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A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy

by
ISBN13:

9780691152608

ISBN10:
0691152608
Format:
Paperback
Pub. Date:
9/6/2011
Publisher(s):
Princeton Univ Pr

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Summary

Democracy, free thought and expression, religious tolerance, individual liberty, political self-determination of peoples, sexual and racial equality--these values have firmly entered the mainstream in the decades since they were enshrined in the 1948 U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. But if these ideals no longer seem radical today, their origin was very radical indeed--far more so than most historians have been willing to recognize. InA Revolution of the Mind, Jonathan Israel, one of the world's leading historians of the Enlightenment, traces the philosophical roots of these ideas to what were the least respectable strata of Enlightenment thought--what he calls the Radical Enlightenment.Originating as a clandestine movement of ideas that was almost entirely hidden from public view during its earliest phase, the Radical Enlightenment matured in opposition to the moderate mainstream Enlightenment dominant in Europe and America in the eighteenth century. During the revolutionary decades of the 1770s, 1780s, and 1790s, the Radical Enlightenment burst into the open, only to provoke a long and bitter backlash.A Revolution of the Mindshows that this vigorous opposition was mainly due to the powerful impulses in society to defend the principles of monarchy, aristocracy, empire, and racial hierarchy--principles linked to the upholding of censorship, church authority, social inequality, racial segregation, religious discrimination, and far-reaching privilege for ruling groups.In telling this fascinating history,A Revolution of the Mindreveals the surprising origin of our most cherished values--and helps explain why in certain circles they are frequently disapproved of and attacked even today.

Author Biography

Jonathan Israel is professor of modern history at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is the author- of Radical Enlightenment and Enlightenment Contested.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Progress and the Enlightenment's Two Conflicting Ways of Improving the Worldp. 1
Democracy or Social Hierarchy? The Political Riftp. 37
The Problem of Equality and Inequality: The Rise of Economicsp. 92
The Enlightenment's Critique of War and the Quest for "Perpetual Peace"p. 124
Two Kinds of Moral Philosophy inTCohflictp. 154
Voltaire versus Spinoza: The Enlightenment as a Basic Duality of Philosophical Systemsp. 199
Conclusionp. 221
Notesp. 243
Indexp. 267
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.


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