The He described purpose of enlightenment in simple manner

The Enlightenment was period of intellectual and growth. During
the Enligtenment,  people started to believe
that all men were free people. The declaration of rights of Man states “men are
born free and are equal in rights.” This was a new concept of that time. People
had not thought about others as  being
equal. Everyone was equal and can live their lives according to their wishes,
within certain guidelines. Enlightenment was a philosophical movement in 18th
century Europe, characterized by belief in the power of human reason and by
innovations in political, religious and educational doctrine.

This movement rejected social, traditional, political, and
religious norms and values and adopted free thinking for development of new
ideas and theories for human behavior and their feelings. These new ways were
then applied to political and social boundries, changing the people views and
thought about government, and directly influencing the development of modern
world. The enlightenment presented a challenge to traditional religious views. Enlightenment
thinkers were the liberal of their days. It brought ideas in moral and natural philosophy
and shifted away from metaphysics and supernatural towards focus upon human
nature and physics.  Significantly, The
Enlightenment represented adoption of critical attitude instead of cultural and
intellectual traditions. The forty-volume L’Encyclopedie (1751–1772), compiled by the
important Enlightenment thinkers Denis Diderot (1713–1784) and Jean Le Rond
d’Alembert (1717–1783), idealized the Enlightenment thinker, or philosophe, as
one who “enslaves  most
minds”, and “dares to think for himself” (Diderot
1751, 5:270). A  generation
later, the German thinker Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) says “enlightenment is when a person grows out of his
self-imposed immaturity.  He defines immaturity as one’s inability to use
his own understanding without the guidance of another.” He described
purpose of enlightenment in simple manner as ” Have courage to use your own

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The Enlightenment took advantage of new forms of cerebral exchange.
David Hume (1711–1776) was known as one of the
important figures of Enlightenment. He worked for recognition of difference
between matters of facts and matter of values. He saw humanity as more inclined
to emotion than to reason. He complained against the exclusivity of earlier
generation and asserted on bringing knowledge popular and closeted learned to
social able  world of polite
conversations in academies, salons, debating societies etc. in His period,
books became smaller, cheaper and accessible. This was witnessed time of periodical
press, of newspaper and magazines. Literacy rate was increased among the middle
class men, meant that people read pamphlet essays and novels in their leisure


During the seventeenth
century, European intellectuals quarreled over whether contemporary “modern”
European thinkers had surpassed their “ancient” Greek and Roman counterparts,
and this debate gave rise to the Enlightenment belief that better ways of thinking
and behaving had emerged in recent decades. The sense of modern improvements
led to a faith among the philosophes that the new ideas and methods would
guarantee indefinite progress in politics, society, and the arts and sciences.

     “If one looks at all closely at the middle
of our own century, the events that occupy us, our customs, our acheivements
and even our topics of conversation , it is difficult not to see that a very
remarkable change in several respects has come into our ideas; a change which
by its rapidity, seems to us to foreshadow another still greater. Time alone
will tell the aim, the nature and limits of this revolution, whose
inconveniences and advantages our posterity will recognized better than we can.”

-Jean Le Rond d’Adrento   


 The philosophes took up
the cause of improving their social and natural surroundings through experiment
and reform. Societies and academies, such as the English Royal Society, emerged
in which innovative ideas and techniques were presented, debated, and
recommended. From agricultural techniques to zoological taxonomies, progressive
reform was an important Enlightenment ideal associated with another
Enlightenment principle: utility. Hume (1902,
183) wrote that “public utility is the
sole origin of justice.” In their emphasis upon principles of progress and
utility, most Enlightenment thinkers were the heirs to the “moderns” in the
quarrel of the ancients and moderns.           


The sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries saw European thinkers challenge inherited ideas about the physical
universe. Medieval thinkers had built elaborate cosmological systems upon
classical, and particularly Aristotelian, foundations. But in many fields, such
as physics, applied mathematics, and especially astronomy, new discoveries and
explanations put forward by Nicolaus Copernicus
(1473–1543), Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), and Sir Isaac Newton (1642–1727), among others, challenged the picture of a finite,
Earth-centered universe and replaced it with a potentially infinite universe
and a sun-centered system. Explanations of the physical universe thus
increasingly presented it as analogous to a mechanism, governed by rational,
mathematically expressible rules, which a divine power may have created but
with which it did not need to interfere.

             There were Enlightenment thinkers
who were ‘atomists’ but who believed the atoms were active (Leibniz at one
point in his career at any rate, was one of these). Nevertheless the passive
conception predominated and it was this that entered into later conceptions of
how the universe was thought of by the Enlightenment. It was thought as of made
up of minute hard passive particles.

Rousseau’s beleifs on human nature believing
that all men in a state of nature  are
free and equal. In a state of nature, men are “Noble Savages”. It means that
people are not born evil, but are corrupted by society and turned evil.  Enlightenment thinkers viewed
human nature in terms of a morally neutral tabula rasa, or blank slate, that
could be molded in various ways. They applied the idea of a social tabula rasa,
or state of nature, to explain how civil society might have emerged and ought
to be governed. Many Enlightenment thinkers, such as
Hobbes, the Marquis d’Argenson (1694–1757), Montesquieu (1689–1755), and
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), argued that
political stability could be guaranteed by organizing society as a machine in
which each component worked in harmony with the rest. Still others, like Locke
in his The Second  Treatise of Government (1689), used the
idea of a state of nature to define the boundaries of state power in
guaranteeing political stability.                     RELIGION AND POLITICS: 

                   Drawing  on the scientific revolution, which has
demonstrated that the physical world was governed by natural laws, men such as
English philosopher John Locke argued that similar laws applied to human
affairs and were discoverable through reason. Protagonist of the Enlightenment
also examined religion through the prism of reason. Rational Christianity, as
its extreme, argued that God created the universe, established the laws of
nature that made it work, and then did not interfere with the mechanism. This
concept of God as a watchmaker is known as Deism.

The Enlightenment, or age of
Enlightenment, rearranged politics and governments in earthshaking ways. This cultural
movement embraced several types of philosophies, or approaches to thinking and
exploring the the world generally, Enlightened thinkers thought objectively and
without prejudice. Reasoning, rationalism, and empiricism were some of the schools
of thought that composed the Enlightenment. A fascinating journey through the
Europe of the Enlightenment in this important volume an extraordinarily
incisive picture is offered to the reader. Religion and Poitics in
Enlightenment Europe is a fundamental work that solicits a renewed reflection
on the great changes in progress in European society before the French
Revolution and on the deeply dynamic role played by religion and particularly by
religious dissent to facilitate the difficult passage from the Ancien Regime to
the modern world.” –Professor Mario Rosa, Sculoa Normale Superiore.


Traditionally, “The Enlightenment” has been associated with France,
America, and Scotland rather than Britain, which, strangely enough, is thought
not to have had an Enlightenment to speak of. Roy Porter effectively upsets this view in Enlightenment: Britain and the Creation of the
Modern World. Porter’s general concern is with “the interplay of
activists, ideas, and society,” and to this end he examines innovations in
social, political, scientific, psychological, and theological discourse. The
key figures (the “enlightened thinkers”) read like a Who’s Who of the 17th and 18th
centuries–Newton, Locke, Bernard de Mandeville, Erasmus Darwin, Priestley,
Paine, Bentham, and Britain’s “premier enlightenment couple” Mary
Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, as well as the men who helped popularize and
disseminate their ideas, such as Addison, Steele, Defoe, Pope, and Sterne. The
book is peppered with brilliant quotes, and although it covers such vast ground
in a rapid and sometimes breathless manner, Porter just about manages to hold
it all together.

While returning the Enlightenment to Britain, Porter also provides a
persuasive general defense of the movement against its Foucauldian, feminist,
and/or postmodern critics who still “paint it black.” It was
perpetually dismissed as “anything from superficial and intellectually
naïve to a conspiracy of dead white men in periwigs who provide the
intellectual foundation for Western imperialism,” and one of the book’s
strengths is that after reading it, one finds it hard to understand how these
“critiques” gained such influence in intellectual circles. The major
shortcoming of the book–as Porter is well aware–is that “too many themes
receive short measure”: literature and the arts, political debate, the
forging of nationalism, and more. Several chapters, if not all, deserved
book-length treatment, making this work of nearly 500 pages seem quite short.
But if Enlightenment leaves the
reader unsatisfied, it is in the best possible way–one would have liked to
hear more from Porter rather than less. Word has it he’s already planning an
encore. –Larry Brown, –This
text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.  Enlightenment
historians studied how each human society followed a definite and, for most
philosophes, progressive development from a hypothetical state of nature to
civilization. This “conjectural history” implied definite hierarchies of
cultures, and the Enlightenment was an important period in the development of
cultural particularism, which fed into the nationalist and racialist ideologies
of the nineteenth century.





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