The Age of Reason was a period in time during the 18th century in Europe and America when man become enlightened by reason, science, and humanity. The people involved with the Age of Reason were convinced that human reason could discover the natural laws of the universe, the natural rights of mankind, and the progress in knowledge. Each philosopher had his own ideas and theories about the world, nature, and human beings in general, and every philosopher wrote many essays and books about their own personal ideas and opinions (Sartre4). David Hume was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 7, 1711. Educated at home and then at the University of Edinburgh; here he studies law but then decides to pursue an independent study of his own ideas (Sartre 132).
From 1734 to 1737 Hume was busy writing his book, A Treatise of Human Nature, which talked about the problems of thoughtful philosophy (Hampshire 105). However, the public ignored this important piece of work making Hume feel like he was “dead-born.” After this horrible reaction to A Treatise of Human Nature Hume went back home where he started thinking more about ethics and political economy. Along with these thoughts Hume wrote books expressing how he felt about these subjects (Snyder34). Essay Moral and Political was one book that enclosed an essay written by Hume dealing with ethics and political economy. Hume felt that ethical thinking was the idea of knowing right from wrong and comes about from ones own self-happiness. Benevolence was the biggest moral good as far as Hume was concerned. The unselfish understanding of anybody or anything’s general welfare was very important to David Hume. Aside from that, Hume also had a great influence in the development of skepticism and empiricism, which are two schools of philosophy (Snyder 45).David Hume’s greatest influences were British philosophers John Locke and Bishop George Berkeley. Hume was able to find the differences in reason and sensation just like Berkeley, but Hume took his findings to another level. Hume was able to prove that reason and rational judgment are nothing more than usual associations of an individual’s prior knowledge. (Hampshire, 115) David Hume contributed many excellent points and ideas about ethics, political economy, skepticism and empiricism, and wrote many good pieces of literature about his idea…
Philosopher, Friedrich Schleiermacher, had ideas dealing with a more religious aspect (Sartre 57). He believed that religion was the feeling of absolute dependence on a person. He also stated that sins were a result of the inability to make a difference between a dependence of God and the earth world (Hampshire, 170).
There were many intelligent men all over the world that sat down and thought about extremely meaningful things during the Age of Reason. Their ideas and opinions are still talked about. These men are just a few of the hundreds that contributed to the age of reason whether it is a small contribution or an enormous one. Either way, the different aspects of these men have allowed people in modern times to voice their opinion and not be afraid to try, just like these men have.
Hampshire, Stuart. The Age of Reason: The SeventeenthCentury Philosophers. Ayer Company Publishers, Inc. 1977
Paine, Thomas. The Age of Reason. Carol Publishing Group,1977.
Sartre, Jean-Paul. The Age of Reason Vol. 1. Trans. EricSutton. Vintage Books, 1973.
Snyder, Louis Leo. The Age of Reason. Krieger PublishingCompany, 1979.