The Enlightenment Vision — updated flowchart

The Enlightenment of the long 18th century was an era of awesome intellectual and cultural transformation.


This Enlightenment Vision flowchart is pitched at a high level of abstraction, showing schematically how the philosophical revolution of the 17th century led to the 18th-century revolutions in science, technology, politics, and economics — which in turn led to the dramatic increases in health, wealth, freedom, and goods in the 19th century.

To put it another way, the chronology shows how the ideas played out as philosophy, then as an intellectual movement, then as activism, then as the working technology of culture.

I first develop the chart for my courses in philosophy and intellectual history and published a version of it in Explaining Postmodernism. It’s posted here as a PDF, as a JPEG image, or as an Excel file, in case you’d like to adapt it for your own purposes.

(Thanks to Brian Schwartz for prompting this update.)

5 thoughts on “The Enlightenment Vision — updated flowchart

  • October 25, 2011 at 11:59 am

    This is a perfect way of synthesizing the history of rational philosophy. Too bad the brain dead OWS protestors wouldn’t have a clue what this poster means. Since logic has been educated OUT of them.

  • January 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Dear Doctor Hicks:

    Thank you for your DVD on “Nietzsche and the Nazis”. It is a first rate analysis. Your clear thinking is a wonder to behold.

    I am attempting to write about how America is being seduced by the failed philosophies of Europe. Although rather old, 78, I am trying to put something together for the American people so that they might value what we have and inform them of the importance of their political choices.”

    Great line “Since logic has been educated OUT of them”:

    Keep up your great work.

  • January 16, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Dear Ron: Thank you for you positive comments on “Nietzsche and the Nazs.” I appreciate them. All the best for your project.

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