Voltaire's Philosophy Ideas and Contributions to the Enlightenment




Voltiare’s main contribution to the Enlightenment was freedom of speech, press and religion and opposition to monarchy, militarism and slavery. He was very pessimistic of human nature. He didn’t want to create a perfect world. He just wanted everyone to know that it could be a better place if we substituted ignorance and superstition for knowledge and rational thought. Voltaire thought poorly of the French Bourgeoisie, the Aristocracy, the commoners and the church. Voltaire believed that progress and change could only be brought about by a monarchy advised by philosophers, like himself. Voltaire was a crusader against tyranny and bigotry, external image Buste_de_Voltaire.jpghe was more skeptical than Rousseau but was still influenced by the French Revolution. Voltaire defended freedom of speech and religious tolerance and said that the ideal religion would teach more morality than dogma. The two things Voltaire felt the mostly strongly against were religious intolerance and an absolutist government. external image voltaire.jpgHe said the Catholic massacre of Protestants on Saint Bartholomew’s Day was “a terrible demonstration of the violence and inhumanity to which the pacific teachings of Jesus can lead." Voltaire became a skeptic after the neo-Pyrrhonian revival of the renaissance. Voltaire believed in religious liberty, and that the more religions there were the more peace and happiness would be possible. Voltaire was a vigorous defender of natural science when it came to being the anecdote to useless philosophical investigation. He tried to clarify the distinction between science and philosophy. Voltaire was responsible for making modern philosophy go down the path that it has followed to today. An author known as David Wootton, who wrote the book 'Unhappy Voltaire', believes that Voltair was the victim of sexual abuse as a child and this results in his attempt to learn to live with his experience of evil and misery, as a form of self-therapy. Voltaire’s influence on the popularity of science and philosophy was beyond measure. Voltaire had a passion for clarity and reason yet he often contradicted himself. He advocated reform but had a horror for the violence of revolution. Voltaire believed in natural religion and was against intolerance in church and state relations as well as the philosophy of the church in general. Voltaire got his ideas about philosophy from Newton and Clarke, his ideas about toleration from Locke and the main ideas about ethics from Shaftesbury. Voltaire believed that all that is common to human nature is the same in every culture. The reason for any changes in humans are from climate, government and religion. Voltaire’s most important achievement was to have introduced the thought of Isaac Newton and John Lock to France. Voltaire’s idea of Liberty and Morality were an important part of hos his Enlightenment philosophy. Voltaire considered himself a Deist and believed a higher being controlled our world, but did not believe in god.


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