A Historical Perspective of Modernist Thought

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A Historical Analysis of Modernist Thought Modernism: “The enlightenment-humanist rejection of tradition and authority in favor of reason and natural science. This is founded upon the assumption of the autonomous individual as the sole source of meaning and truth--the Cartesian cogito. Progress and novelty are valorized within a linear conception of history--a history of a ‘real’ world that becomes increasingly real or objectified. One could view this as a Protestant mode of consciousness (Keep, 1993).” By studying Western history from the 15th to the 20th century one can make a strong argument for the Modernist point of view. Based on historical events such as the Protestant reformation, the scientific revolution, the age of enlightenment, the French revolution, the industrial revolution and the World Wars as well as the affect they had on Western society, it is safe to say that Western humanism is alive and well; our tradition and heritage that emphasize freedom and individual self-worth helped shape our culture and will continue to promote social justice and human rights. In the early to mid sixteenth century, Europe was in the midst of religious reform. Sparked by the advent of the printing press and an increase in knowledge and intellectual thought, many began to question the Catholic Church. Lutheranism and Protestantism spread rapidly throughout Europe and the face of Catholicism changed as well. These movements can be viewed as the first stepping stone towards a modern, humanist society. By planting the seed of intellectual thought and individual liberties in people’s minds, the religious reformations of the 1500’s got the ball rolling for a future of progress in European culture. Although these revolutions didn’t end religious oppression for good and resulted in widespread warfare that would continue for centuries, many of the changes and freedoms

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