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Age of Enlightenment Philosophers

Age of Enlightenment

2nd Reniassance
social change, progress
natural laws will solve every problem (isaac newton)
*critical of France


father of skepticism
not always a natural law to fix everything

David Hume

-agreed with montaigne, skeptic
sensory perception-"the mind is a bundle of impressions"
-critic of enlightenment

John Locke

1. Essay on Human Understanding
-man born w/ tablarusa (blank slate)
-learn from enviornment
2. A Treatise on Govt.
-informal contract between leader & governed ppl
-ppl have right to rebel when life, liberty, or property is threatened

Example of Locke's theory

Great Britain
-English Bill of Rights
Glorious Revolution

Thomas Hobbes

Leviathan-sea monster that was all powerful
-ppl are selfish, mean and fickle
-changed mind in a minute
ex: King then Lord protector then king again
-ppl needed absolute monarch who only gave them law and order


Divine Right of Kings-monarchs represent God on earth, only answer to God
-ex: James I (Eng.), Louis XIV (France), Philip II (Spain)


Social contract-fromal contract between ruler & ppl., actual obligations
-rebellion if necessary
*considered 1st feminist
-supported breast-feeding, mother-child bond
*created educational system for poland, kept nationalism there
-critic of enlightenment
-said man should live simplistically, turn back to nature

General Will

by Rousseau
-everybody had right to vote, outcome is the general will
problem: no protection for minority rights & dictators would claim they were using general will when abusing power
-thought republic best form of govt. for general will but never worked so const. monarchy instead


-wrote Spirit of the Laws*(most't bk)
-claimed the idea of the balance of gov'tal powers between executive and legislature branches
-French aristocrat

English Government

-best because of checks and balances
1. magna carta
2. bill of rights
3. parliament controlled money

factors of type of govt.

1. wealth
2. climate
3. population
4. terrain
-no one govt would fit all of europe


Essays on Crime and Punishment- totally against death penalty
-longevity of prison terms worked and education should be offered for prisonsers
-criticized france for torture to gain confession


by Rousseau
-against classical education
-student learn what interested them & at own pace
-1 student w/ 1 teacher until graduated
problem: student would be dependant on teacher

Mary Wollstonecraft

A Vindication of the Rights of Women
-said country would never be a worl power until they gave women same rights as men
-leading feminist during French Revolution


-led the charge for constitutional limitation of monarchic power


-believed mercantilism was wrong
-believed wealth was based on land not bullion

Adam Smith

wrote: A Wealth of Nations
-Father of Free Enterprise
- promoted capitalism
-wealth should be based on a system of supply and demand

Emmanuel Kant

wrote: the critique of Pure Reason
-natural laws could not define everything
-some decisions based on intuition
wrote:What is the Enlightenment? Dare to know, use your own intelligence


-editor for Encyclopedia, kept ideas of enlightenment alive
-put essays on social reform in Encyclopedia


-Group of intellectuals of the 18th century Enlightenment
-Committed to the cause of reform

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