The Age of Enlightenment Essay

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The Enlightenment was a period in the eighteenth century where change in philosophy and cultural life took place in Europe. The movement started in France, and spread to Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Germany at more or less around the same time, the ideas starting with the most renowned thinkers and philosophers of the time and eventually being shared with the common people. The Enlightenment was a way of thinking that focused on the betterment of humanity by using logic and reason rather than irrationality and superstition. It was a way of thinking that showed skepticism in the face of religion, challenged the inequality between the kings and their people, and tried to establish a sound system of ethics. The ideas behind the …show more content…
Stokstad posits that these ideas have roots in the previous scientific revolution of the century before it, with philosophers such as Francis Bacon and Rene Descartes establishing what we now know as the scientific method based on logical reasoning, educated guesses and controlled experiments to prove them. The astronomer Galileo Galilei confirmed a previous theory by Nicolaus Copernicus that the sun did not revolve around the Earth and that it was the other way around-- the planets revolved around the sun. These theories and practices went against the Church's teachings, and Galileo in particular was forced to take back what he said on his observations. Other scientists made discoveries on smaller scales relating to the animal kingdom and plant life, and artists were used to convey the new-found information by painting or drawing those findings. (p. 756) With the different revolutions and events that took place before the eighteenth century, it could be said that the Enlightenment was just a logical progression and the next step. Like the scientific revolution before it, the new Enlightenment era's ideas were spread both through art and through writing, in texts such as Denis Diderot's Encyclopedia which was printed and sold to the French middle class. The Encyclopedia held the most current ideas concerning the arts, sciences, and the merits of human freedom. The advances as a result of the