Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752

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Jonathan Israel presents the first major reassessment of the Western Enlightenment for a generation. Continuing the story he began in the best-selling Radical Enlightenment , and now focusing his attention on the first half of the eighteenth century, he returns to the original sources to offer a groundbreaking new perspective on the nature and development of the most important currents in modern thought.

Israel traces many of the core principles of Western modernity to their roots in the social, political, and philosophical ferment of this period: the primacy of reason, democracy, racial equality, feminism, religious toleration, sexual emancipation, and freedom of expression. He emphasizes the dual character of the Enlightenment, and the bitter struggle between on the one hand a generally dominant, anti-democratic mainstream, supporting the monarchy, aristocracy, and ecclesiastical authority, and on the other a largely repressed democratic, republican, and "materialist" radical fringe. He also contends that the supposedly separate French, British, German, Dutch, and Italian enlightenments interacted to such a degree that their study in isolation gives a hopelessly distorted picture.

A work of dazzling and highly accessible scholarship, Enlightenment Contested will be the definitive reference point for historians, philosophers, and anyone engaged with this fascinating period of human development.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Enlightenment Contested is full of wonderful things."—John Dunn, Literary Review

"Mr. Israel's groundbreaking interpretation looks to establish itself as the one to beat."—The Economist

"An enormously impressive piece of shcholarship. 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."—Keith Richmond, Tribune

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199279227
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/9/2006
  • Pages: 1024
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 2.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Israel is Professor of Modern European History, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

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Table of Contents

I: Introductory
1. Early Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Modern Age
2. Philosophy and the Making of Modernity
II: The Crisis of Religious Authority
3. Faith and Reason: Bayle versus the Rationaux
4. Demolishing Priesthood, Ancient and Modern
5. Socinianism and the Social, Psychological, and Cultural Roots of Enlightenment
6. Locke, Bayle, and Spinoza: A Contest of Three Toleration Doctrines
7. Germany and the Baltic: Enlightenment, Society, and the Universities
8. Newtonianism and Anti-Newtonianism in the Early Enlightenment: Science, Philosophy, and Religion
III: Political Emancipation
9. Anit-Hobbesianism and the Making of 'Modernity'
10. The Origins of Modern Democratic Republicanism
11. Bayle, Boulainvilliers, Montesquieu: Secular Monarchy versus the Aristocratic Republic
12. 'Enlightened Despotism': Autocracy, Faith, and Enlightenment in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe 1689-1755
13. Popular Sovereignty, Resistance, and the 'Right to Revolution'
14. Anglomania, anglicisme, and the 'British Model'
15. The Triumph of the 'Moderate Enlightenment' in the United Provinces
IV: Intellectual Emancipation
16. The Overthrow of Humanist Criticism
17. The Recovery of Greek Thought
18. The Rise of 'History of Philosophy'
19. From 'History of Philosophy' to Histoire de l'Esprit humain
20. Italy, the Two Enlightenments, and Vico's 'New Science'
V: The Party of Humanity
21. The Problem of Equality
22. Sex, Marriage, and the Equality of Women
23. Race, Radical Thought, and the Advent of Anti-Colonialism
24. Rethinking Islam: Philosophy and the 'Other'
25. Spinoza, Confucius, and Classical Chinese Philosophy
26. Is Religion Requisite for a Well-Ordered Society?
VI: Radical Philosophes
27. The French Enlightenment prior to Voltaire's Lettres Philosophiques (1734)
28. Men, Animals, Fossils: French Hylozoic materialisme before Diderot
29. Realigning of the parti philosophique: Voltair, Voltairemanie, antivoltairianisme 1733-1747
30. From Voltaire to Diderot
31. The 'Unvirtuous Atheist'
32. The parti philosophique Embraces the Radical Enlightenment 1747-1752
33. The 'War of the Encyclopedie: The First Stage 1745-1752
34. Postscript

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