Above is a painting from the enlightenment from the 1800’s which depicts a French salon, where philosophes are meeting. These philosophes were usually middle class or noble enlightened intellectuals, who were social reformers. The enlightenment stressed reason and the dependence on philosophy and philosophical findings. They believed this would improve and advance society and keep it away from the old European darkness they underwent before. They met in salons of the philosophes of the upper class to discuss reforms they’d make and the ideas of giants. These giants included Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Diderot, who made many theories about the rule of governments and systems that would improve their states.
It is obvious here that these people are philosophes firstly because of the way they dress. No person from the lower class at the time would’ve been able to afford this type of clothing. They could barely feed their own families. Secondly, no lower class person was able to devote their time to these meetings. They could barely make it by despite their constant work. Another distinguishing factor is the fact that there are both women and men, and both are able to look at books and papers. From this time came women activists and the age of reason accepted them.