What Did the Enlightenment Thinkers Hope to Achieve?

The Enlightenment thinkers aimed to promote reaching conclusions via scientific reasoning, wanted to end injustices in the European judicial system and wished to challenge war. As a diverse movement, the Enlightenment period introduced multiple aims from a variety of philosophers.

Some of the ideas proposed during the Enlightenment include:

  • Rene Descartes contributed to the philosophical field by using math and science to reach conclusions.
  • Cesare Beccaria wished to put an end to injustices throughout Europe, and he achieved this by publishing books that highlighted them.
  • John Comenius proposed using tolerance and education as an alternative to war following the Thirty Years' War. In addition, Hugo Grotius published a book called "On the Law of War and Peace" to promote a more balanced approach to war.
  • Alongside other philosophers, Denis Diderot promoted the fields of science and art by publishing an encyclopedia. His work was complemented by people like Benjamin Franklin, who frequently traveled between the U.S. and Europe to promote an exchange of information.
  • Olympe de Gouges was one of Europe's earliest feminists, and she aimed to promote women's rights.
  • Thomas Hobbes was one of the first philosophers to promote the idea that humans are self-driven creatures, rather than individuals under the control of deities.
  • Individuals like David Hume and Emmanuel Kant challenged the time's idea of religion during the 18th century.