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The Enlightenment (Essay Sample)

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The Enlightenment and how it changed basic Western attitudes towards reform, faith and reason

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The Enlightenment and how it changed basic Western attitudes towards reform, faith and reason
To be able to draw conclusions about what actually shaped western history, there is a need to know clearly the connections that exist between cultural, social, political, intellectual and political happenings in a given era of interest. One has to understand the wide variety of cultures that led to western civilization and further place them together in a common context. This will help one to understand change over time and make up for the fundamental relationships of different times CITATION Hun09 \p 13 \l 2057 (Hunt, Martin and Smith 13).The enlightenment achieved almost total transformation of Western Europe. The region was set toward reform, making lose the tie n faith to more secular and broad reason. Philosophers were the main contributors of this enlightenment. In the recent past, the year 1997, archaeologists working in Ethiopia discovered fossilized skulls that dated at least 160 000 years from then. These remains were the oldest ever found after the discovery of Homo sapiens. This, as a discovery, raised considerable interest to many scientists as it supported the idea that human beings originated from Africa CITATION Hun09 \p 75 \l 2057 (Hunt, Martin and Smith 75). Early human beings made innovations in technology, religion, trade, and in social organizations. It is these innovations that create a basis of the modern way of life. The modern ways of life, including the emergence of war, may be traced back to innovations of the ancient man. Continuous research provides the world with new information about the past, therefore, enlightening the thinking f how the past relates to the present. Enlightenment was an intellectual movement. The goal of the movement was to understand the natural world, and understand the position of man in this natural world, on the basis of reason while avoiding turning to religious beliefs. The aim was to create an inquiring mind that has the urge to understand and know through reason, reason supported by evidence and proof. Western Europe valued reason as reflected in the philosophic ideas or else what we are referring to as the enlightenment CITATION Hun09 \p 54 \l 2057 (Hunt, Martin and Smith 54). Faith in nature and the belief in human progress were among the most fundamental ideologies of the Enlightenment. The argument was, if people were free to make and exercise their reason, they would be naturally good and would act towards the betterment of others. Education is seen a significant bridge to reason and human progress, other than through faith and attachment to religion. This can be claimed to be one of the reasons why education is seen as a extremely crucial aspect of the society in the west, so much value and efforts is attached to the education system to enhance the value and quality CITATION Hun09 \p 45 \l 2057 (Hunt, Martin and Smith 45). The eighteenth century could have been referred to as the Age of Reason. In the latter decades, there emerged a general reaction against rationalism. There was religious revival. The revival substantially captured back so many wavering Catholics and Protestants. Another reaction was advocated for religion over the idea of reason but held the Enlightenment's view on individual liberty. Before the eighteenth century, Enlightenment was mainly confined in to Holland. The major spokesmen of the philosophy were religious refugees. Among these spokesmen was French Huguenot Pierre Bayle (1674-1706). His skepticism and plea for religious toleration were widely spread in the wider region of France. Enlightenment was mainly French phenomenon after the Peace of Ultrecht (1973). The leading proponents were referred to as philosophes. These philosophes did analysis of the evils of the society and sought counter reforms on the principles of reason CITATION Hun09 \l 2057 (Hunt, Martin and Smith). Freedom may also be defined as the ability to think rationally for oneself. Enlightenment made people to start thinking that, relying on obedience, faith, and superstition is a life of unreason. The idea of questioning every aspect of life started dominating the minds of many people especially the elites. People started to make for the connections between faith and reason; which of the two should dominate the other? And what are the benef...
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