Enlightenment The Age of - 10 views
To understand the natural world and humankind's place in it solely on the basis of reason and without turning to religious belief was the goal of the wide-ranging intellectual movement called the Enlightenment. The movement claimed the allegiance of a majority of thinkers during the 17th and 18th centuries, a period that Thomas Paine called the Age of Reason. At its heart it became a conflict between religion and the inquiring mind that wanted to know and understand through reason based on evidence and proof.
Political developments were far livelier in central Europe. In Prussia
Frederick the Great, building on the military and bureaucratic organization of
his predecessors, introduced greater freedom of religion while expanding the
economic functions of the state.
France and Britain squared off in the 1740s and
again in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763)
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More than in art, neoclassicism in literature came closer to voicing the
eighteenth century's fascination with reason and scientific law.
All are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body nature is, and God the soul ...
All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou cannot see.
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good
And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
One truth is clear: Whatever is, is right.