Essay on The Enlightenment

Submitted By natoshb
Words: 1551
Pages: 7

The Enlightenment Period The Enlightenment period was a time of new science, new technology, and new ways of learning for people. In Europe from 1650 to around 1800 was a time that encouraged change in society and advanced knowledge. During the Enlightenment period the people began to view the world differently than they had before. The world up until this point had been bases solely on what the Bible said is should be. People began to question the church’s teachings and the principles of their faith. The people wanted to see how the world worked, they wanted to see proof instead of just believing what they had read or been taught all of their lives. The Catholic views of the world and their beliefs came into question by many who had practiced the religion for centuries. The Protestant beliefs led these people to see things and ideas in a new light. The people began to be more acceptant of the idea of change. Political independence and an emphasis on rationalism became the focus of this time period. Many small communities and towns began to form; these small cities were ruled by Kings that wanted to change from the old way of doing things. These kings began to rule these small cities not based on the biblical teachings but more on the idea of public opinion. As people began to think more independently they began to oppose the teaching of the bible. Schools and colleges began teaching based on scientific proof rather than only teaching from the bible. This change in education began to change society as a whole. “It led to an increasingly wealthy, independent and educated middle class.”(Geoffrey) Some of the world’s greatest men came from this time period. They were philosophers, economist, and political geniuses. Most of their ideas and theories we still learn about and study today Before the Enlightenment period believing in God was like believing in tomorrow. The answer to all of life’s questions could be found by reading and studying the bible. “The Bible was the source of knowledge about God, especially the old testament, for there one could learn among other things the history of humankind and the divine purpose.” (Wade 2002) Political questions and government issues were answered by using the Bible as the reference to the way things were supposed to be done. In the 17th century a man by the name of Rene Descartes emerged as a rationalistic philosopher. His goal was to make people question the existence of God. Descartes did this by using what he termed the method of doubt. His ideas were simple; people should question everything that is not clean and distinct. The only thing Descartes believed was clean and distinct was that he himself existed. His infamous phrase “I think there for I am” is still used today. Using this phrase he began to take a look at the world around him. He started by what he knew to be true about nature. He looked at what he knew to be true of nature and through logic and rational decided what the rest of nature should be like. His theories and ideas were eventually proven wrong once scientist began to experiment and prove them inaccurate. His ideas however did have a great impact on the philosophical world. He considered to be one if not the first modernist philosopher. “This new way of looking at the world, of listening first to experience rather than to tradition and the church, was a major characteristic of the Enlightenment.” (Wade 2002) John Locke, and English medical doctor and philosopher, introduced empiricism in his 1689 Essay Concerning Human Understanding. (Babbie, 2003) The herald of the Enlightenment also writer he used his priniples of knowledge to help shape an optimistic view of human society. He said that the mind at birth is a blank slate or “tabula rosa.” He was an important political theorist. Helping to advance the idea of an agreement made between citizens in the formation of state known as social contact. Locke’s theory was that a person