NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS One of our most renowned and brilliant historians takes a fresh look at the revolutionary intellectual movement that laid the foundation for the modern world. Liberty and equality. Human rights. Freedom of thought and expression. Belief in reason and progress. The value of scientific inquiry. These are just some of the ideas that were conceived and developed during the Enlightenment, and which changed forever the intellectual landscape of the Western world. Spanning hundreds of years of history, Anthony Pagden traces the origins of this seminal movement, showing how Enlightenment concepts directly influenced modern culture, making possible a secular, tolerant, and, above all, cosmopolitan world. Everyone can agree on its impact. But in the end, just what was Enlightenment? A cohesive philosophical project? A discrete time period in the life of the mind when the superstitions of the past were overthrown and reason and equality came to the fore? Or an open-ended intellectual process, a way of looking at the world and the human condition, that continued long after the eighteenth century ended? To address these questions, Pagden introduces us to some of the unforgettable characters who defined the Enlightenment, including David Hume, the Scottish skeptic who advanced the idea of a universal ascience of mana; FranAsois-Marie Arouet, better known to the world as Voltaire, the acerbic novelist and social critic who challenged the authority of the Catholic Church; and Immanuel Kant, the reclusive German philosopher for whom the triumph of a cosmopolitan world represented the final stage in mankindas evolution. Comprehensive in his analysis of this heterogeneous group of scholars and their lasting impact on the world, Pagden argues that Enlightenment ideas go beyond the aempire of reasona to involve the full recognition of the emotional ties that bind all human beings together. The ahuman sciencea developed by these eminent thinkers led to a universalizing vision of humanity, a bid to dissolve the barriers past generations had attempted to erect between the different cultures of the world. A clear and compelling explanation of the philosophical underpinnings of the modern world, The Enlightenment is a scintillating portrait of a period, a critical moment in history, and a revolution in thought that continues to this day. Praise for The Enlightenment aSweeping . . . Like being guided through a vast ballroom of rotating strangers by a confiding insider.aaThe Washington Post aFascinating.aaThe Telegraph (London) aA political tract for our time.aaThe Wall Street Journal aFor those who recognize the names Hegel, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Voltaire, and Diderot but are unfamiliar with their thought, [Anthony] Padgen provides a fantastic introduction, explaining the driving philosophies of the period and placing their proponents in context. . . . Padgenas belief that the Enlightenment amade it possible for us to think . . . beyond the narrow worlds into which we are borna is clearly and cogently presented.aaPublishers Weekly (starred review) aThe Enlightenment really does still matter, and with a combination of gripping storytelling about colorful characters and lucid explanation of profound ideas, Anthony Pagden shows why.aaSteven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and The Blank Slate From the Hardcover edition.Belief in reason and progress. The value of scientific inquiry. These are just some of the ideas that were conceived and developed during the Enlightenment, and which changed forever the intellectual landscape of the Western world.
|Publisher||:||Random House - 2013-04-23|