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Age of Enlightenment

-18th century
-autonomous thinking and observation -> primary sources of knowledge , rather than reliance on authority
-reason and science should be basis of social order
-> lead to secularization: religions loses social and cultural significance


Counter forces of Enlightenment

-Roman Catholic church
-Protestant church
-the humanities ( literature, art etc)
-romanticism ( against mechanistic view and enlightenment)


Enlightenment in Britain

-began with John locke
-individuals were NOT persecuted
-writings were NOT censored
-British philosophers did not denounce religion


Prussia (Germany)

-enlightenment allied with existing autocratic government
-applied newtons mechanical model of universe to the state



enlightenment was separated from political power
-publications were censored
-French philosopher pushed Cartesian, Newtonian and Lockean ideas to the extremes
-> wanted to tear social institutions down
-> French Revolution


Individualization in western society - precursors to a scientific psychology

-Increased complexity of society -> everyone struggled to maintain sense of dignity and meaning
-increased control by the state
-individuality promoted by Christianity
-increased availability of mirrors, books and letters



-mind-body problem -> dualism
-Reflexe action theory: external object can bring about an involuntary response -> reflexive behavior is mechanical and automatic
-rationalism, deduction

-suggests that mind produces 2 kinds of ideas:
1) derived ideas: products of senses
2) innate ideas: from mind/consciousness-> independent of sensory experiences



-mind immaterial and independent of body
-separating soul from rest of universe


Mechanistic view of universe - Descartes

-universe as one big, sophisticated machine that could be studied
-believed God created the machine
-replaced Aristotles view


Newton & principia Mathematica

- universe must be subject to laws of measurement and it should be predictable


From rationalism ( Plato, Aristotle, church, Descartes ) to

-> Empiricism

-philosophers developed scientific method
-> observations and inductive reasoning gained importance
-Locke, Berkeley and Hume


John Locke

-father of empiricism
-people born without knowledge
->knowledge derives from experience alone
-2 kinds of experiences: sensation , reflection (not possible without sensation)
-2 kinds of ideas: simple, complex (combining simple ideas)
-2 kinds of qualities: primary , secondary ( do not exist without perception)


Bishop Berkeley ( 1685-1753)

-agreed with empiricism
-only believed in secondary qualities
-> God = ultimate perceiver, holds everything in existence

-perception is subjective, does not mirror external world
-all knowledge is a function of mental phenomena , depends on person perceiving


Berkeley’s analysis of depth perception

-foundation of modern analyses of depth perception
-depth perception must be learnt
-countered by Kant: depth perception is innate (correct)


Hume ( 1711-1776) ?????

-great skeptic
-human behavior is driven by passion rather than reasoning

-no existence of innate ideas, all knowledge form experience

claiming that all contents of mind are solely built from sense experiences


Hume - perception

2 types of perception:

1) impressions -> sensations
2) ideas -> less vivid copies of impressions





Kant (

-psychology = never a natural science -> serious setback for psychology

His objections:
-introspection cannot be formulated in mathematical terms
-inner observations cannot be separated and recombined at will
-act of introspection changes and displaces state of the observed mind
-psychology can never become a natural science


Isaac Beeckman (1588-1637)

-studied theology, literature and mathematics
-studied medicine
-he didn’t publish his ideas
-but he did influence many scientists
-kept an extensive journal
-developed concept that matter is composed of atoms
-described inertia
-fundamental frequency
-functioning of a pump


Beeckman - Relationship to Descartes

-met him 1618 in Breda
-Beeckman translated a placard for Descartes at a market place
-B. Convinced Descartes to devote his studies to a mathematical approach to nature
-Beeckman introduced Descartes to many of Galileis ideas


Scottish common sense

-Reid, Stewart
-18th century Scottish enlightenment
-innate ability to perceive common ideas
-> inherent in and interdependent with judgement
-common sense as foundation of philosophical inquiry
-opposite of idealism (Hume etc)


Romanticism vs enlightenment

-culture, human progress, education, civilization
-the city as food place to live (educated people are there, new ideas are developed etc)
-universal human nature, society, social life

-emotion, imagination
-nature -> civilization against nature’s goodness
-the country as best place to live
-valued “uncivilized”people ( farmers etc)
-more individual


Cartesian dualism

- god created 2 separate spheres
Mind = emotion
Matter = measurable reality/math