What was the Enlightenment

Ref: C2228308

.....Some commentators today refer to the Enlightenment as the period in which the modern world was created - through a new language of rights and sovereignty. Others claim that the Enlightenment promised more than it could ever have delivered - and so blame it for the problems we face today. Bring an open mind to this course, and reach your own conclusion! A great need to understand, to apply reason, to learn how to use scientific method drove the movement forward - and it was a movement. Different countries all produced their own, slightly different "enlightenments". Having examined the principal expressions of these new ideas, we may be in a position to ask ourselves: are we enlightened? Do we really learn from history? Plenty to discuss is guaranteed!

Course aim

18th century Europe saw a remarkable flowering of new ideas, essentially concerned with progress and improvement, which would be achieved through scientific method, and the application of reason. We shall examine the major themes that emerged.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • assess the contributions made by the leading thinkers of the period
  • recognise why "reason" is the great 18th century buzzword
  • identify a number of different "enlightenments"
  • contribute, with confidence, to discussions of the themes

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Just an open and enquiring mind!

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

What was the Enlightenment


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
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  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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