Hobbes, Marx, And Shah Essay

1604 words - 6 pages

The cold, calculating, and logical brains of Enlightenment thinkers are much different from the emotional, fantasy-loving mind of Romantics. The Enlightenment was an 18th century movement in which rationality and science were placed as the number one things a human could have (Brians). The Enlightenment also propagated the idea equality and liberalism (Brians). Romanticism was an international movement which occurred after the Enlightenment during the late 1700s to the mid-1800s (Melani). It placed emotions at the forefront of human thought (Melani). Thomas Hobbes, a very early Enlightenment thinker, has a variety of ideas which do not coincide with those of Karl Marx, an early Romantic.
The thinkers of the Enlightenment era, which was the 1700s, were philosophes, and “they believed that human reason could be used to combat ignorance, superstition, and tyranny,” (Brians). Throughout all of the causes and movements they supported, the philosphes placed logic and reason on a pedestal. In truth, “Enlightenment thinkers insisted on combining [logic] with something they called “reason” which consisted of common sense, observation, and their own unacknowledged prejudices in favor of skepticism and freedom,” (Brians). This idea of logic led to a questioning of the societal structure, and soon wealthy merchants were questioning why they had to pay large taxes to aristocrats (Brians). These merchants “were naturally convinced that their earnings were the result of individual merit and hard work,” (Brians), and they did not believe they should lose them to taxes. It is from this situation that the philosophe’s belief in equality comes from, and because tolerance is just social equality, the philosophe’s also believed in tolerance. The Philosophe’s belief in equality and tolerance caused them to often attack hereditary aristocracy and organized religion (Brians). The emphasis placed on tolerance can be noted in the belief of “cultural relativism”, or judging cultures in context (Brians). Thomas Hobbes is considered to be one of the political thinkers, and he helped usher in the Enlightenment (Williams).
Thomas Hobbes was born in England in 1588, and he died in England in 1679 at the age of 91 (Williams). Not born into wealth or power, he had the luck to have a classical education be provided to him by his uncle (Williams). His intellect got him into Oxford, and he eventually became a tutor to the son of the Cavendishes (Williams). The Cavendishes were an important noble family, and Hobbes’s new position allowed him to be close to power (Williams). The influence he eventually garnered allowed him to gain the position as math tutor to the future King Charles II (Williams). Hobbes actually tutored the future King Charles II in France, which was where Hobbes had fled to in 1940 for safety (Williams). In France, he met Descartes and Bacon, both whom influenced him (“Thomas Hobbes”). Hobbes returned to England in 1951 (Williams). Hobbes...

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