DMPQ- Explain the major ideas of enlightenment movement in Europe.

Enlightenment was based on rationalism i.e. logical reasoning based on facts. Cosmology, new world view based Newtonian physics and analysis of natural phenomena as system, secularism application of scientific theories to religion and security. Scientific method based on experimentation, observation and hypothesis. Utilitarianism, laws created for the common good and not for special interests, optimism and self confidence anything is possible (a reversal of medieval thinking), tolerance a greater acceptance of different societies and cultures, freedom a mind as well as society free to think, free from prejudice, mass education and above all legal or penal reforms. In fact enlightenment had the following important aspects:

  • It explained the mysteries of nature by application of reason. It denied the existence of anything supernatural.
  • It proved human experience by the existence of anything supernatural.
  • It interprets laws of society and government in the light of the reason.
  • It gives priority to reason than religion.
  • It enquired every existing social system and political institutions through the reason. All these thinking and ideas made the 18th century Europe Enlightened.
  • Enlightenment caused a new atmosphere in Europe. Europe got a new awakening. Enlightenment had deep impact on socio-economic-political set up.
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