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Age of Enlightenment

The Age of Enlightenment period of the Modern era of philosophy corresponds roughly to the 18th Century.

It includes the following major philosophers:

Berkeley, Bishop George (1685 - 1753) Irish
Voltaire (François Marie Arouet) (1694 - 1778) French
Hume, David (1711 - 1776) Scottish
Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1712 - 1778) Swiss-French
Smith, Adam (1723 - 1790) Scottish
Kant, Immanuel (1724 - 1804) German
Burke, Edmund (1729 - 1797) Irish

In general terms, the Enlightenment was an intellectual movement, developed mainly in France, Britain and Germany, which advocated freedom, democracy and reason as the primary values of society. It started from the standpoint that men's minds should be freed from ignorance, from superstition and from the arbitrary powers of the State, in order to allow mankind to achieve progress and perfection. The period was marked by a further decline in the influence of the church, governmental consolidation and greater rights for the common people. Politically, it was a time of revolutions and turmoil and of the overturning of established traditions.

The major philosophical movements of the period include British Empiricism, Rationalism and Kantianism. It also saw an increasing focus on Political Philosophy.

It was essentially a continuation of the process of rationalization begun in the Age of Reason of the 17th Century, but also to some extent a reaction against it, and the two periods are often combined as the Early Modern period.

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