The Main Ideas Behind Enlightenment

The intellectual movement of the late 17th and 18th century is widely known as the age of enlightenment. In this era, a wide range of ideologies takes shape which can be defined by few greater ideas that flourished and fueled the Enlightenment period. Ideas of reasoning, individualism, progress and skepticism were emphasized over traditions.

Reasoning: It was the most important idea behind the Enlightenment period. Led by the Philosophers of this era, it was believed that one can solve anything through logic and reasoning. It rejects the traditional view of supernatural occurrences, mythology as mere superstitions and accepts ideologies which is based on science.

Individualism: Another important idea behind the Enlightenment era was the recognition of certain human rights or liberties. It was believed that these rights were granted by the God or the nature itself to Human. It also supports the idea of human equality and dignity. Philosophers of this era accepted and supported this idea to be valid for the ordinary individuals regardless of the fact that Philosophers are usually the member of upper class society. They also encouraged people to pursue happiness in life and to enjoy it.

The Weimars Courtyard of the MusesThe Weimar Court of the Muses. Famous Oil Painting by Theobald von Oer.

Progress: The Philosophers of this era believe that people in general from the society can always improve human condition. Through education and applying reason and skills, one can always improve the quality of his life, change his economic status along with making scientific progress at large. Such idea was well accepted and encouraged during this period.

Skepticism: Human's ability to think critically was one of the reason behind the arrival of Enlightenment era in Europe. Rejecting the concept of blindly accepting ideas, thinkers of this era seek the truth and wanted proof before they actually believe in it. Ideologies of religious dogma, divine rights of the king were questioned which ultimately paved the way for the separation of church and state.


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