightenment thought.
Through Enlightenment, a central role in the justification have been occupied which is known as modernism (Kirsten,p.550). Through Enlightenment the liberalism as well as neo-classicalism have traced back with intellectual heritages where the modern movement pointed towards reductionism and rationality as some of the crucial aspects of the Enlighted thinking. With the help of Enlightenment, the basic of the modern ideas of liberalism against the superstitions and intolerances have been highlighted based on which the centrality towards freedom, reasoning in the society got objectified through the certain level of democratic meanings.
However, there existed certain criticisms on Enlightenment which have highlighted the causality through Hume’s scepticism and Kant’s critical philosophy through which the rationalistic approach to God as well as to the world got destroyed. In many cases like as per the French Revolution, the violent extremes have been highlighted which had fuelled a major reaction against the Enlightenment through which the traditional beliefs have also got undermined and hence the ancient regime got disturbed. However it have also been argued by Robin (43) , where the Enlightenment have highlighted repeated experiments and hence the pronouncements of the entire authority along with trust couldn’t get enhanced.
The bigger name of Enlightenment is Sir Isaac Newton who had proved efficient in discovering gravitational force where the bodied gets attracted to one another which is entirely based on the mass. This way the principle have got discussed where things fall into earth and hence the supernatural intervention also got eliminated. However in the later decades or so , like all the good liberal intellectuals , the defenders of Enlightenment have shunned Herzog’s anxieties regarding the liberal modernity and had also generated the threats in the context of Islamic fundamentalism , brotherhood articulation etc (Brian).
The modern free thinkers have possessed some of the impressive capacities which by no means have mobilised Enlightenment for the cause. In short , it can be stated that through Enlightenment , the modern self-consciousness have got reflected and have also been defined as the liberators of the mankind based on which the principles on truth and justice can get highlighted and can be defined as “new Enlightenment thinker” to combat certain ideologies and certain reflections of the current trends (Paschalis). One of the biggest achievement of mankind is to repair mankind bonds and its one of the most important feature is to held thee history , nature as well as the theologies which is regarded as one of the most important abilities to place one selves through which the common humanity as well as the awareness of belonging to some world larger than the community have been followed swiftly.
Enlightenment is defined as one of the important organized activity through which the informal society of men of letters had been exemplified and there had also existed noteworthy centres of Enlightenment outside France as well. Enlightenment is conceived as one of the arousal of the new sciences which in the broader perspectives have progressively undermined not only the ancient geocentric conception with respect to cosmos but also certain presuppositions set which had ultimately constrained and guided the philosophical inquiry in the earlier requirements. This way the human society as well as the individual lives have undergone through certain progresses which had made the Enlightenment age as one of the age of excellence period.
As per the argument posed by Nicola (88), Enlightenment not only defined as one of the historical period but also a process of social , spiritual development along with psychological development through which one individual can get relied upon the other human’s intellectual powers to achieve systematic knowledge of nature in order to serve as authoritative guide in the practical life. The process of Enlightenment is basically self-directed and also progressive by nature through which ultimately better and also more fulfilled human existence have ultimately been developed.
To conclude, despite of all the arguments on enlightenment , it had basically highlighted and reflected as a movement which have reflected individual thought and reasoning abilities. Through enlightenment, the legacies had been observed now-a-days where the government have used separation of powers and along with that the women empowerment had also been highlighted. Through Enlightenment, the environment got completely revolutionized and it have changed the way people thinks then and now regarding their religion. It is stated as one of the greatest events in the history since it had helped people with the ideas and also helped them o face the challenges to do better things in a right track. Through Enlightenment, distinct as wel as different legal phenomenon’s have been made eligible trough the proposal of general laws and principles and it have been defined as one of the cognizable mater based on which the Enlightenment trends can be highlighted in order to survive the competent worldviews.
Brian, Duignan. Enlightenment. https://www.britannica.com/event/Enlightenment-European-history. May 2020.
Khan Academy. Classical Greek culture. https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/world-history/ancient-medieval/classical-greece/a/greek-culture. June 2020.
Kirsten, Fischer. “American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason by Caroline Winterer.” Journal of the Early Republic vol.38, no.3, 2018, pp.548-551.
Matthew, White. Discovering Literature: Restoration & 18th centuryhttps://www.bl.uk/restoration-18th-century-literature/articles/the-enlightenment. May 2020.
Nicola, Newton. “The age of reason: An examination of psychosocial factors involved in delinquent behaviour.” Legal and Criminological Psychology, vol. 17, no.1, 2011 , p.75-88.
Ollie, Cussen. The trouble with the Enlightenment. https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/the-enlightenment-and-why-it-still-matters-anthony-pagden-review. May 2020.
Paschalis, Kitromilide. The Enlightenment and the Greek cultural tradition https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/61194208.pdf. May 2020.
Robin, Mills. “American enlightenments: pursuing happiness in the age of reason, by Caroline Winterer.” Intellectual History Review vol. 28, no. 2, 2018, p.342-344.
Tavor, Bannet. “Caroline Winterer. American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason.” The American Historical Review vol.23, no.1, 2018, pp.214-215.
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