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Word Count: 497
The Enlightenment was the intellectual movement in the western world during the 18th century The age of enlightenment saw many great changes in Western Europe It was an age of reason and philosophies The spirit of the enlightenment was one change specifically changes which went against the previous teaching of the Catholic Church Such changes were apparent in the ideas questions and philosophies of the time in the study of science and throughout the monarchial system The age of enlightenment was strongly influenced by the rise of modern science and by the long religious conflict that followed the Reformation The thinkers of the enlightenment philosophies were committed to secular views based on reason or human understanding only which they hoped would provide a basis for beneficial changes affecting every area of life and thought Radical philosophies such as Denis Diderot Claude Adrien Helvetius and Julien Offroy de La Mettrie advocated a philosophical method for science and natural philosophy This would replace religion as the means of knowing and destiny of humanity Other enlightened thinkers such as Pierre Bayle Voltaire David Hume and Immanuel Kant were either nonbelievers or left room for some kind of religious faith All other philosophies saw themselves as continuing the work of the great 17th century pioneers Francis Bacon Galileo Descrates Isaac Newton and John Locke these philosophies believed that science could reveal nature as it truly was and show how it could be controlled and manipulated The understanding of human nature was one that exemplified the right to self-expression and human accomplishment Voltaire admired the freedom he had found in England and fostered the spread of English ideas on the continent He and his followers opposed the intolerance of the established Christian churches as well as the European governments that controlled and suppressed opinions Other conservative enlightened thinkers were concerned with efficiency and administrative order They favored the enlightened despotism such as Emperor Joseph II Frederick II
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