What is OBSCURANTISM? What does OBSCURANTISM mean? OBSCURANTISM meaning, definition & explanation
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What is OBSCURANTISM? What does OBSCURANTISM mean? OBSCURANTISM meaning - OBSCURANTISM pronunciation - OBSCURANTISM definition - OBSCURANTISM explanation - How to pronounce OBSCURANTISM?
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
Obscurantism is the practice of deliberately preventing the facts of some subject matter from becoming known. There are two, historical and intellectual denotations to Obscurantism: (1) the deliberate restriction of knowledgeâopposition to disseminating knowledge; and, (2) deliberate obscurityâan abstruse style (as in literature and art) characterized by deliberate vagueness. Therefore, an obscurantist is someone who actively opposes enlightenment and the consequent social reform, a type of anti-intellectual.
The term obscurantism derives from the title of the 16th-century satire Epistola Obscurorum Virorum (1515â19, Letters of Obscure Men), that was based upon the intellectual dispute between the German humanist Johann Reuchlin and the monk Johannes Pfefferkorn of the Dominican Order, about whether or not all Jewish books should be burned as un-Christian heresy. Earlier, in 1509, the monk Pfefferkorn had obtained permission from Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (1486â1519), to burn all copies of the Talmud (Jewish law and Jewish ethics) known to be in the Holy Roman Empire (AD 926â1806); the Letters of Obscure Men satirized the Dominican arguments for burning "unâChristian" works.
In the 18th century, Enlightenment philosophers applied the term obscurantist to any enemy of intellectual enlightenment and the liberal diffusion of knowledge. In the 19th century, in distinguishing the varieties of obscurantism found in metaphysics and theology from the "more subtle" obscurantism of the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant, and of modern philosophical skepticism, Friedrich Nietzsche said: "The essential element in the black art of obscurantism is not that it wants to darken individual understanding, but that it wants to blacken our picture of the world, and darken our idea of existence."
In the 19th century, the mathematician William Kingdon Clifford, an early proponent of Darwinism, devoted some writings to uprooting obscurantism in England, after hearing clericsâwho privately agreed with him about evolutionâpublicly denounce evolution as un-Christian. Moreover, in the realm of organized religion, obscurantism is a distinct strain of thought independent of theologic allegiance. The distinction is that fundamentalism presupposes sincere religious belief, whereas obscurantism is based upon minority manipulation of the popular faith as political praxis, (cf. Censorship).
The obscurantist can be a scientist, a philosopher, a faithful person, an atheist, a student, or an agnostic, but, as a member of society, he or she believes that religion serves the social control of the populace. To that effect, the obscurantist limits the publication, extension, and dissemination of knowledge, of evidence countering the common-belief status quo with which the nation are ruledâthe local variety of âthe necessaryâ Noble Lie, which concept was introduced to political discourse by the Classical Greek philosopher Plato, in 380 BC. Hence, the stableâstatus quo restriction of knowledge definition of obscurantism applied by pro-science reformers within religious movements, and by skeptics, such as H.L. Mencken, in critiquing religion.