Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement / Edition 1

Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement / Edition 1

by Stephen Eric Bronner
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

ISBN-10: 0231126093

ISBN-13: 9780231126090

Pub. Date: 05/09/2006

Publisher: Columbia University Press

This book tackles an obvious yet profound problem of modern political life: the disorientation of intellectuals and activists on the left. As the study of political history and theory has been usurped by cultural criticism, a confusion over the origins and objectives of progressive politics has been the result. Specifically, it has become fashionable for

Overview

This book tackles an obvious yet profound problem of modern political life: the disorientation of intellectuals and activists on the left. As the study of political history and theory has been usurped by cultural criticism, a confusion over the origins and objectives of progressive politics has been the result. Specifically, it has become fashionable for intellectuals to attack the Enlightenment for its imperialism, eurocentrism, and scientism, and for the sexism and racism of some of its major representatives. Although the fact that individual thinkers harbored such prejudices is irrefutable, Stephen Bronner argues that reducing the Enlightenment ethos to these beliefs is wholly unsustainable.

With its championing of democracy, equality, cosmopolitanism, and reason—and its vociferous attacks on popular prejudice, religious superstition, and arbitrary abuses of power—the Enlightenment was once hailed as the foundation of all modern, progressive politics. But in 1947, this perspective was dramatically undermined when Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno published their classic work, Dialectic of Enlightenment, which claims that the Enlightenment was the source of totalitarianism and the worst excesses of modernity. Reclaiming the Enlightenment from purely philosophical and cultural interpretations, Bronner shows that its notion of political engagement keeps democracy fresh and alive by providing a practical foundation for fostering institutional accountability, opposing infringements on individual rights, instilling an enduring commitment to social reform, and building a cosmopolitan sensibility. This forceful and timely reinterpretation of the Enlightenment and its powerful influence on contemporary political life is a resounding wake-up call to critics on both the left and the right.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231126090
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
05/09/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents

Interpreting the Enlightenment: Metaphysics, Tradition, and PoliticsIn Praise of ProgressInventing LiberalismThe Great Divide: Enlightenment, Counter-Enlightenment, and the Public SphereAbolishing the Ghetto: Anti-Semitism, Racism, and the OtherThe Illusory Dialectic: From Enlightenment to TotalitarianismExperiencing Reality: The Culture Industry, Subjectivity, and IdentityPathways to Freedom: Rights, Reciprocity, and the Cosmopolitan SensibilityRenewing the Legacy: Renewing the Legacy

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >