Robinson Crusoe Questions and Answers
by Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe book cover
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What are some examples of enlightenment-age ideas in Robinson Crusoe?

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Robinson Crusoe is left stranded on a desert island, which forces him to dig deep into his own intellectual resources to survive. The traditions of the outside world and the authority they have over men no longer exert any real influence over Crusoe in this strange, exotic environment. He needs to start from the beginning, as it were, to rely on his own powers of perception and reason to make sense of his new surroundings. Slowly but surely, he builds up a picture of the world around him, one that leads to a profound spiritual awakening, albeit one based upon impeccably rational foundations.

The Enlightenment is often construed as inimically hostile to religion, yet that's far from being the case. Most thinkers of the era adhered to some kind of religious belief; it was simply the nature of that belief which set them apart from more orthodox theists. Robinson Crusoe is almost the prototypical Lockean, someone who's used his powers of perception and reasoning to arrive at a higher...

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