Unformatted text preview: John Locke (16321704) and the Enlightenment Locke's Portrait at Christ Church, Oxford I. Introduction *Warning Recent polls (2003) have shown that "developing a meaningful philosophy of life" has fallen from the number one priority among college students in the late 1960s to 8th today.. The number 1 priority today?? Being "very well off financially." *McKay, et. al. A History of World Societies, p. 571 again. "Most people are not philosophers, but they nevertheless have a basic outlook on life, a more or less coherent worldview. At the risk of oversimplification, one may say that the worldview of medieval and early modern Europe was primarily religious and theological. Not only did Christian or Jewish teachings form the core of people's spiritual and philosophical beliefs, but religious teachings also permeated all the rest of human thought and activity. Political theory relied on the divine right of kings, for example, and activities ranging from marriage and divorce to eating habits and hours of business were regulated by churches and religious doctrines." *McKay, et. al., p. 571 again. "In the course of the eighteenth century, this religious and theological worldview underwent a fundamental transformation among the European upper and comfortable classes. Economically secure and increasingly well educated, these privileged groups of preindustrial Europe often came to see the world primarily in secular and scientific terms. And while few individuals abandoned religious beliefs altogether, the role of churches and religious thinking in earthly affairs and in the pursuit of knowledge was substantially reduced. Among many in the aristocracy and solid middle classes, a new critical, scientific, and very modern worldview took shape." I. Introduction Looking for a Newton in Social Science Crane Brinton wrote, "This Newton of social science would produce the new system of social science that men had only to follow to ensure the real Golden Age, the real Eden the one that lies ahead, not behind." II. John Locke Born in Wrington in Bristol Oxford Graduate 1652 Lord Ashley, Earl of Shaftesbury and was his friend. ExileHolland 1688 III. Locke's Place in the EnlightenmentThree Works
1. Essay Concerning Human Understanding 1690 Epistemology Four Traditional ways of knowing 1. Tradition 2. Inscription 3. Revelation?? 4. Sense experience interpreted by Reason Locke rejected the first three. 2. Letter Concerning Toleration 1689 Humankind's primary duty To work out relationship with God State should not interfere with this deeply private matter State should therefore be religiously tolerant Those excluded Religions with political allegiance to foreign power (Catholics and Muslims) Atheists Implication Private/Public III. Locke's Place in the EnlightenmentThree Works III. Locke's Place in the EnlightenmentThree Works 1. Two Treatises of Government 1690 State of Nature Natural Law Natural Rights Life, Liberty, Property Social Contract How Could Locke prove Natural Law? Liberal theory of government Justified the Glorious Revolution IV. The Philosophes Fontenelle (d. 1757) Montesquieu d.1775 Persian Letters .Spirit of the Laws IV. The Philosophes Voltaire d.1778 (Francois Marie Arouet) Candide Philosophical Dictionary Madame du Chatelet d.1749 Translated Principia "I would reform an abuse which cuts off, so to speak, half the human race. I would make women participate in all the rights of human kind, and above all in the intellect." IV. Philosophes Diderot d.1784 Encyclopedia Baron d' Holbach (d. 1789) System of Nature Rousseau d.1778 Social Contract (1762) .General Will Distrusted Reason (Romantic) IV. The Philosophes British Enlightenment Thinkers (Usually more moderate than French; Hume an exception) Adam Smith d.1790 Wealth of Nations (1776) Jeremy Bentham d.1832Utilitarianismgreatest good for greatest number. David Hume d. 1776 Scottish Common Sense Realism
.Thomas Reid Laissez faire capitalism II. Four Fundamental Elements of the Enlightenment (Modern) Worldview 1. Reason Nature and the human mind work in the same way. .Can know the truth of nature through the application of reason alone. .Nothing accepted by faith .Everything should be subjected to reason. .In short, reason was the only sure foundation for knowledge. .In its extreme form this meant no acceptance of tradition or revelation. Book ExamplesThey wrote books like Locke's The Reasonableness of Christianity and Kant's Religion Within the Bounds of Reason. II. Four Fundamental Elements 2. NatureThe Natural and Unnatural Natural = good Unnatural = bad II. Four Fundamental Elements 3. Scientific Method Was capable of discovering the laws of human nature, just as Newton had discovered the laws of nature. This was the beginning of social science. II. Four Fundamental Elements 4. Progress Was assured once humans applied reason to nature Better societies and better people Carl Becker--The Heavenly City of the EnlightenmentCentury Philosophes (1932) Enlightenment Worldview Reason Applied to Nature Equals Progress Via the Scientific Method Medieval v. Modern 1. 2. 3. 4. Medieval Power and Prowess Age of Faith Idealization of the Past Pain and Suffering Normative Modern 1. Reason 2. Nature 3. Scientific Method 4. Progress ...
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