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From the Hardcover edition.
“For 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. . . . Padgen’s belief that the Enlightenment ‘made it possible for us to think . . . beyond the narrow worlds into which we are born’ is clearly and cogently presented.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The 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.”—Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature and The Blank Slate
“Reading Anthony Pagden’s The Enlightenment: And Why It Still Matters is an enlightenment in itself. The larger-than-life thinkers and talkers of eighteenth-century Europe have been blamed for everything from taking the magic out of life to making Auschwitz possible, but here, in sparkling style, Pagden shows us not only how their ideas made mankind modern but also what our world might have been like without them. Everyone interested in where the West came from should read this book.”—Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules—For Now
“Anthony Pagden defends the Enlightenment as a cosmopolitan project with classical roots and contemporary relevance. Like Kant, he argues that we live in an age of enlightenment, ongoing but incomplete, but that someday we will experience a fully enlightened age. His lucid and learned book might help to realize that hope.”—David Armitage, author of Foundations of Modern International Thought
“Pagden demonstrates the breadth and depth of his knowledge and his impeccable research of the period we refer to as the Enlightenment. . . . A book that should be on every thinking person’s shelf—the perfect primer for anyone interested in the development of Western civilization.”—Kirkus Reviews