Enlightenment And Romantic Period Essay

2592 words - 11 pages

Enlightenment and Romantic Period Team Paper
The Age of the Enlightenment, the period between the years 1650 and 1780, and the Romantic Age between the years 1780 and 1873 represent two eras in which some of the most significant and important cultural and societal changes occurred. The Age of the Enlightenment saw thinkers of the day turn away from theological explanations for our surroundings and existence looking instead for rational and scientific explanations. Changes in the way knowledge was obtained and assimilated would influence research methods from that point forward. The Romantic Age came about as a response to rapid industrialization and the urbanization of Western countries. ...view middle of the document...

From a philosophically significant influence, Rene Descartes’ “Discourse on Method” is an innovation that not only changed scientific thinking of the day, but also continues to have an impact on research of all kinds. Descartes’ conceptualization of deductive reasoning contends that one should begin each investigation assuming that all information is false until proven absolutely otherwise. Inductive reasoning, according to Descartes, is flawed in that one takes the word and research of others as an absolute truth when the information in question may be the absolute opposite. Descartes’ quote, “I think, therefore I am” is one of the simplest and most descriptive expressions of the human search for knowledge ever uttered. Virtually every process involving the search for knowledge or information, whether scientific, journalistic, or otherwise has been impacted by this brilliant philosopher.
Sir Isaac Newton is another clear choice for top philosopher of the Enlightenment Age. As an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and alchemist he was widely known and his works are still being studied today. In July 1687, he wrote the Philosophia Naturalis Principia Mathematica. It in, he discusses universal gravitation and laws of motion (LaborLawCenter, 2005). An interesting side not about Isaac Newton is that he was the first to realize that the spectrum of light that is emitted from a prism is actually a part of the light shining through it. It was previously thought that the rainbow effect was something that the prism itself added to the light.
As influential literature is concerned, the English translation of the Bible stands out as one of the most significant of the seventeenth century. Although strictly speaking, the English translation and publication of this work took place on the cusp of Enlightenment in the Baroque period, one would be hard pressed to find a more lasting influence. “Along with Shakespeare, the King James Bible had a shaping influence on the English language and on all of English literature” (Fiero, 2002). The effect of the King James Bible on society in the formation of Western Law, founding ideas and ideals is still felt today throughout virtually every culture.
Penned by Thomas Jefferson, one of the greatest documents in the world is the Declaration of Independence, partly because of its embodiment of the spirit of the Enlightenment. "The writings of French, English, and Scottish Enlightenment philosophers frequently presented the concept that all men are created equal and possess certain inalienable rights (MSN Encarta, 2005)." Jefferson’s articulation of the ideals upon which the United States of America is founded has inspired millions the world over and still serves as a beacon of freedom and tolerance today.
“The classical revival of the eighteenth century was unique in its accuracy of detail and its purity of design” (Fiero,...

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