Doubting the enlightenment and the future of western civilization

The enlightenment in europe

Through interpreting the faculty of the will itself as practical reason, Kant understands the moral principle as internally legislated, thus as not only compatible with freedom, but as equivalent to the principle of a free will, as a principle of autonomy. While for Shaftesbury, at the beginning of the moral sense tradition, moral sense tracks a mind-independent order of value, David Hume, motivated in part by a more radical empiricism, is happy to let the objective order go. The political revolutions of the Enlightenment, especially the French and the American, were informed and guided to a significant extent by prior political philosophy in the period. He provides specific analysis of how climate, fertility of the soil, population size, et cetera, affect legislation. The emergence of factions is avoided insofar as the good of each citizen is, and is understood to be, equally because wholly dependent on the general will. A form of culture that denies or neglects the spiritual dimension of existence must stand against the full truth of human nature. Contrary to Madison, Rousseau argues that direct pure democracy is the only form of government in which human freedom can be realized.

The basis of human action that Hobbes posits is immediately intelligible and even shared with other animals to some extent; a set of moral duties constructed on this basis would also be intelligible, de-mystified, and fit within the larger scheme of nature.

The break took the concrete form of a biblical critique of Greco-Roman culture associated with the Reformationand a rationalist rejection of revealed religion the radical Enlightenment.

However, the liberal conception of the government as properly protecting economic freedom of citizens and private property comes into conflict in the Enlightenment with the value of democracy.

the collapse of western civilization a view from the future pdf

The Platonic identification of the good with the real and the Aristotelian teleological understanding of natural things are both difficult to square with the Enlightenment conception of nature.

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enlightenment ideas

Deism is the form of religion fitted to the new discoveries in natural science, according to which the cosmos displays an intricate machine-like order; the deists suppose that the supposition of God is necessary as the source or author of this order.

Though Kant presents the moral principle as a principle of practical reason, his ethics also disagrees significantly with rationalist ethics in the period. Thus, a deist typically rejects the divinity of Christ, as repugnant to reason; the deist typically demotes the figure of Jesus from agent of miraculous redemption to extraordinary moral teacher.

the collapse of western civilization a view from the future summary

The nexus between the Renaissance and the sciences is seen already in the new concern for nature that art sought to depict and science sought to understand.

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Criticism of Western Civilisation isn't new, it was part of the Enlightenment