Voltaire’s Criticism of Leibniz
The Enlightenment, or Age of Reason, was a time of great intellectual and moral growth for humanity. In part because of the increasing effect of the Protestant Reformation, people were starting to turn to reason for the answers to life’s questions, rather than to the dogmas of the Catholic Church. Scientific inquiry became widespread and accepted as the standard for inquiring into the nature of the universe. The scientific method was developed. For the first time in the history of art, perspective was used in paintings. (Now people who were farther away looked farther away). Great advances were made in medicine, in part because of pioneers like Leonardo da Vinci, who studied the human body inside and out and used reason to discover what secrets it kept hidden, rather than accepting (as was common at the time) the ancient Greek idea that sickness was caused by an imbalance of the four elements in the body. The Enlightenment also marked the advent of capitalism, an economic system which, in theory, is a meritocracy in which the skilled producers and traders rise to the top of the economic spectrum through their own effort. Capitalism stands as a stark contrast to the earlier, pre-Enlightenment economic situation, in which the rich tended to come from the aristocracy, the poor tended to be serfs bonded to a certain section of land, and opportunities for economic advancement for the majority comprised of non-aristocratic individuals was severely limited.
During the Age of Reason, several important philosophical ideas were also developed. Some of the most important, which still influence the lives of Westerners on a daily basis, were the political doctrines developed in Europe in …
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