History of Enlightenment PhilosophyJune 28, 2021
The 18th century is called the age of enlightenment in the narrow sense, and the philosophy of this period is also called the philosophy of enlightenment. The age of enlightenment is the general name given to the intellectual movements in the period when the philosophy of enlightenment was born and started to be adopted in the 18th century. In this period, a conscious effort for enlightenment in the theoretical and practical contexts draws attention for the human being.
Enlightenment thought, freeing from the pressure of religion and traditional thoughts and practices, describes the determination of people to act and solve problems in the light of their own mind in every field. In particular, the oppressive and conservative practices of the Christian church, which imposed the religious life style, not only took away the freedom of thought and behavior of people, but also hindered social development and progress. For this reason, in order to break the influence of the church on the social order and its administrative power, a large part of the Western world started a conscious rebellion movement against religion and the monarchy administrations that are the extension of religion. Individuals, intellectuals and thinkers began to think and act with the same spirit and purpose, relying on the guidance of science, which represents reason and reason.
The homeland of this movement was France. In this country, enlightened thoughts were no longer the monopoly of thinkers, and they were produced and discussed in public centers through intellectuals, journalists and people like them, and began to be conveyed to the layers of the people. Undoubtedly, the pioneers of this cultural enlightenment are the group of philosophers whose activist aspects predominate. These people were called le phlilosophe in French; The reason for this is to distinguish themselves from the English spelling philosopher John Locke, whom they see as their masters in every respect.
This group of philosophers generally based their theoretical philosophy on Locke’s empiricism. Locke is for them a true philosopher, both theoretically and practically; He provided the basic grammar of enlightenment to enlightened philosophers with his epistemological and political views. For them, the use of reason in philosophy did not mean the establishment of great philosophical systems derived from innate ideas or self-evident first principles. In this sense, they turned their back on the fictional metaphysics of the previous century.
According to them, the use of reason was to go to the phenomena themselves, to learn their laws and causes through observation. For this reason, they were also influenced by Newton’s work in terms of making a great contribution to scientific thought and development. Thus, they strongly believed that the progress made in the field of science would spread to all areas of social life, from physics to psychology, morality and social life. Henceforth, free mind, freed from the hindrance of religion, was seen as the only means to ensure decent progress in every field.
According to the Enlightenment thinkers, the use of reason was to go to the phenomena themselves, to learn their laws and causes through observation.
The attitudes of all these thinkers towards religion were mostly due to the corrupt and outdated practices of religious institutions. Although there were those who completely excluded the concept of God, there were also those who believed in a deist approach or a religion of reason that represented belief as a first principle of the universe. In short, the removal of religious dogmas, superstitions and irrationality from human life, and the struggle for fundamental rights and freedoms that open the door to a life with dignity, are the most fundamental orientations of the enlightenment period.
Enlightenment philosophy or 18th century philosophy; In general, he put the regulation of one’s own life on the agenda again, and became the intellectual/philosophical initiator of a process in which both thought and social life would undergo radical changes. The French Revolution (1789), which took place towards the end of this century, and the modernization processes that took place after it, find their intellectual effects and sources in the philosophy of enlightenment.
In this period; In this process, the search for mind-centered social arrangements takes the place of religion or God-centered social structure and regulations. Enlightenment, in its broad and general sense, is defined as the emergence and grounding of a new worldview against the worldview prevailing in the middle ages. This century takes place on the stage of history with a new ideal; According to this ideal, an intellectual culture based on certain truths illuminated by reason and the advancement of knowledge should prevail, and this culture should progress endlessly. Thus, the ideal of progress is based on the idea that man will free himself from the bondage of tradition and develop on the path of perpetual happiness and freedom.
The source of the Enlightenment philosophy is the philosophy of the Renaissance and especially the principles of the 17th century philosophy. From the Renaissance onwards, it is the case that thought got rid of historical authorities and started to rely on knowledge and experience about life. In the 17th century, these developments began to be systematized and transformed into basic principles, and in this century, when rationalism became evident,