During this period there was a rise in science. This also led to conflict with religion. Religion relies on belief and the metaphysical. Science on the other hand relies on logic, reason and what can be scientifically proven.
The rise of science meant that conventional and traditional values did no longer hold much weight and value. Traditional values and religion did not provide concrete meaning and so was seen as insufficient. These authors tried to impose meaning themselves on institutions and society on what they did not agree with certain philosophers for instance the likes of John Locke and his materialistic and rationalism theories. To them this possessed little truth. Truth to them is about intuition and imagination and not reason or logic.