Benjamin Franklin As A Representation Of The Enlightenment

1571 Words Oct 18th, 2015 7 Pages
Wade Cobb
Dr. Boeninger
DWC 201
19 October 2015
Benjamin Franklin as a Representation of the Enlightenment The Enlightenment was largely a rational response to the 16th and 17th century Scientific Revolution, as well as major developments in philosophical thinking, such as ideas proposed by Rene Descartes. During the Enlightenment, thinkers emphasize rational and critical ways of thinking, rather than the complete reliance on religion that had been previously accepted. In many ways, Benjamin Franklin was the human embodiment of the Age of Enlightenment. Similarly to the Enlightenment as a time period, Benjamin Franklin is influenced by, but strays from his upbringing in a strict Puritan context in order to establish beliefs based on reason and the scientific method. Franklin used highly thought out and methodological techniques for deciding things from a daily schedule all the way to his views on morality and virtue. He was a life long learner, and like the Age of Enlightenment itself, he put reason as the ultimate factor for knowledge and decision-making.
Corresponding to the Enlightenment, Franklin was affected by his Christian background. His parents were devout Puritans, and being raised in their household, the Christian outlook left its mark on certain aspects of Franklin’s beliefs. For example, in his letter to the Yale University President Ezra Stiles in 1790 reveals an important commonality in his beliefs in relation to Puritan, and other Judeo-Christian…
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