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The second half of the eighteenth century was the core period of the Enlightenment. The d'Holbach and the Encyclopedists were the thinkers associated with Enlightenment in France. David Hume and Kant were the Enlightenment thinkers in Scotland and Germany respectively. The Enlightenment is a movement that resulted from the spilling of the scientific revolution. This happened particularly in France but with adherents all through the Western world. The scientific advance was supported continuously by the Enlightenment thinkers. Chemists gained new understanding of major features while there were no Newton-like breakthroughs.
At this same time, biologists came up with a vital new system for classification for the natural species. The Enlightenment was also at the forefront in applying scientific methods to the human society study as it sketched the modern social sciences (Chartier 18). The Enlightenment characteristics are skeptical towards the church doctrine, a belief in science as well as the experimental method, individualism, the use of reason in which case education could catalyze social change, and the political representation demand. The French revolution was its main political as well as Enlightenment social consequence during that period.
Additionally, the Enlightenment came up with a set of basic principles concerning human affairs. Human beings can be educated well as they are naturally good. The key to truth was reason as well as religions that depended on blind faith or refused to tolerate diversity were incorrect. The Catholic Church with particular vigor was attacked by the Enlightenment thinkers. If individuals could be set free, progress was possible even inevitable. The goals of the society should center on material as well as social life improvements (Melton 4).
In transforming technology, Enlightenment thinkers revealed great interest so as to achieve greater prosperity. Since Enlightenment promoted a humanitarian outlook that was used in slavery and war condemnations, then cruelty could be corrected. The general principles Enlightenment thought was applied in other areas such as politics. For reforming social and political issues, the Enlightenment extended former intellectual changes. Another characteristic of the Enlightenment is that it enhanced changes in the habits as well as beliefs of many ordinary individuals. Many businessmen and artisans were permitted by reading clubs as well as coffeehouses to discuss the latest reform ideas. Enlightenment thinking helped individuals to enhance their lives by referring to it (Hackett 1).
The Enlightenment characterized rethought that introduced different sense in the systems of that period. The rethought brought greater equality among women and children hence indicating that the Enlightenment was a symbol of transformation. The Enlightenment was also characterized by transformations of the economy which included its spread. The methods of agriculture began to transform with the Enlightenment which characterized rethought. Therefore, rethinking involved all the aspects of life. Agriculture transformation saw the introduction as well as improvement of new methods and techniques for farming. For instance, nitrogen-fixing crops were introduced (Habermas 36).
The changes above together with the steady growth of colonial trade as well as internal commerce as a result of the Enlightenment increased manufacturing. Increase in manufacturing meant an increase in all products as well as services. This increase saw the emergence of industrialization which further characterizes the Enlightenment. With increase in manufacturing and industrialization, individuals were guaranteed better lives. Thus, the Enlightenment was also characterized by the improvement of lives resulting from rethinking about their current issues. Hence, the major characteristics of Enlightenment are the transformations seen in areas like religion, economy, and agriculture, among others. The Enlightenment was characterized mainly by rethinking that led to these transformations (Hackett 1).
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