Imperfect Garden: The Legacy of Humanism

Imperfect Garden: The Legacy of Humanism

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Princeton University Press
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Imperfect Garden: The Legacy of Humanism

"Tzvetan Todorov's timely book centers on examinations of French thinkers of the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries—Montaigne, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Constant—but its importance extends well beyond these canny analyses and the particular culture they probe. Imperfect Garden is a moving defense of humanism, an eloquent articulation of its central values of freedom, responsibility, and decency. There is nothing facile about this defense: Todorov enables us to see the fragility, fault lines, and complexity of secular, democratic thought. But by the close of this richly thoughtful study, the whole project of modernity has been clarified and powerfully reaffirmed."—Stephen Greenblatt

"Imperfect Garden is a splendid defense of moderate humanism. Tzvetan Todorov carefully reads older French thinkers—Montaigne, Descartes, Montesquieu, and Rousseau—to find a solution to modernity's predicaments. While rejecting twentieth-century overconfidence in the human ability to invent its future (an overconfidence that has led to catastrophe), Todorov remains a strong defender of human autonomy, of respect for the Other, and of the universality of human values."—Thomas Pavel

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691010472
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 03/25/2002
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.86(d)

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Hidden Pact 1
CHAPTER 1: The Interplay of Four Families 9
CHAPTER 2: The Declaration of Autonomy 47
CHAPTER 3: Interdependence 80
CHAPTER 4: Living Alone 94
CHAPTER 5: The Ways of Love 115
CHAPTER 6: The Individual : Plurality and Universality 139
CHAPTER 7: The Choice of Values 160
CHAPTER 8: A Morality Made for Humanity 178
CHAPTER 9: The Need for Enthusiasm 207
Epilogue: The Humanist Wager 226
Bibliography 239
Index 24 7

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