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Edward Andrew discusses Pierre Bayle, who held that conscience was the “voice of God,” but that humans can still err. Enlightenment thinkers increasingly insisted that social approval, not God’s voice, guided conscience. Thus, conscience became not about certainty concerning the right course of action, but rather about alignment with social forces that might create stability. Bayle maintained that conscience was a faculty of the person, although subject to error. This distinguished him from Locke, who referenced conscience in his political writings. However, in his Essay concerning Human Understanding, Locke asserted that conscience was only one’s abiding beliefs. Bayle, however, proposed that conscience was the development of applications of natural law and Scripture. Harold Schulweis and Harold Berman are conversation partners for Bayle. Schulweis sees conscience as a force of judgment outside law. Morality is not fixed; rather, the person with an active conscience constantly recalibrates her actions and judges the right thing to do. Berman, however, thought conscience as a force beside law, like a jury that renders its judgment about the right decision under the circumstances.
Following the devastating Wars of Religion that had plagued large parts of continental Europe from the sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth centuries, the eighteenth century saw the rise of a new cosmopolitan spirit concerned with putting an end to internecine conflict as well as establishing the idea of a European civilization that was entitled to dictate the nature of any future world civilization. A preoccupation with the idea of Europe ran like a red thread through much Enlightenment thinking, commencing with a tract by the Abbé de Saint-Pierre first published in 1712 on the best means to establish peace in Europe, and including contributions from major writers and philosophers of the period, including Voltaire, Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Kant. In many respects, the idea of Europe during this period was of French, with the French language being considered the natural European language and French civilization the model for European civilization. Chapter 2 considers the flourishing of the idea of Europe during the Enlightenment, and in particular the way in which it served to a new global vision of civilization. It was in this period that European civilization and values were seen as universal, this Euro-universalism underlying the idea of cosmopolitanism.
When the Dutch plunged into the Indian Ocean at the beginning of the seventeenth century, they brought with them both a new form of capitalism and fresh ways of looking at nature. Their sprawling seaborne empire turned Amsterdam and Leiden into centres for the collection of global knowledge. Colonised regions were systematically scoured for valuable natural resources and curiosities. Jan van Riebeeck, Simon van der Stel and Rijk Tulbagh, among other Cape governors, were keen amateur naturalists. The Cape’s natural diversity in plants and animals attracted literate travellers with a scientific bent and the botanical gardens served as a portal to exchange of botanical knowledge. The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries produced a rich literature on South Africa, as scientific interest drew it into the orbit of educated Europeans. Some of the writers became scientists of consequence, including Thunberg, who became the leading botanist in Sweden; Lichtenstein, a professor of zoology in Berlin; and Barrow, a key scientific figure in the British Admiralty. These travellers often reported local knowledge and collectively created a literary tradition about the Cape that helped to define the region’s character and interest to scientists.
This essay revises traditional notions of the plantation as antithetical to modernity by linking foundational Anglo-American writings about the plantation to English Enlightenment thought. By examining writings about the American plantation enterprise ranging from Thomas Harriot’s Briefe and True Report of the New-Found Land of Virginia (1588/1590) to John Locke’s Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina (1669), this essay establishes a clear relationship between practical considerations of settlement and epistemological and ethical questions central to Enlightenment thinking. Harriot’s text, for instance, performs a shift from deductive to inductive reasoning when considering plantation settlement, thereby anticipating the modern scientific method. Locke’s contribution, however, presages a more dissonant relationship between evolving Enlightenment ideals and the American plantation system as notions such as climatic determinism and the immorality of enslavement became more pervasive.
Chapter 6 turns to the disintegration of the political unity of the Iberian World, and addresses the role of the classical rhetorical tradition in spreading new and even revolutionary ideas in both the Atlantic and the Pacific (c. 1750–1850). It begins by showing that new Enlightenment wine was frequently put in post-humanist bottles, focusing on the orations delivered in the Patriotic Economic Societies (sociedades de amigos del país) in Spain and the Philippines. It then shows that a similar pattern can be seen in the oratory of the Age of Revolutions in Mexico. While the public ceremonial oratory of the early Mexican Republic is often portrayed as having arisen spontaneously to fulfill the needs of the new nation, this chapter argues that this was merely the last in a long line of applications in the Iberian World of a tool of social ordering inherited from Mediterranean antiquity.
Critical trends in psychiatry are abundant today. Their impact on how psychiatry is currently practised is considerable. Yet what deserves close examination is the extent to which these modes of critique (anti-psychiatry, liberation movements, activism, existential, narrative or hermeneutic approaches, theories of values, psychoanalysis) inherently belong to or have become part of the very system that they criticise. Despite their political, social or scientific influence, which is undeniable, their critical power is often limited by their inability to radically challenge the deeper anthropological and philosophical presuppositions on which mainstream psychiatry rests. It can be argued that Foucault offers such a challenge. Implementing his historico-philosophical method, Foucault is sceptical of the anti-psychiatric quest for non-oppressive modes of psychiatric power and the humanist and postmodern efforts to moralise or relativise psychiatric truth. All these modes of critique rest on preconceived notions of nature, power and truth and have been integrated by the pluralism of the psychiatric universe. Yet Foucault's critique seeks precisely the opposite: to explore a new anthropological conception of insanity that has the power to challenge the legal, moral or reductionist constraints under which medical truth currently operates.
This chapter explores Ernst Mach’s philosophy of scientific knowledge as an original form of pragmatism. Mach recognised science as a deeply historical phenomenon and scientific knowledge as path-dependent, thoroughly fallible, and far from ever closed. Conceptual perplexities, he held, can only be resolved by historical-comparative investigations. What merits thinking of Mach as a pragmatist, I will argue, is his insistence, as a philosopher, on the ultimately practical orientation of all thought as a matter both of fact and norm, and, as a historian of science, on the need to investigate the specific problem situations out of and in response to which concepts and theories developed. Last but not least, the practical orientation of his philosophy found expression in his allegiance to the ideal of enlightenment.
In a pair of texts published in 1795, the philosopher, physician, and public intellectual Johann Benjamin Erhard offered a broadly Kantian defense of the right to revolution under conditions of structural injustice. Erhard’s theory of revolution is of continuing interest, for his theory touches on difficult practical questions related to what we might call the ethics of revolutionary action. The primary aim of my paper is reconstructive; I aim to give a philosophical account of the overall shape of Erhard’s theory of justified revolutionary action. In the course of my reconstruction of Erhard’s account, I focus especially on the central role of epistemic limitations regarding the consequences of revolutionary action in Erhard’s account. Erhard is focused on the fact that revolution is an inherently risky endeavor, with potentially enormous downsides for society, and for those on whose behalf revolutionaries purport to act. Erhard takes the problem of revolution’s dangerous unpredictability very seriously as an obstacle to the justification of revolutionary action. This is both a merit of his account, and the source of some interpretative and philosophical puzzles.
I explore the problem of public opinion in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right and argue that for Hegel, the problem of public opinion is closely related to that of ideology critique, representing a departure from the Kantian approach to publicity as a path to enlightenment, and the development of a nascent critical theory. I provide an overview of Hegel’s understanding of public opinion by taking up its positive and negative aspects. His departure from Kantian themes is discerned in his understanding of the formation and function of public opinion, which traces its origins to the estates, leading to a conflict between private interests based on social status and the public good. With Hegel’s understanding in view, I assess how this represents the development of a concept of ideology by drawing on Raymond Geuss’ definition. Public opinion has certain epistemic, functional, and genetic features connected with ideology, and Hegel’s account of social practices helpfully contributes to contemporary debates. Finally, I turn to the Natural Law essay and argue that Hegel’s objections against empiricism and formalism in political theorizing share important affinities with critical theory.
This chapter traces the emergence of the Zionist movement and the colonization of Palestine from the late nineteenth century through the 1930s. It begins with two Zionist pioneers. The first, Theodor Herzl––the father of political Zionism––was important both for his approach to Jewish colonization (he sought the backing of a Great Power for the project) and for his organizational skills which created structures in Europe that nurtured the movement. The second, Leo Pinsker––the father of Practical Zionism––believed the Jews of Europe could not wait, and thus organized Jewish emigration to Palestine. While the first attempts at colonization failed, the chapter goes on to discuss three more waves of immigration. The second and third wave were inspired by socialism and Romanticism, and the structures they created––which lasted well into the statehood period––reflected this. The fourth wave, however, was mainly made up of economic refugees who were attracted to a rightwing, petit-bourgeois ideology. They and their descendents became influential in Israel beginning in the late 1970s.
This volume presents new essays on the work and thought of physicist, psychologist, and philosopher Ernst Mach. Moving away from previous estimations of Mach as a pre-logical positivist, the essays reflect his rehabilitation as a thinker of direct relevance to debates in the contemporary philosophies of natural science, psychology, metaphysics, and mind. Topics covered include Mach's work on acoustical psychophysics and physics; his ideas on analogy and the principle of conservation of energy; the correct interpretation of his scheme of 'elements' and its relationship to his 'historical-critical' method; the relationship of his thought to movements such as American pragmatism, realism, and neutral monism, as well as to contemporary figures such as Friedrich Nietzsche; and the reception and influence of his works in Germany and Austria, particularly by the Vienna Circle.
This chapter offers a definition of the libertine novel as the erotic fiction of the Age the Enlightenment. Not only do libertine novels embody the intellectual audacity of the period through their transgressive and free-thinking characters; they also join efforts by scientists and philosophes to unveil the secret workings of the human machine whilst imagining a society fit for it. This chapter contends that this erotic and enlightened fiction represents a crucial element in the history of both literature and ideas, since it epitomises the moment when the Western world first stepped into modernity, challenging old ideals and idols, and redefining pleasure as any individual’s inalienable and natural right.
Diderot and Rousseau were friends and then enemies, and they were also both major writers of the Enlightenment. They argued that human nature should be understood and valued, and they argued against anything that constrained it, as they considered that all suffering was destructive. Fiction was part of their argumentative arsenal, and perhaps even the tool they felt was most effective, as it works through the imagination on the emotions. 'Natural' reactions of dismay or distress at injustice or cruelty could 'enlighten' the reader at an emotional and therefore natural level, and create new ways of seeing that rejected harsh convention and promoted natural morality. This chapter tracks these aspects through their fictional and non-fictional works, showing how central they are to all their writing. We also look at the friendship of these two writers, and at the publication history of their fictional work.
In ‘What is Enlightenment?’, Kant claims that no women are currently enlightened. Here I argue that this exclusion is due to certain legal restrictions guiding Kant’s conception of enlightenment. As enlightenment is intended to take place in society, it appears that Kant has a specific legal context in mind that affects its enactment. His twofold conception of citizenship and the dimension of subordination he puts forward by restricting the private use of reason will prove useful in clarifying those legal restrictions. It thus seems unlikely that Kant intended women to take an active part in enlightenment.
The Enlightenment was the defining cultural and intellectual movement of the eighteenth century. Also known as the Age of Reason, it is generally viewed by historians as the emergence of the modern West. Enlightenment thinkers championed rationality and upheld Newtonian science, with its emphasis on natural laws, as the preeminent description of the natural world. The rise of religious tolerance across Europe, challenges to the cultural authority of organized religion, and the emergence of rational forms of religion such as deism all combined to produce a more secular mindset among the educated classes. Those same individuals also dismissed magic as a delusion of the ignorant and superstitious, but more recent scholarship has challenged the narrative of “disenchantment” in which magical beliefs and practices supposedly disappeared as rationality increased. In fact, occult philosophies and traditions from hermeticism to alchemy had already put their indelible stamp on the development of “scientific” disciplines long before the Enlightenment began. By 1750, the complex relationships between science, religion, and magic had assumed a configuration familiar to many people today.
The Westphalian tradition of just war thinking rooted itself in a different understanding of natural law. Instead of understanding natural law as part of the divine law and reflecting humanity’s moral aspirations, the Westphalians’ natural law was rooted in the “state of nature” and reflected what reason and custom told us about humanity’s actual conduct. Justice, in this view, did not include liberality or charity; it involved the protection of the rights of sovereigns. International justice became equated with the rights of sovereign autonomy and reciprocal non-interference associated with the Treaties of Westphalia. The just war thinkers of this era are thus more hesitant to endorse a right of rebellion, intervention to support rebels, humanitarian intervention, war as punishment, war to defend the innocent, or war against those who commit crimes against nature. War is an instrument to defend international borders, not to enforce an abstract ideal of justice. This leads to the signature contribution from the Westphalian tradition: that the preservation of the balance of power is a just cause because it preserves the independence and territorial integrity of every state.
The emergence of “social theory” as a distinct intellectual genre represents a historic renewal of considerable importance. Tracing the development of key concepts allows us to understand its analytical specificity as compared to the traditional genres of inquiry (politics, law, morals, and political economy). It makes it possible to identify its formative period (between the Enlightenment and the early nineteenth century), and its most prominent pioneers – Montesquieu, Rousseau, and the Scottish moral philosophers.
Johan Heilbron is a historical sociologist, currently Professor of the Sociology of Education at Uppsala University and affiliated with the Centre européen de sociologie et de science politique (CESSP-CNRS-EHESS) in Paris and Erasmus University Rotterdam. Relevant books include The Rise of Social Theory (1995), The Rise of the Social Sciences and the Formation of Modernity (coedited, 2001), Pour une histoire des sciences sociales: hommage à Pierre Bourdieu (coedited, 2004), French Sociology (2015), and The Social and Human Sciences in Global Power Relations (coedited, 2018).
This chapter reveals how the atlas as a cartographic format is more than a collection of maps. The British Atlas (1810) by John Britton and Edward Wedlake Brayely was published to accompany their The Beauties of England and Wales, a county-by-county survey with extensive letterpress illustrated by engraved views. Initially a highly commercial success as a national work during the war with France, The British Atlas was an integral part of Britton's ambition to raise the reputation of topography as a cultural genre. The county maps and town plans were redrawn from the finest available surveys; packed with information and allusion, the plans in particular contained striking composite images. As so often in his career, Britton’s ambition ran ahead of his achievement, however. Complex and sometimes contentious relations between the various partners and contributors on The Beauties of England and Wales, including Britton and Brayley, affected research, authorship, design and production, and The British Atlas was unfinished, with just a fraction of the projected urban views published. The chapter details the ways in which the project’s fate was a familiar story of how material cartography with high production values and with up-to-date information fared in the commercial market.
Theodor W. Adorno often made reference to Immanuel Kant’s famous essay on enlightenment. Although he denied that immaturity is self-incurred, the first section of this article will show that he adopted many of Kant’s ideas about maturity in his philosophically informed critique of monopoly conditions under late capitalism. The second section will explore Adorno’s claim that the educational system could foster maturity by encouraging critical reflection on the social conditions that have made us what we are. Finally, this article will demonstrate that Adorno links enlightenment to Kant’s idea of a realm of ends.
Many recent commentators have noticed how Adorno, in his late works, borrows Kant’s definition of enlightenment to define key areas of his own critical practice. These discussions, however, have failed to notice how these late borrowings present an image of Kant’s enlightenment which is diametrically opposed to his previous discussions. By tracing the development of Adorno’s engagement with Kant’s essay, I discover Adorno deliberately sublating Kant’s definition as to enable its incorporation into his own works. Further, the article will examine some problems which appear to arise for Adorno when borrowing Kant’s definition of enlightenment in his late works, which coalesce around the topics of negativism and the prospects for societal change.