Evaluate the degree of enlightenment of Spanish society according to the picture Herr presents.
The essay’s central arguments:
The definition of enlightenment to give an accurate evaluation of Herr’s picture:
• Enlightenment is a process of change of attitudes towards what was previously taken for granted.
• Defined through a philosopher of the period, EmmanuelKant’s view of enlightenment and the historians, Lucian Goldmann and Philip Deacon.
• This process entails an empirical view of truth, a scepticism of past beliefs and received opinions.
• The end result is a society that is left to and does think for itself, is innovative and free from received opinions and actively pursues the improvement of human society.
To a greater and lesser extentHerr portrays the old order: oligarchy, church and a large subservient peasant population as major obstacles to the process of changing attitudes, enlightenment, in 18th century Spanish society.
They held the power to change themselves and the country in line with this new empirical view of truth to reform and advance society; improve it for the greater good.
The criteria will evaluate thedegree of enlightenment in Spanish society against the against the definition outlined
1. The extent to which the old order prevented or took on enlightenment, the novel method of thinking to improve society
2. The degree to which Spanish society changed their opinions and emancipated themselves
3. To what extent they maintained their orthodox thinking and actions.
This will judge thedegree to which the novel method of thinking infiltrated the Spanish way of thinking by the results it had on the most orthodox and stubborn members of society.
Jonathan Israel will provide an account of the principles of ‘Radical Enlightenment’ to explain the ‘Moderate Enlightenment’ that Spain witnesses. This will show the degree of enlightenment that Spain could possibly hope to have consideringits monarchic-ecclesiastic-aristocratic order.
7. Read pages 3-235 of Richard Herr's book The Eighteenth-Century Revolution in Spain and evaluate the degree of enlightenment of Spanish society according to the picture Herr presents.
Defining Enlightenment is a thorny issue, which must first be clarified to construct an accurate evaluation of Herr’sportrayal of Spanish society.
Enlightenment should be seen as a process of change in the mindset towards what was previously accepted. This conception is understood in the context of eighteenth century thinking, founded on the empirical view of truth that was implemented in the discoveries of the preceding centuries. This scientific method of thought that evolved was an exemplar model of howimprovement takes place through scepticism, experimentation and the rational questioning of past beliefs. The novel method of thought was taken up in individuals’ minds, over several generations, before it became conscious of itself, at which time writers and governors applied the same method to question many disciplines including the status quo and cure society’s ills; by freeing them from receivedopinions.
There are two illuminating descriptions that complement each other in explaining how the advance of reason ameliorated both the individual and society. Firstly, Kant’s analogy synthesises ‘enlightened’ thinking in his statement, ‘La ilustración es la salida del hombre de su minoría de edad’ . He infers that the ilustración is the process of man achieving maturity by emancipating himselffrom higher guidance through a self-consciousness of his own reason. This provides a good starting point to evaluate Spain’s experience of the iIustración as it doesn’t aim ‘definir un movimiento’ , but rather a principle that can be applied to each sector of society. Secondly, Goldmann describes it as: the beginning of man’s awareness of himself as an active participant in the construction of...