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Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights, 1750-1790

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

That the Enlightenment shaped modernity is uncontested. Yet remarkably few historians or philosophers have attempted to trace the process of ideas from the political and social turmoil of the late eighteenth century to the present day. This is precisely what Jonathan Israel now does.

In Democratic Enlightenment, Israel demonstrates that the Enlightenment was an essentially revolutionary process, driven by philosophical debate. The American Revolution and its concerns certainly acted as a major factor in the intellectual ferment that shaped the wider upheaval that followed, but the radical philosophes were no less critical than enthusiastic about the American model. From 1789, the General Revolution's impetus came from a small group of philosophe-revolutionnaires, men such as Mirabeau, Sieyes, Condorcet, Volney, Roederer, and Brissot. Not aligned to any of the social groups represented in the French National assembly, they nonetheless forged "la philosophie moderne"-in effect Radical Enlightenment ideas-into a world-transforming ideology that had a lasting impact in Latin America, Canada and Eastern Europe as well as France, Italy, Germany, and the Low Countries. In addition, Israel argues that while all French revolutionary journals powerfully affirmed that la philosophie moderne was the main cause of the French Revolution, the main stream of historical thought has failed to grasp what this implies. Israel sets the record straight, demonstrating the true nature of the engine that drove the Revolution, and the intimate links between the radical wing of the Enlightenment and the anti-Robespierriste "Revolution of reason."

Synopsis:

That the Enlightenment shaped modernity is uncontested. Yet remarkably few historians or philosophers have attempted to trace the process of ideas from the political and social turmoil of the late eighteenth century to the present day. This is precisely what Jonathan Israel now does.

In Democratic Enlightenment, Israel demonstrates that the Enlightenment was an essentially revolutionary process, driven by philosophical debate. The American Revolution and its concerns certainly acted as a major factor in the intellectual ferment that shaped the wider upheaval that followed, but the radical philosophes were no less critical than enthusiastic about the American model. From 1789, the General Revolution's impetus came from a small group of philosophe-revolutionnaires, men such as Mirabeau, Sieyes, Condorcet, Volney, Roederer, and Brissot. Not aligned to any of the social groups represented in the French National assembly, they nonetheless forged "la philosophie moderne"-in effect Radical Enlightenment ideas-into a world-transforming ideology that had a lasting impact in Latin America, Canada and Eastern Europe as well as France, Italy, Germany, and the Low Countries. In addition, Israel argues that while all French revolutionary journals powerfully affirmed that la philosophie moderne was the main cause of the French Revolution, the main stream of historical thought has failed to grasp what this implies. Israel sets the record straight, demonstrating the true nature of the engine that drove the Revolution, and the intimate links between the radical wing of the Enlightenment and the anti-Robespierriste "Revolution of reason."

About the Author

Jonathan Israel is Professor of Modern History at the Institute for Advance Study, Princeton. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and corresponding fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences. His previous books include The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness, and Fall 1477-1806; Radical Enlightenment; and Enlightenment Contested.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Part 1: The Radical Challenge

2. Nature and Providence: Earthquakes and the Human Condition

3. The Encyclopedie Suppressed (1752-60)

4. Rousseau against the Philosophes

5. Voltaire, Enlightenment, and the European Courts

6. Anti-Philosophes

7. Central Europe: Aufklarung divided

Part II: Rationalizing the Ancien Regime

8. Hume, Scepticism, and Moderation

9. Scottish Enlightenment and Man's Progress

10. Enlightened Despotism

11. Aufklarung and the Fracturing of German Protestant Culture

12. Catholic Enlightenment: the Papacy's Retreat

13. Society and the Rise of the Italian revolutionary Enlightenment

14. Spain and the Challenge of Reform

Part III: Europe and the Re-Making of the World

15. The Histoire Philosophique, or Colonialism Overturned

16. The American Revolution

17. Europe and the Amerindians

18. Philosophy and Revolt in Ibero-America (1765-92)

19. Commercial Despotism: Dutch Colonialism in Asia

20. China, Japan, and the West

21. India and the Two Enlightenments

22. Russia's Greeks, Poles, and Serfs

Part IV: Spinoza Controversies in the Later Enlightenment

23. Rousseau, Spinoza and the 'General Will'

24. Radical Break-Through

25. The Pantheismusstreit (1780-87)

26. Kant and the Radical Challenge

27. Goethe, Schiller and the new "Dutch Revolt against Spain"

Part V: Revolution

28. 1788-9: the "General Revolution" begins

29. The Diffusion

30. 'Philosophy' as the Maker of Revolutions

31. Aufklarung and the Secret Societies (1776-92)

32. Small State Revolution in the 1780s

33. The Dutch Democratic Revolution of the 1780s

34. The French Revolution: from 'Philosophy' to Basic Human Rights (1788-90)

35. Epilogue: 1789 as an Intellectual Revolution

Product Details

ISBN:
9780199668090
Author:
Israel, Jonathan
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Subject:
Political
Subject:
History, Other | Intellectual History
Subject:
World History-England General
Subject:
Philosophy : General
Series Volume:
Philosophy, Revoluti
Publication Date:
20130231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 pp. plate section
Pages:
1,088
Dimensions:
6.1 x 9.2 x 2.3 in 3.55 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » General History
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
History and Social Science » World History » England » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Science and Mathematics » Chemistry » Biochemistry

Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights, 1750-1790 New Trade Paper
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Product details 1,088 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199668090 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , That the Enlightenment shaped modernity is uncontested. Yet remarkably few historians or philosophers have attempted to trace the process of ideas from the political and social turmoil of the late eighteenth century to the present day. This is precisely what Jonathan Israel now does.

In Democratic Enlightenment, Israel demonstrates that the Enlightenment was an essentially revolutionary process, driven by philosophical debate. The American Revolution and its concerns certainly acted as a major factor in the intellectual ferment that shaped the wider upheaval that followed, but the radical philosophes were no less critical than enthusiastic about the American model. From 1789, the General Revolution's impetus came from a small group of philosophe-revolutionnaires, men such as Mirabeau, Sieyes, Condorcet, Volney, Roederer, and Brissot. Not aligned to any of the social groups represented in the French National assembly, they nonetheless forged "la philosophie moderne"-in effect Radical Enlightenment ideas-into a world-transforming ideology that had a lasting impact in Latin America, Canada and Eastern Europe as well as France, Italy, Germany, and the Low Countries. In addition, Israel argues that while all French revolutionary journals powerfully affirmed that la philosophie moderne was the main cause of the French Revolution, the main stream of historical thought has failed to grasp what this implies. Israel sets the record straight, demonstrating the true nature of the engine that drove the Revolution, and the intimate links between the radical wing of the Enlightenment and the anti-Robespierriste "Revolution of reason."

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