The age of reason was a time of Empiricism and of Materialism, which brought out philosophers like John Locke and George Berkeley as well as authors like Swift and Pope. These philosophers and authors belong to the Age of Reason because of their use of anti-emotional thought and the idea of Occam’s razor. The use of Anti-emotional thought is shown the most in essays written by John Locke. Locke used an idea that he based all of his work on. That idea was knowledge is only conscious understanding.
By that statement alone it makes him a writer/philosopher of the Age of Reason. Another Philosopher of the time to use anti-emotional thought was George Berkeley. In his essay “Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge” Berkeley states that for some thing to become an essence that thing must be perceived by any of the 5 senses (touch, smell, hear, taste, or hear). For example a chair, the chair can be seen and touched so it can become an essence only if those senses can perceive the chair.
If those 5 senses can not perceive the object than the object is not an essence but an idea of the mind in which, that idea is a belief that can only be proven by the 5 senses. The Idea of Occam’s Razor was another idea that became main stream during the age of reason. Occam’s Razor is an idea that states “when you have 2 competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the one that is simpler is better”. A man by the name of Jonathan Swift used this idea/theory to write a satirical essay called “A Modest Proposal”.
In “A Modest Proposal” Swift has a simple idea to a big problem that is overpopulation in Ireland. Due to the theory of Occam’s Razor, Swift proposes a very good/simple idea that is to just kill and eat the children that are causing this problem. Those children would be Irish. He also said that it would not only solve one problem but two. The 2nd problem that would be solved would be the lack of food because since people will be dying there would be an abundance of meat so people would have food.
This essay is a classic example of an age of reason essay because of it’s harsh, cruelness, and anti-emotional ideas makes it just like other essays of the age of reason. Swift also used satire to show that some of the Philosophers of the day are being stupid and dragging out some philosophical ideas. Authors and philosophers of the age of reason lived in a time of uncertainty and mass confusion, which made ideas like materialism and Occam’s Razor. Ideas like that brought out philosophers like Locke and Berkeley and authors like Swift and Pope to etch in our minds forever the ideas and theories of the age of reason.