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

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

ISBN13: 9780199548200
ISBN10: 019954820x
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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."

Acclaim for earlier volumes in the trilogy:

"His vast--and vastly impressive--book sets out to redefine the intellectual landscape of early modern Europe. Magnificent and magisterialwill undoubtedly be one of the truly great historical works of the decade." — Sunday Telegraph

"The scholarship is breathtaking. Israel has read everything, absorbed every nuance, followed up every byway." — New Statesman

"An enormously impressive piece of scholarship. The breadth and depth of the author's reading are breathtaking and Enlightenment Contested is set to become the definitive work for philosophers as well as historians on this extraordinary period." — Tribune

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: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750, and Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752.

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

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equivalence, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by equivalence)
This is the 3rd volume in a 3,000 page opus on The Enlightenment which has its "radical" roots[i.e. is deepest]in the work of the Dutch-Jew/European free-thinker Spinoza. Can be read on or from any page for an almost 'You Are There' experience.

This 3rd volume is centered on the Spinozist Diderot & D'Holbach[1770 "Systeme de la nature"] but in this volume American thinkers are here too,plus the Atlantic Thomas Paine whose 1776 "Common Sense" is based in large part on French thinkers:Note D'Holbach's abridgement of his "Systeme..." titled "Le Bon Sens",1772.

The 1770 "Histoire philosophique [philosophical history--of the world]" by Diderot is, with D'Holbach's 1770 "Systeme...",the other central book of the democratic enlightenment: A tipping point was achieved in 1770 which quickly snowballed into major political revolutions. "Occupy the World?"--Europe's far flung invasions at long last had to answer up to morality. Human morality needs be as law-abiding as Newton's laws. "Extra-specialism"[my term] should give way to the understanding that everything in the universe,God included,is special or equivalent,of equal value or worth,but nothing is,in healthy reality,"extra-special". Consider my own feeling that one cannot be friends with a "superior" or "inferior" being. So,if Jesus is your friend...

J.I.,like any thinker is prone to error. I found a "near-typo" error on page 423:In two places the word "climactic" is used where it is clear the "climatic" is the correct choice. Just a caution,in this case don't get confused or come to the wrong conclusion due to this "quasi-typo".

A good book stimulates creativity. In the case of this "trilogy" I am struck by the insight I am confronted with. Insight which even a Charles Darwin,a relative specialist,only a science-philosopher---cannot match. Darwin,after all,took Malthusian economics out of its more enlightened matrix.

The events of 2011 in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria,etc show that the rights of "equivalents" cannot be violated with impunity. The roots of European thought include Hebrew, Greek, Reformation, & Enlightenment religious, political, historical, economic, scientific, artistic,etc philosophies or idea-attitudes. If we remember that philosophy might best be tranlated as "the wisdom of love" rather than "the love of wisdom"[read Plato-Socrates-Diotima's "Symposium"]---if we remember what's healthy---we can be inspired like Spinoza and Diderot to try to do the least evil,try to help the healing,try to reduce the damage. Try to face in the direction so that the planet can get out of it's human-built jail. And help clean up the junk. If you are not sure if you would be helping or hurting do something else,something most or at least more likely to help.

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Product Details

Oxford University Press
Israel, Jonathan
null, Jonathan
Israel, Jonathan I.
History, Other | Intellectual History
Philosophy : General
Series Volume:
Philosophy, Revoluti
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
16 page plate section
6.4 x 9.3 x 2.4 in 3.6 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Great Britain » General History
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » Early Modern
History and Social Science » World History » England » General
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Philosophy » General

Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights, 1750-1790
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Product details 1152 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780199548200 Reviews:
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