06F GECLST21A FinalQ2

06F GECLST21A FinalQ2 - GE CLST 21A A Movement of Thought...

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GE CLST 21A A Movement of Thought The beginning of the Enlightenment was marked with an empirical thought that the world was so perfect that the only explanation could have been a Supreme Being. Toward the end of the Enlightenment, however, the movement of thought was defined by Kant as he discredited previous proofs of God through his view of a priori reasoning. From a movement through the ideas of Newton, Voltaire, Hume, Kant, the underlying warrant beneath these claims was the use of experience in deducing the existence of God. As Newton represents a strong school of thought prior to the Enlightenment that uses their experience to induce not only the existence but a perfect being. Voltaire criticizes this viewpoint not based on any philosophical dissertation but attacks the practicality of the argument by showing the shortcomings of this viewpoint. Hume then further attacks the view of inference as he shows that induction can only prove so much let alone the existence of God. Thought then moves to Kant as he discredits the existence of God through his analysis of experience. As a result, from the 1700 to the 1800’s the role of religion shifted from the basis of philosophy to the very question of it due to changing thoughts on experience. Newton’s proof of the existence of God is established through his reasoning about the physical world. Newton believed that the “system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed form the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being” (Newton, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, pg 3). This was the prevalent
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school of thought during this time period that because everything was placed so perfectly, that coincidence along could not have produced what was seen. In effect, this inference by Newton forms the basis of challenge that further philosophers will wrestle with.
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