A Vision of Intellectual Advancement

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Last updated: March 29, 2019

During the 18th century, Europe had been devoted to agriculture and at the same time desolated by religious wars which led to political instability of its various states.

Eighteenth century was called the age of enlightenment since it involves culmination and a new foundation. The age of Enlightenment, which was an intellectual movement widely spread throughout Europe, sought to create self-evident philosophy as a foundation of knowledge. The movement particularly advocated reasoning as a means of establishing an authoritative system of aesthetics, ethics, government and logic which would allow humankind to understand the natural world. The age of Enlightenment provided a vision of a modern cultural by extricating clerical establishment from intellectual life.Enlightenment involved two theories such as divine right and natural law. Divine right would lead to supreme ideas whereas natural law would lead to principles of liberty.

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However, according to Jacques-Benigne Bossuet with regard to the divine right, that the universe was created by the creator -God and his representatives had the same powers. Meanwhile, based on the theory of natural law, God did not rule the earth, he only enacted on earth through the existence of natural laws. It only implied that without the existence of the natural laws, God will not exist on earth.In the 1700s, clerical issues remained in Great Britain. Most of the religious body remained the Church of England (the Anglicans) which was the conservative political party. They became dominant on the rural England. Other religious bodies such as Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists and Quakers were called Dissenters. During early 1700s, the Anglicans tried to reunite the state and the Church of England.

The Anglicans believed that religious disunity was an insult to God which threatened the deliverance of their people. The conservatives also believed that crimes were just result of religious disunity. Moreover, the Anglicans had most of the rights in the society.

Marriages performed by Anglicans were the only ones honored and considered legal. Dissenters were also deprived of burial in churchyard.In England, both defiance of the tradition and the search for knowledge to control nature, were not so definitely evident due to the nationality and the social situation in England. English deism was more insidious during the age of Enlightenment. Its focus was on impersonal deity, religious conviction and humankind’s morality.British viewed Enlightenment as a useful power to control nature. Their views on Enlightenment were much more likely of that in France.

British and French views of Enlightenment were exchange through various channels. However, there was also some disparity between the two. In French Enlightenment, the intellectuals were reformists and were concerned on the perfectibility of the society. Meanwhile, the British Enlightenment was more respectful on the past while looking forward for the perfectibility of the people. Moreover, in Enlightenment, British intellectuals were very respectful on religion that they depended on it in improving the lives of people.

British Enlightenment was also focused on helping the poor and sick. However, British thinkers such as Voltaire had thrown so many inquiries about the divinity of God. His speculations about the creator and his creations had influenced the minds of not only the other thinkers but also the minds of the society as a whole.Meanwhile, during early eighteenth century, the intellectual movement- The Enlightenment- was extended in Scotland by their French allies. Although sharing the same rationalists’ fortitude, Scotland had a very different and unique view with regard to Enlightenment. Enlightenment was highly extended in Scotland during 1740-1790 but the definite date of birth of Enlightenment was not certain. Scottish philosophers, influenced by Scottish Presbyterianism, were more interested in developing the economic status of the country as well as reflecting the consequences of the international trade and the mechanics of an emerging urban, commercial and bourgeois society. Scottish viewed Reasoning as a splendid instrument – an instrument that they could use and improve and nothing else.

The Scottish did not consider Reasoning as an instrument that could build perfect society through common sense. Moreover, they only used Reasoning as guide for humankinds to improve the society and nature. In the age of Enlightenment, the Scottish clergymen were very conservative and radical. Moreover, they valued peace and social order as much as they valued religion. Their religious conviction made them ease God out of science, politics and society.

Their strong faith in the divinity of God remained in their minds that it over power the wide-ranging intellectual movement during that century.The age of Enlightenment provided a revelation of the future guided by reasoning which project the end of dominion. During the age of Enlightenment, thinkers believed that through reasoning individuals will be conveyed from restraints so that they could act freely in compliance with their natures. In Enlightenment individual freedom permitted the creation of a sound moral judgment which would benefit each individual and the society as a whole. The eighteenth-century thinkers believed that they had found the key to a boundless progress.

Works CitedBlowhard, Michael. “The Scottish Enlightenment”.  18 April 2008.


htm.“The Scottish Enlightenment”. 18 April 2008. http://cepa.newschool.edu/het/schools/scottish.htm.


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