Rene Descartes was a French philosopher who contributed immensely in the filed of philosophical science. He had a distinct philosophy about how people should perceive life with regards to what is true and what is not true. Descartes had a very philosophical way of approaching claims. He believed that some thing could only be true if it could provide for evidence on its claims. He came up with experimental research to ascertain the truth of scientific and physical occurrences. He was always in doubt of the truth and sort to always find proof for the claims. He explored the idea of God’s existence in a cyclic way citing that the existence of God must only be through proof of its existence and that the proofs can only be found if God indeed exists. Descartes’ questions about life what he termed as errors was more philosophical in that he suggested that errors are creations of the human beings themselves and that God can not be held responsible for the errors that man commit. He came up with the Cartesian principle that explains the devilish nature of man: that man is controlled by his innermost selfish desires (Israel, J. 2001).
Through Descartes theories, nations developed different ways of interpreting the existence of God and human errors. Political and religious leaders across the globe have used Descartes’ theories and claims to lead. During the age of enlightenment, Africans based on this philosopher’s claims to form the African independent churches sighting that what the European preachers were giving them as an interpretation to the bible was not a true representation of faith since the belief in the idea of heaven could not be ascertained since it lacked evidence.
Marketers in the African region have used Descartes thinking to influence the masses to buy products by appealing to their innermost selfish desires as stipulated by Rene Descartes’ philosophies.
The leaders in Africa have been said to be corrupt, enriching their own individual or regional gains at the expense of the masses. This is what Descartes calls the origin of evil where man is controlled by his own selfish desires.
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher whose thinking influenced people from all genres of life. One of his philosophies was the idea of the ideal state where he says that the philosophers are the best leaders for an ideal state. This philosophy suggests that in order to have a state that is led by the people who cares for their subjects and who brings conclusive development in a society, the leaders must be philosophers who believe in the perfect leadership. He says that this state is characterized by freedom and plenty in all aspect of life; most importantly, the state promotes morality.
This philosophy changed the thinking of the Romans in their belief in the idea of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ: A philosophical leader who came to shape the behavior of mankind. Through literature, the gods in the Roman states were portrayed as Gods who could not make mistakes- this was borrowed from the Aristotelian philosophy about how literature was to be used to portray the gods in the ideal society. Through Aristotle’s believes Romans made the spread of Christianity fasten. The religious leaders who were believed to have been the philosophers and the great thinkers had a high position in the Roman leadership as per the Aristotle’s claims of an ideal state.
The French Revolution
The French revolution is a historic change that shaped the country of France and later on the whole world. It happened during the age of enlightenment where different scholars and human rights activists discovered the capitalistic nature of the political elite. Between the years (1789-1700) the masses and the enlightened thinkers flocked the streets of France protesting against their exploitation by the land owners and the political leaders. The people were against the old ideas of hierarchy and civilization and therefore had to fight in order to change this (Greer, 1987).
Causes of the revolution
The ancient political system and traditions in France made the people believe that leadership was given by God and that only God could take away leadership from the anointed leaders. When the enlightened thinkers came to the realization that this was a way for the political elite to continue their hierarchical way of leadership where the monarchical system allowed only leaders from a specific group to lead, they began to the masses against this self-centered claim.
According to Greer ( Greer,1987), another cause for the revolution was the hunger that was experienced in this region among the common population that resulted from the increase in bread prices. The increased living standards during this time made the people protest since it was the poor members of the society who suffered from cases of malnutrition as opposed to the middle and the upper class members of the society who owned land and ruled all other aspects of the economy.
The French government had also involved itself in the American Revolution making it run bankrupt due to the large amounts of finance it placed into the previous wars. The lower class members in the society therefore felt this impact and had to fight for their rights.
This revolution led to the abandonment of the hierarchical system of leadership where leaders were initially selected based on the monarchial system. The result was the social contract theory where leaders were now elected by the people for the people. The traditional belief that belief that leadership came from God and that only God could remove the politicians from leadership was abandoned and replaced with the idea of leadership having been created by the people: Leaders made an agreement with the people to lead them fairly and should they fail to cater for the needs of the people who elected them, then they were removed from power.
This political revolution led to a reign of terror for many years afterwards: there came a series of dictators including Hitler who ruled with an iron fists.
The changes that came with this revolution to an extent reverted the problems which caused it for instance in places where the landlords and the monarchy exploited the people. It changed the capitalistic believes in leadership. However, there were so many sufferings that came up as a result of the French revolution: properties were destroyed and it gave rise to more dictatorial leaders thereby taking the people back to the very problems that caused the change.
Change: This revolution was realized in Britain from the early 1750s to the late 1800s: it marked a change from the agricultural dependence to development of industries where manufacturing of products was the core focus. It involved changes in the methods of agriculture to improved methods of farming and livestock rearing.
Impact: The scientific revolution resulted to a shift in the method of farming in Britain and led to the invention of many industries. This saw the country improve in the levels of food production and scientific inventions.
This was a period that saw a shift in thinking from the traditional ways of perceiving things to the modern ways of scientific and philosophical thinking. It was an age in the 18th century where man realized that reason was the source of legitimacy. Philosophers like Rene Descartes came up with claims that man could only believe in what they had evidence in. Spinoza was also a philosopher who countered Descartes theory citing that man is conditioned to believe in anything (Israel, J. 2001).
Change: this revolution brought about changes in the way of thinking. Man started to question the traditional thoughts such as in Britain, the people questioned their belief in God and the existence of the afterlife. The traditional notion of life after death was questioned since according to the enlightened thinkers, man had no proof of the existence of paradise and could therefore not interpret it as an entire truth. This gave rise to so many atheists in the British nation.
Impact: In Britain, many people abandoned the Christian faith and religion in general and started moving towards science due to the fact that science encourages provision of evidence for a claim to be believable.
Israel, J. (2001), Radical Enlightenment; Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750, London: Oxford University Press.
Greer, (1987).The Incidence of the Terror during the French Revolution: A Statistical Interpretation, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.