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Source: ColiN00B

 

The reason is that many of our Postmodern problems stem from the Enlightenment. The mechanistic materialism that arose as a result of the 17th century scientific revolution culminating in 18th century perspective reached its extreme conclusion in the 20th century, particularly the second half and into the present day. I think for that reason the Enlightenment has fallen a bit out of fashion; many of its principles and aspirations for mankind have proven with time to be empty or impractical. The strong individualism, oppression, and alienation present in modernity are attributed to the implementation of Enlightenment values. Additionally, the postmodern sociologists are very interested in non-white European perspectives…therefore the Enlightenment ideals developed by white, European individuals with European worldly conceptions does not fall in favor with the current intellectual trends.

It should be noted that the current “intellectual situation” is not very admirable, as revealed by Sokal and friends. Without question, the Enlightenment had some brilliant thinkers, but historically speaking, everything falls out of fashion eventually and is critiqued.

enriquejmercado

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I’ve always thought the Enlightenment was mostly good, not just for the sciences but also for the people. The history of the west was quite brutal until the times of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. The roots of humanism lie in the Renaissance, the roots of science and more proper education in the Enlightenment. The previous power of the church, Christianity and small elite rulers diminished. Knowledge was set free for (almost or ideally) everyone. Even though these ideas can also become harmful extremities, in its own time, I think it was mostly good development. If there were oppressive ideas (such as seeing the ordinary people or the people of the colonies as less than the more civilized people and in need of civilization), it was quite small compared to the previous times.

And as I said we’ve probably moved or are slowly moving away from the extremities of the era already; people are seen as mixtures of many kinds of influences, both rational and irrational. The ethics in sciences like psychology are taken very seriously, and many experiments that were made in the past days are nowadays shunned or they must involve e.g. proper debriefing with the participants. Plus nowadays it’s recognized that e.g. cultural differences can bias research. It’s weird to jump from an era from 300-400 years ago to this day and not take into account any of the development that has occurred since.

kissannaukujaiset

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No matter how strident their critiques, few thinkers would say that western societies would be better off without the enlightenment. Even the most ardent critics of the enlightenment and its legacies would say that it certainly did some good. Nor is there any reason to minimize the damage it did — specifically in terms of slavery, imperialism, racism, capitalism, etc.

SouthernBreach

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