Ch. 17 - Notecards - The Philosophes were a group of French...

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The Philosophes were a group of French intellectuals of the 18th century Enlightenment who encouraged reason, knowledge and education as a way of overcoming superstition and ignorance. They believed that the role of philosophy was to change the world, not just to discuss it. Because it was illegal to openly criticize the church and state in France, many wrote plays, novels, histories, dictionaries, and encyclopedias with subtle messages attached.
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Francois Marie Arouet (aka Voltaire) was born in Paris in 1694. He advocated freedom of thought and religious toleration, and denounced cruelty and oppression. A bitter enemy of the Catholic Church and the French Government, he was sent to the Bastille and was granted his freedom in exchange for leaving the country, immediately moving to England. He wrote Candide and was a believer in the religious idea of Deism.
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Montesquieu (1689 to 1755) was a French political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment and is famous for his avocation of the theory of separation of powers. Promoter of religious toleration, he wrote the Persian Letters , which were an attack on the traditions of religion. He greatly influenced the American colonists in deciding the future of their new government.
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Denis Diderot (1713 to 1784) was most famous for his work on the Encyclopédie , a 28-volume catalogue of human knowledge. He felt that Christianity was completely ridiculous and fought to change the general manner in which people think. He was a Frenchman.
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 to 1778) was a French philosophe and one of the leading figures of the Enlightenment. He held that in the state of nature, people are good, but that they are corrupted by social institutions; this notion became a central idea of romanticism. Some of
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This note was uploaded on 10/27/2009 for the course HISTORY HIST1120 taught by Professor Collins during the Fall '05 term at University of Tennessee.

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Ch. 17 - Notecards - The Philosophes were a group of French...

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