The main goal of the wide-ranging intellectual movement called the Enlightenment was to understand the natural world and humankind’s place in it solely on the basis of reason. The movement claimed the allegiance of a majority of thinkers in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, a period that Thomas Paine called the Age of Reason. German philosopher Immanuel Kant saw the essential characteristic of the Enlightenment as a freeing from superstition and ignorance. At its heart the movement became a conflict between established religion and the inquiring mind that wanted to know and understand through reason based on evidence and proof.
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Source: "Enlightenment." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 11 Aug. 2018. school.eb.com/levels/high/article/Enlightenment/274185. Accessed 4 Sep. 2018.
Image by Theobald von Oer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons