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Philosophies in the Age of Enlightenment & Romanticism

I need help narrowing down two good examples of philosophy: two from the Enlightenment Period and two from the Romantic Age and then I need to discuss why the examples are significant. So overall I need four good examples total with brief reasons as to why they are significant. The examples need to reflect the developments in world events and cultural patterns.

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The Age of Enlightenment

So called Age of Enlightenment for one major reason - this was the period when the circuit of knowledge fundamentally changed from that which was ruled by religion and faith to a process were logic & reason led to what became accepted truth. While there is no concrete date or period that indicates the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment, many point to the 18th century as that period, the century after the developments and advancement in knowledge in terms of philosophy from the Renaissance & Baroque. During the Renaissance & the Baroque, those who seek knowledge and question the way life & the world is are termed as philosophers, a sort of generalization of 'scholars' even if their interests were in maths, biology, history, even medicine. At that point in time, faith & what we now regard as 'scientific inquiry' were not at odds with each other. Truth is what the Divine holds to be truth. For example, Isaac Newton's theory on gravity as well as his mathematical equation, if it goes at odds with what is believed to be the teaching of the church could be considered heretical. A lot like when Galileo declared that the world was not flat or that there are planets beyond the skies & the clouds, not just heaven.

The Age of Enlightenment is that period in time where Philosophy gave birth to a new way of seeking for knowledge. The question, "What is the truth?" rang again and this time Plato's, Aristotle's & Socrates' foundations in Philosophy were adopted, deciphered & given new meaning. Socrates' allegory of the cave became a 'guide' to mathematicians, philosophers and social scientists alike as the discipline of seeking specialized knowledge using what has come to be known as the 'scientific method' took over & gave more credence to logic and reason. For these 'enlightened minds' it is no longer enough that the Church dictates what truth is. Truth must be arrived via facts and a continued retesting of the fact until it is proven that such a theory of knowledge on a particular topic is truly universal. Many historians point to the work of Descartes & his views on the Mind as one of the main foundations of Philosophy, hence we will focus on his work on it.

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Descartes & his ideas on the Mind

Cogito ergo sum

The Academics dub Rene Descartes (1596-1650) as the "Father of Modern Philosophy". While he lived in the early 17th centuries, his works still continue to be studied & heavily influence modern philosophy. His views on the mind & its distinction from the body, while based upon Greek Philosophy were original & seminal in a sense that they became the foundation of the first systematic account of the mind/body question in philosophy. While undertaking his studies at the Jesuit college of La Fleche, he became fascinated in the contrast between philosophy & mathematics. The former being controversial & the latter being exact. His first essay on physiological philosophy, De Homine & his subsequent work, Meditations he tried to apply a structure of inquiry which eventually became fundamental in the natural sciences. All his philosophical inquiries, however complex centered on a single principle - Thought Exists. The lines that we now so easily say - "I think, therefore I am," were of his work. For Descartes thought or the mechanism of the ...

Solution Summary

This solution looks at philosophies from the Age of Enlightenment to the Age of Romanticism by discussing two particular thinkers from each period: Immanuel Kant and Rene Descartes from the Enlightenment period and Jean Jacques Rosseau and J. Gottlieb Ficht from the Age of Romanticism. Their ideas were chosen to represent the cultural & social events unfolding in their particular periods in history. The solution discusses each philosopher concisely; the ideas are expandable as it is written in APA style and references are provided. This is all completed in about 2260 words.