CC Paper 1 Frankel[1]

CC Paper 1 Frankel[1] - Enlightened or Enlivened The...

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Enlightened or Enlivened The transition from Dark Ages of thought to the enlightened thinkers centered on the human search to find concrete proof for unsubstantiated theories. Philosophers of this movement used everything from scientific proofs to abstract definitions in an attempt to verify their enlightened suppositions. The great early Enlightenment thinkers included Rousseau, Kant, Locke and Smith. The main similarity between these men was their belief that man has a native state that sets up the premise for his decisions and lays the groundwork for society. Each of these thinkers lays out their natural man who then fits in with their take on what must happen to have an Enlightened Society. The Enlightenment caused philosophers to mostly disregard theological issues and focus on theories that could be proven by scientific facts, or other concrete ideals. The very indefinite idea of morals proved a very difficult thing for these factually inclined men to define. These theorists used many different methods to describe their opinions on how society is constructed, but all provide interesting views on how morality comes into place. The theories of Enlightenment philosophers Hume, Kant, Rousseau and Smith can be used to fuel arguments for and against their respective propositions. Each theorist substantiates his ideas with sound justifications, but some of these suppositions are difficult to agree with. Immanuel Kant supports a rigid outlook when attempting to verify his philosophical theories. It proves to be difficult to substantiate ones views on such a subjective subject as that of morals with scientific methods. Kant uses his initial essay, What is Enlightenment, to assert his views on the emergence of new thoughts. He just wanted the right to publish his ideas just as scientists could. To Kant, freedom of speech
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allowed us to find faults and constantly correct errors just as scientists are constantly proving themselves wrong and finding new truths. His attempts to define the Enlightenment are prime examples of how difficult it is to define such abstract things as thoughts and opinions. In Kant’s major work, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, he attempts just as Rousseau, Hume and others did to tease out the basis for all morals. Kant states that the universal moral code is based on pure reason, and that no experiences influence them. It is difficult to believe that a man can be fully separated from his experiences and use only reason, that is actually shaped by experiences, to form this supposed code. These priori, the preconceived notions before an event happens, seem difficult to find in existence. How can one know what is going to happen before they experience the event? Humans rely so much on experience that we don’t even realize that we are completely shaped by it. Every decision that we make is based on what we think society and others would want us to decide. We tease out what the rest of society wants by experiments and reacting to each experience and people’s reactions to our actions. Kant is more rigid in his stances. He believes that all humans will come to the same
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This note was uploaded on 02/24/2010 for the course ENG W2018 taught by Professor Niccolas during the Spring '10 term at Columbia.

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CC Paper 1 Frankel[1] - Enlightened or Enlivened The...

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