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Philosophy in the Age of

Think & Type

Recall what we learned about
absolute monarchy. What were
the potential problems
associated with absolute rule?
Type a response in your

Terms, People, and


natural law
Thomas Hobbes
John Locke
social contract
Natural right

Laissez faire
Adam Smith

Scientific Revolution
Sparks Enlightenment
Scientific successes convinced
educated Europeans of the power of
human reason.
Natural law rules discoverable by
Why not use natural law to better
understand social, economic, and
political problems?

Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant
German philosopher best known for his
work The Critique of Pure Reason, was one
of the first to describe the Enlightenment
He was skeptical about the power of reason
but enthusiastic about the Enlightenment
and believed that natural law could help
explain aspects of humanity.
No gray areas

In his essay "What Is Enlightenment?"

(1784), the German philosopher
Immanuel Kant summed up the era's
motto in the following terms: "Dare
to know! Have courage to use
your own reason!
I know that this seems simple
nowadays, but at the time, this was

Thomas Hobbes and

John Locke

Thomas Hobbes

Best known for writing Leviathan

Hobbes argued that people were naturally
cruel, greedy, and selfish.
If not strictly controlled, they would fight, rob,
and oppress one another. What does it mean
to oppress?
Life in the state of nature without
laws or other controlwould be solitary, poor,
nasty, brutish, and short.

Escape that brutish life, said Hobbes,

people entered into a social contract
an agreement by which they gave up
their freedom for an organized society.
Hobbes believed that only a powerful
government could ensure an orderly
For him, such a government was an
absolute monarchy.

John Locke
Overall awesome individual
What does it mean to be an individual?
John Locke had a more optimistic view of
human nature. He thought people were
basically reasonable and moral.
In addition, people had natural rights or
rights that belonged to all humans from birth.
These included the right to life, liberty, and

Lockes Two Treatises of

People formed governments to
protect their natural rights, not take
them away.
They best kind of government, he
said, had limited power and was
accepted by all citizens.
Unlike Hobbes, Locke rejected
absolute monarchy.

Locke thought James II deserved to be

dethroned for violating the rights of
the English.
Locke also said that government had
an obligation to the people it governs.
If a government fails its obligations or
violates peoples natural rights, the
people have the right to overthrow
that government.

Hobbes and Locke both mention the idea

of a social contract but differ on the
John Locke: conception of the social
contract differed from Hobbes. Locke
believed that individuals in a state of
nature would have stronger moral limits on
their action than accepted by Hobbes, but
recognized that people would still live in
fear of one another.

John Locke believed all men were

created equal. It did not matter who
you were at birth or what was in your
blood. In what ways do we see
citizens discussing equal rights now?

Voltaire, & Diderot

The Philosophes
In the 1700s, there was a flowering of
Enlightenment thought. This is when a
group of Enlightenment thinkers in France
applied the methods of science to
understand and improve society.
They believed that the use of reason could
lead to reforms of government, law, and
society. These thinkers were called
philosophes which means

Baron de Montesquieu
Studied the governments of Europe, from
Italy to England.
He read about ancient and medieval
Europe, and learned about Chinese and
Native American cultures.
Criticized absolute monarchy (Which
English philosopher also criticized absolute monarchy?)

Published The Spirit of the Laws which

discussed governments throughout

Montesquieu felt that the best way to protect

liberty was to divide the various functions and
powers of government among three branches:
legislative, executive, and judicial.
He also felt each government should be able
to serve as a check on the other two, an idea
that we call checks and balances.


He would have a
influence on the
Framers of the United States Constitution.

My trade is to say what I think.
He targeted corrupt officials and lazy
With his pen, he battled inequality,
injustice, and superstition. (Ever hear that
the pen is mightier than the sword?! True in
Voltaires case!)
Voltaires outspoken attacks offended both
the French government and the Catholic

He was imprisoned and forced into

exile. Even as he saw his books
outlawed and burned, he continued
to defend the principle of freedom of

Denis Diderot
Wrote 28 volume set of books called the
As the editor, he did more than write articles.
His purpose was to change the general way
of thinking by explaining ideas on topics such
as government, philosophy, and religion.
A huge effort was made to stop the
Encyclopedia from being printed. Despite
this, 4000 copies were printed and translated.

Enlightenment ideas spread

throughout Europe and across the
Atlantic Ocean to the Americas.
Diderot is also usually credited with
the invention of the art criticism.
Diderot's The Salon of 1765 was one
of the first real attempts to capture
art in words.

Diderot looks critically at the artists of his age, and the work they
exhibited in the Salons, giving his often negative opinion of both
the artist and their works. In his critique of Boucher, Diderots
disdain is evident when he states that in Bouchers works
degradation of taste, color, composition, character, expression,
and drawing have kept pace with moral depravity (22) and that
one cannot expect good art from someone who spends his time
with prostitutes and uses them as models. In contrast, when
Diderot reviews Chardins work, he has nothing but praise for the
artist, calling him a great magician (60) and that his works are
like perfection. (61) He even goes so far as to say that Chardin is
one the finest colorists, not only in the entire salon, but possibly in
all of painting. Such high praise distinctively stands out next to
Diderots unabashed insults of Bouchers paintings and his
personal life.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The Social Contract

Believed people in their natural state
were basically good. This natural
innocence, he felt, was corrupted by
the evils of society, especially the
unequal distribution of property.
Felt society placed too many limitations
on peoples behavior. He believed
some controls were necessary, but that
they should be minimal.

In addition, only governments that

had been freely elected should
impose these controls.
Rousseau put his faith in the general
will or the best conscience of the
people. The good of the community
as a whole, he said, should be placed
about individual interests.

Think & Type

Think of an area in modern society that is
based on or represents Enlightenment
ideas. Choose a philosopher and describe
the similarities and differences between
that idea and the present-day appearance
of the idea. You can work in pairs.

Objective: Students will be able to compare and contrast the ideas

of Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau by using a graphic
organizer with the main differences of each philosopher.
Essential Question: How are the ideas of these philosophers the
same? How are they different?

Assignment of the Day

Which of these four Enlightenment
philosophers would you want to be
your principal? Your friend? Your
parent? Choose one philosopher for
each individual and explain your
choice on the space provided.

Parent: I would choose Rousseau. I think
it is important for parents to be more
lenient with their children. Rousseau
believed that society placed too many
limitations on peoples behavior. He
believed some controls were necessary,
but they should be minimal. If Rousseau
was my parent, he would give me the
freedom I need to grow and develop into
a wonderful young woman.

Enlightenment Ideas
New ideas spread quickly through many levels
of society. Not only did Europe eagerly read
Diderots Encyclopedia but they also read
small, inexpensive pamphlets that the printers
churned out on a broad range of issues.
During the Middle Ages, most Europeans had
accepted without question a society based on
divine-right rule. People long accepted that
earthly suffering would lead to a heavenly

Gallery Walk
In your groups, walk around from painting to
Feel free to have some cheese and crackers!
Group 1: Locke Group 2: Rousseau Group
3: Hobbes Group 4: Montesquieu
Pick one student to be your recorder. As a
group, discuss and answer the following

What questions did you come up
with about this painting?
What do you think is happening in
this painting?
What were your feelings towards
this painting?
What do you think your philosopher
would have said about this
particular image? Why?

Listen to the Music!

Now playingWolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
He was a product of the Enlightenment..his
tunes should sound familiar!






Enlightenment Leads to

Question of the Day

What Enlightenment ideas do you
think might lead to revolution?

Birth of the
American Republic
Thomas Paine, wrote Common Sense, a
pamphlet that called for colonists to
declare their independence from Britain.
Common Sense echoed the themes of
the Enlightenment.
How did ideas of the Enlightenment
lead to the independence and founding
of the United States of America?

Enlightenment Ideas

U.S. Constitution