Dbq on Whether or Not Enlightenment Thinkers Based Ideas Off Scientific Revolution Thinkers.

Topics: Science, Age of Enlightenment, John Locke Pages: 5 (1876 words) Published: November 19, 2012
When looking upon any thinkers in recorded history, we must analyze the influences, assuming there are some, that provide a foundation or stemmed the creation of the thinkers line of thought or view on a subject. For instance, the philosophes of the Enlightenment are often assumed to have formulated their ideas single-handedly but if we were to analyze their thoughts we would see all of them stem from other ideas, or directly oppose thinker’s views from the Scientific Revolution, such as the relationship or similarities of Humanity and Nature, the use of the Scientific Method, and the ongoing debate on religion and its place in human affairs. To begin with, the extensive use of the newly accepted Scientific Method, or the new form of investigation that stemmed from it made the Enlightenment’s revolutionary government ideas possible. These documents support this fact, Document one, Rene Descartes’ The Discourse on Method, Document five Holbach’s The System of Nature, Rouseeau’s Social Contract and Newton’s Principia Mathematica. For instance In Rene Descartes’ The Discourse on Method he states his four steps of questioning which started with he could never accept what was truth accept what he had already determined to be, secondly divide into as many possible parts as he could, third start with the simple and work your way into the complex, and finally omit nothing and be certain of your work by painstaking records and reviews. These steps, when transferred into the research of finding the epitome of government, the interactions of a society, and human nature itself allowed a complex and encompassing view on the philosophe’s society and government. Also, by using this method a more realistic or practical form of philosophy was created. Whereas in Greek philosophy most ideas where looking at a current government or in Plato’s case creating an entirely new one with illogical and impractical theorems, the Scientific Method allowed thinkers to piece by piece respond to society’s and humanity’s flaws and they realized government is the greatest reasonable compromise in a man’s life. It began to be understood that at the forefront of Man’s separation from base beasts is the ability to live in a society influenced by morals, reason, and ambition as opposed to the animalistic instinct of their lesser cousins in the animal kingdom. (Doc 1) In Baron d’Holbach’s The System of Nature Holbach states “ The enlightened man, is his matury, in his perfection, who is capable of pursuing his own happiness, because he has learned to examine…Experience teaches Nature acts by simple, uniform, and invariable laws.” According to Holbach man may pursue happiness due to his reason, as opposed to Nature’s infinite cycle man may change. (Doc 5) Another result of the Scientific Revolution’s Scientific Method is Rousseau’s The Social Contract in which he outlines the requirement of man to participate in a society of his fellow man. Rousseau states “…What man loses by the social contract is his natural liberty and unlimited right to everything…what he gains is civil liberty and proprietorship of all he possesses.” The implications of this idea would stem a new frame of mind, one that required self-realization and an individual’s logic, a once radical theory was now shared by many philosophers. However, in order to keep society from imploding on itself some freedoms must be curtailed, which was the basis of the so called “social contract” the largest compromise in human history and what allowed the pursuit of happiness, and the achievement of one’s full potential. (Doc 8) Adding to this frame of thinking, and perhaps a major reason it existed is detailed in Newton’s Principia Mathematica it states, “Nature does nothing in vain..for Nature is pleased with simplicity, and affects not the pomp or superfluous causes.” Applying the idea that nothing happens without a cause in Nature to Man, drove the philosophes to analyze human nature, and it may be...
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