Reaching its height in late Eighteenth Century Europe, the Enlightenment was
a philosophical movement which has profoundly influenced contemporary world
views. Enlightenment philosophers and scientists encouraged the application
of human reason to questions of religion, politics, societal disputes and economics.
Rational consideration of such problems would inevitably lead to progress, with
society moving gradually towards perfection. The Enlightenment world view underpins
"common sense" notions we have about progress, development, and modernity.
Last Modified: 19 April, 2002