European philosophy from the late seventeenth century through most of the eighteenth is broadly conceived as the "Enlightenment," a period of empricist reaction to the great seventeeth century Rationalists. This volume begins with Herbert of Cherbury and the Cambridge Platonists and with Newton and the early English Enlightenment. Locke is a key figure, as a result of his importance both in the development of British and Irish philosophy and because of his seminal influence in the Enlightenment as a whole. British (...) Philosophy and the Age of the Enlightenment includes discussion of the Scott Enlightenment and its influence on the German Aufklaring , and consequently on Kant. The French Enlightenment, which in turn affected the late radical Enlightenment, especially Bentham, is also considered here. This survey brings together clear, authorative chapters from leading experts and provides a scholarly introduction to this period in the history of philosophy. It includes a glossary of technical terms and a chronological table of important political, philosophical, scientific and other cultural events. (shrink)
The Enlightenment was the age in which the world became modern, challenging tradition in favor of reason, freedom, and critical inquiry. While many aspects of the Enlightenment have been rigorously scrutinized—its origins and motivations, its principal characters and defining features, its legacy and modern relevance—the geographical dimensions of the era have until now largely been ignored. Placing the Enlightenment contends that the Age of Reason was not only a period of pioneering geographical investigation but also an age with spatial dimensions (...) to its content and concerns. Investigating the role space and location played in the creation and reception of Enlightenment ideas, Charles W. J. Withers draws from the fields of art, science, history, geography, politics, and religion to explore the legacies of Enlightenment national identity, navigation, discovery, and knowledge. Ultimately, geography is revealed to be the source of much of the raw material from which philosophers fashioned theories of the human condition. Lavishly illustrated and engagingly written, Placing the Enlightenment will interest Enlightenment specialists from across the disciplines as well as any scholar curious about the role geography has played in the making of the modern world. (shrink)
This study looks at the lives of the most famous "wild children" of eighteenth-century Europe, showing how they open a window onto European ideas about the potential and perfectibility of mankind. Julia V. Douthwaite recounts reports of feral children such as the wild girl of Champagne (captured in 1731 and baptized as Marie-Angelique Leblanc), offering a fascinating glimpse into beliefs about the difference between man and beast and the means once used to civilize the uncivilized. A variety of educational experiments (...) failed to tame these feral children by the standards of the day. After telling their stories, Douthwaite turns to literature that reflects on similar experiments to perfect human subjects. Her examples range from utopian schemes for progressive childrearing to philosophical tales of animated statues, from revolutionary theories of regenerated men to Gothic tales of scientists run amok. Encompassing thinkers such as Rousseau, Sade, Defoe, and Mary Shelley, Douthwaite shows how the Enlightenment conceived of mankind as an infinitely malleable entity, first with optimism, then with apprehension. Exposing the darker side of eighteenth-century thought, she demonstrates how advances in science gave rise to troubling ethical concerns, as parents, scientists, and politicians tried to perfect mankind with disastrous results. (shrink)
In this publisher's preface to 'Beobachtungen über den Geist des Menschen und dessen Verhältniß zur Welt' - outstanding, but, despite its merits, so far almost totally unknown philosophical treatise of the late Enlightenment, published in 1790 under a pseudonym 'Andrei Peredumin Koliwanow', I show that the real author of this book was an educator Christlieb Feldstrauch (1734 - 1799).
The debate concerning the relation of the theory of education and the practice of education is not new. In Germany, these discussions are an integral part of the development of educational science in the eighteenth century which is closely connected to Johann Friedrich Herbart and Friedrich Schleiermacher. Their concepts illustrate different answers upon the question of how to connect theory and practice in education. And although those answers are embedded in a very specific horizon of ethical and metaphysical ideas, the (...) problems which are addressed in those discussions are still important in modern debates. The paper focuses upon the concepts of Herbart and Schleiermacher and presents those theories in the problematic context of the possibilities and limitations of educational theory and its importance for educational practice. (shrink)
A quotation from Shakespeare's play King Lear, ‘I will teach you differences’, encapsulates the spirit of this paper. The distinction is introduced between three different categories of knowledge: i) propositional knowledge, ii) skill or practical knowledge and iii) knowledge of familiarity. In the present debate on ‘Information Society’, there is a clear tendency to overemphasise the theoretical knowledge at the expense of practical knowledge thereby completely ignoring the knowledge of familiarity. It is argued that different forms of theoretical knowledge are (...) required for the design of current computer technology and the study of the practice of computer usage. The concept of dialogue and the concept of ‘To Follow a Rule’ therefore fundamental to the understanding of the practice of computer usage. (shrink)
Until the publication of the Dialectic of Enlightenment it was possible to place the controversy regarding myth in the framework of the general rivalry between enlightenment and rationalism on the one hand and Romanticism on the other. However, Horkheimer and Adorno's joint work rendered this controversy irrelevant and anachronistic. This essay presents this theoretical shift by analyzing the conceptual problems it raises. The basic question addressed is whether in our poststrucuralist and postmodernist age the distinction between critical and mythical thought (...) is still possible and appropriate. I believe that our answer to this question has fundamental significance for our personal and public life, and as such also determines the role and meaning of our current philosophical discourse. (shrink)
How can people from diverse and different cultural backgrounds balance and reconcile their autonomous cultural identity with the universal dictates of the global age? My approach to this question is from an East Asian perspective, in particular by addressing the issue of 'Confucian cultural identity' under four broad topics: (1) the truth and falsehood of the discourse on 'Asian Values' and 'Confucian-style Capitalism'; (2) the spread of modern science and the tragic consequences of 'Instrumental Reason'; (3) criticism of instrumental reason (...) and its encounter with Confucian virtue ethics; and (4) a reassessment of the 'Anthropocosmic Moral Metaphysics' of (Neo-) Confucianism. In conclusion, on the impending demand to cope with the crisis of our cultural identity in the age of globalisation, our project to strive for the viability of Confucian humanism in the age of globalisation, I think, should mean no other than the invocation of care-ethics that takes care of our alienated neighbours on the one hand and a thrust of an eco-friendly world view to the anthropocentric hegemony over nature, which has been appreciated by 'modern' men since the Enlightenment, on the other hand. (shrink)
The Internet has become a field of dragon teeth for a person’s identity. It has made it possible for your identity to be mistaken by a credit agency, spied on by the government, foolishly exposed by yourself, pilloried by an enemy, pounded by a bully, or stolen by a criminal. These harms to one’s integrity could be inflicted in the past, but information technology has multiplied and aggravated such injuries. They have not gone unnoticed and are widely bemoaned and discussed. (...) The government and private watchdogs are working to protect the identity of citizens though at least in the United States both the government and individuals all too often side with prosperity when it conflicts with privacy. Still, these information-technological threats to identity have been recognized and can be reasonably met through legislation, regulation, and discretion. There is another kind of danger to our identity that is more difficult to define and to meet, for it has no familiar predecessors, has no criminal aspects, and exhibits no sharp moral or cultural contours. Still that threat to our identity haunts us constantly and surfaces occasionally in conversations and the media. It makes us feel displaced, distracted, and fragmented at the very times when to all appearances we seem to be connected, busy, and energetic. At the same time, the culture of technology, and of information technology particularly, has opened up fields of diversity and contingency that invite us to comprehend our identities in newly responsible, intricate, and open-minded ways. (shrink)
David Michael Levin's ongoing exploration of the moral character and enlightenment-potential of vision takes a new direction in The Philosopher's Gaze . Levin examines texts by Descartes, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Benjamin, Merleau-Ponty, and Levinas, using our culturally dominant mode of perception and the philosophical discourse it has generated as the site for his critical reflections on the moral culture in which we are living. In Levin's view, all these philosophers attempted to understand, one way or another, the distinctive pathologies (...) of the modern age. But every one also attempted to envision--if only through the faintest of traces, traces of mutual recognition, traces of another way of looking and seeing--the prospects for a radically different lifeworld. The world, after all, inevitably reflects back to us the character, the reach and range, of our vision. In these provocative essays, the author draws on the language of hermeneutical phenomenology and at the same time refines phenomenology itself as a method of working with our experience and thinking critically about the culture in which we live. (shrink)
Kant’s essay An answer to the question: What is Enlightenment? has developed into the representative text of philosophical Enlightenment in the course of the past two hundred years. Yet most interpretations tend to assign to it a univocal meaning that is incompatible with its apparent polysemy. While taking the latter into account, the author closely investigates Kant’s essay and offers a balanced interpretation of its meaning. On the basis of this reading, it becomes apparent that we should understand Kant’s idea (...) of the enlightenment process in a normative sense. As a result, the emphasis in the text shifts from a historico-philosophical promise of an “Enlightened Age” to the view of a precarious, risky “Age of Enlightenment” which Kant claims to live in. There is ample textual evidence that Kant wanted to intervene with this essay by cherishing the hope for more enlightenment. (shrink)
Taking as its point of departure Edmund Husserl's 1935-36 text The Crisis of European Sciences, this essay attempts to develop a new conception of reason by means of a thoroughgoing critique of some ideas often used to support and define it. Because the notion of "enlightenment" has been tied since the time of Kant to a certain coming of age of reason or rationality, the "enlightenment" to come must at once draw upon the resources of this reason and open reason (...) to some of the aporias it has traditionally rejected. Reducible neither to a simple irrationalism nor to a mere mode of calculative thought, such reason must ultimately challenge, it is argued, not only the sovereignty and identity of the (human) subject but the very concepts of sovereignty and identity. Only such a renewed thinking of reason or of what is reasonable, the essay suggests, can help us diagnose, analyze, and help treat some of the aporias posed by a whole host of contemporary issues, from cloning to the erosion of the nation-state to globalization and terrorism. Only in this way can we at once "save the honor of reason" - to use a phrase that runs throughout the essay - and help reorient the reason of politics, of the sciences, and, indeed, of philosophy along the lines of a more fundamental and urgent ethical imperative. (shrink)
Ferdinand Tönnies, the founder of sociology, has been characterised as contributing to the ?destruction of reason,? although he viewed himself as a champion of Enlightenment with a social vocation. Here, we shall consider Tönnies?s discussion of the epistemological bases of what he called ?rationalism?: his theory of the state, based on the rationalism of Hobbes, and of society, based on the philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith and Hume; his implicit development of rationalist ethics and the positions he took on (...) Spinoza and Kant; and the relationship between his philosophy of history and that of his philosophical forebear, Adam Ferguson, who wrote in the age of bourgeois emancipation that marked the high Enlightenment. We shall conclude with reflections on the grounds on which Tönnies has been read as an opponent to rationalism and even as a foe of Enlightenment. (shrink)
This collection of new papers on Scottish philosophy in the age of Hutcheson and Hume pays close attention to the study of context and the use of original historical sources as a key to philosophical interpretation. The book includes revolutionary new research on Hume's early reading in science and religion and its impact of his thought.