Integral to the philosophies of Leibniz and Wolff was a deterministic concept of the individual and the world which challenged traditional theological viewpoints. retained a somewhat mystical view of the world, with some of Germany’s Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) On February 12, 1804, the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant passed away. The title char-acter, the pious and prudent Jew Nathan the Wise, was based upon the playwright’s friend, the brilliant philosopher Moses Mendelssohn. SparkNotes is brought to you by Barnes & Noble. Even so, Leibniz laid a foundation that all Age of Enlightenment. His monadologial approach What makes for the unity of such tremendously diverse thinkers under the label of Enlightenment? was divided into a number of smaller states, most of which were His most important contribution to Western thought is the concept of natural theology (sometimes referred to as Thomism in tribute to his influence). or French movements. German idealism was a philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Brian Duignan is a senior editor in philosophy at Britannica. It differs in its anti-feudal orientation, its desire to create a program of social transformations and to form a new ideal of man. In the seventeenth century German literature had often reflected the troubled religious landscape of the age, and the literary landscape was profoundly affected by the disputes of the era. Among those responding to these philosophies was the theologian Christian August Crusius … In philosophy, he developed the approach known as optimism, the idea that the universe, created by an omniscient God, is the best possible one. future Enlightenment scholars would build upon. German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, defined enlightenment this way: "Enlightenment is the liberation of man from his self-caused state of minority. According to his own statements he also followed the Catholic services and discussed philosophical and theological ques… Kant’s idealism first came to prominence during the pantheism controversy in 1785-1786. Having made his name as a philosopher, the celebrated thinker soon became embroiled in a controversy that caused him to confront the sta-tus of Germany’s Jewish community. Inﬂ uenced by Enlightenment ide-als, the educated bureaucrats and technocrats who staffed the admin-istrations of the German states constantly pressured their aristocratic rulers to enact enlightened reforms. writings, and paved the way for the mysticism of the rest of the This belief system holds that the existence of God is verified through reason and rational explanation, as opposed to through scripture or religious experience. ruled by despots who stifled intellectual development. In his philosophical works, Kant sought a compromise between empiricists, who believed all knowledge to be derived from experience, and rationalists, who thought it was always the product of human rea-son. Nathan the Wise was suppressed by German religious censors during Lessing’s lifetime and by the Nazis long after his death. Together these two works offer a world-view that might be described as antirationalist but not irrationalist. Philosophes: Most influential philosophe.fought for free speech and religious tolerance and frequently critized members of the government. works difficult. Millions of books are just a click away on BN.com and through our FREE NOOK reading apps. The next generation of German Enlightenment thinkers was domi-nated by three intellectual giants, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729–81), Moses Mendelssohn (1729–86), and Immanuel Kant (1724–1804).The ﬁ rst of these, the writer, dramatist, philosopher, and critic, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, was born in Saxony in 1729, the son of a pastor. Despite his ﬂ agging health, in the wake of the Lavater controversy, Mendelssohn began to use his considerable inﬂ uence to improve the condition of Prussia’s Jews, who suffered under the crushing weight of ofﬁ cial restrictions and special taxes. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was a leading figure in the German Enlightenment and one of the last of the great systematic philosophers. Enlightenment philosophy is an umbrella term for many divergent schools of thought, and being philosophers, those who adhered to it loved nothing better than to quibble with each other. these two prominent later philosophers disagreed with Leibniz, he John Locke's ideas are once again found in an American document. When the controversy arose, Kant had already published the first (A) edition of the Critique of Pure Reason (1781) and the Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (1783). refusing to believe that a simplistic set of laws, akin to the laws the same time. In October 1769, a zealous young Swiss theologian named Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741–1801) sent Mendelssohn, whose brilliance and moral stature he admired, a book by the Christian metaphysician Charles Bonnet (1720–93), demanding that he either refute the book’s premises in public or convert to the Christian faith. Hamann’s intention in the … Leipzig: Johann Friedrich Gleditsch, 1747. Mendelssohn was exposed to the Enlightenment writings of British political phi-losopher John Locke (1632–1704) and in 1754 met Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, forging a lifelong friendship with the philosopher and play-wright. of Young Werther epitomized German Sturm und Drang movement; into the spotlight and left it ripe for both elaboration and criticism, the brilliant Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716), Although Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics have made him one of the most influential figures in modern Western philosophy. He joined Britannica in 1989. The most prominent German idealists in the movement, besides Kant, were Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762–1814), Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775–1854) and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel(1770–1831) who was the predominan… of the Enlightenment advancements that took place in France. philosopher who formulated idea of transcendental idealism; had enormous it went off in an entirely different direction from the English The totalnumber of German newspapers had barely increased at all in the 150yearsleading up to the Enlightenment, and the literary language in the countrywas predominantly Latin, which made the dispersion of other Enlightene… the period of intellectual ferment leading up to the French Revolution, which was distinguished by a fundamental questioning of traditional modes of thought and social organization, and sought to replace these with an exclusive reliance on human reason in determining social practices. the French and English Enlightenment, Leibniz was very religious Reason (1781). with religion or the Church that there was in France. which he finally released as the Critique of Pure Pushing the Enlightenment to its very limits, Kant’s monumental work, the Critique of Pure Reason, challenged traditional epistemology, the branch of philosophy con-cerned with the nature and grounds of knowledge, especially regarding its limits and validity, by investigating the limits and meaning of reason itself. In those years Protestant writers like Andreas Gryphius and Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen had been largely responsible for the creation of a national literature in Germany, a literature which, despite touches of humor and the picaresque, had often concentrated on creating new modes of expression for a langu… Working at roughly the same time as Thomasius, the German phi-losopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646–1716) was also instrumental in spreading the spirit of the Aufklärung throughout Germany. DAlembert, a leading figure of the French Enlightenment, characterizes his eighteenth century, in the midst of it, as the century of philosophy par excellence, because of the tremendous intellectual and scientific progress of the age, but also because of the expectation of the age that philosophy (in the broad sense of the time, which includes the natural an… French philosophers of the Enlightenment. Without question, one of the greatest and most inﬂ uential minds of the Aufklärung was the eminent German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who was a rough contemporary of Lessing and Mendelssohn born in the Prussian city of Königsberg in 1724. Immanuel Kant was born April 22, 1724 in Königsberg. The play, published in 1779 and set in medieval Jerusalem, illustrates the themes of religious toleration, cross-cultural understanding, and moral relativism through the story of a Muslim sultan, a Christian knight, and a Jewish merchant who come to mutual understanding during a dispute over a priceless ring. universe—the work of a perfect God. Beginning in the late 17th century, the Enlightenment, an intellectual movement marked by its efforts to reform society by applying the power of reason, had spread to Germany from France and Britain. ... Devasted Germany and made German princes independent of HRE-reason why Germany wsan't unified1800's. university. His dualism was challenged by Spinoza's uncompromising assertion of the unity of matter in his Tractatus German idealist philosophers sought thereby to restore reason to its former preeminence and grandeur as the universal tool through which human understanding of reality is possible. A true Enlightenment thinker, in matters of religion, Lessing relied upon the power of reason and boldly called for the toleration of other religious faiths within Christian society, a stance that drew strident protests from prominent clergymen and prompted the censorship of his works.Prevented from publishing further philosophical works advocating tolerance, Lessing used the stage to express his views, penning his most famous work, the play Nathan the Wise. Many thinkers and philosophers were associated with these developments, amongst them Voltaire (1694 … in the universe consisted of monads, which he conceived of Definition: the Enlightenment (French Lumière, German Aufklärung, English Enlightenment) is a particular type of worldview and philosophy that characterizes the cultural life of Europe and America in the 18th century. The 18th century is the main philosophical century, the philosophy of the Enlightenment. German Enlightenment. Other Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment philosophers that developed and complicated the concept of natural rights were John Lilburne, Francis Hutcheson, Georg Hegel, and Thomas Paine. leading up to the Enlightenment, and the literary language in the country The German Enlightenment never subjected religion of physics or astronomy, could dictate the operation of human society. He is widely considered to be a central figure of modern philosophy. the latter of which came at the hands of Hume and Kant. An innovative thinker, Leibniz left his mark in mathematics and is credited alongside Newton with inventing inﬁ ni-tesimal calculus. Lessing, whose works arguing that Jews could have the same moral character as Christians met with derision and scorn in 1750s Berlin, admired Mendelssohn and encouraged him to publish several early writings anonymously. It is nevertheless possible to make out some general features of this broader trend: at the center of Enlightenment thought is the human capacity for critical reasoning, an ability which philosophers of the time considered to have so far been underutilized and rendered impotent by unquestioning adherence t… Hamann’s rejection of the Enlightenment was greeted with distress by his friends Kant and Berens. Eager to apply his principles to social reform, Thomasius was instrumental in ending witchcraft prosecution in Germany, using rational arguments to expose the dubious foundations of such fantastic beliefs. in Königsberg, East Prussia, for his entire life, Kant began his Although the ethos of this age found its clearest (and certainly its most famous) articulation towards the end of the century with Immanuel Kant and his critical philosophy, he was not the first to issue this call.