A blupete Essay

Glossary Of Philosophic Terms
In Support of blupete's Essay
"On Philosophy"
§ The rationalists were of the view (as if it could be severable from the human being as a living whole) that mind is superior to the matter which makes up the human body. "Descartes, the rationalist, employing the
deductive method, reduces all to that for which the mind can vouch, irrespective of experience."25 A rationalist is to be distinguished from a empiricist, such as Hume, who approaches a subject by induction. (For an exposition of the theories of rationalism see Descartes, Leibniz and Berkeley.)
§ (See deductive reasoning.)
Reason, Age of:
§ The enormous scientific and intellectual advancements made in the 17th century, the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, brought about in Western Thought, the age of the scientific man. The thinkers of the age were no longer content to accept the cosmos and its contained life as a mystery to be simply accepted. The time had come for man to test his theories which flooded into his mind; to test these theories with his observations and to reset these theories in accordance with his accumulated observations: and, seemingly without end, to continue to retest and to reset.
"... the closed and authoritarian system of the Middle Ages was replaced by the open and relativistic world of modern times. The closed geography of feudal Europe was pried open, first by the Crusades, then by the discovery of new trade routes, and finally by the world-wide explorations of the great navigators. The flat two-dimensional earth became a spheroid, three-dimensional world. The limited and static spatial theory of Ptolemy gave way to the dynamic heliocentric theory of Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton. Time, as well as space, was broadened. The development of chronology, the recovery of ancient monuments, and speculations about the future expanded the temporal scope of men's views. Economically, the closed and largely self-contained feudal estates were replaced by cities and towns, with the mutual interdependence that comes from the specialization of labor, till the whole medieval scheme of production was made over into the 'free' system of commerce and industry."26
The Age of Reason threw up on the shore such representatives as Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, Swift, Hume and Kant. The social and political ideals as presented by these illuminati were enforced by "enlightened despots" such as Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph II; Catherine II of Russia; and Frederick II of Prussia. Diderot's Encyclop├ędie and the United States Constitution are representative documents of the Age of Reason.
§ There is debate as to when the Renaissance period began and ended -- likely, 1350-1600. It is a period of time during which people shook away the mystic and barbaric ways of the Dark Ages and filled in the empty spaces with culture which now expresses itself in the art it left behind; it took its cue from the classical Greek and Roman models. (See treatment of this subject given within bluepete's essay, "
On Science.")
§ Rhetoric in general is the art of persuading; it is the skill in the faculty of using eloquent and persuasive language. At one time it was a formal art to be studied: "In the Middle Ages rhetoric was reckoned one of the seven 'liberal arts'," along with
grammar and logic.
§ The Romantic label is to be pinned to only a small period of time which does not go much beyond the limits of 1800 and 1825. (It heralded an encompassing age which covered certainly all of the 19th century and which, in some ways, is still with us.) We may well mark the beginning of the Romantic Period with the year 1793, the year
Godwin brought out his work, Political Justice. Finally we see regular people reading about and speaking about the great topics of democracy, government and of a country's constitutions. This Romantic movement (as it happened in England), though considerably damped by the Napoleonic wars, continued throughout the first quarter of the 19th century and on up to the passing of the great Reform Bill of 1832. It was during this period, as millions began to read, that great literary and political agitators came to the fore; it is a period in history which is rich in material, and which might be profitably studied by any aspiring politician.


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