A very enjoyable, and very quotable short book I dont remember being taught about the enlightenment in school to be honest i wasnt paying much attention but what the enlightenment gave us in terms of critical thought and the freedom to express those thoughts should be a key part of our education The importance of a plurality of ideas was something i hadn t considered before free thinking can only really exist when people are thinking different things I m probably not doing the book justice here so i ll leave you with a couple of quotes Humanity is condemned to seek truth rather than possess it Eloquence of speech should not be mistaken for accuracy of thought And one final one from Voltaire The best citizen is the one who contributes to the happiness of the world A very accessible book for anyone who is interested in finding outabout enlightenment ide .
original review here almost bought this book when it came out in December 2009, but I had read at least one review which was not very positive I wish I could find whatever I had read to see whether I agree with it I have tried but I failed.
I have read at least three other Tzetvan Todorov books that I am certain of Facing the Extreme, Imperfect Garden, and Hope and Memory I have enjoyed them all, even when I have not entirely agreed with him.
I decided to pick this up now as I am taking a class this semester in Enlightenment Literature, or,specifically on Anglo American Enlightenment literature Todorov focuses on the French Enlightenment, understandably he has lived in France since 1963 Certainly, a few other thinkers from Germany, England, and America crop up but the vast majority of r 3.
5 stars More a Beginner s Guide to the Enlightenment than anything else I was hoping it would directly engage with specific aspects of contemporary culture, but it was broader andgeneral in scope, and aimed at a historical overview of Enlightenment philosophies Not a waste reading it, by any means, but not what I was hoping for The traditional adversaries of the Enlightenment obscurantism, arbitrary authority and fanaticism are like the heads of the Hydra that keep growing back as they are cut This is because they draw their strength from characteristics of human beings and societies that are as ineradicable as the desire for autonomy and dialogue The age of maturity that past authors were hoping would come seems not to be the destiny of humankind humanity is condemned to seek truth rather than possess it Thi ☆ L'Esprit des Lumières ☆ Not a perfect book Todorov sets up easily dismissed strawman versions of the internet s potential and actual impact on human co operation and the space program s relevance to our fate as a species There s also a sense that his vision of Enlightenment thinking is so subtle as to be almost nebulous it s not the radical desacralisation and scientism of Dawkins et al.
, nor the radical relativism of post modernism, just as much as it isn t the pursuit of theocracy or autocracy, but I think is to the good, as I ll explain in a moment He makes an important distinction between societies that uphold the common good and the general good the former leading to some form of totalitarianism while the latter necessarily embraces diversity In his conclusion he points out that the fate of humanity is not to find truth, but to pursue it , and this is as compelling an argument as any not

This book is a relatively easy reading and a very good defense of the enlightenment idea s According to Todorov, enlightenment is not a comprehensive or a single project as it is often proclaimed to be Enlightenment is rationalist and empiricist, emphasizing universality and particularity, it is aopen debate rather than an achieved consensus In other words, it is an attack on how the society was structured, and that religious institutions or any other object aren t holistic, what is holistic is individual autonomy The well being of the individual is the center of how society must be structured not transcendental commitments I personally agree with most of the Enlightenment notions, however, I have some reservations when it comes to the notion of equal rights for all under the same law I think that in the post modern world, nation states are no longer Despite being little over one hundred and fifty pages in length, In Defence of the Enlightenment offers a surprisingly wide ranging critique of the Enlightenment and, in Tzvetan Todorov s view, what it means for us as citizens of the modern world Todorov examines the writings of the main Enlightenment thinkers and links them to the present day, arguing throughout that these ideas remain as relevant now as they were in the eighteenth century.
Coming as it did in the wake of the global financial crisis and during a period in which right wing populist parties were starting to find their feet, In Defence of the Enlightenment is a timely reminder of the ideas and morals that we, as citizens of liberal democracies, are sometimes guilty of taking for granted Todorov not only explains how much the modern world o I don t think I can praise this work highly enough.
In a mere 150 pages, with wide spacing, Todorov examines what we mean by the Enlightenment, what it meant to the people articulating its ideals in the 18th century, and the differing arguments they raised in their discussions and essays on the new ideas arising from the collapse of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the rise of science, developments in technology, the Reformation which resulted in at least a further two types of Christianity there were already two East and West , etc and the implications of those developments All of this is done in simple, lucid prose, beautifully rendered by the translator Gila Walker The modern world is one of the consequences as well.
Some Conservatives, usually of theextreme type, both secular and religious, advocate openly, or snidely suggest, Brilliant And Concise Book From Internationally Renowned Historian Tzvetan Todorov Establishes The Enlightenment As The Philosophical Cornerstone Of The Modern World And Argues That The Wisdom Of Those Times Is Just As Relevant Today Although Our Liberal Democracies Are The Offspring Of The Enlightenment, They Also Illustrate The Ways In Which Its Ideas Can Be Distorted And Perverted People Living In These Democracies Today Are Often Baffled By A Host Of Phenomena Which They Don T Know How To Judge Globalisation And Media Omnipotence, State Sponsored [ Pdf L'Esprit des Lumières Å theatre PDF ] by Tzvetan Todorov ↠´ Torture And Lies, Moralism And The Right Of Intervention, The Domination Of Economics And The Triumph Of Technology Is It Possible To Distinguish Between The Enlightenment Legitimate And Illegitimate Heirs We Cannot Learn Lessons From The Past Unless We Know How To Relate Them To The Present In This Brilliant And Concise Book, Internationally Renowned Historian TT Shows That What Remains Relevant To Us Today Of The Th Century Debates Is Their Spirit, As Expressed In A Number Of Crucial Principles And Values It Is By Criticizing The Enlightenment That We Remain Faithful To It

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