Age of the clearing-up

the age of the clearing-up designates one epoch in the mental development of the western society in 17. to 18. Century, which is coined/shaped by the tendency particularly, thinking with the means of the reason traditional, rigidand conceptions of releasing prejudices and ideologies overhauled and of creating acceptance for again attained knowledge.

Table of contents

to clearing-up generally

Kant: Was ist Aufklärung?
Kant: What is clearing-up?

By clearing-up generally senses one understands to analyze a social Emanzipationsprozess, a whose goal is it, critically traditional, authoritarian attitudes of mind which are based on Frömmigkeit, around onesobered up culture of the reason feed motion to carry out. Enlightened humans are not to trust no more the defaults of the authorities or from mode and spirit of the time, but according to the definition of Immanuel Kant out „his were to blame for minority “(with that those frequently thatPutridness owed inability is meant to avail itself without assistance another of its understanding) goes out and its life certainly into the hand takes.

Examples of clearing-up processes are the Greek clearing-up in the age of the antique ones or the modern European clearing-up, thoseby first supports itself.

The modern European clearing-up begins with the Wiedergeburt of the antique spirit in the Renaissance. These and the reformation form play for the age in such a way specified of the clearing-up. Zwischen diesem Vorspiel und der „tatsächlichen“Clearing-up lies however the 30-jährige war. Therefore the clearing-up is called also the continuation of the Renaissance after the 30-jährigen war.

The age of the clearing-up is called often briefly clearing-up, although the clearing-up process has a menschheitliche and world-historical dimensionand not only in 17. Century in Western Europe began itself and also not at the end 18. Century discharged.

One can divide the age of the clearing-up also with the novelists Werner Krauss into early clearing-up, clearing-up and late clearing-up. Then understandsone under clearing-up strictly speaking the period in the center 18. Century, which was determined in France spirit-historically by the discussions around the Encyclopédie.

With the time of this clearing-up a scientific and technical realization progress accompanied. It affectedalso strongly the education of human conceptions, because also the ethics should be subjected to rational criteria.

historical background

the age of the clearing-up is the epoch of European history of ideas in 17. and 18. Century. It was coined/shaped by oneMovement of the secularization and a break with the absolutist to a democratic view of state and arising the liberalism with its concept of the people and citizen rights. The movement stepped for reasonable thinking and against prejudices and religious superstition, against it one „reason religion “developed. Science and education should be promoted and spread in all people layers.

The clearing-up proceeded particularly from England, France, Poland and Germany. The most important conditions for the clearing-upwere the preceeding Renaissance, the new discoveries in overseas and the new conception of the world developed from it, the paper trade and the printing. Thus the book acquisition became affordable also for the civil public, a publishing trade with newspaper production and book market developed.

Toward end 17. Century was travel literature in mode. If one had considered the European (and Christians) superior before, one read now that some differently ones or disbelieving ones, like for example the Chinese, very probably high ethical principles and an own Advanced culture to have knew. The travel literature of those days practiced in such a manner more or less clearly criticism at the European society. In fictitious reports on a journey, e.g. Montesquieus Persian letters, in which two Perser Europe visit, see the readers their world by the eyesthe strangers - with illuminating amusing sow-Irish effects.

As one of the most important achievements of the clearing-up the Verabschiedung of the first democratic conditions in the USA is considered 1787, Poland 1791 and France 1791.

general characteristics

Licht als Symbol der Aufklärung
light as symbolthe clearing-up

the most important principle of the clearing-up it meant that the reason was capable to bring the truth to the light. Not few trailers of the clearing-up landed because of this conviction, its research results or political opinions behind lock and latch plate or had to flee.

Immanuel Kant supplied with briefly before the end of the clearing-up epoch the most well-known definition in its writing which is clearing-up?. There is also the guidance saying: „Property courage to serve you of your own understanding! “(„Sapere aude “). Itaims at the outside resistance against the clearing-up, in addition, at the internal release from patronizing (see also: Priest fraud theory). To the place of the sharply criticized but faith the request was set to at any time even think.

Spinoza represented inits theological-political treatise of 1670 the thesis, Judentum and Christianity are only passing phenomena without absolute validity. The demand of the reconnaissance aircraft after thought and faith liberty could appoint itself among other things to John Lockes of letters over the tolerance (1689). John Toland published 1696 a book, in which he stated, the Bible are partially a falsification and the church have an interest in it, humans to be deceptive. Jean Meslier went into his observations and demands still substantially beyond Toland. Pierre Bayleit attacked the superstition that comets mischief announce, and other prejudices, while the dutchman Balthasar Bekker took the witch processes on the grain. Its compatriot Gerhard Noodt expressed itself as a rector of the Leidener university in a Rektoratsrede 1699 for the fact that the princepower by the people to be taken can. In a further speech 1706 he endorsed the absolute liberty of the subjects in religion questions opposite the prince.

Humans of the clearing-up accelerated the faith, reason and liberty became mankind in foreseeable timerelease from suppression and poverty. Also many believed knowledge in the Slogan „are power “from Francis Bacon. In France so the famous Encyclopédie developed. Given change it was d'Alembert by Denis Diderot and Jean, and some reconnaissance aircraft alsoarticles for the Hauptwerk of the clearing-up wrote large name such as Voltaire and Montesquieu.

Jean Jacques Rousseau took part likewise. It is not called however of all reconnaissance aircraft. In its writing over the sciences and the arts of 1750 he answered in the negativethe question whether these would have contributed to moral progress of mankind. Its political writings affected relevant representatives of the French revolution.

Voltaire was an inexorable opponent of the church and a Erneuerer of the historiography. A large part of his good reputation owesit its successful fight against glaring mistakes and/or. Arbitrariness judgements of the law.

The clearing-up was above all thing of the wealthy ones, in particular the economically successful middle class. Some Aristokraten sympathized with the movement and supported into legal or financial distress reconnaissance aircraft turned out. Condorcetwent so far completely putting down his title of nobility.

Due to the strict censorship in France some French printering in Amsterdam worked, where also famous reconnaissance aircraft refuge found. Writings were smuggled from there to France. The same sample pointed itself to Austria; manyPrinting elements appeared in Germany.

The clearing-up was not the only cause of the French revolution, it however in many aspects coined/shaped: Their leaders, radical trailers of the clearing-up, created the influence of the church off and arranged calendar, clock, mass, money systemand laws on the basis purely rational criteria again. The French revolution generally marks the end of the clearing-up.

The extreme stress of reason and objectivity of the clearing-up led the individuality and subjective experience stressed and humans to the reaction, the romance,in a world, in which values and rules were only determined according to criteria of the reason, when prisoner saw.

However the age of the clearing-up included also some important non-rational movements, as for example the Mesmerismus.

The clearing-up becomes still strongerfrom postmodernism and Dekonstruktivismus criticizes, which answer absolute objective values and truths in the negative and logic not when see exclusive basis of the human knowledge.

typical characteristics

  • thinking movements in all areas
  • critical asking, thinking and doubts become the virtue
  • tolerancethe religions demanded
  • citizen attain this life orientation of humans (no more concentration on lives after
  • death) self-confident its by economic changes like e.g. by the Manufakturwesen, which makes the middle class the economically most meaning layer; World middle class
  • read companies, there most citizens notto read and “the clearing-up of the civil reader” were thus obstructed increasing
  • importance of the realization from the sensory perception (Empirismus) wisdom
  • and intellect knew increasing relevance of the ability to think created in the understanding (rationalism, logical and
  • independent thinking) to become virtues
  • virtue and theirPromotion for the principal purpose of the epoch
  • „property “and „the reasonable “nature
  • instead of revealed religion as reference human
  • understanding are equated as instrument of the perception
  • liberty instead of absolutism; Equality instead of condition order; Experience, scientific realization instead of prejudice and superstition, tolerance instead ofDogmatismus
  • „humans is by nature good, one must it it only show. “

acquaintance representative of the clearing-up

in alphabetical order:


  • Immanuel Kant: „Clearing-up is the exit of humans from its indebted minority. Minority is the inability to avail itself of its understanding without line of another. This minority is selfindebted, if the cause the same not at the lack of the understanding, but the resolution andthe courage lies to avail itself its without line of another. “


  • honouring hard Bahr (Hrsg.): What is clearing-up? Theses and definitions. Reclam, Stuttgart2004, ISBN 3-15-009714-2
  • Ernst Cassirer: The philosophy of the clearing-up. Mine, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-7873-1362-1
  • Gudrun Hentges: Shade sides of the clearing-up. The representation of Jews and “wild ones” in philosophical writings 18. and 19. Century. Week looking publishing house, Schwalbach/T. 1999, ISBN 3-87920-485-3
  • franc Kelleter: American clearing-up. Languages of the Rationalität in the age of the revolution. Schöningh, Paderborn 2002, ISBN 3-506-74416-X
  • Panajotis Kondylis: The clearing-up in the context of the modern rationalism. Mine, Hamburg 2002, ISBN 3-7873-1613-2
  • Werner Krauss: Studies to the German andFrench clearing-up. Rütten & Loening, Berlin 1963
  • Peter Pütz: The German clearing-up. Scientific book company, Darmstadt 1991, ISBN 3-534-06092-X
  • Helmut Reinalter (Hrsg.): The clearing-up in Austria. Ignaz of fount and its time. Long, Frankfurt/M. 1991, ISBN 3-631-43379-4 (Democratic movements in Central Europe 1770-1850; Bd. 4)
  • Yokes Schmidt (Hrsg.): Clearing-up and Gegenaufklärung in the European literature, philosophy and policy from the antique one to the present. Scientific book company, Darmstadt 1989, ISBN 3-534-10251-7
  • Winfried Schröder (Hrsg.): French clearing-up. Civil one Emancipation, literature and consciousness-shaping. Reclam, Leipzig 1979
  • Jürgen Stenzel (Hrsg.): The age of the clearing-up (German writers in, Bd haven-guesses/advises. 2), Beck, Munich 1980, ISBN 3-406-06020-X

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See also


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