Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the father of Empiricism

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Transcript Francis Bacon (1561-1626), the father of Empiricism

A man who does not think for himself does not think at all. --Oscar Wilde.

I may disapprove of what you say, but I will die for your right to say it.

--Francois-Marie Voltaire.







Enlightenment and the making of Modernity

Reformation: two crises Forerunner of Enlightenment: Rene Descartes Select figures of the Enlightenment: Voltaire, Hume & Kant Major characteristics of the Enlightenment Modernity’s heroes: Feuerbach, Freud, Darwin How can Christian theism be defended today?

Reformation: two crises


Crisis of the certainty of salvation

– Lifted up the notion of individual faith & conscience 2.

Crisis of the authority of the Church

– Created the possibility for social change – Caused religious wars in Europe – Relationship between faith & reason reconsidered.

Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

• French philosopher, father of rationalism • Radical skepticism • Cogito ergo sum • Searched for one method that will yield certain knowledge • Autonomous self as the source of certain knowledge • Major writings: Discourse on Method (1637) & Meditations (1647)

Voltaire (1694-1778): Christianity is immoral • French philosopher • Criticized Christianity for superstition, ignorance, false piety & hypocrisy • Criticized religious intolerance • Advocated the freedom of speech.

Notre Dame became a ‘Temple of Reason’

David Hume (1711-1776): Christianity is irrational • Scottish philosopher, father of agnosticism • Argued against: – Miracles – Proofs of God’s existence – Providence.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804): morality independent from religion • German philosopher, father of objective idealism •All empirical reality is mind constructed • Wrote Religion within the

Limits of Reason Alone

• Reduced Christianity to ethics of duty.

Major characteristics of the Enlightenment

• ‘Age of Reason’ • Autonomous self v. traditional beliefs • Numerous challenges to traditional Christianity – Moral criticism – Criticism of Christianity’s intellectual core – Attempts to fit Christianity into emerging patterns of rationality • Not uniformly anti-religious.

Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872):

An alternative theory of religion • German philosopher • Reduced theology to anthropology: claimed that God was a projection of human ideal.

Sigmund Freud (1856-1936):

An a lternative theory of human nature • Father of psychoanalysis • Religion is an illusion • God is an expression of the fundamental human need for care and protection.

Charles Darwin (1809-1882):

An alternative theory of human origins • British naturalist • Major work: The Origin of Species (1859) • Non-theistic evolution: random mutation of genes + natural selection (i.e., death) • Denied intelligent design.

Karl Marx (1818-1883):

An alternative interpretation of history • German political philosopher • Major writing: The Capital • Interpreted human history as the struggle of classes • Religion is the ‘opium for the people.’