Meaning of Illuminism

What is Enlightenment:

The spiritual, intellectual and cultural movement of the second half of the 18th century, known as the "century of lights" is known as enlightenment or enlightenment.

The Enlightenment was a movement with the goal of creating awareness for one's own reason, which would lead to trust, freedom, dignity, autonomy, emancipation and happiness of man. Enlightenment thinkers established that human reason could build a better society without inequalities and guaranteeing the individual rights of each individual, as well as developing the education, politics and administration of a country.

Enlightenment can be seen as an ideology that was developed and incorporated by the bourgeoisie in Europe, starting from the revolutionary struggles at the end of the 18th century. Likewise, the Enlightenment was also a political movement powered by the French Revolution.

The movement began in England with the philosopher Locke, and developed in various senses, in France with Bayle, Voltaire, Helvetius, Helvetius, Diderot, d'Alembert, Holbach, and in Germany with Reimans, Mendelsonhn, Nicolai, Lessing, culminating in Kant. The Enlightenment had great influence on a cultural, political, social and spiritual level.

On the other hand, Enlightenment is the doctrine, opinion, vision of the enlightened. Movement advocated in the eighteenth century, which is based on the existence of a supernatural inspiration, fed by various religious sects.

In relation to the above, the term Enlightenment is an adjective that indicates everything related to Enlightenment. He is the individual in favor of the doctrine of the enlightened.

Origin of Enlightenment

In the seventeenth century, a small vestige of Enlightenment was already observed through the works of René Descartes, who indicated in them the bases of rationalism as the only source of knowledge. It is in this sense that his theory was summarized as "I think, and therefore I am."

Enlightenment was created by the constant dissatisfaction felt by European society, specifically in the last two decades of the 18th century. The Illuminism was a reaction movement to European absolutism, which had as characteristic the feudal structures, the influence of the Catholic Church, the commercial monopoly, and the censorship of "dangerous ideas".

In France, it was where the movement took the greatest boom, by virtue of the constant clash between feudalism and the development of emerging capitalism, among other social struggles that caused the propagation of the ideas of the Illuminists, through the French Revolution.

In reference to the above, the result was the elimination of the feudal system and the stimulation of the remainder of the absolutist-mercantilist regimes that existed in other parts of Europe.

See also Absolutism.

Illuminist thinkers

The Enlightenment thinkers were characterized by defending freedom, above all, they were progressive and sought a rational explanation of everything. The main objective of the Enlightenment philosophers, as stated above, was to seek the happiness of man, through the rejection of religious intolerance, injustice and privilege.

The most important Enlightenment thinkers were:

  • Voltaire (1694-1778), critic of religion, the Monarchy and censorship. On the other hand, he believed in the presence of God in nature and in man, who could discover it through reason, and in the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčtolerance and a religion based on the belief of a supreme being. He was a great propagandist for Enlightenment ideas.
  • Montesquieu (1689-1755), was part of the first generation of the Illuminists. His most important contribution was the doctrine of the three powers: executive, legislative and judicial, each one should act within its area, without taking the functions of the other, it is what is known as the decentralization of powers to avoid the abuse of the rulers.
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), was the most popular and radical philosopher, in which many times his ideas were contrary to those of his colleagues. He proposed a society based on justice, equality and sovereignty of the people.

It is noteworthy, in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, issued at the height of the French Revolution, specifically in 1789, a strong influence of all democratic ideas, previously discussed, is observed.

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