This article discusses Tocqueville’s and Mill’s views of the cultural progress of indigenous colonial societies in the context of the current debate about the Enlightenment. The analysis of their philosophical outlooks tends to support Jonathan Israel’s interpretation of the Enlightenment, yet with one important difference: while Israel emphasizes the Radical Enlightenment as the chief instigator of the movement towards modern democracy, Tocqueville’s and Mill’s views emphasize the preponderance of the Moderate Enlightenment, which, while sharing the radical advocacy for rationalism, broad (...) education, religious toleration, the critique of despotism, and other enlightened ideals, nonetheless shunned support of full democracy or universal suffrage. Tocqueville’s and Mill’s Eurocentric views regarding the possible ameliorative influence of colonialism emphasize how the ideals of the Moderate Enlightenment had an overriding effect on the emergence of nineteenth-century liberalism. While this conclusion broadly accepts Israel’s outline of the intellectual history of the Enlightenment, it gives greater weight than he does to the Moderate Enlightenment. (shrink)
Abstract This article examines the consideration of animals by various eighteenth-century Scottish philosophers, with special attention given to the physician and philosopher John Gregory, who utilized the comparison of human beings with animals as a starting point for a discussion about human moral and social improvement. In so doing Gregory, like most of his contemporary fellow Scottish philosophers, exemplified the basic anthropocentrism of the common early modern consideration of animals.
This article examines Adam Smith’s views on animals, centering on the singularity of his economic perspective in the context of the general early ethical debate about animals. Particular emphasis is placed on his discussions of animals as property. The article highlights the tension between Smith’s moral sensitivity to animal suffering on the one hand, and his emphasis on the constitutive role that the utilization of animals played in the progress of civilization on the other. This tension is depicted as a (...) precursor of problematic aspects of the modern environmental crisis. (shrink)
This article examines Jean-Jacques Rousseau's views on the need for an ethical treatment of animals, placing them within the context of the early modern debate on this topic, and the tradition of "love of animals" known as "theriophily." It discusses the broad extent of Rousseau's views on this issue, and their importance, specifically because of his wide influence. However, an emphasis is put on the clear anthropocentric limits of Rousseau's sensitivity to animals, and of a similar limit discernible in the (...) history of theriophilic attitudes toward animals in general. (shrink)
"The maestry of nature was viewed by eighteenth-century historians as an important measure of the progress of civilization. Modern scholarship has hitherto taken insufficient notice of this important idea. This book discusses the topic in connection with the mainstream religious, political, and philosophical elements of the Enlightenment culture. It considers workd by Edward Gibbon, Voltaire, Herder, Vico, Raynal, Hume, Adam Smith, William Robertson, and a wide range of lesse- and better-know figures. It also discusses many classical, medieval, and early modern (...) sources which influenced Enlightenment historiography, as well as eighteen-century attitudes toward nature in general". (shrink)
This article examines the change which occurred in discussions of cultural transmission between the Enlightenment and the liberal outlook of the nineteenth century. The former is exemplified mainly by eighteenth-century historical discussions, the latter by the thought of Alexis de Tocqueville. An interest in the influence of advanced Western cultures on seemingly inferior non-Western societies was consistent throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It was manifested mainly in discussions of the barbarian conquest of the Roman Empire on the one hand, (...) and of European colonial policies on the other. The sources discussed here evinced a clear Eurocentric chauvinism, yet were inherently non-racial in nature. While many Enlightenment intellectuals retained a generally positive view of cultural transmission, Tocqueville's post-revolutionary outlook was more pessimistic. (shrink)