What are the General Features of Enlightenment Philosophy?June 28, 2021
18-19, also known as the Enlightenment. One of the best definitions of the philosophy of the 19th century is Immanuel Kant, who lived at that time and is described as an enlightened philosopher. Kant, “What is Enlightenment?” In his article titled, he defines enlightenment as liberation from the immaturity in which man has fallen due to his own guilt.
With the analogy of immaturity, Kant points out the inability of man to use his mind on his own and emphasizes that it is man’s fault. Kant, as the slogan of this period, “Have the courage to use your mind!” he said.
Understanding man and nature only on the basis of reason is the aim of enlightenment. In the philosophy of this age, it was thought that human beings are biologically a part of nature and that they can make life more beautiful in terms of having a mind. A humanity that can freely find happiness and truth has been imagined. Giving importance to the mind has brought many developments in many fields. These developments, which made themselves felt economically and politically, caused an event such as the French Revolution and a production phenomenon such as the Industrial Revolution. The effect of these events also determined the content of enlightenment.
The French Revolution, the developments that started in the 15th century and the 18-19. It is a concrete result of the philosophy of the century. While the people were in poverty, the wealth of the king was the apparent cause of the French Revolution. Among the reasons behind the revolution, there was a great change in society with the increase in literacy and the support of independent publications, and the French intellectuals who organized this change and their philosophical views. The inequality and injustice in social life started an uprising against the king among the people with the idea of freedom created by enlightenment. The revolution, which affected the whole world, resulted in the collapse of the absolute monarchy in France and the establishment of the republican regime.
The Industrial Revolution, which started in England, enabled the establishment of factories with fast production and increased cultural and economic interaction by facilitating transportation. The developments in science and technology and philosophical thoughts on the economic field formed the basis of these. This situation brought beneficial results such as a comfortable life for some people, but on the other hand, it increased the competition between the states and led to bad results such as war. The search for raw materials and new markets accelerated colonialism and after an average of a century, World War I took place due to the competition of powerful states.
General Features of Enlightenment Philosophy
The mind was trusted and rational thinking increased.
Political and religious authorities were opposed with the thought that they hindered freedom.
Freedom of expression was supported.
A class of intellectuals and writers was formed.
Significant works have been given in art, philosophy and literature.
The French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution took place and the related problems were discussed.
New schools of philosophy emerged.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook, MEB Philosophy Textbook