Counter-Enlightenments: From the Eighteenth Century to the by Graeme Garrard

By Graeme Garrard

The Enlightenment and its legacy are nonetheless actively debated, with the Enlightenment appearing as a key organizing thought in philosophy, social conception and the background of rules. Counter-Enlightenments is the 1st full-length learn to house the heritage and improvement of counter-enlightenment idea from its inception within the eighteenth century during to the current. accomplishing a serious discussion with Isaiah Berlin’s paintings, this e-book analyzes the concept that of counter-enlightenment and a few of an important matters and difficulties it increases. Graeme Garrard explores the varied sorts of inspiration during this box, with a wide-ranging overview of the primary figures of the earlier 200 and fifty years, and an incisive evaluation of the persuasiveness of the most typical and significant criticisms of the Enlightenment.

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Rousseau wished to tear down the wall between church and state that the philosophes had sought to erect, defending a civil religion and arguing against religious diversity modelled on ancient Sparta and Calvinist Geneva. Hence his praise for Hobbes, who called for the union of the ‘two heads of the eagle’: religion and the state. This is one of the principal reasons for Rousseau’s deep admiration of the civic cults of antiquity, in which religion and politics were united. The ‘religion of the citizen,’ as he called it, ‘combines the divine cult and love of the laws, and by making the fatherland the object of the Citizens’ adoration, it teaches them that to serve the State is to serve its tutelary God.

The disorder that he identifies with society can only be controlled by means of the artificial promotion of social order through institutions and habits that reshape the identity and beliefs of individuals, causing them to identify with the common interests of all rather than their own narrowly defined, particular interests, thereby transforming the war of all against all in the spirit of community. Principal among these, Rousseau argues, are a strong and exclusive sense of national identity, the intervention of a quasi-divine legislator, and the integration of religion, society, morality and the state, in emulation of the city-states of antiquity.

For Gray, like Horkheimer and Adorno, the Enlightenment is the last and most destructive phase in a long Promenthean drive to master the world that began in Western antiquity. Although the Enlightenment project has failed, Gray believes that it still has the power to devastate vulnerable natural and human environments outside of the West, having gutted those within it. I conclude in Chapter 9 with a brief assessment of some of the most common criticisms that the Enlightenment’s enemies have made of it since the eighteenth century.

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