Solution: Daily Practise Questions for History Optional Mains 2017 (World History-30 July)

Good Answers of all three questions:

(All these answers were evaluated and sent individually)

By Kishore: Answer1

By Mankiran: Answer2

By Chetan: Answer3

By Sukhdeo in hindi: Answer4

By Avinash: Answer5

Other good Answers

Q.1 What was the Kant’s idea of enlightenment? How he differentiated between age of enlightenment and enlightened age?


By Shruti:

According to Immanuel Kant ‘ Enlightenment is a man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity’. He defines immaturity as the inability​ to use one’s understanding without guidence from another. According to his idea, a person from his birth to adolescence is under tutelage, he requires freedom to reach a stage of enlightenment. Kant specifically says only by coming out of protection or nurturing from outside influences can a person start develop his ideas and develop, though the journey to Enlightenment is a long one and also encounters many ups and downs in the process. This proves that Kant believes a person may only reach enlightenment if they have lived far past adolescence and have had a lot of experience and time to learn and develop beliefs.

  By developing this idea he categorically differentiates between ‘ age of enlightenment’ and ‘ enlightened age.’ He says if an individual were to reach a State of enlightenment if considered hypothetically, there would be no great effect on rest of society, so it would be easy to fall back into being influenced by others ideas and prejudices. This would diminish those people’s progress towards enlightenment. This seldom leads to perpetual state of being in an age of enlightenment rather than an enlightened age itself because of the too many opportunities for external guidece in the society hinders overall enlightenment.

By Athira:

According to Emmanuel Kant, a German Philosopher, Enlightenment is the attainment of a state where one can take his own decision using their self reasoning power, without an external help or guidance.

            Kant once said that Voltaire lived in an age of Age of Enlightenment, but the Age itself was not enlightened. Age of Enlightenment means the people of that period are still in the process of enlightenment, but not attained the final state. The enlightened philosophers helped in spreading the idea to many educated middle class, which ultimately resulted in many important changes like in French Revolution.             However, Enlightened Age is an ideal concept where all individuals attain the state of enlightenment. It can be attained only when all the individuals have an equal say in polity, economy and society. As long as one stays subservient to other, it remain unaccomplished. So, the 16th and 17th century French society was not enlightened because of the unequal privileges and responsibilities between the three Estates.

           In the contemporary society, India has attained political democracy, but the lack of social and economic democracy hinders the reasoning power of the poorer sections. The education system also makes students mug up the whole theory leaving little opportunities for reasoning.

Q.2 “The promptings of the heart are more to be trusted than the logic of the mind.” — Rousseau. Evaluate this statement in the light of Rousseau’s romanticism?


By Shruti:

As the enlightenment age progressed into mid 1700, a noticeable shift occurred away from empirical, reason based philosophies. The new philosophers tended to take the direction of Romanticism.

   Pioneer of Romantic Movement was Jean Jacques Rousseau. Romanticism stressed on emotions and a return to natural state of man instead of confines and constructs of society. When Rousseau says ‘ the promptings of the heart are more to be trusted than the logic of the mind’ he means following the feelings, sensations and emotions would lead to ultimate blissfulness and this also means being truthful to one’s self. It emphasizes on drawing inspiration from one’s own heart than mind to find answers and philosophical truths, favoring emotions over caluclations and reality over imagination.

  His theory of ideas and Romanticism reckons all to be born as good. It is the application of our ideas and socialization that corrupts over Mind and not the soul.

Q.3 Is it correct to say that enlightened depots were really enlightened?  Explain.


By Shivani:

The age of enlightenment based on reason, humanism, natural law also influenced the rulers of that time like Frederick 2 of Prussia , Joseph 2 of Austria, Catherine 2 of Russia.
– These rulers realized that governments should exist for the protection of the people.
-These rulers developed a liberal, philanthropic and intellectual attitude.
– Association with the thinkers, philosophers. Eg: Frederick the Great brought Voltaire to his palace.
* promotion of public education.
* improvement in the condition of serfs (Joseph 2)
* promotion of literature
* improvement in rigorous penal code (Frederick 2 and Catherine 2)
* improvement in agriculture (Frederick 2)
* religious tolerance (Joseph 2)
* reforming and controlling the church (Joseph 2 and Catherine 2)
* uniform code of justice for establishing equality before law (Joseph 2)
* freedom of expression, press (Joseph 2)

Some of the actions and ideas show that these rulers remained despots like :
* Frederick 2 strengthened monarchical absolutism.
* belief in traditional ideas also.(Joseph 2 was a mercantilist)
* traditional conservative views- Frederick 2 considered Jews as useless to state.
Serfdom continued in Russia.
* Joseph 2 made an attempt to terminate the autonomous rights of his non-German possessions , like Belgium, Hungary, Romania.

By Athira: 

The enlightened philosophers of 17th and 18th centuries influenced not only the middle class, but also the despotic rulers. 

Catherine the Great of Russia: She brought reforms in education systems, health care and women’s rights. She secularized the property of Church.

Joseph II of Austria: He showed tolerant attitude towards different sects. He advised the Christians to treat Jews in a friendly manner. He brought uniform code of justice. He removed the privileges of clergy and nobles, and made them share the tax burden. He also abolished serfdom.

Frederick the Great of Prussia: He was a great admirer of Voltaire. He made religious tolerance his state policy. He worked for the emancipation of Jews.

However, Catherine continued to imprison her opponents and also imposed censorship. Joseph II had to reverse all this policies due to opposition from various sections. Frederick continued to impose tax on commons. Also some other enlightened despots like Marquis of Pombal, the Prime Minister of Portuguese, used certain principles like ‘General Will’ to enhance autocracy and to suppress differing views from society.

Enlightened despots changed their policies based on demand of the times, and cannot be seen as an enlightenment from within.