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Birth of Modern European Thought

Birth of Modern European Thought - Stefan Seltz-Axmacher...

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Stefan Seltz-Axmacher 5/7/2009 Per. 5 AP European History: Chapter 25: The Birth of Modern European Thought 1) The New Reading Public: A mass reading public came into existence as more people than ever became drawn into the world of print culture. a. Advances in Primary Education: Hungary, Britain, Switzerland, Italy and France all provided elementary education by 1881. Prussian education was extended throughout German Empire after 1871. By 1900 Britain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia all had 85% or higher literacy rate. Italy, Spain, Russia, Austria-Hungary and the Balkans still had between 30-60%. New education reflected and generated social change. Minimal training was regarded as necessary for orderly political behavior by newly enfranchised voters. Literacy would also create a more productive labor force. Represented Enlightenment faith that right knowledge would lead to right action. School teaching became a major area for employment of women. Secondary Education question big by WW1. b. Reading Material for the Mass Audience: Numbers of newspapers, books, magazines, mail-order catalogues and libraries grew rapidly. Since many people were only marginally literate and still ignorant—so books and journals catering to them were often mediocre. Sensational crimes and political scandal was the mainstay of cheap newspapers. Religious journals centered on denominational rivalry. The news could be managed, and in central Europe usually was by Government censor and not publisher. 2) Science at Mid-century: The word scientist was invented in 1830s, and was in common use by the end of the century. a. Comte, Positivism, and the Prestige of Science: i. Positivism: Developed by Auguste Comte (1798-1867) The Positive Philosophy : Human thought had developed in three stages. 1. Theological: physical nature explained in terms of the action of divinities or spirits 2. Metaphysical: stage, abstract principles were regarded as the operative agencies of nature 3. Positive Stage: explanations of nature became matters of exact description of phenomena, without recourse to the unobservable. ii. Comte believed that positive laws of social behavior could be discovered in the same fashion as laws of physical nature. He is the father of sociology. b. Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection:
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i. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) On the Origin of Species : carried the mechanical interpretation of physical nature into the world of living things. ii. Alfred Russel Wallace: (1823-1913): Worked independently of Darwin but to same theory. iii. Natural Selection: survival of the fittest. There was no explanation for where the chance variations until… iv. Gregory Mendel : (1822-1884) Austrian monk, did hereditary work. v. On the Descent of Man: Darwin applied theory of evolution to mankind. Big problem with this was that he said that humankinds moral nature and religious sentiments, as well as physical frame, all evolved. This meant that god was not needed.
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