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Posts by leslav
Name: Leslav
Joined: Oct 8, 2013
Last Post: Oct 21, 2013
Threads: 2
Posts: 2  
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From: United Kingdom (Great Britain)

Displayed posts: 4
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leslav   
Oct 17, 2013
Writing Feedback / "Driven by idea of the 'common good'" ; Constitution of May 3 [2]

Could you check this short piece, please?

The enlightenment movement also reached XVIII c. Poland Commonwealth and its spirit immensely influenced the creators of the Constitution of May 3, 1791. The makers of the Constitution of May 3, which was an act similar in principle to its American equivalent, were driven by idea of the 'common good' and the desire to create a modern, thriving state, with vast liberties. They were undoubtedly inspired by the spirit of the Enlightenment (many if not all of them were also freemasons by the way). Therefore, it was quite of a surprise for me to discover that the section two of the Act stated that: "The dominant national religion is and shall be the sacred Roman Catholic faith with all its laws. Passage from the dominant religion to any other confession is forbidden under penalties of apostasy." It appears that the signers of the Constitution of May 3, were indeed very devout and pious Catholics loyal to the Rome if they decided to include such a statement right after the preamble (would they be called 'Papists' in Britain?). As it is mentioned in the article on the Open University website (source), the aim of the Enlightenment was to disperse "the clouds of ignorance, superstition, prejudice, oppression, dogma or myth", which implicitly indicates the Catholic Church and the traditions and 'order' it had established. In my view, it was indeed possible to reconcile religious piety and Catholic faith with Enlightenment ideals of progressiveness and rationality.
leslav   
Oct 8, 2013
Writing Feedback / Adam Smithwas was one of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment -KEY IDEAS [3]

Choose one of the following contributors to Enlightenment thought and research that person in greater detail. Your aim is to:
- Summarise the key ideas of the individual
- Suggest what you think was his main significance in terms of advancing the ideals of the Enlightenment.

Adam Smith was one of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment. He is best known for economic theories laid out in the seminal treatise The Wealth of Nations (1776).

He was a founder of a pioneering doctrine called economic liberalism which challenged mercantilism and feudalism. According to him, pursuing egoistic self-interest could be a motive power for progress and development. In his vision of economy, the nation's wealth could only be created when a free market existed. Therefore, he claimed, economic freedom was an essential condition that lead to nation's well-being. Adam Smith coined the concept of the 'invisible hand of the market', and argued that the market could regulate itself for the benefit and well-being of people, and that state interference in the economy should be minimized. He developed the idea of division of labour to increase the effectiveness of production.

Smith was a "polymath, and an eminent social theorist and moral philosopher"(Oxford Reference). He lectured in Scottish universities, travelled around Europe meeting other enlighteners like Voltaire and worked as a commissioner of customs in Edinburgh. There is no doubt he was a brilliant and enlightened man.

Adam Smith is considered to be 'the first economist' and the father of capitalism and economic liberalism. His legacy continues to inspire and his theories are the subject of frequent discussions, although others question the validity of his assumptions.

As for advancing the ideals of Enlightenment, I think Smith, when working on his concepts, was led both by rational analysis and observation of the mechanisms occurring in societies. It appears that he was an idealist and altruist deeply concerned with the welfare of humankind.