In the wake of the Scientific Revolution, the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries saw the complete demolition of traditional structures of authority, scientific thought, and belief by the new philosophy and the philosophes, including Voltaire, Diderot, and Rousseau. The Radical Enlightenment played a part in this revolutionary process, which effectively overthrew all justification for monarchy, aristocracy, and ecclesiastical power, as well as man's dominance over woman, theological dominance of education, and slavery. Despite the present day interest in the revolutions of the eighteenth century, the origins and rise of the Radical Enlightenment have received limited scholarly attention. The greatest obstacle to the movement finding its proper place in modern historical writing is its international scope: the Racial Enlightenment was not French, British, German, Italian, Jewish or Dutch, but all of these at the same time.
In this wide-ranging volume, Jonathan Israel offers a novel interpretation of the Radical Enlightenment down to La Mettie and Diderot, two of its key exponents. Particular emphasis is placed on the pivotal role of Spinoza and the widespread underground international philosophical movement known before 1750 as Spinozism.
About the Author:
Jonathan Israel is a professor in the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University.
In Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy And The Making Of Modernity, 1650-1750, Jonathan Israel (Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton) has created an impressive, benchmark work revealing how the decisive shift in the history of modern ideas by such original thinkers as Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, and others, occurring in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries resulted in the complete demolition of traditional European structures of authority, scientific thought, and belief which collectively came to be called "The Age Of Enlightenment". Radical Enlightenment is an 810 pp. volume with major sections devoted to the role of philosophy's evolution to government, society, institutions, revolution, women's roles, sexuality, censorship, culture, libraries, publishing, religion, law, science, and more. Enhanced for scholarship with an extensive bibliography and index, Radical Enlightenment will prove to be an indispensable and welcome addition to the study of both European civilization, history, and philosophy.