The Idea of Enlightenment: A Postmortem Study / Edition 1

The Idea of Enlightenment: A Postmortem Study / Edition 1

by Robert C. Bartlett
     
 

ISBN-10: 0802048374

ISBN-13: 9780802048370

Pub. Date: 02/10/2001

Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division

In "The Idea of Enlightenment", Robert Bartlett explores the roots of the contemporary dissatisfaction with the modern Enlightenment, the momentous political-philosophical project that sought to liberate politics from religious control. What is unsatisfactory about our post-Enlightenment condition, argues the author, is that the heralded "death of God" has been

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Overview

In "The Idea of Enlightenment", Robert Bartlett explores the roots of the contemporary dissatisfaction with the modern Enlightenment, the momentous political-philosophical project that sought to liberate politics from religious control. What is unsatisfactory about our post-Enlightenment condition, argues the author, is that the heralded "death of God" has been rapidly followed by the death of reason and, with it, the Enlightenment's hope that politics might be governed by reason rather than by God or his ministers.

Having undertaken close analysis of five seminal writings, both ancient and modern, Bartlett contends that the fundamental question at the heart of the Enlightenment was and remains the quarrel between reason and faith. What is more, the ancient founders of political philosophy too envisioned a kind of enlightenment that, though less politically active or hopeful than its modern counterpart, still supplies the means to understand that quarrel. For the ancient enlightenment permits us to re-acquaint ourselves with the philosophic significance of the conflict between faith and reason, which the success of the modern Enlightenment encouraged us to forget or ignore. In the end, then, Bartlett's return to political philosophers of the past is meant to revive the possibility, against the tenor of our times, that human reason remains our proper "Star and compass."

The book breaks important new ground in its interpretation of texts by Strauss, Bayle, Montesquieu, Thucydides, Plato, and Aristotle while integrating all of these thinkers into a lively and highly original account of the classical political philosophers' conception of enlightenment as a powerful alternative to the modern conception.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802048370
Publisher:
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date:
02/10/2001
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Prefaceix
Part 1The Collapse of the Modern Enlightenment
1.The Contemporary Consensus3
2.The Project of Enlightenment and the Foundation of Modern Political Rationalism: Notes on Bayle and Montesquieu13
3.On the Possibility of a Return to Premodern Rationalism: Alasdair MacIntyre and Leo Strauss45
Part 2An Introduction to the Ancient Enlightenment
4.Politics and the Divine in the Ancient Community: On Thucydides': War of the Peloponnesians and Athenians67
5.The Original Understanding of Enlightenment: On the 'Cave' in: Plato's Republic107
6.The Limits of Enlightenment: Aristotle's: Politics125
Conclusion187
Notes195
References211
Index219

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