Enlightened Literature on Human Nature

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Enlightened Literature on Human Nature
The Age of Reason, also known as the Enlightenment, was a movement in which the power of reason was employed to rethink and reform society as a whole as well as various other concepts of human existence. During that time period (about 1650-1800), numerous thinkers such as John Locke, Isaac Newton and Voltaire exercised reason to challenge the basis of their society, which was built on the premise of an Almighty God. Prior to the Enlightenment, the answer to countless questions was only known to God and God alone; however, with the deterioration of this presumption, man was left to discover everything he once believed to be incomprehensible. These noble men questioned religion, science, mathematics and eventually came to question how men should be governed, how money and economics should function and how the human race should operate. The examination of mankind led to many varying philosophies that depicted men as wild, blood-thirsty beasts of passion or sensible, upright creatures, creating juxtaposition. Many forms of writing were directly influenced by the social and philosophical measures this time period contained. Articulated in the literature was man’s questioning of every idea that was once certain, promoting the desire to examine human nature.
The influx of knowledge and reason combine with the rebuttal against the idea of an omniscient deity heavily influenced Enlightenment literature. With the invention of the printing press in 1440, the role of the monks in filtering and then copying by hand the literature was greatly diminished which enabled the literature to slowly move away from the influence of religion. In A Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume essentially disregards the influence of God and religion upon man in his writing. In the entire work of hundreds of pages, he mentions God only four times, three of…...

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