Descarte and Enlightenment

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We have come to see and understand ourselves as subject and not objects of the living world this is as a result of the thoughts introduced to the masses that questioned everything they stood for, thoughts about their place in society and the role one played. This essay seeks to unravel the role that Descartes had in the manner in which people understood themselves as, by critically analyzing the shift in medieval times and the birth of the modern world. This essay will focus on the shift in how people understood themselves as subjects and objects and God’s creatures to individuals seeing themselves as free assigners of meaning in their lives with this acknowledging the draw backs such as the burden of choice, the birth of modernism and other political theories In the middle ages before the writings of Descartes were introduced to people, people couldn’t help but understand themselves as determined or created by God as that was the way in which they understood the world they lived in, they were ruled by a Divine right where one understood their place in society as part of the divine plan of God himself (Dreyfus, H& Kelly, S.D.2011:13). The order of things in a middle aged society was not questioned as members made sense of everything in terms of the divine plan of God; this was their way of life. During this period, it was understood that God was the center of all existence and his will structures the universe and that all things were part of the divine plan such as on what basis one understood themselves in the society they lived in, but thoughts about who they want to be or become were seen unimaginable as everything was already structured (Dreyfus, H& Kelly, S.D.2011:14). Before the scientific revolution, Ancient astronomers supported the Ptolemaic strategy that the earth was, just like God was understood in the middle ages as the center of the universe but with the rise of the Copernican theory it disputed the Ptolemaic strategy as an inelegant and overburden conception and Copernicus sought to come up with a new-age solution to the movements of planets but he soon understood the unlikelihood of a new amendment of the Ptolemaic strategy would be justifiable (Tarnas, R 1991:248). With this new understanding of the movement of planets and the birth of different theories, Copernicus put forward a sun-centered universe with a planetary Earth and would mathematically work it out, using the heliocentric model as an explanation of how the Suns motion was due to the Earths daily rotation around its axis and its rotation around the Sun annually, this theory helped solved flawed Ptolemaic predictions with this came the new ordering of planets which replaced the traditional earth-centered order: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth and moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn (Tarnas,R 1991:250). With the new order of planets, came the change of the calendar that was according to the Copernicus system of the Sun-centered universe although accepted and welcomed by the catholic church, it was deeply criticized by the Protestant reformers as they believed that the church had allowed Christianity and the Bible to be contaminated and that the Copernican hypothesis contradicted passages from the Holy Bible concerning the understanding of the Earth in Christianity and that Biblical revelation was questioned by human science made Protestantism quickly recognize the threat of the Copernican astronomy (Tarnas,R 1991:252). Although there had been an astronomer and philosopher, Giordano Bruno had used the heliocentric theory and suffered the consequences of criticizing the bible, Copernicanism seemed more threating as his theory not only conflicted part of the bible but was seen as a threat to the entire Christian framework of cosmology, theology and morality because if the Earth truly moved then it could no longer be a fixed center of God’s Creation and his plan of salvation, nor could man be the central focus of the cosmos, This put the central event...
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