The Enlightenment and its Impact on Today's Society

Topics: Age of Enlightenment, Immanuel Kant, Jean-Jacques Rousseau Pages: 6 (1205 words) Published: January 24, 2015

The Enlightenment and Todays Impact

The word enlightenment refers to the uncompleted course of education, in the use of reason, which in return should be available to all. Immanuel Kant thought of enlightenment, as a series of interlocking and at times it appeared to feel like enlightenment consisted of battling problems with debates (Rose). This movement felt like a group of individuals using a moment of truth through intellectual projects, changing society and the government on a worldwide basis. There was malice towards religion, a search for freedom and progress and an even bigger change in the relationship between man, himself and society (Harris). He was bigger than himself and now individuals were being brought to that knowledge. Its aim was to free men from fear and developing their sovereignty. Separating myths from actual fact and knowledge. The Enlightenment era was followed by huge intellectual and social achievements. During the eighteenth century, this era focused on religious and emotional connections of power from ancient texts whether divinely inspired or authored by philosophers (Harris). According to the symposium text translated by Benjamin Jowett, The Enlightenment movement was a dramatic shift in philosophy toward a different worldview based on reason and grew as the right to question received authority and to re-define the moral, emotional and political realms of philosophy (Benjamin). In eighteenth century Europe, tone of the key developments apart of a movement referenced as “the Industrial Enlightenment.” Although the Enlightenment was composed of many diverse elements, most of its key terms shared a belief that economic progress could be achieved by studying natural wonder and routines, reducing them to general basis wherever possible (Montagna). The meaning of this belief was that the motioned knowledge we identify today as “science” needed to be made accessible to everyone 2 (Montagna). It also included the desire to generalize patterns into systems and catalogs. The Industrial Revolution provided a lot of innovations and improvements, which, in the long run, created growth (Montagna). Yet without changes in the institutional environment of Europe, such technological progress might have been slower in coming, by what might best be called negative institutional feedback. Negative institutional feedback involves political changes resulting from economic growth that tended to slow down and even reverse growth (Montagna). This cultural movement embraced several types of approaches to thinking and exploring the world. Generally, the enlightened philosophers thought objectively and without animosity (Harris). Rationalism, and empiricism were some of the ideals of thought that composed the Enlightenment. Locke's work was tremendously important to philosophy, but he had just as big an influence on political thought, especially with his idea that authority derives solely from the approval of the commanded (Uzgalis). If you compare that with older notions about the divine right of kings (which held to the belief that nobody except God, should be able to tell a king what to do), Locke's idea led to a political uproar (Uzgalis). His work influenced the men who set the American Revolution in motion. Hobbes argued that each person is self-interested and thus people collectively cannot be trusted to govern society (Uzgalis). He was interested in justice and he did want people to come together so that the monarch would hear their concerns. He even coined the term "voice of the people", which we still use in...

Bibliography: Harris, B. (2012, April 23). 1700-1800 Age of Enlightenment. Retrieved December 11, 2014, from

Merriman, C. (2000, January 1). The Enlightenment. Retrieved December 11, 2014, from

Montagna, J. (2014, July 9). The Industrial Revolution. Retrieved December 11, 2014, from
Rose, K. (2008, January 1). Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Retrieved December 11, 2014, from
Smith, A. (1976). An inquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations. Oxford [u.a.: Clarendon Press.
Uzgalis, W. (2012, September 1). John Locke. Retrieved December 11, 2014, from
Viroli, M. (1988). Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the "well-ordered society" Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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