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The Enlightenment brought about a ground-breaking change in the definition of mankind in the universe. Preceded by the scientific revolutions of the 16th and 17th centuries, the religious view of the world was successively replaced by a rational mindset. No longer a divine plan, the purpose and workings of which remained outside of mankind's understanding, but rather the intrinsic laws of nature and society determined development according to this view. Science provided the instruments that man used to analyse his environment and himself, which then gave him the means to change and shape these.

The intention was to use the methods and findings provided by the natural sciences to discover the reasons for the apparent differences amongst people. The late 18th and early 19th century was a period of measuring and classifying. Scientists increasingly used observation, measurement and comparison to determine the criteria of normality and health. The main objective of these efforts was the tactical improvement of man, society and nature.

People were to be perfected by means of education and medicine. Those who did not meet the criteria of normality and health – the disabled, impoverished and mentally ill – were kept in specially created institutions. 

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Lern- und Gedenkort Schloss Hartheim
SCHLOSSSTRASSE 1
A-4072 ALKOVEN

tel +43 7274 6536-546
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email office(at)schloss-hartheim.at 

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