1. What do the authors of the textbook mean by a change in the "climate of opinion" in western Europe?
  2. What three significant changes in the character or direction of European thought were evident before the close of the seventeenth century?
  3. What was the relationship between the scientific revolution and the age of Enlightenment? What time periods are assigned to each?
  4. How did the astronomical discoveries of Kepler and Galileo prepare the way for an intellectual revolution?
  5. What assumptions were shared by Bacon the empiricist and Descartes the rationalist? How did the differences in their philosophies affect the subsequent development of science?
  6. What dualism was inherent in Descartes's conception of reality?
  7. What is the justification for considering Sir Isaac Newton "the greatest scientist of all time"?
  8. Why would historians of science consider Newton's law of gravity to be "the most stupendous single achievement of the human mind"?
  9. What were the three basic premises of the thought of the Enlightenment?
  10. Describe the religious belief known as Deism. In what respects does it illustrate the Enlightenment's climate of opinion? Why was it attractive to so many Enlightenment thinkers?
  11. Enlightenment thinkers inclined to the belief that the science of human nature could be "reduced to a few clear points." What prompted such optimism?
  12. How did John Locke's theory of knowledge encourage belief in human perfectibility?
  13. What aspects of Voltaire's career or teachings entitle him to be called "the personification of the Enlightenment"?
  14. How does the story Candide differ in its message from the bulk of Voltaire's pronouncements? In what way is Candide atypical of the Enlightenment?
  15. What basic concept did David Hume share with John Locke? Why did Hume's conclusions undermine all assurance that anything can be known for certain?
  16. How did the objectives of Diderot's Encyclopedia differ from the objectives of most encyclopedias today?
  17. What was Rousseau's contribution to political theory?
  18. What "simple system of natural liberty" did Adam Smith espouse? What effects of his teachings are in evidence today?
  19. What factors limited the impact of the Enlightenment upon the common people? Why did the philosophes not make a greater effort to reach the masses?
  20. Citing specific advances in science, demonstrate that the Enlightenment was not restricted to France and England.
  21. Why did the science of chemistry not develop as early as mathematics and physics? What factors slowed the progress of medicine?
  22. In what respects was Kant's philosophy typical of the Enlightenment and in what respects did it diverge? Explain what he meant by the "categorical imperative."
  23. What varying influences were evident in the art of England and the Netherlands during this period?
  24. What characteristics of the society that produced it are reflected in the Rococo style of architecture and interior decoration?
  25. Why did the modern novel begin its development in England rather than in France? What are the essential differences between the romance and the novel?
  26. Explain this statement: "That a woman should emerge around 1800 as a greater writer of novels than most men was almost inevitable."
  27. In what ways did Jane Austen surpass her male predecessors as a novelist?
  28. Why, according to the authors of the text, was music the most innovative of all the arts during the Enlightenment?
  29. What does the term "Classical" mean as applied to the composers Mozart and Haydn?
  30. What new musical forms are credited to the eighteenth-century Classical era?
  1. The period of the Enlightenment witnessed "the most important mutation in all of European intellectual history between the Middle Ages and the present." Prove or disprove this assertion.
  2. Defend or attack this proposition: "The philosophes were on the whole visionary idealists rather than practical reformers."
  3. What basic assumptions of the Enlightenment are reflected in the selection from The Encyclopedia and Essay on Man?
  4. To what extent were such Americans as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson good representatives of the Enlightenment?
  5. What significant resemblances and differences can you discover between the scientific revolution of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and that of the Hellenistic Age?
  6. What does Rousseau mean by the Sovereign? Why is the power of the Sovereign absolute?
  7. What does Rousseau mean by "compelling men to be free"?
  8. John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau both believed that civil society arose from a social contract. How did they differ in their interpretation of the contract and the character of the government instituted thereby?
  9. Read a novel by Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion) for a sense of the attitudes and manners of the English gentry.
  10. Read Alexander Pope's Essay on Man as an example of Enlightenment classicism. What was Pope's conception of the functioning of the universe? What was the place of mankind in the universe? Why was it that Pope argued "the proper study of Mankind is Man"?
  11. Study Carl Becker's critique of the skepticism of Hume and Diderot (Becker, The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers, Chapters 2 and 3).
  12. Read the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution. How much influence from the Enlightenment can you find in these documents? What specific ideas--and from whom-- did the authors of these documents borrow?


W.W. Norton
REVIEW: World Civilizations
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