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Enlightenment Questions Essay

1457 words - 6 pages

1. Describe some of the major intellectual changes that led to the Enlightenment.
Countless major intellectual changes amounted to the Enlightenment. This includes the contributions of Newton, the period of stability in Great Britain, and the growth of print culture. Overall, the scientific revolution, and products of the Renaissance, also led to the Enlightenment. Newtonian science displayed the nature world as an infallible pattern of mathematical and mechanical activity, thus inspiring others to believe that both the natural world and society should be controlled rationally. Newton also insisted that empirical experience be used, contributing to John Locke’s views. Other scientific advancements, whether contributed by Newton or his contemporaries, brought people to view the world less religious, bringing people into a more secular viewpoint. In Great Britain, a period of stability, from a political, economical, and societal standpoint, showed how almost everyone benefitted from enlightened views in one way or another. Religiously, the British were tolerant of almost everyone; the only exceptions were Unitarians and Roman Catholics, but even they were not actively persecuted. Politically, there was a relative extent to freedom of speech, and the monarchy was limited in power by the Parliament. There was also more economic freedom, with fewer regulations than in other European countries, including France. Ultimately, from this constancy arose a prominent example of a flourishing society under enlightened reforms. Print culture, a result of the printing press’ establishment during the Renaissance, was how written material, such as books and pamphlets, began to become commoditized, gaining significance, and becoming a formative influence in the way knowledge was spread. This is characterized by the most notable publication of the Enlightenment, the Encyclopedia, as no other work succeeded as well in spreading Enlightened ideas. Thus, intellectually, knowledge moved through printed works, spreading literacy. This print culture called spurred a determination to probe life on earth instead of in a religious realm, and a freedom of expression. Philosophes, additionally, began to critique the power of nobles, alongside the growth of secularism and changed views on human behaviour. All in all, the major intellectual changes that surmounted to the Enlightenment included a stray from religion towards scientifically controlled actions, an increased spread in groundbreaking ideas as propelled by print culture and overall, the free expression of ideas.

2. Explain how the spirit of the 18th century Enlightenment was drawn from the scientific and intellectual revolutions of the 17th century.
The spirit of the Enlightenment was clearly catalyzed by the scientific and intellectual revolutions of the 1600s. The Enlightenment brought to the front secularism, and a belief that just as nature is controlled by indisputable laws. These concepts were...

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