The Existence Of Natural Inequality Among Races Essay

1418 Words Dec 18th, 2014 6 Pages
The Enlightenment was a cultural and intellectual movement in Europe during the 18th-Century; its purpose was to mobilize the power of reason and logic, promoting intellectual exchange and the scientific method. The philosophes attempted to examine and either prove or disprove ideas, both new and old, challenging a few older patterns of Western thinking through the use of scientific reasoning and logic. But on a larger scale, the new thought process served a very similar purpose: to justify often-biased “truths” and ideas to the public through trust in a superior authority, in this case the scientific method. The Enlightenment may have challenged older patterns of Western thought in some respect, but did not change drastically in terms of topic and purpose, specifically on the fundamental topic of race. The existence of natural inequality among races, which we now know is not true, was largely seen as substantiated fact due to the “scientific method” and “logical proof" provided at the time, which serves as evidence that though the Enlightenment brought a new thought process, it may not have been superior, nor as dissimilar to the old as people claim. Through analysis of the work of three men in particular, Carl Linnaeus, Christoph Meiners, and Arthur Comte de Buffon, the evolution of "scientific racism" and a large flaw in intellectual thought that serves as a direct reflection of religious thought is clearly illustrated throughout the Enlightenment.
The first of these men…

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