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The Early Theorists Essay

823 words - 4 pages

It is the 18th century and the Enlightenment, which is also known as the Age of Reason in Europe and America, and humankind faces an intellectual, philosophical and social movement that is focused on science and reason. Religion, politics and economics are changing focus. Wars are being fought within, as opposed to between countries. This time prior to the French Revolution finds monarchies being executed in France and England. The rising merchant class is demanding social and political power held previously by the nobility. There are major social changes, as inherited positions are less secure. People no longer believed that every event that occurred was a result of God’s intervention. There is a new way of thinking about religion, natural rights as well as natural laws. There is an attitude that God is the creator of a universe that functions without intervention. Deism believed in a hereafter, but also believed we should focus on this life’s achievements and joy, rather than look at a life in the hereafter. The concept of humanitarianism; helping those less fortunate, is a new concept during this time since prior to that the religious belief was that if someone experienced misfortune, it was God’s will and punishment. The Enlightenment focused on man, rather than God and the church. Where prior to the 1700s man lived in an agricultural society during the feudal period, the Enlightenment witnessed the development of a more cosmopolitan society, with people living in groups that were interdependent on each other. It opened the gateway to the Industrial Revolution. The Enlightenment inspired the world’s first democracy, in the United States of America. The new approach in reasoning and problem solving is what makes this period so important. Freedom of expression finds its roots in the Enlightenment.

According to our textbook, Chapter 1, the classical theorists during this time period of the Enlightenment into the early 1900s are studied because their work helped develop sociology in general and sociological theory in particular. And their theories continue to be relevant to contemporary sociologists. An essay published in 1784 by Immanuel Kant which answered the question “What Is Enlightenment, and which is believed to be the momentum that began the Age of Reason. From a historical perspective, the time period between 1648 which marks the end of the Thirty Years war and 1789 which began the French Revolution, is noted in general, as the beginning and ending of the Enlightenment era. ...

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