Essay heading: 18th Century European Enlightenment

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History

 

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October 9, 2006

 

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4 / 892

 

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The philosophes believed that science could reveal nature as it truly is and show how it could be controlled and manipulated. This belief provided an incentive to extend scientific methods into every field of inquiry, thus laying the groundwork for the development of the modern social sciences. The enlightened understanding of human nature was one that emphasized the right to self-expression and human fulfillment, the right to think freely and express one's views publicly without censorship or fear of repression...
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Voltaire admired the freedom he found in England and fostered the spread of English ideas on the Continent. He and his followers opposed the intolerance of the established Christian churches of their day, as well as the European governments that controlled and suppressed dissenting opinions. For example, the social disease which Pangloss caught from Paquette was traced to a "very learned Franciscan" and later to a Jesuit...
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