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Enlightenment definition World History

The Enlightenment: 2.1 Definitions

‘The Enlightenment’ can be used to touch on:

  1. to some chronological period (roughly, the center and late decades from the 18th century between around 1740 and 1780), frequently also known as ‘The Chronilogical age of Reason’ and
  2. towards the unparalleled concentrate on a specific group of values, attitudes and values shared by prominent authors, artists and thinkers of this period.

There have been changes of emphasis based on date: it's quite common to differentiate, for instance, between early and late Enlightenment attitudes, as the half-century beginning around 1680 is frequently regarded as the pre-Enlightenment. There have been also different ‘varieties’ of Enlightenment based on national, social and political contexts. The sweep from the Enlightenment was enormous: from Lisbon to Saint Petersburg and from Edinburgh to Naples. Enlightenment culture spread in one nation to a different, determining a pan-European awareness of tremendous pressure. Each nation added its very own dimension. In France, for instance, there is a significantly greater feeling of opposition towards the (Catholic) Chapel compared to England, in which the religious establishment was perceived as being much less oppressive. It's agreed the Enlightenment what food was in the peak of their influence within the 1760s and early 1770s. Of their most representative figures in France, Voltaire died in 1778 and Diderot in 1784 (see Figures 1 and a pair of). There's additionally a consensus that particular key attitudes characterise what we should may call an Enlightenment outlook.

The Enlightenment comprised, essentially, of the fact that the development of understanding, the use of reason, and persistence for scientific method would increase the risk for greater progress and happiness of mankind. The Enlightenment outlook was buoyant, reformist and humanitarian. The archetypal Enlightenment thinker was certain that the planet is ultimately both rational and beneficent, that character, including humanity, is basically good or at best not innately depraved, which people have the possibility to enhance themselves as well as their atmosphere and to help make the world a much better place.

Figure 1

Figure 1 Jean-Antoine Houdon, Voltaire, 1778, bronze, 45 x 20.8 x 21.2 centimetres, Louvre, Paris. Photo: Getty Images

Figure 2 Jean-Baptiste Pigalle, Denis Diderot, 1777, bronze, 52 x 34.5 x 25.5, Louvre, Paris. Photo: © RMN/G.Blot/C. Jean

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