FROM SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION TO ENLIGHTENMENT
I. Principles of the New Scientific Revolution Paradigm
A. Increasing emphasis on human rationalism
1. Newton: Laws governing nature
2. Descartes: Rationalism, doubt, distrust of tradition & history
3. Bacon: Scientific method
c. conclusion (can the hypothesis be proven?)
4. Yet these scientists had stayed within the social mainstream
b. accept the social status quo while questioning science
c. therefore not social revolutionaries
B. Belief in an orderly universe – like a clock.
C. Less interest in religion as a source of knowledge
D. Assumption that all can be described an understood
E. Leads to an assumption that science can change the world and a belief in progress
II. Who and What was the Enlightenment
A. Period in European history marked by
1. Spread of literacy
2. Growing affluence
3. Spread of publishing
4. All of which allowed a secular intelligentsia to emerge an independent force
B. Middle classes and mostly French, at least initially
III. Philosophes begin to change the Scientific Revolution, create the Enlightenment
A. Philosophes change the Scientific Revolution into a social one
B. Transmutation of scientific law to social law
1. If laws govern nature, then laws also govern humanity
2. Society must be understood through rationalism
C. Therefore there are laws governing nature and society as well
D. Philosophes wanted to change indiviudals to reflect natural laws
1. the tabula rasa and the idea that human being are malleable
2. society can create the person
3. If we can understand humans as we understand nature, we can control human beings
E. Philosophes also wanted to change social institutions to reflect natural laws
2. judicial system
4. family relations and relations between men and women
F. Why did philosophes believe that they could change society (from Peter Gay)?
1. "The philosophes had a positive attitude toward innovation.... And this pervasive attitude was a sign of a deep confidence in the possibility of scientific knowledge
2. "In consequence, the philosophes believed--though with notable reservations"-- in the possibility of a long-range and permanent improvement in man's lot.
3. "As men of hope, the philosophes oriented themselves to the future, exploiting the past as a storehouse of excellent advice and unsurpassable art and literature, but also, and mainly, as a towering warning of what to avoid.
4. "This commitment to the future--a mental reorientation as subtle, but decisive, as the welcoming of innovation--did not commit them to Utopian dreams. However later judges might estimate their hopes, the philosophes themselves thought their only hope lay in realism.
5. "Finally, the philosophes, to realize their aims, subjected their society, even its most sensitive areas (sexual morality, political authority, religious belief), to that most corrosive of solvents--criticism."
G. The belief that there are immutable laws of natural behavior, that we can study them and improve society is powerful
1. “We hold these truths to be self evident…”
2. But also gives us Lenin, Marx, Mao….what’s next?
H. Philosophes could displace God with Reason
1. differ from their Scientific Revolution forbears
2. reason needs no faith
3. there are no mysteries, simply laws not yet discovered
4. what is the necessity of God in this model?
IV. What will the new paradigm include?
A. Increasing emphasis on human rationalism ("that's irrational...")
B. Desire for constant innovation
C. Assumption that things will get constantly better
D. Assumption that science can explain the world
E. Assumption that science can change the world
F. Decreasing interest in religion as font of knowledge
G. Assumption that society, human condition is ever-malleable
VIII. "Gifts" of the enlightenment paradigm--social sciences, social engineering
A. Our modern economy comes from the Enlightenment notion of applying natural laws to human activity
1. Assumed no new wealth to be created (the pie stays the same)
2. "Gold theory of
wealth" - idea that wealth can not be created, but exists only in
limited supply of valuables, such as gold and silver
- idea that wealth can not be created, but exists only in limited supply of valuables, such as gold and silver
3. Government intervention to promote trade
4. Promotes large firms, cornering trade on the market
5. Preference given to monopoly corporations
6. Trade was for the good of the state, not the market in general
7. Use of colonies for the greater glory & power of the state
C. Adam Smith and the beginning of Political Economy
1. Wealth of Nations (1776)
2. "Labor Theory of
Wealth" - idea that wealth is created by labor acting on raw materials
(ex: chair more valuable than the wood it is made out of)
- idea that wealth is created by labor acting on raw materials (ex: chair more valuable than the wood it is made out of)
3. the market has its own will--wealth comes when you don't step in
4. assumes "enlightened self interest"
5. the "Invisible Hand"
a. helping yourself helps others
b. assumes that natural law (invisible hand) will rule
6. laissez fair economy of today
a. dominant theory of economy
b. NAFTA: get rid of tariffs, let the market decide
c. constant struggle between countries that tariff/don't
7. not immediately accepted by society or nations
D. Provides the basis for economics
1. desire to find a theory to explain economic actions
2. use that theory to predict the future
3. use that theory to affect the future
1. study of the classification of humanity through origin, culture
2. al humans can be grouped, individual is less important than group
1. the "systematic study of
the development, structure, interaction, and
collective behavior of organized groups of people."
2. social groups can be understood, can be manipulated, can change.
1. no longer antiquarians (the love for something old for its own sake)
2. now a "social
science" hoping to find the patterns of history so to affect
A. The Scientific Revolution was to change the natural world and our relationship to it
B. The Enlightenment was to change the social world