By Encyclopaedia Britannica Editors, Anthony Grayling
Within the early years of the twenty-first century, rules first proposed over 200 years in the past couldn't be extra compelling. The Enlightenment of the 17th century in accordance with upheaval and uncertainty laid the root stone for contemporary society. an important primer at the philosophers, thinkers, and scientists-including Isaac Newton, John Locke, Voltaire and Spinoza-whose techniques and ideas created the trendy global.
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Additional info for The Britannica Guide to the Ideas that Made the Modern World (Britannica Guide To...(eBook))
It was the system and philosophy that Descartes derived from the application of mathematical reasoning to the mysteries of the world ± all that is meant by Cartesianism ± which was so influential. A different track had been pursued by the English philosopher Francis Bacon, whose influence eventually proved as great as that of Descartes. He called for a new science, to be based on organized and collaborative experiment with a systematic recording of results. General laws could be established only when research had produced enough data, and then by inductive reasoning, which, as described in his Novum Organum (1620), derives from ``particulars, rising by a gradual and unbroken ascent, so that it arrives at the most general axioms last of all''.
In his novel of the 1760s, Le neveu de Rameau (Rameau's Nephew), Diderot's eccentric hero persuades his bourgeois uncle, who professes virtue, to confess to actions so cynical as to be a complete reversal of accepted values. Rousseau was close to this stance when he ridiculed those who derived right action from right thinking. He understood the interests of the people, which the philosophes tended to neglect and which the American revolutionary Thomas Paine considered in the Rights of Man (1791).
Voltaire mounted his campaigns from a comfortable base, his large estate at Ferney. He was vain enough to relish his status as a literary lion and freedom's champion. He could be vindictive and was often impatient with differing views. In his reluctance to follow ideas through or consider their practical implications and in his patrician disregard for the material concerns of ordinary people, he epitomized faults with which the philosophes can be charged, the more because they were so censorious of others.
The Britannica Guide to the Ideas that Made the Modern World (Britannica Guide To...(eBook)) by Encyclopaedia Britannica Editors, Anthony Grayling