A Review of the book “The Heavenly City” by BeckerIntroductionThrough the perspective and analysis of a renowned American philosopher-historian, eighteenth century philosophers damaged a supposedly divine and wonderful viewpoint or way of life which was concerned with the Enlightenment or which was depicted as the Age of Reason.
Since the way of life apparently turned out to be cruel during the said period, these theorists were also regarded and characterized as inflexible.In essence, this was how Carl Lotus Becker has illustrated the field of philosophy during the eighteenth century. Additionally, he considered the creators of the Enlightenment or the philosophers during the Age of Reasons as deceitful and whose convictions about reason were measured according to their individual deception.In a four-lecture sequence at Yale University, Becker embodied the above viewpoint and concept as a dispute to eighteenth century philosophers who claimed that their philosophical principle was fundamentally contemporary in mood. In fact, Becker further argued that their doctrine was truly deceiving as they merely destroyed the holy City of St. Augustine and unfortunately succeeded in establishing their own divine city by simply reconstructing it with brand new and advanced information.Becker’s lectures resulted into a book entitled “The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers” in 2003 wherein the author explicitly disputed that the theorists of said era were empirically disillusioned with their idea of a heavenly city. In doing so, the author provided the public with an astonishing literary work which comprehensively showed his narrative learning of the said period’s philosophy.
Ultimately, Becker’s book is an authentic representation of his historiographical scholarship of social and political philosophy of the eighteenth century.The Heavenly City, an Overview Becker’s 132-page book was a set of his four lectures under the titles “Climates of Opinion,” “The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God,” “The New History: Philosophy Teaching by Example,” and “The Uses of Posterity.” When he talked about the first lecture, Becker identified what Enlightenment is which, in its basic concept, meant that people are able to both quantify the world and master humanity by means of human reasoning. The second talk dwelled on a condition wherein a change in the handling of definite terms manifested man’s method of discovering the laws of nature which he viewed as beneficial. On the other hand, Becker’s last two lectures are about the scholars of the century as they started to concentrate on both the natural law and setting as well as focus on perfectibility of people instead of their theology allowing them to learn hubris (Becker 47).
Simply put, eighteen century philosophers are one in having a universal expectation of the divine city but, in fact, conveyed themselves and their philosophies in a dissimilar language. This is because the groups are reluctant or incapable to discover the lessons of history which could not be merged with their devotion (Becker 102).Arguments and Proofs Eighteenth century philosophers’ way of life was apparently marred by unkindness hence, being the people behind the Enlightenment, they were portrayed as hypocrites. This is because they became individually deceiving as regard their conviction in reason.The said situation was one of the manifestations of the Becker book wherein the author hinted that eighteenth century theorists battled against Christianity yet failed as they just triumphed in establishing a divine city founded under the principle of deception (Becker 77-78, 80, 83).The author also concretely interpreted that the so-called Age of Reasons was a remote reality. The book has effectively emphasized further that the eighteenth century philosophy was spoiled by developing disillusionment. This is primarily due to the fact that the reasoning potentialities of the philosophers were evidently too rigid yet unfortunately misleading thus misinterpreted the perspective about philosophy (Becker 40).
Due to the blatant and disputable “heavenly city” principle imparted by the eighteenth century philosophers, the tone of interpretation made by Becker turned out to be both enlightening and corrective.It was also notable to consider that in the book, the author objectively argued against the contemporary thoughts created by the era’s philosophers in the name of Locke, Voltaire, Diderot and Hume (Becker 85).The argument was done in a manner that Becker presented real philosophical ideas and explanations thereby effectively disputing the apparently deceiving and incorrect belief about the divine city which was purely established by the philosophers’ personal deception.In fact, the Becker book has proven to be a daring literary argument while at the same served as a very valuable and instructive work which firmly revealed the incompetence of the eighteenth century philosophers. This was achieved when the book was able to make the public realize the wrong philosophical concepts of the said period.Additionally, the disclosure made by Becker concerning the hidden intention or interest of the philosophers paved the way for an understanding that the theorists have contributed nothing but a renovated heavenly city in the light of illusionary modern materials. As the book argued, the modern temper of the century was nothing but a hoax because its philosophers still existed in a medieval setting and really failed to come up with fresh rational concepts.The Real 18th Century PhilosopherWhat was clear about the making of the Becker’s lectures into a book was the fact that a publicized literary work is definitely a representation of its author.
In the case of “The Heavenly City,” it was obviously a transparent depiction of his academic or scholarly training which made him an expert in eighteenth century philosophies.The book also turned out to be Becker’s mirror which epitomized his lifetime worries concerning the system of liberalism and the predicament of democracy over the principles of industrialism. In doing so, the philosophical proficiency in Becker became noticeable thereby making him as a real theorist of the period.
Aside from the said representations, the book generally showed the author’s concern about the theoretical convictions of the next century historicism which were dissolved with the introduction of fresh scientific philosophies and restored attention provided to the absurdity of human nature.Based from the framework of Becker’s life work, the book has proven to be a primary evolutionary tool for the author’s previous state of progress to disbelief as well as from the late restoration of his liberalism. Evidently, “The Heavenly City” revealed Becker’s adherence to stability and belief to change.
Eighteenth philosopher’s individual dishonesty was further clarified by the book through the author’s comprehensive and authoritative style of arguing. It was clear with Becker that the theorists or advocates of the Age of Reasons openly resisted the conventional Christianity and all its insinuations about ethics or morality. As a correction, therefore, the book portrayed these philosophers as rebels without cause. This is because they were, in fact, prominent defenders of goodness and the norms of the society.The book is also commendable for its disclosure that the said philosophers’ support of morality only illustrated their self-serving interests as regard people’s impression about themselves and their works. The truth is, there is already an existence of a heavenly city yet these philosophers denied this fact and instead recreated a holy setting of their own which was only made out of illusions.
It is in this way that the Becker book powerfully and effectively battled its way against self-deception and disillusionment of the eighteenth century philosophers.The book also scored a point on its effort to reveal that the Enlightenment philosophers cheated. This was carried out by Becker when he implied that the said theorists attained their supposedly inspiring ethical endings but such claim was attributed to the reality that they just cheated. Hence, it is logical to concur with Becker or support his book’s insinuation that the philosophers merely emulated the medieval theorists who they belittled.The disillusioned idea that these Enlightenment thinkers were able to build a heavenly city was objectively challenged by the book when it emphasized and eventually made the public realize that the divine city that the philosophers are talking about is nothing but a modernized duplicated of the real or existing Heavenly City.In this essence, the book succeeded in achieving its very purpose of correcting an apparent misconception which was brought about by people who were expected to contribute indisputable philosophical principles yet are the same ones who distorted the minds of the eighteenth century people.
Becker’s Writing Style Becker advanced his philosophical writing according to the influential character of David Hume. As evident in the book, Becker’s writing style was cynical, curious yet eventually showed how he triumphed in writing a literary work as well as how this has proven history and how “The Heavenly City” acquired its truthfulness. Becker’s literary approach was daring yet factual, argumentative but definitely supported with proofs. The fact is, beyond Becker’s calm and peculiar structure of narrative writing, he was already depicting the existence of an academic crisis which occurred during the periods of the eighteenth century and the 1930s. In particular, his writing style portrayed the transfer from Christians’ to eighteenth century philosophers’ understanding of history.
It is also through Becker’s liberating literary writing structure that he was able to save the principle of instrumentalism by his capturing pf the divine city of the eighteenth century philosophers to the City of God which was placed by the Puritan saints. Aside from the said writing style proofs, Becker’s literary composition was dramatic and poignant as well. In fact, he expressed enjoyment and optimism in his narratives despite the possibility of being disputed or even if faced to possible criticism thus exemplifying his professionalism under pressure.Conclusion There may be many accounts of the challenge made against the deceiving belief of the eighteenth century philosophers. However, Becker and his “The Heavenly City” book is an exemption due to notable considerations. Fist is that Becker by himself is an acclaimed expert in the field of philosophy. This was attested by his proficiency and evident historiographical learning concerning the commonality and bias of the philosophy of the said period. Most importantly, by coming up first with lectures and eventually turning them into an informative and critically argumentative book, Becker has proven his theoretical worth which provided him with an authority to challenge the Enlightenment philosophers and their distorted principle about divine city.
Ultimately, the book has proven to be a genuine illustration of Becker’s expertise considering that a single and each part of the book faithfully speaks of its authors.Work CitedBecker, Carl L. The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth- Century Philosophers. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003