Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest updates and information
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Lecture 19

THE ENLIGHTENMENT

 

1. Traditional Views of the Enlightenment

French philosophes - Voltaire, Montesquieu and Rousseau. One of its great products was the Encyclopedie of Diderot and D=Alembert

the German philosopher, Immanuel Kant in 1783 in his essay What is Enlightenment? 

-motto of the Enlightenment: dare to know

key tenents of such an Enlightenment were reason before faith, the progress of society and the benefit of humanity.

 

2. Widening of Definitions

-many more countries

Roy Porter's Enlightenments in National Context

-a wide aspect of ideas and culture in the 18thC - political economy to music; politeness and manners to grub street journalism

base line definitions - Roy Porter-there is not much that is left out.

 

3. Central English Contributions to the Enlightenment

1. The critique of radical religion

Latitudinarianism

Arminiansim

 Socinianism

Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, John Toland

2. Scientific background

Newton's Principia Mathematica (1687)

Locke's Essay on Human Understanding (1689/90)

Experience, education and gender


3. Moral Philosophy

Shaftesbury - benevolence and sociability

Politeness - Addison and Steele - The Tatler and The Spectator

The Public Sphere and the Enlightenment

Jurgen Habermas - >the public= and the >private= spheres

 

The middling class and the formation of public opinion

 

4. English and Continental Divergence

Canonical thinkers not in England

Perry Anderson and EP Thompson

Porter's critique

England as a model

Continental intelligentsia

Did the English need and Enlightenment?

The 1790s - Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft

 

5. The Case of Scotland

David Hume and William Robertson, Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson, Dugald Stewart, Lord Kames and Hugh Blair - and the scientist, Joseph Black - leading Enlightenment writers read and translated all over Europe

- key concern of their writing - the betterment of the human condition in this world regardless of what might be supposed to happen in the next

-political economy, conjectural history, progress of society

What did the English miss out on?

6. Science and Technology

Newtonian Mechanics

Margaret Jacob in Scientific Culture and the Making of the Industrial West

-scientific culture and >mental capital=of the industrial revolution

-The Knowledge Economy

-An Industrial Enlightenment? - Joel Mokyr

John Smeaton, James Watt, John Rennie and Richard Trevithick - cultural foundations of steam technology.