Topics: Age of Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau Pages: 4 (1258 words) Published: April 28, 2013
The Age of Enlightenment was an astonishing movement of philosophers in the 18th century who shared and opposed each other’s ideas, reasons, questions, and concerns about several different beliefs such as religious tolerance, deism (God), government, society, and knowledge. The goal of all Enlightenment thinkers was social reform. Some of the philosophers mentioned in the following paragraphs had similar ideas to one another, yet others had completely different thoughts on those same subjects. All, however, contribute to society today, in one way or another. There were three generations of Enlightenment thinkers, all of whom celebrated major values that each person was greatly committed to achieving. The first generation of thinkers, the forefathers, consisted of John Locke, Isaac Newton, and Francis Bacon (The Triumph of Science, 9). John Locke, possibly one of the most important Enlightenment figures, had an empirical, or alternative, point of view (The Triumph of Science, 4). He was an English philosopher who was born in 1632 and was a philosopher during the Enlightenment age. Locke wrote a two volume work, published in 1690, explaining the “experience as the foundation of all knowledge”. The work was titled Essay Concerning Human Understanding (4). This thesis argued Locke’s main point that the human mind is a “tabula rasa” or a blank slate in which we as humans must record and retain our knowledge (4). Locke argued that the only materials that mankind needs for reason and knowledge is experience. Another work by John Locke, Two Treatises on Government, observed that there are two different types of rights (alienable and inalienable) and the government exists to protect these rights: “life, liberty and property”. Inalienable rights are rights that cannot be taken from a person, such as the right to own property, whereas alienable rights are natural born rights. Locke’s argument stood tall stating that even without government we have rights,...
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