Jonathan I. Israel claims that Christian ‘controversialists’ endeavoured first to obscure or efface Spinozism, materialism, and non-authoritarian free thought, and then, in the early eighteenth century, to fight these openly, and desperately. Israel appears to have adopted the view of enlightenment as a battle against what Voltaire has called ‘l’infâme’, and David Hume has labelled ‘stupidity, Christianity, and ignorance’. These authors’ barbs were launched later in the century, however, in the period of the high Enlightenment, following polarizing controversies (...) of mid-century. This chapter argues that many Enlightenment figures, including Hume and Voltaire, were far more involved within a culture in the second quarter of the century that was less divided against Christian interlocutors, less rigid, and more complex than these two wished to suggest, in retrospect, after mid-century. A Christian literary and scientific circle was productive and prominent in French Enlightenment culture, particularly in the personages of François Prévost, Pierre Desfontaines, Samuel Formey and Noël Pluche, and in the pages of ubiquitous journals and occasional publications. Many of the Catholics among these lumières held the education and retained the status of ‘abbé’, a title with prophylactic properties that legitimated expansive inquiry – into topics such as libertinism and atheism – and facilitated in-print exchanges with Voltaire and other less orthodox figures. This wing of the Enlightenment developed a culture that reflected, and sometimes promoted, Christian theology – especially in the tradition of natural theology – and displayed broadly Christian and politically conservative values. The latter aspect served in part to motivate concerted efforts toward their marginalization by others, but the French Enlightenment of the eighteenth century’s second quarter was actually very mixed, and not so very radical; rather, it became polarized at mid-century, and in retrospect, the Christians of this wing were written out of the history by the likes of Voltaire and Hume. (shrink)
Two great problems of learning confront humanity: learning about the nature of the universe and about ourselves and other living things as a part of the universe, and learning how to become civilized or enlightened. The first problem was solved, in essence, in the 17th century, with the creation of modern science. But the second problem has not yet been solved. Solving the first problem without also solving the second puts us in a situation of great danger. All our current (...) global problems have arisen as a result. What we need to do, in response to this unprecedented crisis, is learn from our solution to the first problem how to solve the second one. This was the basic idea of the 18th century Enlightenment. Unfortunately, in carrying out this programme, the Enlightenment made three blunders, and it is this defective version of the Enlightenment programme, inherited from the past, that is still built into the institutional/intellectual structure of academic inquiry in the 21st century. In order to solve the second great problem of learning we need to correct the three blunders of the traditional Enlightenment. This involves changing the nature of social inquiry, so that social science becomes social methodology or social philosophy, concerned to help us build into social life the progress-achieving methods of aim-oriented rationality, arrived at by generalizing the progress-achieving methods of science. It also involves, more generally, bringing about a revolution in the nature of academic inquiry as a whole, so that it takes up its proper task of helping humanity learn how to become wiser by increasingly cooperatively rational means. The scientific task of improving knowledge and understanding of nature becomes a part of the broader task of improving global wisdom. The outcome would be what we so urgently need: a kind of inquiry rationally designed and devoted to helping us make progress towards a genuinely civilized world. We would succeed in doing what the Enlightenment tried but failed to do: learn from scientific progress how to go about making social progress towards as good a world as possible. (shrink)
Charles Griswold has written a comprehensive philosophical study of Smith's moral and political thought. Griswold sets Smith's work in the context of the Enlightenment and relates it to current discussions in moral and political philosophy. Smith's appropriation as well as criticism of ancient philosophy, and his carefully balanced defence of a liberal and humane moral and political outlook, are also explored. This 1999 book is a major philosophical and historical reassessment of a key figure in the Enlightenment that (...) will be of particular interest to philosophers and political and legal theorists, as well as historians of ideas, rhetoric, and political economy. (shrink)
In the wake of the Scientific Revolution, the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw the complete demolition of traditional structures of authority, scientific thought, and belief by the new philosophy and the philosophes, including Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau. The Radical Enlightenment played a part in this revolutionary process, which effectively overthrew all justification for monarchy, aristocracy, and ecclesiastical power, as well as man's dominance over woman, theological dominance of education, and slavery. Despite the present day interest in the revolutions (...) of the eighteenth century, the origins and rise of the Radical Enlightenment have received limited scholarly attention. The greatest obstacle to the movement finding its proper place in modern historical writing is its international scope: the Racial Enlightenment was not French, British, German, Italian, Jewish or Dutch, but all of these at the same time. In this wide-ranging volume, Jonathan Israel offers a novel interpretation of the Radical Enlightenment down to La Mettie and Diderot, two of its key exponents. Particular emphasis is placed on the pivotal role of Spinoza and the widespread underground international philosophical movement known before 1750 as Spinozism. (shrink)
The conventional view that all Enlightenment thinkers believed that the fruits of Reason could only be beneficial is not necessarily accurate. Laclos, whose celebrated novel "Les Liaisons dangereueses" was published in 1782, provides a perspective on the world of Reason that does not square with that view. Working at the level of individual psychology, Reason in Laclos's novel divides the world into the strong and the weak – more specifically, the astute and the naive. It defines human worth in (...) terms of a capacity to outwit and control others, a capacity that can only be fully expressed by the complete defeat and humiliation of one’s adversary. (shrink)
The first major reassessment of the Western Enlightenment for a generation. Continuing the story he began in Radical Enlightenment, Jonathan Israel now focuses on the first half of the eighteenth century. He traces to their roots the core principles of Western modernity: the primacy of reason, democracy, racial equality, feminism, religious toleration, sexual emancipation, and freedom of expression.
This major contribution to the history of philosophy provides the most comprehensive guide to modern natural law theory available, sets out the full background to liberal ideas of rights and contractarianism, and offers an extensive study of the Scottish Enlightenment. The time span covered is considerable: from the natural law theories of Grotius and Suarez in the early seventeenth century to the American Revolution and the beginnings of utilitarianism. After a detailed survey of modern natural law theory, the book (...) focuses on the Scottish Enlightenment and its European and American connections. Knud Haakonssen explains the relationship between natural law and civic humanist republicanism, and he shows the relevance of these ideas for the understanding of David Hume and Adam Smith. The result is a completely revised background to modern ideas of liberalism and communitarianism. (shrink)
This essay demonstrates how the early Enlightenment salonnière madame de Lambert advanced a novel feminist intellectual synthesis favoring women's taste and cognition, which hybridized Cartesian and honnête thought. Disputing recent interpretations of Enlightenment salonnières that emphasize the constraints of honnêteté on their thought, and those that see Lambert's feminism as misguided in emphasizing gendered sensibility, I analyze Lambert's approach as best serving her needs as an aristocratic woman within elite salon society, and show through contextualized analysis how she (...) deployed honnêteté towards feminist ends. Additionally, the analysis of Malebranche's, Poulain de la Barre's, and Lambert's arguments about the female mind's gendered embodiment illustrates that misrepresenting Cartesianism as necessarily liberatory for women, by reducing it to a rigid substance dualism, erases from view its more complex implications for gender politics in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, especially in the honnête environment of the salons. (shrink)
Steven Pinker's "Enlightenment NOW" is in many ways a terrific book, from which I have learnt much. But it is also deeply flawed. Science and reason are at the heart of the book, but the conceptions that Steven Pinker defends are damagingly irrational. And these defective conceptions of science and reason, as a result of being associated with the Enlightenment Programme for the past two or three centuries, have been responsible, in part, for the genesis of the global (...) problems we now suffer from, and our current inability to deal with them properly. There is not a glimmering of an awareness of any of this in Pinker’s book. This flaw in Enlightenment NOW is serious indeed. (shrink)
Existing interpretations of Kant’s appeal to the spontaneity of the mind focus almost exclusively on the discussion of pure apperception in the Transcendental Deduction. The risk of such a strategy lies in the considerable degree of abstraction at which the argument of the Deduction is carried out: existing interpretations fail to reconnect adequately with any ground-level perspective on our cognitive lives. This paper works in the opposite direction. Drawing on Kant’s suggestion that the most basic picture we can have of (...) our cognitive capacity already makes reference to its state of excellence, or health (“sound understanding”), I set out by assembling Kant’s normative ground-level view of our cognitive lives, and then search for the fundamental condition of its possibility. This leads me to Kant’s conception of reflection as a normative requirement of judgment. Through examination of Kant’s remarks on reflection, I connect Kant’s preoccupation with the enlightenment ideal of originality (thinking for oneself) with his central appeal to the spontaneity of the mind. (shrink)
The aim of this essay is to give a general and accessible overview of the so called “post-secular” turn in the contemporary humanities. The main idea behind it is that it constitutes an answer to the crisis of the secular grand narratives of modernity: the Hegelian narrative of the immanent progress of the Spirit, as well as the enlightenmental narrative of universal emancipation. The post-secularist thinkers come in three variations which this essay names as Enlightenmental, Traditional, and Revolutionary. The first (...) camp wishes to reconceptualize the place of religion in the seemingly secularized modern paradigm and see if revelation can cooperate with enlightenment, that is, if it can support the modern emancipatory values in the dangerous moment of their “crisis of legitimation.” The second one emphasizes the need to recover the institutional aspect of Christian theology which must be reinstated once again as the “queen of the sciences,” or as the true “invisible hand” operating behind social theories. And the third party, which simultaneously opposes both, enlightenment and tradition, revolves mostly around the “revolutionary figure” of Saint Paul and constitutes a radically leftist answer to the crisis of Marxism with its scientific insight into the objective laws of history. (shrink)
Wealth and Virtue reassesses the remarkable contribution of the Scottish Enlightenment to the formation of modern economics and to theories of capitalism. Its unique range indicates the scope of the Scottish intellectual achievement of the eighteenth century and explores the process by which the boundaries between economic thought, jurisprudence, moral philosophy and theoretical history came to be established. Dealing not only with major figures like Hume and Smith, there are also studies of lesser known thinkers like Andrew Fletcher, Gershom (...) Carmichael, Lord Kames and John Millar as well as of Locke in the light of eighteenth century social theory, the intellectual culture of the University of Edinburgh in the middle of the eighteenth century and of the performance of the Scottish economy on the eve of the publication of the Wealth of Nations. While the scholarly emphasis is on the rigorous historical reconstruction of both theory and context, Wealth and Virtue directly addresses itself to modern political theorists and economists and throws light on a number of major focal points of controversy in legal and political philosophy. (shrink)
That the Enlightenment shaped modernity is uncontested. Yet remarkably few historians or philosophers have attempted to trace the process of ideas from the political and social turmoil of the late eighteenth century to the present day. This is precisely what Jonathan Israel now does. In Democratic Enlightenment , Israel demonstrates that the Enlightenment was an essentially revolutionary process, driven by philosophical debate. The American Revolution and its concerns certainly acted as a major factor in the intellectual ferment (...) that shaped the wider upheaval that followed, but the radical philosophes were no less critical than enthusiastic about the American model. From 1789, the General Revolution's impetus came from a small group of philosophe-revolutionnaires , men such as Mirabeau, Sieyes, Condorcet, Volney, Roederer, and Brissot. Not aligned to any of the social groups represented in the French National assembly, they nonetheless forged " la philosophie moderne "--in effect Radical Enlightenment ideas--into a world-transforming ideology that had a lasting impact in Latin America, Canada and eastern Europe as well as France, Italy, Germany, and the Low Countries. In addition, Israel argues that while all French revolutionary journals powerfully affirmed that la philosophie moderne was the main cause of the French Revolution, the main stream of historical thought has failed to grasp what this implies. Israel sets the record straight, demonstrating the true nature of the engine that drove the Revolution, and the intimate links between the radical wing of the Enlightenment and the anti-Robespierriste "Revolution of reason." Acclaim for earlier volumes in the trilogy: "His vast--and vastly impressive--book sets out to redefine the intellectual landscape of early modern Europe. Magnificent and magisterialwill undoubtedly be one of the truly great historical works of the decade." -- Sunday Telegraph "The scholarship is breathtaking. Israel has read everything, absorbed every nuance, followed up every byway." -- New Statesman "An enormously impressive piece of scholarship. The breadth and depth of the author's reading are breathtaking and Enlightenment Contested is set to become the definitive work for philosophers as well as historians on this extraordinary period." -- Tribune. (shrink)
From Hegel to Engels, Sartre and Ruyer (Ruyer, 1933), to name only a few, materialism is viewed as a necropolis, or the metaphysics befitting such an abode; many speak of matter’s crudeness, bruteness, coldness or stupidity. Science or scientism, on this view, reduces the living world to ‘dead matter’, ‘brutish’, ‘mechanical, lifeless matter’, thereby also stripping it of its freedom (Crocker, 1959). Materialism is often wrongly presented as ‘mechanistic materialism’ – with ‘Death of Nature’ echoes of de-humanization and hostility to (...) the Scientific Revolution (which knew nothing of materialism!), also a powerful Christian theme in Cudworth, Clarke and beyond (Overhoff, 2000). Here I challenge this view, building on some aspects of Israel’s Radical Enlightenment concept (Israel, 2001), which has been controversial but for my purposes is a useful claim about the dissemination of a home-grown Spinozism, sometimes reformulated as an ontology of the life sciences, an aspect Israel does not address (compare Secrétan et al., eds., 2007; Citton, 2006). First, I examine some ‘moments’ of radical Enlightenment materialism such as La Mettrie and Diderot (including his Encyclopédie entry “Spinosiste”), but also anonymous, clandestine texts such as L’Âme Matérielle, to emphasize their distinctive focus on the specific existence of organic beings. Second, I show how this ‘embodied’, non-mechanistic character of Enlightenment ‘vital materialism’ makes it different from other episodes, and perhaps more of an ethics than is usually thought (also via the figure of the materialist as ‘laughing philosopher’). Third, I reflect on what this implies for our image of the Enlightenment – no longer a Frankfurt School and/or Foucaldian vision of ‘discipline’, regimentation and order (as in Mayr, 1986) – but ‘vital’, without, conversely, being a kind of holist vitalism “at odds with the universalizing discourse of Encyclopedist materialism, with its insistence on the uniformity of nature and the universality of physical laws” (Williams, 2003): vital materialism is still materialism. Its ethics tends towards hedonism, but its most radical proponents (Diderot, La Mettrie and later Sade) disagree as to what this means. (shrink)
Are human beings linked by a common nature, one that makes them see the world in the same moral way? Or are they fragmented by different cultural practices and values? These fundamental questions of our existence were debated in the Enlightenment by Locke, Shaftesbury, and Hutcheson. Daniel Carey provides an important new historical perspective on their discussion. At the same time, he explores the relationship between these founding arguments and contemporary disputes over cultural diversity and multiculturalism. Our own conflicting (...) positions today reflect long-standing differences that emerged during the Enlightenment. (shrink)
How may progressive political theorists advance the Enlightenment after Darwin shifted the conversation about human nature in the nineteenth century, the Holocaust displayed barbarity at the historical center of the Enlightenment, and 9/11 showed the need to modify the ideals and strategies of the Enlightenment? Kantian Courage considers how several figures in contemporary political theory--including John Rawls, Gilles Deleuze, and Tariq Ramadan--do just this as they continue Immanuel Kant's legacy.
Eighteenth-century Epicureanism is often viewed as radical, anti-religious, and politically dangerous. But to what extent does this simplify the ancient philosophy and underestimate its significance to the Enlightenment? Through a pan-European analysis of Enlightenment centres from Scotland to Russia via the Netherlands, France and Germany, contributors argue that elements of classical Epicureanism were appropriated by radical and conservative writers alike. They move beyond literature and political theory to examine the application of Epicurean ideas in domains as diverse as (...) physics, natural law, and the philosophy of language, drawing on the work of both major figures (Diderot, Helvétius, Smith and Hume) and of lesser-known but important thinkers (Johann Jacob Schmauss and Dmitrii Anichkov). -/- Table of Contents -/- Neven Leddy and Avi S. Lifschitz, Epicurus in the Enlightenment: an introduction -/- Elodie Argaud, Bayle’s defence of Epicurus: the use and abuse of Malebranche’s Méditations chrétiennes -/- Hans W. Blom, The Epicurean motif in Dutch notions of sociability in the seventeenth century -/- Thomas Ahnert, Epicureanism and the transformation of natural law in the early German Enlightenment -/- Charles T. Wolfe, A happiness fit for organic bodies: La Mettrie’s medical Epicureanism -/- Natania Meeker, Sexing Epicurean materialism in Diderot -/- Pierre Force, Helvétius as an Epicurean political theorist -/- Andrew Kahn, Epicureanism in the Russian Enlightenment: Dmitrii Anichkov and atomic theory -/- Matthew Niblett, Man, morals and matter: Epicurus and materialist thought in England from John Toland to Joseph Priestley -/- James A. Harris, The Epicurean in Hume -/- Neven Leddy, Adam Smith’s critique of Enlightenment Epicureanism -/- Avi S. Lifschitz, The Enlightenment revival of the Epicurean history of language and civilisation -/- Bibliography -/- Index. (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)
Popper first developed his theory of scientific method – falsificationism – in his The Logic of Scientific Discovery, then generalized it to form critical rationalism, which he subsequently applied to social and political problems in The Open Society and Its Enemies. All this can be regarded as constituting a major development of the 18th century Enlightenment programme of learning from scientific progress how to achieve social progress towards a better world. Falsificationism is, however, defective. It misrepresents the real, problematic (...) aims of science. We need a new conception of scientific method, a meta-methodology which provides a framework for the improvement of the aims and methods of science as scientific knowledge improves. This aim-oriented empiricist idea can be generalized to form a conception of rationality – aim-oriented rationality – which helps us improve problematic aims and methods whatever we may be doing. In this way, Popper’s version of the Enlightenment programme can be much improved, indeed transformed. (shrink)
Interpreting the Enlightenment: on methods -- A map of the Enlightenment: whither France? -- The spirit of the moderns: from the new science to the Enlightenment -- Society, the subject of the modern story -- Quarrel in the Academy: the ancients strike back -- Humanism and Enlightenment: the classical style of the philosophes -- The philosophical spirit of the laws: politics and antiquity -- An ancient god: pagans and philosophers -- Post tenebras lux: Begriffsgeschichte or regime (...) d'historicité? -- Ancients and the Orient: translatio imperii -- Enlightened institutions (i): the royal academies versus the Republic of Letters -- Enlightened institutions (ii): universities, censorship, and public instruction -- Worldliness, politeness, and the importance of not being too radical -- From Enlightenment to Revolution: a shared history? -- France and the European Enlightenment -- Modern myths. (shrink)
The Epicurean account of the origin of language appealed to eighteenth-century thinkers who tried to reconcile a natural history of language with
the biblical account of Adamic name-giving. As a third way between Aristotelian linguistic conventionality and what was perceived as a Platonic supernatural congruence between words and things, Epicurus’
theory allowed for a measure of contingency to emerge in the evolution of initially natural signs. This hypothesis was taken up by authors as different from one another as Leibniz, Vico, Condillac and (...) Mendelssohn. By integrating the Epicurean account of language into their own theories, however, these authors also revived the tensions inherent in the ancient thesis and had to confront the ensuing difficulties in innovative ways. (shrink)
Prologue -- Introduction -- The virtuous atheist -- The oral and written public sphere -- Books and pamphlets -- Periodicals -- The philosophe response -- Institutional reactions in France -- The Christian Enlightenment? -- Beyond the Christian Enlightenment -- Appendices. D'Holbach's publications, 1752-1789 -- Responses in French to d'Holbach's publications, 1752-1789 -- The corpus of periodical press articles produced in reaction to d'Holbach's publications.
Critics have long treated the most important intellectual movement of modern history--the Enlightenment--as if it took shape in the absence of opposition. In this groundbreaking new study, Darrin McMahon demonstrates that, on the contrary, contemporary resistance to the Enlightenment was a major cultural force, shaping and defining the Enlightenment itself from the moment of inception, while giving rise to an entirely new ideological phenomenon-what we have come to think of as the "Right." McMahon skillfully examines the Counter- (...) class='Hi'>Enlightenment, showing that it was an extensive, international, and thoroughly modern affair. (shrink)
This article offers a critical complement to Diego von Vacano’s differential characterization of Bolívar’s political thought and his understanding of race through a comparative analysis between Bolívar’s views and those of certain philosophers of the Enlightenment. Indeed, von Vacano argues that Bolívar’s contributions to republican theory have been traditionally ignored by the Anglo-American tradition. Though von Vacano is right in underscoring that Bolívar’s political thought deserves more attention since it contains valuable contributions that stand in “contradistinction to prevalent discourses (...) in European and American intellectual history,” this article argues that, if we reconstruct the genealogy of Bolívar’s political thought by tracing it back to Montesquieu and Rousseau, it turns out to be very different in some respects from the views voiced in European discourses, but it also bears the imprint of certain racist assumptions and biases. This article also offers a brief diagnosis of the tensions that are found in Bolívar's political thought. (shrink)
Sensationism, a philosophy that gained momentum in the French Enlightenment as a response to Lockean empiricism, was acclaimed by Hippolyte Taine as "the doctrine of the most lucid, methodical, and French minds to have honored France." The first major general study in English of eighteenth-century French sensationism, _The Authority of Experience_ presents the history of a complex set of ideas and explores their important ramifications for literature, education, and moral theory. The study begins by presenting the main ideas of (...) sensationist philosophers Condillac, Bonnet, and Helvétius, who held that all of our ideas come to us through the senses. The experience of the body in seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching enabled individuals, as John C. O'Neal points out, to challenge the sometimes arbitrary authority of institutions and people in positions of power. After a general introduction to sensationism, the author develops a theory of sensationist aesthetics that not only reveals the interconnections of the period's philosophy and literature but also enhances our awareness of the forces at work in the French novel. He goes on to examine the relations between sensationism and eighteenth-century French educational theory, materialism, and _idéologie_. Ultimately, O'Neal opens a discussion of the implications of sensationist thought for issues of particular concern to society today. (shrink)
Genevieve Lloyd presents a new study of the place of Enlightenment thought in intellectual history and of its continued relevance. She offers original readings of a range of key texts, which highlight the ways in which Enlightenment thinkers enacted in their writing--and reflected on--the interplay of intellect, imagination, and emotion.
I urge here that Kant’s essay “What is Enlightenment?” be read in the context of debates at the time over the public critique of religion, and together with elements of his other writings, especially a short piece on orientation in thinking that he wrote two years later. After laying out the main themes of the essay in some detail, I argue that, read in context, Kant’s call to “think for ourselves” is not meant to rule out a legitimate role (...) for relying on the testimony of others, that it is directed instead against a kind of blind religious faith, in which one either refuses to question one’s clerical authorities or relies on a mystical intuition that cannot be assessed by reason. Both of these ways of abandoning reason can be fended off if we always submit our private thoughts to the test of public scrutiny: which is why enlightenment, for Kant, requires _both_ free thinking, by each individual for him or herself, _and_ a realm of free public expression in which individuals can discuss the results of their thinking. (shrink)
What is the role of language in human cognition? Could we attain self-consciousness and construct our civilisation without language? Such were the questions at the basis of eighteenth-century debates on the joint evolution of language, mind, and culture. Language and Enlightenment highlights the importance of language in the social theory, epistemology, and aesthetics of the Enlightenment. While focusing on the Berlin Academy under Frederick the Great, Avi Lifschitz situates the Berlin debates within a larger temporal and geographical framework. (...) He argues that awareness of the historicity and linguistic rootedness of all forms of life was a mainstream Enlightenment notion rather than a feature of the so-called 'Counter-Enlightenment'. -/- Enlightenment authors of different persuasions investigated whether speechless human beings could have developed their language and society on their own. Such inquiries usually pondered the difficult shift from natural signs like cries and gestures to the artificial, articulate words of human language. This transition from nature to artifice was mirrored in other domains of inquiry, such as the origins of social relations, inequality, the arts and the sciences. By examining a wide variety of authors - Leibniz, Wolff, Condillac, Rousseau, Michaelis, and Herder, among others - Language and Enlightenment emphasises the open and malleable character of the eighteenth-century Republic of Letters. The language debates demonstrate that German theories of culture and language were not merely a rejection of French ideas. New notions of the genius of language and its role in cognition were constructed through a complex interaction with cross-European currents, especially via the prize contests at the Berlin Academy. (shrink)
Defining the Enlightenment as the "long eighteenth century," the Encyclopedia focuses on the entire range of philosophic and social changes engendered by the Enlightenment. It extends the conventional geographical boundaries of the Enlightenment, covering not only France, England, Scotland, the Low Countries, Italy, English-speaking North America, the German states, and Hapsburg Austria but also Iberian, Ibero-American, Jewish, Russian, and Eastern European cultures. Nor does the Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment limit itself to major centers like Paris in (...) France and Edinburgh in Scotland, but shares the rich lode of recent scholarship on "secondary" and "provincial" centers such as Berlin and Geneva; Philadelphia and Milan. The Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment brings a similar spirit of inclusion to the new theoretical and methodological approaches that have flowered in the humanities during the past two decades. Including feminist and various post-modernist reassessments alongside more traditional perspectives, the four volumes offer the broadest possible range of current knowledge. Accessibility combined with scholarly rigor make the encyclopedia the first choice for researching any aspect of the Enlightenment. Designed and organized for ease of use, its special features include more than 700 signed articles; annotated bibliographies following each article to guide further study; an extensive system of cross-references; a synoptic outline of contents; a comprehensive topical index providing easy access to networks of related articles; and high quality illustrations, including photographs, line drawings, and maps. (shrink)
This brief “Introduction” to the volume discusses the general idea of the special edition of the journal, which is dedicated to the radicalism of the Enlightenment in the context of Jonathan Israel’s recent work on the Enlightenment, and highlights the topics of the articles contained in the edition.
This text is the first part of a larger study about Alexander Radishchev, one of the leading representatives of Enlightenment in Russia's XVIII Century. Analyzing Voltaire's and Diderot's relationship with Catherine II, the Empress of Russia, in the Introduction of this article, the author formulates the reasons for thematization of Russian reception of Enlightenment. Since Radishchev is considered as 'the father of Russian intelligentsia', different approaches to the meaning of the concept of 'Russian intelligentsia' are considered in the (...) first chapter. Radishchev's biography is interpreted in the second chapter in order to facilitate the understanding of his ideas. Interpretation of his ideas, as well as of Catherina's 'enlightened absolutism', will be subject to further consideration in the second part of the study. (shrink)
The paper focuses on the role of Kant’s refutation of materialism in his understanding of the Enlightenment, meant to be the necessary condition that allows human beings to express their proper dignity, i.e. to cultivate the urge for and the vocation of free thought. Sketching the main moments of the German struggle against the threat of materialism, the paper places Kant’s refutation within this tradition, and reconstructs the steps of his critique from the very beginning of his reflection – (...) still dealing with the main topics of Wolff’s metaphysic – up to the definitive refutation he develops on the basis of the transcendental idealism of the first Critique. The shift from the «obscure reasons» pointed out in the Dreams, that allow a refutation of materialism on moral grounds, to the statement of the meaninglessness of the question in a transcendental perspective reveals that the attempt to find a solution to the problem of materialism – most of all in its psychological meaning –represents a neverending challenge within Kant’s reflection. (shrink)
This chapter examines a foundational democratic practice by considering how it expresses concepts of the Enlightenment. The practice is that of the vote or plebiscite as it appears in governance. The leading enlightenment concept is rationality as it is expounded by Kant. Kant did not participate in national democratic processes. He expected decisions of any consequence to be made in Berlin and thrived when his City was invaded by the Russians and their officers became his students, until they (...) left suddenly in 1762 (Kuehn, 2001, p.126). Kant participated in political debate where the issues were in the main constitutional and about the processes of government reform. He became known for his theory of natural law and the justification of positive law. He advocated the separation of powers, but denied the right of revolution. This latter onclusion was in apparent contradiction of his support for republicanism, including the French, English, and American revolutions (Beck, 1971, p.413). The term “republican” in Kant’s writings is sometimes interpreted to mean “parliamentary democracy”. This is probably a mistake, and Reiss suggests Kant’s term does not carry the “connotation” of modern Western democracy (Reiss's "Introduction" in Kant, 1991a, p.25). Kant himself wrote that he wanted to prevent “the republican constitution from being confused with the democratic one, as commonly happens” (Kant, 1991a, .100). So it is that, whilst Kant wrote about the interaction of morality and politics, he did not write on the topic of the present chapter which focuses on those mechanisms or mechanics that democracy displays when it works. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: -- Reid and Hume on the Possibility of Character--James A. Harris * Adam Smith's Rhetorical Art of Character--Stephen McKenna * The Moral Education of Mankind: Character and Religious Moderatism in the Sermons of Hugh Blair--Thomas Ahnert * The Not-So-Prodigal Son: James Boswell and the Scottish Enlightenment--Anthony La Vopa * Character, Sociability and Correspondence: Elizabeth Griffith and The Letters between Henry and Frances--Eve Tavor Bannet * Smellie's Dreams: Character and Consciousness in the Scottish Enlightenment--Phyllis Mack (...) William * Aspects of Character and Sociability in Scottish Enlightenment Medicine--Neil Vickers * The 'Peculiar Colouring of the Mind': Character and Painted Portraiture in the Scottish Enlightenment--Viccy Coltman * National Characters and Race: A Scottish Enlightenment Debate--Silvia Sebastiani * Character and Cosmopolitanism in the Scottish-American Enlightenment--Hannah Spahn * Historical Characters: Biography, the Science of Man, and Romantic Fiction--Susan Manning * Necessity, Freedom, and Character Formation from the Eighteenth Century to the Nineteenth--Jerrold Seigel. (shrink)
Along with providing a translation into English of the last text Immanuel Kant published during his lifetime, Nachschrift eines Freundes, this essay provides a historical account of the context surrounding the writing and publishing of this postscript as well as the German-Lithuanian and Lithuanian-German dictionary that contains it. In addition, this essay discusses the intellectual-historical significance of Kants essay as a political intervention in the name of Lithuanians, their language, and their culture. Nachschrift eines Freundes demonstrates Kant practicing some of (...) the theoretical Enlightenment tenets that his philosophy espouses. (shrink)
_ Source: _Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 19 - 31 Grotius has often been cited as a crucial link between the ‘Erasmian tradition’ of the Renaissance and Reformation era and the Enlightenment. But there is perhaps a case for identifying him more specifically with the roots of the ‘Radical Enlightenment’. This was partly because of his widely-suspected and commented on tendency towards Socinianism. But it was also due to the uses to which he put his highly sophisticated humanist (...) philology. During the eighteenth century, Grotius’s Bible criticism was seen by some as the root of some of the most subversive criticism of the era. The German deist Reimarus, for instance, author of one of the most vitriolic attacks on Christian revelation of the age, more frequently mentions Grotius’s revisions in his footnotes than he does the criticism of Hobbes, Spinoza, Collins or Toland. This article surveys the aspects of Grotius that significantly contributed to shaping what developed into the ‘Radical Enlightenment’. (shrink)
Kant believed that true enlightenment is the use of reason freely in public. This book systematicaaly traces the philosophical origins and development of the idea that the improvement of human understanding requires public activity. Michael Losonsky focuses on seventeenth-century discussions of the problem of irresolution and the closely connected theme of the role of volition in human belief formation. This involves a discussion of the work of Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Spinoza and Leibniz. Challenging the traditional views of seventeenth-century philosophy (...) and written in a lucid, non-technical language, this book will be eagerly sought out by historians of philosophy and students of the history of ideas. (shrink)
This major addition to Ideas in Context examines the development of natural law theories in the early stages of the Enlightenment in Germany and France. T. J. Hochstrasser investigates the influence exercised by theories of natural law from Grotius to Kant, with a comparative analysis of the important intellectual innovations in ethics and political philosophy of the time. Hochstrasser includes the writings of Samuel Pufendorf and his followers who evolved a natural law theory based on human sociability and reason, (...) fostering a new methodology in German philosophy. This book assesses the first histories of political thought since ancient times, giving insights into the nature and influence of debate within eighteenth-century natural jurisprudence. Ambitious in range and conceptually sophisticated, Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment will be of great interest to scholars in history, political thought, law and philosophy. Natural Law Theories in the Early Enlightenment has been selected as the winner of the annual Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the best book in intellectual history published in 2000. (shrink)
This article roots Kant’s concept of disinterestedness, as he uses it in the Critique of Judgment, in Aristotle’s notion of philia by establishing a path from ethics to aesthetics and back. In this way, the third Critique turns out to be one of the main sources for a new ideal of humanity: the ideal suitable for late Enlightenment. This article argues that Kant reaches this fruitful use of disinterestedness by giving to Aristotle’s concept of philia an aesthetic turn.
What is the relationship between contemporary intellectual culture and the European Enlightenment it claims to reject? In Consequences of Enlightenment, Anthony Cascardi revisits the arguments advanced in Horkheimer and Adorno's seminal work Dialectic of Enlightenment. Cascardi argues against the view that postmodern culture has rejected Enlightenment beliefs and explores instead the continuities contemporary theory shares with Kant's failed ambition to bring the project of Enlightenment to completion. He explores the link between aesthetics and politics in (...) thinkers as diverse as Habermas, Derrida, Arendt, Nietzsche, Hegel, and Wittgenstein in order to reverse the tendency to see works of art simply in terms of the worldly practices among which they are situated. (shrink)
There were two prevailing sentiments in Europe after the Reformation: One opposing papal authority and one advocating individual freedom. This paper analyzes these two sentiments and finds that the concept of conscience is crucial in understanding them. The issue of conscience is about judging truth and good, and in initiating the Reformation, Martin Luther heavily appealed to his conscience while countering Catholic attacks. With the wide dispersal of the Reformation, Luther’s notion of conscience was well received among his supporters throughout (...) Europe. Descartes later transformed Luther’s conscience into an epistemological being (the cogito ), and argued that its existence was the only valid thing that survived his thorough skepticism — and as such is the foundation of human knowledge. Rousseau continued this line of thinking, which we call subjectivism, and re-employed the term conscience as a replacement for cogito , holding that conscience is the final authority in judging good and bad; that, as the starting point of human existence, it cannot be withheld from any human being; and that it therefore constitutes an inalienable human right. This paper argues that the Enlightenment was a subjectivist movement propelled by this conscience- cogito -conscience conceptualization, and that it sought to enlighten this inalienable conscience. (shrink)
The world in which the Scottish Enlightenment took shape -- Archibald Campbell, 3rd Duke of Argyll (1682-1761) : patronage and the creation of the Scottish Enlightenment -- How many Scots were enlightened? -- What did eighteenth-century Scottish students read? -- Our excellent and never to be forgotten friend : David Hume (26 April 1711- 25 August 1776) -- Hume's intellectual development : part II, 1711-1762 -- Hume's histories -- Hume's economics -- Numbering the medics -- Numbers and money (...) -- Who were they? -- The émigrés as they appear in the American sample. (shrink)
In the later Indian Yogācāra school, yogipratyakṣa, the cognition of yogins is a key concept used to explain the Buddhist goal of enlightenment. It arises through the practice of meditation upon the Four Noble Truths. The method of the practice is to contemplate their aspects with attention (sādara), without interruption (nairantarya), and over a long period of time (dīrghakāla). A problem occurs in this position since Buddhists hold the theory of momentariness: how is possible that a yogin attains yogipratyakṣa (...) even when everything arises and perishes moment by moment. It is not possible for the momentary mind to fix on the object. Neither is the intensification of the practice possible in a stream composed of cognitions different at each moment. To provide a solution of this problem, a renown eleventh century Buddhist logician, Jñānaśrīmitra, assures us that momentariness is incompatible with duration (sthāyitā), but not with the occurrence of dissimilarity (visadṛśotpāda). Even if cognitions are momentary, the vividness of an object continues to intensify in the course of each preceding cognition-moment producing, in turn, its following moment. Jñānaśrīmitra discusses the attainment of yogipratyakṣa in terms of Buddhist ontological distinctions of moment (kṣaṇa) and continuum (santāna). At the level of the continuum, the process of enlightenment is considered gradual. By retaining a strict adherence to the final moment of the practice, on the other hand, the process is considered sudden. (shrink)
In this work, Henry Vyverberg traces the evolution and consequences of a crucial idea in French Enlightenment thought--the idea of human nature. Human nature was commonly seen as a broadly universal, unchanging entity, though perhaps modifiable by geographical, social, and historical factors. Enlightenment empiricism suggested a degree of cultural diversity that has often been underestimated in studies of the age. Evidence here is drawn from Diderot's celebrated Encyclopedia and from a vast range of writing by such Enlightenment (...) notables as Voltaire, Rousseau, and d'Holbach. Vyverberg explains not only the age's undoubted fascination with uniformity in human nature, but also its acknowledgment of significant limitations on that uniformity. He shows that although the Enlightenment's historical sense was often blinkered by its notions of a uniform human nature, there were also cracks in this concept that developed during the Enlightenment itself. (shrink)