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The Age of Enlightenment was a philosophical movement during the 18th century in which the guidance of reason and rationality were given preference over the doctrines of tradition. Along with this movement came a shift toward empiricism as a source of truth, and a rejection of ideas or knowledge which are not empirically testable.

During the Enlightenment period, some philosophers adopted a rational approach to spirituality, and attempted to use reason to replace, augment, or explain traditional doctrine. Other philosophers adhered more strongly to empiricism, and rejected religious doctrine. These two schools of thought resulted in a philosophical divide between mysticism and empiricism, causing the two to develop in parallel, but with much less contact than previously. The rise of Parapsychology toward the end of the 19th began a convergence of reasoned spirituality with scientific empiricism.