During the 18th century age of Enlightenment, science became the standard for knowledge. This was the result of recent successes in physics and astronomy. Gradually, the life sciences became more important. Medical researchers began to treat the basic constituents of nature as living entities. In promoting the new “science of man”, the Enlightenment was at the origin of behavioural and social sciences.
The task of science expanded from understanding the natural world to understanding our place in that world; then to changing the world and our place in it.
The Enlightenment recognised reason and morality as factors that shape political behaviour. Over time, many of these nuances have been lost.
Enlightenment 2.0 is a JRC initiative. The multi-annual research programme seeks to understand the different drivers that influence political decision-making in the 21st century.
"Understanding our political nature" is the first output from the Enlightenment 2.0 research programme.
Future areas of research will address:
- Science of values
- Political influence in the age of technology
- Meaningful, ethical communication