LETS GO TO EUROPE: RENAISSANCE AND ENLIGHTENMENT, WHAT IS IT
To discuss this i would like to use the postulation of at least three major renaissance and enlightenment philosopher and historian.
The Renaissance was a reaction against the dominating religion in the medieval age; it was a period of the thirteenth (13th) century to the sixteenth (16th) century while the Enlightenment was the endeavors which characterized the early Eighteenth (18th) century which could be referred to as rebirth of learning in which every aspect of human life was scrutinized. This period (Renaissance) was characterized by the revolt against the power of institutional religion; this post seeks to discuss the postulation of at least three major Renaissance and Enlightenment philosophers and historian
BASIC IDEAS AND CHARACTERISTIC OF RENAISSANCE PHILOSOPHY
To begin with the Renaissance philosophy had basic ideas and characteristics such as the view that the position of History is precarious that is unstable, and even when several philosophers had freed history from errors of the medieval thought such as the eschatological view, it had still to find its own critical outlook.
More so, renaissance Humanism was a characteristic of the Renaissance philosophy, this developed in the fourteenth and fifteenth century, that is Man was the center of Discourse, it was a response to the challenge of medieval philosophy that centered everything to God ,
BASIC IDEAS AND CHARACTERISTIC OF ENLIGHTENMENT PHILOSOPHY
The Enlightenment philosophy idea was anti-clerical, against the Priest and religion, Hume and Voltaire saw religion as a thing devoid of all positive value, it was just a sheer error, due to unscrupulous and calculating hypocrisy of a class of priest, whom they seem to have thought, invented it (religion) to serve as an instrument of domination over all men. To the Renaissance philosopher’s terms like religion, priest is not historical or philosophical terms
It was Anti-Historical because the historical outlook was not genuinely historical, in its motive had no sympathy to other history because to the philosophers and historian of the Enlightenment, the human history written before was in rational majorly because it was not like the Enlightenment historiography of scientific spirit.
The philosophical theory underlying this period or movement was that certain forms of mental activities are primitive forms and are destined to perish when mind arrive this was seen in Vico’s work against poetry
Romanticism was a characteristic of this period, it was a movement that took place in the latter part of the eighteenth century (18th) it was a step further on individual experience as well as the human brain, it related to feelings and personal thought in which sympathy, positive values and interest in civilization other than theirs as philosophers were examined the father of this was Jean Jacque Rousseau.
The Enlightenment philosophy was characterized by propaganda, reason, rationality and empiricism
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RENAISSANCE AND ENLIGHTENMENT PHILOSOPHY
Renaissance philosophy is associated with humanism while Enlightenment is associated with the Scientific method and Rationalism
Enlightenment through Romanticism, Humanism through Renaissance
PHILOSOPHER OF THE RENAISSANCE PERIOD: NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI AND HIS CONTRIBUTION TO HISTORIOGRAPHY
Niccolo Machiavelli was born on May 1469 and died June 1527, in later part of his years, he studied classics and history and was guided by strictly utilitarian choices of means to the end,he was against religious dogma or moral precepts. His chief works were The Prince (1513), Discourse of Livy(1515-1517),The History Of Florence(1520-1525)etc
Niccolo Machiavelli work was particularistic in nature and was attached to providence, for example his work the history of Florence was particular about Florence and was contrary to universalism.
Niccolo Machiavelli also contributed to the discourse that man is the center of discourse and that the center point of history is affected by man, this could be seen in his work the prince whereby “the end justifies the means; man is the architect of his own destiny.
Furthermore, Niccolo Machiavelli emphasized on the good scrutiny of sources and this could be said to be a contribution to historiography, this could be found in his work is
PHILOSOPHER OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT PERIOD: HUME AND VOLTAIRE AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO HISTORIOGRAPHY
Hume was named David Home which he changed to Hume, he was born on the 7th of May 1711 and died 25th of August 1776, he was a Scottish philosopher historian, economists etc, he was known for his empiricism and skepticism and his chief works were Treaties of Human Nature, Moral and Essays and Political in1744, The History of England, etc.
Also, Hume saw religion as sheer error in his work on superstition and enthusiasm, and in his own opinion he attacked the spiritual substance and became the forerunner of scientific history because it destroyed the last vestage of substancialism.
Furthermore, Hume contributed to historiography through his work the history of England; this work widened the focus of history during this period away from merely kings, parliaments and armies to literature and science.
Additionally, Hume in his philosophical writings, attempted to demonstrate how ordinary preposition about object, casual relations, the self are semantically equivalent to propositions about ones experiences and thus Hume was a fore runner of the logical positivist movement
Voltaire was a pen name of Francois Marie Arouet, he was born in 1694 in Paris, France and died 83 years later in France on May1778, he wrote numerous philosophical work, history work etc. and he is considered one of the greatest name in the French Enlightenment example of his works are The age of Louis XIV (1751) and Essay on the customs and spirit of the Nations (1756), Treaties on Toleration (1763)
Voltaire’s writing in history challenged the common conception at that time that historiography dealt with the political with big political, military and diplomatic event, he instead emphasized in the cultural history, science.
More so, he is known to try and write a history based on cultural and economical facts rejecting any kind of theological framework.eg the age of Louis XIV (1751) and Essay on the customs and spirit of the Nations (1756) which helped to deviate historiography from the narrative deeds performed by Great men of war and of Eurocentrism.
Voiltare was a fierce critique of Religious tradition and he reasoned that the existence of God was a question of Reason and observation rather than faith, in his words, “it is perfectly evident to my mind that there exists a necessary eternal, supreme and intelligent being, there is no matter of faith but of reason.
CRITICS OF THE PHILOSOPHERS POSTULATION
Critics of Humes work in Great Britain as an abstract and unintelligible, Roth argues that Humes work display his biases against Presbyterians and puritans and says the pro-monarchy position diminished the influence of his work and that his emphases on politics and religion led to the neglect of a social and economic history.
To conclude, with Enlightenment and Renaissance represented an advancement in some areas as humanism, Romanticism and a reversal in some areas it had substancialism and philosopher such as Hume and Voltaire did very little to improve historical research.
- Ardal Pall,Passion an Value in Hume’s Treaties, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press,1966.
- Campbell Mossner, The Life of David Hume, Oxford University Press, 1980.
- Davidson Ian,Voiltaire:A life,profile books,London
- Gaskin J.C, Hume’s Philosophy, New York an Oxford, Oxford University Press 1978
- Gatti H.ed,Glordano Bruro, Philosophy of the Renaissance, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2002
- Kraye,J,Classical Traditions in Renaissance Philosophy, , Aldershot, Ashgate, 2002
- H.Walsh, An Introduction To Philosophy of History, New Jersey, Humanities Press, 1947
- G Collinwood, Idea of History