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Enlightenment 2 Essay, Research Paper

The expansion of natural sciences affected both the intellectual and political communities during the period of Enlightenment. Natural sciences are the sciences or knowledge of objects or processes observable in nature, as biology or physics, as distinguished from the abstract or theoretical sciences, as mathematics or philosophy. Proving that they are theories and questions, which can be understood by experimentation and straightforward thinking. As this knowledge was developed, individuals from the major centers of learning began to notice these advancements, and try to adapt them for their own needs. These individuals became known as the philosophes. Their goal was to introduce the reason and common sense of natural science to the intellectual and political circles of their day. Their movement became known as the Enlightenment.

Politics was one of the major forums of the philosophes. Their goal was to expose and fix the political abuses going on throughout Europe. They tried to do that using many medians, including books, plays, novels, encyclopedias, newspapers and magazines. These methods were only possible because of the newly invented print culture. The print culture allowed many of the great philosophe minds to flourish and sustain a living simply by writing books on the topics they wished to see reforms done upon. The beliefs and ideals of the natural sciences guided their motives. As these enlightened men spread their knowledge with great vigor, their main targets for the ingestion of this material were men of high positions, people who could make a change in society. These high political individuals became known as enlightened despots because of their new understanding, which came along with their political positions. However, the effect of the philosophes may be felt much closer to home in the form of the writers of the constitution. These men, as well as the leaders of Europe, looked to the writings and ideas of the philosophes. Through this exchange of ideas, natural sciences had permanently infiltrated the realm of politics and were there to stay.

The centers of intellectual thought were penetrated by the expanding natural sciences through the great minds of scientists and thinkers who realized that there was a better way to approach the theories of society. These intellectuals, ranging in fields from crime to economics, all realized that society must be viewed through a lens of reason. Any behavior of man should not be seen as an abstract and incomprehensible thought. It should rather be seen as a reaction similar to one of nature, which was understandable and reasonable.

The culture of the Enlightenment was directly acted upon by the natural sciences. However, it did affect other areas of the culture. Two blatant examples are intellectuals and politics. The creation of the print culture and saloon atmospheres helped the all-important philosophes to influence despotic rulers and the leaders of intellect that worked for them. Many philosophes believed that man and all of his actions are related to nature in the fact that they require reason and understanding to function. All this implies is that man and any fields that he may choose to entertain, be it politics, economics, etc. he will always have to live by the laws of nature. The natural sciences.


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