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Age of Enlightenment

Page history last edited by Ayşegül Yeşilbursa 14 years, 11 months ago





   The eighteenth century is known in Europe as the Age of Enlightenment by almost everybody. The name comes from the belief that human could bring light into the darkness of the world and it could prevail over ignorance and superstitions.

   Enlightenment means the evolution of our species and the survival of our species according to many scholars. Also, some experts think that enlightenment is the 18th century philosophical movement that emphasized the use of scientific inquiry.

   The terminology Enlightenment or Age of Enlightenment does not represent a single movement or thoughts. At the core of Enlightenment, there was a critical questioning of traditional institutions, customs and morals.

   Characteristic Principles of the Enlightenment:

·        People thought that after enlightenment, there would be no longer suffering, no longer seeking, fearlessness, no longer seeing life as problematic.

·        The enlightenment is described as a time in Western philosophy and cultural life centered upon the eighteenth century in which reason was advocated as the primary source.

·        The Enlightenment reached its height in the second half of the eighteenth century. The writers of the Enlightenment called themselves Philosophes. They were intellectuals who wanted to solve the real problems of the world. They wrote on subjects from current affairs to art criticism. One of the most famous writers was Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

·        The Enlightenment acquired its name from 1740 to 1789 and although it caused confrontation between the writers, the government and the churches, it gained widespread support.

·        The Enlightenment is very different from the Middle Ages of religious authority.

·        The intellectual developments of the Enlightenment Age were toward more freedom for people based on self-governance, natural rights and natural law.

·        Nobody exactly knows when the start of the Age of Enlightenment is. Some scholars say it is the beginning of the eighteenth century and some say it is the middle of the seventeenth century.

·        According to Historian, Peter Gay, The Enlightenment is the source of critical ideas, such as the centrality of freedom, democracy and the reason as primary values of society.

·        Roger Chartier describes the Enlightenment: ‘ This movement implies casting doubt on two ideas. First, that practices can be deduced from the discourses that authorize or justify them. Second, that it is possible to translate the terms of an explicit ideology the latent meaning of social mechanisms’

·        The increased consumption of reading materials of all sorts was one of the key features of the Enlightenment. Developments in the Industrial Revolution  allowed consumer goods to be produced in larger quantities at lower prices, encouraging the spread of books.

·        Lots of scientific and literary journals that were published during the age of enlightenment are evidence of the intellectual side of the Enlightenment. In fact, Jonathan Israel says that the journals from the 1680 onwards, influenced European intellectual culture to a great degree than any other ‘ cultural innovation’

·        During the age different topics were discussed. One broad area was women. Societies debated over ‘male and female qualities’, marriage and the role of the women in the public.

·        The debating societies that came into existence in 1789, are perfect examples of the public sphere during the Enlightenment. Donna T. Andrew provides four separate origins:

v     Clubs of fifty or more men,

v     Mooting clubs,

v     Spouting clubs,

v     William Henley’s Oratory.

Some important figures during the Enlightenment:

Ø      Thomas Abbt,

Ø      Edmund Burke,

Ø      Jean-Jacques Rousseau,

Ø      Benjamin Franklin,

Ø      Thomas Hobbes,

Ø      Adam Smith,

Ø      Immanuel Kant,

Ø      Robert Hook.

The Literature:

·        Literature during the Enlightenment was very important. During this time information became more available. Newspapers were very popular because they were cheap and contained important information. Such people as Benjamin Franklin, helped information become available.

·        Literature explored themes of social upheaval, political satire, geographical explorations and the reversals of personal status. For example, Jonathan Swift published A Tale of a Tube in this age.

·        During the Age of Sensibility, literature reflected the worldview of the Age of Enlightenment which is a scientific approach to religious, social and political issues. (Hande ŞENSOY)


Comments (6)

hikmet said

at 4:07 pm on May 22, 2009

people think the suffer would end in this period.

hikmet said

at 4:09 pm on May 22, 2009

Age of enlightment was a turn-point for English history

hikmet said

at 4:11 pm on May 22, 2009

science was developed in this period and people began to make a lot of scientific research

w_kzbn_w_88@... said

at 5:46 pm on May 26, 2009

ıt was thought that this period was the end of suffer.ın this period science was developed.people have the freedom of critical thinking .

w_kzbn_w_88@... said

at 5:49 pm on May 26, 2009

ın this period literature was developed.Information was spread easily because of the cheapness of the newspaper.

Ali Yılmaz said

at 3:04 pm on May 29, 2009

as the name suggests, it's the period of illumination and inspriation..Many things as science, literarure developed.what's more important, the quality and the quantity of philolosophical and logical thinking had increased.That's why we (should) call that period "age of enlightment"

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