HIS 292 - Paper 1

HIS 292 - Paper 1 - Christian Villaran Ideology and Its...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Christian Villaran  Ideology and Its Affect on Opinion The concept of knowledge can be described as the entirety of human information. It is far too vast to conceptualize on its own, and as such, is broken up into several branches. The two broadest classifications are between, what in the 18 th and early 19 th centuries would have been called, natural philosophy (what today we call “science”) and nature (or the humanities). As time has changed, our opinions about the differences and relationships between natural philosophy and nature have also changed. In fact, we can go even further as to say that the ideologies of time periods have actually molded opinions about the relationships of these two branches of knowledge. This assertion is evident in the writings of Jean Le Rond D’Alembert and Mary Shelley, particularly D’Alembert’s Preliminary Discourse and Shelley’s Frankenstein . These were written during the Enlightenment and Romantic periods, respectively, and can consequently provide insight into the influence of period-based ideologies on the opinions of relationships between different branches of knowledge. Since these works are done by individuals, a question may arise of whether their writings are those of an individual’s opinion, and nothing more. As will be evidenced, however, their opinions so closely parallel the common themes of the time period that a suggestion of correlation will be at least plausible. To form these parallels we must first become acquainted with both writers’ opinions of the two branches of knowledge. It is probably best to begin with the text more obviously about knowledge and its origins, D’Alembert’s Preliminary Discourse. As stated throughout the discourse, the Encyclopedie was a bold attempt to organize the knowledge of the time by the connectedness one branch of natural philosophy had with other branches. The way in which the branches were organized suggested that all forms of knowledge were connected. In fact, the Encylopedie was organized with articles, which included related branches of natural philosophy at the end of other articles. In this way, D’Alembert had a view of knowledge that was much like a circular web. Branches of natural philosophy were never mutually exclusive, and in fact, had many connections to other manifestations of knowledge. 1
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
It seems it is this view of interconnectedness that influences D’Alembert’s theory or model (the distinction depends on whether D’Alembert actually believed that what he was postulating was true or simply an abstract way of explaining the flow of knowledge) of the formation of knowledge. He introduces his theory/model by making a distinction between “direct knowledge” and “reflective knowledge” (D’Alembert, 6) According to D’Alembert the origins of knowledge began with direct knowledge, or the senses. At the beginning, we humans, having no primary knowledge, first knew the senses pain and hunger. We soon found other individuals who had these same sensations. Our knowledge,
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 02/28/2009 for the course PHI 300 taught by Professor Hendriklorenz during the Spring '08 term at Princeton.

Page1 / 7

HIS 292 - Paper 1 - Christian Villaran Ideology and Its...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online