(1) Philosophy in the Age of Reason. (2) Enlightenment Ideas Spread. (3) Britain at Mid-Century. (4) Birth of the American Republic.
Hobbes. Locke. Bach. Voltaire. Rousseau. ________________________________________________________________ 1651. 1690. 1721. 1759. 1762.
(1) Philosophy in the Age of Reason.
Setting the Scene. During the Enlightenment philosophers felt they could use reason to discover natural laws that govern human behavior. This period is the Age of Reason.
Two Views of the Social Contract. In 1600s two Englishmen set forth ideas destined as key to the Enlightenment. Hobbes and Locke had ideas that change view of individual’s role in society.
Hobbes. Thomas Hobbes. (1588-1679). ‘Born premature when mother heard of oncoming Armada.’ At 40, he took Euclid’s geometry as starting point to make mechanical model of universe (man and society). Mechanism (based on motion) was to greatly influence thinking over next few centuries. Witness to upheaval of civil war in England in 1640s. Fled to France. 1651. Publishes "Leviathan.”Hobbes sees state of nature sans government as "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Promulgates absolute monarch thesis. Says people (wholly selfish) should escape chaos of everyday life, give up their freedom to ruler who guarantees peace and order. In his state Hobbes saw ruler as absolute with men having no right to rebel since this would break the social contract and be illogical.
Hobbes has no interest in individual liberty.
Locke. John Locke. (1632-1704). 1690. Publishes "Two Treatises on Government" anonymously.
Locke agrees with Hobbes that the purpose of government is to create order in society but contends that people are reasonable and would cooperate with each other and could rebel if ruler were tyrant. Ruler stays in power only as long as he has consent of those governed. He said people had natural rights, including right to life,