The following passage is excerpted from A Short History of Western Civilization by John Harrison, Richard Sullivan, and Dennis Sherman. (©1990 by McGraw-Hill. Reprinted by permission.)
Enlightenment ideas were put forth by a variety of intellectuals who in France came to be known as the philosophes. Philosophes is French for philosophers, and in a sense these thinkers were rightly considered philosophers, for the questions they dealt with were philosophical: How do we discover truth?