Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dare to think!


Tomorrow we´ll study the main features of Enlightenment and we´ll learn that the enlightened philosophers trusted Reason as the best way to reach knowledge and education as the only way to transform the world in a better place. This is how Immanuel Kant defined Enlightenment: 

"Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! “Have courage to use your own understanding!”–that is the motto of enlightenment"

The enlightened philosophers wrote a lot of essays about the most basic worries of mankind: the search for happiness, the unalienable rights everybody has from birth, the best government, ethics and morality, the elimination of privileges, religion... They also reflected about the best way of organizing a society they didn´t like. I ´ve selected several quotes of some of the most important enlightened philosophers. I think these quotes contain ideas worth be shared. Many of these quotes belong to Voltaire, a very witty thinker. Here you have some of his ideas about tolerance: 

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

"No opinion is worth burning your neighbour for"

"Discord is the great ill of mankind; and tolerance is the only remedy for it."

"Love truth, but pardon error"


And this is what he wrote about death penalty: 

"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets"

"The punishment of criminals should be of use; when a man is hanged he is good for nothing"

"It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one"


And this one refers to the fact of being aware on one´s ignorance:

"The more I read, the more I meditate; and the more I acquire, the more I am enabled to affirm that I know nothing"


Please, read these quotes, choose the one you prefer and explain why: 



  • To be is to do (Imanuel Kant)
  • As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities (Voltaire)
  • If man makes himself a worm he must not complain when he is trodden on (Kant)
  • We are born weak, we need strength; helpless, we need aid; foolish, we need reason. All that we lack at birth, all that we need when we come to man's estate, is the gift of education.(Rousseau)
  • To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them (Montesquieu)
  • Common sense is not so common (Voltaire)
  • It is too difficult to think nobly when one thinks only of earning a living. (Rousseau)
  • The tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy (Montesquieu)
  • Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference. (Voltaire)
  • Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end.(Kant)
  • No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking (Voltaire)
  • Every man is guilty of all the good he didn't do (Voltaire)
  • True greatness consists in the use of a powerful understanding to enlighten oneself and others (Voltaire)
  • The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it (Voltaire)
  • The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all. (Voltaire)
  • Once the people begin to reason, all is lost (Voltaire)
  • Whatever you do, stamp out abuses, and love those who love you.(Voltaire)

23 comments:

Roxana said...

I have chosen the quote "Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference" because I think that the
estate-based society was unfair and I think that all human beings have the same rights and duties and the most important
thing that we have to value is virtue: the virtue of listening, understand and loving and the capacity of being honest, fair and wise.

werselio escribano ortega said...

I have chosen the quote: "To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them" because all of us have to help the people and the people have to help us to become the best in the world because the human being have to live with the society and if it doesn't live in society the human being isn't a human being.

Enrique Perez Casero said...

I have chosen the quote (We are born weak, we need strength, helpless, we need aid, foolish, we need reason. All that we lack at birth, all that we need when we come to man´s estate, is the gift of education)Because I think that education is important because we aren´t us if we don´t know nothing.

Pilar Quirós Iniesta said...

I have chosen te quote "Common sense is not so common", because I think it is the truth, because many things that are supposedly of common sense (like that all the people of the world will have food every day)many people don't accept it and don't do anything for to sort out some situations! :D

maria said...

I have chosen the quote " Whatever you do, stamp out abuses, and love those who love you", because I think it is the truth, you are free, you can do the things you want but you shouldn' t abused other people, and i think you should love the people who love you.

elena escribano said...

I have chosen the quote "The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it" because I think that we have to live with all people whether good or bad, arrogant or sincere and that is the essence of life and the triumph of reason.

Jesus Morales said...

I have chosen the quote "We are born weak, we need strength; helpless, we need aid; foolish, we need reason. All that we lack at birth, all that we need when we come to man's estate, is the gift of education." of the philosopher Rousseau, because I think that many technologies that we have today maybe we wouldn't have them without education because it teaches us knowledges and values that we need every day.

gema ortiz de la guia said...

I have chosen the quote: "The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all" of the philosopher Voltaire because I think that all that are written in the books are important. It help us to learnt give us information, wisdom, knowledge. In the books we can read interesting things, histories, etc… And the best thing is that all the people can read them to be enriched with the worlds are written in them.

Monica said...

I have chosen the quote "We are born weak, we need strength; helpless, we need aid; foolish, we need reason. All that we lack at birth, all that we need when we come to man's estate, is the gift of education." Because I think that a good education is fundamental to being a good person, to be integrated into society, to say what you think, to not be ignorant and to not be fooled by anyone.

Isabel Rodríguez said...

Hello Paqui..
I have chosen the quote "Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference. (Voltaire)", because I think that apparently we are equal at birth but inside us we have virtues and our personality are very complex... because we aren't equal.

Alicia Díaz said...

I have chosen the quote "To be is to do" because I think that it is complety true, if you want to be something yo have to do an effort to get the thing you want to be because if you don't do anything you won't get nothing.

Paqui Pérez Fons said...

Come on! There are still 19 students who haven´t given their opinion.

Salva Fuentes said...

I have choosen "AS LONG AS PEOPLE BELIEVE IN ABSURDITIES THEY WILL CONTINUE TO COMMIT ATROCITIES"(Voltaire) because I think this occurs since the man is man. I think the worst absurdities mankind has believed in are religion and imperialism. Nowadays our society has progressed. But there are many things to do yet, especially in the areas less industrialized. We should reflect on this.

Raquel Ortiz Escribano said...

I have chosen the sentence "Once the people begin to reason, all is lost" because I think we question the simplest things, we want to find an explanation for everything and sometimes we have to let it be things because thinking too much can ends up spoiling things.

Paqui Pérez Fons said...

Hello Raquel,

I don´t think Voltaire thought the same as you when he wrote this quote. I think he wanted to say that when people started thinking, all the sure things were questionned. He was probably thinking of doubt as a good way to get to understand the world. If everything was accepted as it seems to be, we wouldn´t progress. We need to ask questions, doubt about things taken for granted to improve them. If we don´t question what surrounds us, nothing will change. We never think too much. Some thoughts can be obsessive, but reasoning is the best way I know to reach conclusions and reflect about life and the world.

Enrique Manzanares said...

I have chosen "Common sense is not so common" because some things that the people think that are "common sense" sometimes they are not, they can be a lie.

Paqui Pérez Fons said...

Enrique, you haven´t understood the meaning of Voltaire´s quote. He referred to the fact that common sense (reasonable thought) is not so extended in society, because most of the people don´t think. This quote is a play on words. Voltaire played with the different meanings of the word "common": reasonable and usual/frequent

Paqui Pérez Fons said...

Some reflections on your choices:

- I like Gema´s choice. Books contain a lot of inspirational ideas, if you are able to choose the good ones. Even bad books or books which contain horrible ideas can make us react and do something to change what they say. I like books which make me become very angry, because they tell me about things that have to be changed and show me that we can´t stay impassive or turn a blind eye against injustice.

- About the quote Isabel chose ("Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference"), Voltaire said that to criticize estates (groups people belonged from birth, not due to their virtues). Voltaire criticized the differences in the estate-based society and privileges and he considered that men (women were not included) were born equal in rights and only their virtues could make differences between them. We should be equal in rights and opportunities. In theory we are now, but practice tells us a different thing.

- I also like Salva´s choice ("As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities"). Many of the attrocities the human beings have committed lie on stupid ideas or beliefs. That´s why Reason was so important for the enlightened philosophers. They thought that Reason could make people be more civilized and end with attrocious behaviours.

_ Alicia´s choice talks about what makes us human. The first hominid of our genre was called HOMO HABILIS (able to do things). What makes us different from other animals is that we are able to create things (good and bad) using our brains and the way we use this ability will determine how plentiful our life will be. If we want to be something, we have to do, take action.

What about the rest of the students? Every day of delay in doing this activity will increase the number of your negatives.

Laura Casero Mínguez said...

Hello Paqui, I have chosen "TO BE IS TO DO" because i like it. I think that if you want to be something in your life you have to do things to get it. You have to make an effort.
bye bye ! :):):)

Marta Gómez said...

I have chosen "As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities (Voltaire)" because I think is true, all the human beings make a lot of aabsurdities and they are the consecuence of all the bad things that happend. And also today occurs because all the politics that do all this absurdities.

Carmen Utrilla said...

I have chosen the quote "To become truly great, one has to estand with people, not above them" (Montesquieu) because I think that he had reason. I think that all the people are equals and all of us have the same rights and obligations. In those times society was divided into estates and Montesquie criticized this division between privileged and underprivileged.

Javi Morales said...

I have chosen "Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference" because I think that human being born equal but with the time they show us the virtues and defects they have.

Car Rivas said...

I have chosen the quote "To be is to do" because if you want to be someone you have to make an effort doing the things you have to do to be the person you want to be.