The Age of Enlightenment was a cultural movement of intellectuals beginning in late 17th-century Western Europe emphasizing reason and individualism rather than tradition. It spread across Europe and to the United States, continuing to the end of the 18th century. Its purpose was to reform society using reason, to challenge ideas grounded in tradition and faith, and to advance knowledge through the scientific method. It promoted scientific thought, skepticism, and intellectual interchange. The Enlightenment was a revolution in human thought. This new way of thinking was that rational thought begins with clearly stated principles, uses correct logic to arrive at conclusions, tests the conclusions against evidence, and then revises the principles in the light of the evidence.

Enlightenment thinkers opposed superstition. Some Enlightenment thinkers collaborated with enlightened despots, absolutist rulers who attempted to forcibly put some of the new ideas about government into practice. The ideas of the Enlightenment continue to exert significant influence on the culture, politics, and governments of the Western world.
Originating around the 17th century, it was mainly sparked by philosophers such as Francis Bacon (1562-1626), René Descartes (1596-1650), Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677), John Locke (1632–1704), Pierre Bayle (1647–1706), Voltaire (1694–1778), Francis Hutcheson, (1694–1746), David Hume (1711–1776), Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) and Isaac Newton (1643–1727).  Ruling princes often endorsed and fostered these figures and even attempted to apply their ideas of government in what was known as enlightened absolutism. The Scientific Revolution is closely tied to the Enlightenment, as its discoveries overturned many traditional concepts and introduced new perspectives on nature and man's place within it. The Enlightenment flourished until about 1790–1800, at which point the Enlightenment, with its emphasis on reason, gave way to Romanticism, which placed a new emphasis on emotion; a Counter-Enlightenment began to increase in prominence. The Romantics argued that the Enlightenment was reductionist insofar as it had largely ignored the forces of imagination, mystery, and sentiment.
In France, Enlightenment was based in the salons and culminated in the great Encyclopédie (1751–72) edited by Denis Diderot (1713–1784) and (until 1759) Jean le Rond d'Alembert (1717–1783) with contributions by hundreds of leading intellectuals who were called philosophes, notably Voltaire (1694–1778), Rousseau (1712–1778) and Montesquieu (1689–1755). Some 25,000 copies of the 35 volume encyclopedia were sold, half of them outside France. These new intellectual strains would spread to urban centres across Europe, notably England, Scotland, the German states, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Italy, Austria, Spain. It was also very successful in the United States, where its influence was manifested in the works of Francophiles like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, among others. It played a major role in the American Revolution. The political ideals of the Enlightenment influenced the American Declaration of Independence, the United States Bill of Rights, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and the Polish–Lithuanian Constitution of May 3, 1791.


Physiocracy (from the Greek for "Government of Nature") is an economic theory developed by a group of 18th century French economists who believed that the wealth of nations was derived solely from the value of "land agriculture" or "land development" and that agricultural products should be highly priced. Their theories originated in France and were most popular during the second half of the 18th century. Physiocracy is perhaps the first well-developed theory of economics.
The movement was particularly dominated by François Quesnay (1694–1774) and Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot (1727–1781). It immediately preceded the first modern school, classical economics, which began with the publication of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations in 1776.
The most significant contribution of the Physiocrats was their emphasis on productive work as the source of national wealth. This is in contrast to earlier schools, in particular mercantilism, which often focused on the ruler's wealth, accumulation of gold, or the balance of trade. Whereas, the Mercantilist school of economics said that value in the products of society was created at the point of sale, by the seller exchanging his products for more money than the products had "previously" been worth, the Physiocratic school of economics was the first to see labor as the sole source of value. However, for the Physiocrats, only agricultural labor created this value in the products of society. All "industrial" and non-agricultural labor was "unproductive appendages" to agricultural labor.
At the time the Physiocrats were formulating their ideas, economies were almost entirely agrarian. That is presumably why the theory considered only agricultural labor to be valuable. Physiocrats viewed the production of goods and services as consumption of the agricultural surplus, since the main source of power was from human or animal muscle and all energy was derived from the surplus from agricultural production. Profit in capitalist production was really only the "rent" obtained by the owner of the land on which the agricultural production is taking place.
The perceptiveness of the Physiocrats' recognition of the key significance of land was reinforced in the following half-century, when fossil fuels had been harnessed through the use of steam power. Productivity increased many fold. Railways, and steam-powered water supply and sanitation systems, made possible cities of several millions, with land values many times greater than agricultural land. Thus, whilst modern economists also recognize manufacturing and services as productive and wealth-creating, the underlying principles laid down by the Physiocrats remain valid. Physiocracy also has an important contemporary relevance in that all life remains dependent on the productivity of the raw soil and the ability of the natural environment to renew itself.
Historian David B. Danbom explains, "The Physiocrats damned cities for their artificiality and praised more natural styles of living. They celebrated farmers."[7] They called themselves economists, but are generally referred to as physiocrats to distinguish them from the many schools of economic thought that followed them.


Encyclopedias have progressed from the beginning of history in written form, through medieval and modern times in print, and most recently, displayed on computer and distributed via computer networks.
One of the earliest encyclopedic works to have survived to modern times is the Naturalism Historian of Pliny the Elder, a Roman statesman living in the 1st century AD. He compiled a work of 37 chapters covering natural history, architecture, medicine, geography, geology, and all aspects of the world around him. He stated in the preface that he had compiled 20,000 facts from 2000 works by over 200 authors, and added many others from his own experience. The work was published around AD 77-79, although he probably never finished proofing the work before his death in the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79. Saint Isadora of Seville, one of the greatest scholars of the early Middle Ages, is widely recognized as being the author of the first known encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, the Etymologiae or Origins, in which he compiled a sizable portion of the learning available at his time, both ancient and modern. The encyclopedia has 448 chapters in 20 volumes, and is valuable because of the quotes and fragments of texts by other authors that would have been lost had they not been collected by Saint Isidore.
The most popular encyclopedia of the Carolingian Age was the De universo or De rerum naturis by Rabanus Maurus, written about 830, which was based on Etymologiae.
The early Muslim compilations of knowledge in the Middle Ages included many comprehensive works. Around year 960, the Brethren of Purity of Basra were engaged in their Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity. Notable works include Abu Bakr al-Razi's encyclopedia of science, the Mutazilite Al-Kindi's prolific output of 270 books, and Ibn Sina's medical encyclopedia, which was a standard reference work for centuries. Also notable are works of universal history (or sociology) from Asharites, al-Tabri, al-Masudi, Tabari's History of the Prophets and Kings, Ibn Rustah, al-Athir, and Ibn Khaldun, whose Muqadimmah contains cautions regarding trust in written records that remain wholly applicable today.
The enormous encyclopedic work in China of the Four Great Books of Song, compiled by the 11th century AD during the early Song Dynasty (960–1279), was a massive literary undertaking for the time. The last encyclopedia of the four, the Prime Tortoise of the Record Bureau, amounted to 9.4 million Chinese characters in 1,000 written volumes.


Anatomy in Margarita Philosophica, 1565
These works were all hand copied and thus rarely available, beyond wealthy patrons or monastic men of learning: they were expensive, and usually written for those extending knowledge rather than those using it.
During Renaissance the creation of printing allowed a wider diffusion of encyclopedias and every scholar could have his or her own copy. The De expetendis et fugiendis rebus by Giorgio Valla was posthumously printed in 1501 by Aldo Manuzio in Venice. This work followed the traditional scheme of liberal arts. However, Valla added the translation of ancient Greek works on mathematics (firstly by Archimedes), newly discovered and translated. The Margarita Philosophica by Gregor Reisch, printed in 1503, was a complete encyclopedia explaining the seven liberal arts.
The term encyclopaedia was coined by 16th century humanists who misread copies of their texts of Pliny and Quintilian, and combined the two Greek words "enkyklios paideia" into one word, έγκυκλοπαιδεία. The phrase enkyklios paideia (ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία) was used by Plutarch and the Latin word Encyclopedia came from him.
The first work titled in this way was the Encyclopedia orbisque doctrinarum, hoc est omnium artium, scientiarum, ipsius philosophiae index ac divisio written by Johannes Aventinus in 1517.
The English physician and philosopher, Sir Thomas Browne used the word 'encyclopaedia' in 1646 in the preface to the reader to define his Pseudodoxia Epidemica, a major work of the 17th-century scientific revolution. Browne structured his encyclopaedia upon the time-honoured schemata of the Renaissance, the so-called 'scale of creation' which ascends through the mineral, vegetable, animal, human, planetary and cosmological worlds. Pseudodoxia Epidemica was a European best-seller, translated into French, Dutch and German as well as Latin it went through no less than five editions, each revised and augmented, the last edition appearing in 1672.

18th–19th centuries 

Encyclopédie, 1773
The beginnings of the modern idea of the general-purpose, widely distributed printed encyclopedia precede the 18th century encyclopedists. However, Chambers' Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (1728), and the Encyclopédie of Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert (1751 onwards), as well as Encyclopædia Britannica and the Conversations-Lexikon, were the first to realize the form we would recognize today, with a comprehensive scope of topics, discussed in depth and organized in an accessible, systematic method. Chambers, in 1728, followed the earlier lead of John Harris's Lexicon Technicum of 1704 and later editions (see also below); this work was by its title and content "A Universal English Dictionary of Arts and Sciences: Explaining not only the Terms of Art, but the Arts Themselves".
During the 19th and early 20th century, many smaller or less developed languages saw their first encyclopedias, using French, German, and English role models. While encyclopedias in larger languages, having large markets that could support a large editorial staff, churned out new 20-volume works in a few years and new editions with brief intervals, such publication plans often spanned a decade or more in smaller language.

Philosophe is the French word for "philosopher," and was a word that the French Enlightenment thinkers usually applied to themselves. The philosophes, like many ancient philosophers, were public intellectuals dedicated to solving the real problems of the world. They wrote on subjects ranging from current affairs to art criticism, and they wrote in every conceivable format. The Swiss philosophe Jean-Jacques Rousseau, for example, wrote a political tract, a treatise on education, constitutions for Poland and Corsica, an analysis of the effects of the theater on public morals, a best-selling novel, an opera, and a highly influential autobiography. The philosophes wrote for a broad educated public of readers who snatched up every Enlightenment book they could find at their local booksellers, even when rulers or churches tried to forbid such works.
Between 1740 and 1789, the Enlightenment acquired its name and, despite heated conflicts between the philosophes and state and religious authorities, gained support in the highest reaches of government. Although philosophe is a French word, the Enlightenment was distinctly cosmopolitan; philosophes could be found from Philadelphia to St. Petersburg. The philosophes considered themselves part of a grand "republic of letters" that transcended national political boundaries. In 1784, the German philosopher Immanuel Kant summed up the program of the Enlightenment in two Latin words: sapere aude, dare to know -- have the courage to think for yourself. The philosophes used reason to attack superstition, bigotry, and religious fanaticism, which they considered the chief obstacles to free thought and social reform. Voltaire took religious fanaticism as his chief target: "Once fanaticism has corrupted a mind, the malady is almost incurable....The only remedy for this epidemic malady is the philosophical spirit."
Enlightenment writers did not necessarily oppose organized religion, but they strenuously objected to religious intolerance. They believed that the systematic application of reason could do what religious belief could not: improve the human condition by pointing to needed reforms. Reason meant critical, informed, scientific thinking about social issues and problems. The philosophes believed that the spread of knowledge would encourage reform in every aspect of life, from the grain trade to the penal system. Chief among their desired reforms was intellectual freedom -- the freedom to use one's own reason and to publish the results. The philosophes wanted freedom of the press and freedom of religion, which they considered "Natural rights" guaranteed by "natural law." In their view, progress depended on these freedoms
In the early stages of this investigation the scalar nature of spacetime was embodied in an additional postulate. Further study indicated that it was a necessary consequence of the previous assumptions, as indicated in the preceding paragraph, and it was therefore eliminated from the list of postulates. However, if there is any question as to the logic involved in deriving this conclusion from the First Postulate the additional postulate can be restored and the number of basic physical assumptions will be increased from four to five. This comment is being made to clarify the point that the status of this principle has no bearing on the validity of the subsequent development of theory. The scalar nature of space-time is a part of the system; the only question at issue is whether or not it needs to be expressed as an additional postulate.
From the foregoing it is apparent that where n units of one component replace a single unit in association with one unit of the other kind in a linear progression, the direction of the multiple component must reverse at each end of the single unit of the opposite variety. Since space-time is scalar the reversal of direction is meaningless from the space-time standpoint and the uniform progression, one unit of space per unit of time, continues just as if there were no reversals. From the standpoint of space and time individually the progression has involved n units of one kind but only one of the other, the latter being traversed repeatedly in opposite directions. It is not necessary to assume any special mechanism for the reversal of direction. In order to meet the requirements of the First Postulate the multiple units must exist, and they can only exist by means of the directional reversals. It follows that these reversals are required by the Postulate itself.
Because of the periodic reversal of direction the multiple unit of space or time replaces the normal unidirectional space-time progression with a progression which merely oscillates back and forth over the same path. But when the translatory motion in this dimension is eliminated there is nothing to prevent the oscillating unit from progressing in another dimension, and it therefore moves outward at the normal unit velocity in a direction perpendicular to the direction of vibration. When viewed from the standpoint of a reference system which remains stationary and does not participate in the space-time progression the resultant path of the oscillating progression takes the form of a sine curve.
It is now possible to make some identifications. The oscillating system which has been described will be identified as a photon. The process of emission and movement of these photons will be identified as radiation and the space-time ratio of the oscillation will be identified as the frequency of the radiation.
Since space-time is scalar the actual direction in which any photon will be emitted is indeterminate and where a large number of photons originate at the same location the probability principles whose validity was assumed as a part of the Second Fundamental Postulate require that they be distributed equally in all directions. We find then that the theoretical universe which we are developing from the Fundamental Postulates includes radiation consisting of photons travelling outward in all directions from various points of emission at a constant velocity of one unit of space per unit of time; that is at unit velocity.
At this point it is in order to call attention to the fact that even in this early stage of the development simple explanations are already emerging for items with which previous theories have experienced great difficulty. The dual nature of radiation which causes it to travel as a wave but to act as a particle in emission and absorption has been a controversial issue for decades, yet the foregoing explanation shows that the reasons for this behavior are actually very simple. The photon acts as a particle in emission or absorption because it is a single independent entity; it travels as a wave because the resultant of its own inherent motion and that of the space-time progression has the form of a wave.
Furthermore, it is clear that this wave motion requires no medium; no troublesome hypothetical ether needs to be brought into the picture. Nor is there any need to make the unwelcome and disturbing postulate of action at a distance. The photon, having no independent translatory motion, remains at the same space-time location permanently but it is carried along by the progression of space-time itself. It acts only upon objects which do not participate in the progression and are therefore encountered in the path of motion. The nature of these objects will be discussed shortly.
A simple explanation is also provided for the observed fact that the velocity of radiation remains constant regardless of the reference system. Let us consider two photons originating at the same point and traveling in opposite directions. Each moves one unit of space in one unit of time. When the first unit of motion is complete the photons are separated by two units of space, and in the Newtonian system the relative velocity is obtained by dividing the increase in separation, two units, by the elapsed time, one unit. The result is a relative velocity of two units. But experiments indicate that if this velocity were measured it would be found to be unit velocity, not two units. The Newtonian system therefore fails at these high velocities.
Einstein met this situation by adopting a hypothesis previously advanced by Fitzgerald and Lorentz in which it is assumed that distance is not an absolute magnitude but varies with the velocity of the reference system in such a manner as to keep the relative velocity of radiation constant. In the case under consideration the velocity equation s/t = v, which produces the incorrect result 2/1 = 2 in the Newtonian system, now becomes s/1 = 1. Here it is assumed that the distance, s, automatically takes whatever value is required in order to arrive at the observed constant value of the velocity, the latter being accepted as being fixed by a law of nature. The highly artificial character of this solution of the problem aroused strong opposition when it was first proposed but it has won general acceptance by default, no reasonable alternative having heretofore appeared to challenge it.
In the theoretical universe being developed from the Fundamental Postulates physical magnitudes are absolute, and the variability which relativity theory introduces into the measurement of distance cannot be accepted. In this system, however, there is no necessity for any adhoc assumption of this kind to force agreement with the observed facts since the constant relative velocity of radiation is a natural and unavoidable consequence of the Postulates.
The controlling factor in this situation is the three-dimensional nature of time. In the particular example under consideration each photon moves one unit of space in one unit of time (the normal unit velocity of the space-time progression). Both Newton and Einstein accepted the unit of time applicable to photon B as the same unit of time which is applicable to photon A. But the Postulates of this work specify that each unit of space is equivalent to a unit of time and since the motion involves two different units of space the equivalent units of time are also two separate and distinct units. Therefore when the photons increase their separation by two units of space they also increase their separation by two units of time; that is it takes two units of time to move the photons apart two units in space. The relative velocity is then 2/2 = 1, which is completely in agreement with the observed facts.
This unit velocity relative to a photon moving in the opposite direction is identical with the velocity relative to a stationary object, and the same result is obtained for any intermediate velocity of the reference system. We therefore arrive at the general principle that the velocity of radiation in free space is independent of the reference system. Basically this is a necessary consequence of the status of unity as the true physical zero.
Share on Google Plus


NB: Join our Social Media Network on Google Plus | Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin