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samson98 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Enlightenment was a 17-18th cultural movement in Europe which promoted the use of science, logic, liberty, and reason as tools to improve the human condition. Consequently, Enlightenment philosophers viewed blind faith, dogma, and superstition with extreme suspicion. Influenced by the Scientific Revolution, philosophers such as Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Baruch Spinoza, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, and Immanuel Kant began to strive to apply scientific and mathematical principles to abstract concepts such as ethics.They also encouraged people to question authorities, especially religious authorities (whcih in Europe, would have been primarily Christian) who advocated their followers accept their doctrines on faith alone. The Enlightenment had a vast influence on Western history and continues to influence Western culture and politics; for instance, Enlightenment ideas influenced both the American and French Revolutions.

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