The Age of Reason

Topics: Immanuel Kant, Philosophy, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel Pages: 5 (1424 words) Published: February 25, 2002
Thesis: To discuss the philosophers who participated and had an affect in The Age of Reason.


I. David Hume
A. Contributions to the Age of Reason
B. Who and what influenced him
II. Jean Jacques Rousseau
A. What he believed in
B. Who influenced him
III. Claude Adrien Helvetius
A. Influences
B. Reasons for contribution
IV. Immanuel Kant
A. How he made a difference
B. Why he made a difference
C. What caused him to make a difference
V. Johann Fichte
A. Influences
B. Reasons for contribution
VI. Johann von Herder
A. Contributions
B. What caused him to contribute
C. Influences
VII. Friedrich Schleiermacher
A. Why he contributed
B. Influences

The Age of Reason was a period in time during the 18th century in Europe and America when man become enlightened by reason, science, and humanity. The people involved with the Age of Reason were convinced that human reason could discover the natural laws of the universe, the natural rights of mankind, and the progress in knowledge. Each philosopher had his own ideas and theories about the world, nature, and human beings in general, and every philosopher wrote many essays and books about their own personal ideas and opinions (Sartre4). David Hume was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 7, 1711. Educated at home and then at the University of Edinburgh; here he studies law but then decides to pursue an independent study of his own ideas (Sartre 132).

From 1734 to 1737 Hume was busy writing his book, A Treatise of Human Nature, which talked about the problems of thoughtful philosophy (Hampshire 105). However, the public ignored this important piece of work making Hume feel like he was "dead-born." After this horrible reaction to A Treatise of Human Nature Hume went back home where he started thinking more about ethics and political economy. Along with these thoughts Hume wrote books expressing how he felt about these subjects(Snyder34). Essay Moral and Political was one book that enclosed an essay written by Hume dealing with ethics and political economy. Hume felt that ethical thinking was the idea of knowing right from wrong and comes about from ones own self-happiness. Benevolence was the biggest moral good as far as Hume was concerned. The unselfish understanding of anybody or anything's general welfare was very important to David Hume. Aside from that, Hume also had a great influence in the development of skepticism and empiricism, which are two schools of philosophy (Snyder 45). David Hume's greatest influences were British philosophers John Locke and Bishop George Berkeley. Hume was able to find the differences in reason and sensation just like Berkeley, but Hume took his findings to another level. Hume was able to prove that reason and rational judgment are nothing more than usual associations of an individual's prior knowledge. (Hampshire, 115). David Hume contributed many excellent points and ideas about ethics, political economy, skepticism and empiricism, and wrote many good pieces of literature about his ideas. Unfortunately, David Hume died in 1976 (Hampshire 117). Jean Jacques Rousseau, a French philosopher was born in Geneva on June 18, 1712, and was raised by an aunt and uncle after his mother died a few days after he was born. Rousseau was originally thought to be an engraver, but he soon ran away after three years to a wealthy woman named Madame Louise de Warens (Sartre 141).

Jean Jacques Rousseau stated that the view of science, art, and social institutions has corrupted humankind. He also stated that natural state is morally greater than civilized state. Later he stated that it is more important to express yourself than to hold back on becoming a unique individual (Hampshire, 149). Jean Jacques Rousseau had a great deal to do with the movement of Western Europe. He supported individual freedom, but disliked the abolishment of the church and the state. On top of that, Jean Jacques Rousseau influenced...
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