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Enlightenment Shadows

ISBN: 9780199669561 | 0199669562
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Pub. Date: 9/15/2013

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The idea of the Enlightenment has become a touchstone for emotive and often contradictory articulations of contemporary western values. Enlightenment Shadows is a study of the place of Enlightenment thought in intellectual history and of its continued relevance. Genevieve Lloyd focuses especially on what is distinctive in ideas of intellectual character offered by key Enlightenment thinkers--on their attitudes to belief and scepticism; on their optimism about the future; and on the uncertainties and instabilities which nonetheless often lurk beneath their use of imagery of light. The book is organized around interconnected close readings of a range of texts: Montesquieu's Persian Letters; Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary; Hume's essay The Sceptic; Adam Smith's treatment of sympathy and imagination in Theory of Moral Sentiments; d'Alembert's Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedia--together with Diderot's entry on Encyclopedia; Diderot's Rameau's Nephew; and Kant's essay Perpetual Peace. Throughout, the readings highlight ways in which Enlightenment thinkers enacted in their writing--and reflected on--the interplay of intellect, imagination, and emotion. Recurring themes include: the nature of judgement--its relations with imagination and with ideals of objectivity; issues of truth and relativism; the ethical significance of imagining one's self into the situations of others; cosmopolitanism; tolerance; and the idea of the secular.


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