, an account of his journey, b/came a best seller.II.Educated Europeans responded to these accounts of lands abroad in different ways.
For some intellectuals, the existence of exotic peoples presented an image of a“natural man” who was happier than Europeans. The idea of a “noble savage” would play an important role in the political work of some philosophes.
The travel literature of the 17
c also led to the realization that there were highlydeveloped civilizations w/diff customs in other parts of the world.
Some Europeans intellectuals began to evaluate their own civilization relative toothers. What had seemed to be practices grounded in reason appeared to be mattersof custom. Certainties about European practices gave way to cultural relativism.
Cultural relativism was accompanied by religious skepticism.C.As these travel accounts made clear, the Christian perception of God was merely oneof many. Some people were devastated by realization. (Those poor things…not)The Legacy of Locke and Newton
Enchanted by the grand design of the Newtonian world machine, the intellectuals of theEnlightenment were convinced that by following Newton’s rules of reasoning, they coulddiscover the natural laws that governed politics, economics, justice, religion, and the arts.
John Locke’s theory of knowledge especially influenced the phiolosophes.
Locke denied Descartes’ belief in innate ideas. Instead, argued Locke, every personis born w/a tabula rasa, a blank mind.
Our knowledge, then is derived from our environment, not from hereditary; fromreason, not from faith. Locke’s philosophy implied that that people were modeled bytheir environment, by the experiences that they received through their senses fromthe surrounding world.C.By changing the environment and subjecting people to the proper influences, theycould be changed and a new society created.
Newton’s reason provided a way to implement Locke’s ideas. Taken together, their ideasseemed to offer the hope of a “brave new world”(Like Huxley, oh my God!!!) built onreason.The Philosophes and Their Ideas
The intellectuals of the Enlightenment were known by the French term
,although not all of them were French and few were philosophers.A.They were literary people, professors journalists, statesmen, economists, politicalscientists, and above all, social reformers.
They cam from both the nobility and the middle class, and a few stemmed fromlower origins. Although it was a truly international and cosmopolitan movement, theEnlightenment also enhanced the dominant role being played by French culture.
Paris was its recognized capital, and most leaders of the Enlightenment were French.The French intellectuals in turn affected intellectuals elsewhere and created amovement that engulfed the entire western world.
The philosophes shared common bonds as part of a truly international movement.
They believed that the role of philosophy was to change the world, not just discuss it.To the philosophes, rationalism did not mean the creation of a grandiose system of thought to explain all things. Reason was scientific method, an appeal to facts andexperience. A spirit of rational criticism was applied to everything, including religionand politics.
The philosophe’s call for freedom of expression is a reminder that their work was done ina time of censorship.
The philosophes were not free to write whatever they chose.B.State censors decided what could and could not be published, and protests from any# of government bodies could result in the seizure of books and imprisonment of their authors, publishers, and sellers.