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A revolution of the mind : Radical Enlightenment and the intellectual origins of modern democracy /
Jonathan Israel.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2010.
description
xiv, 276 p. ; 23 cm.
ISBN
0691142009 (hardcover : alk. paper), 9780691142005 (hardcover : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2010.
isbn
0691142009 (hardcover : alk. paper)
9780691142005 (hardcover : alk. paper)
contents note
Progress and the enlightenment's two conflicting ways of improving the world -- Democracy or social hierarchy? : the political rift -- The problem of equality and inequality : the rise of economics -- The enlightenment's critique of war and the quest for "perpetual peace" -- Two kinds of moral philosophy in conflict -- Voltaire versus Spinoza : the enlightenment as a basic duality of philosophical systems -- Conclusion.
catalogue key
6985846
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [243]-266) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"This book succeeds beautifully. Written with confidence and concision, it lays out Jonathan Israel's central ideas about the Radical Enlightenment and its fundamental importance in shaping the values of democratic modernity. Those who already know his work will find a clear and bold statement of his principal arguments, as well as important elaborations and expansions. Those unfamiliar with his scholarship will get a masterful introduction to the work of one of the leading Enlightenment scholars in the world today."--Darrin M. McMahon, Florida State University"Interesting, erudite, and provocative, this book provides readers with a succinct and clear introduction to Jonathan Israel's wide-ranging work on the Radical Enlightenment. It should command a broad readership."--James Schmidt, Boston University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2010-03-15:
In this sharply written synthesis, Israel (modern history, Inst. for Advanced Study, Princeton) deftly traces the intellectual development of modern democratic thought from its origins in the philosophies of Spinoza and Bayle to the Atlantic revolutionary movements of the 1770s, 1780s, and 1790s. Central to Israel's cerebral argument, also put forward in his two previous monumental works, Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750 and Enlightenment Contested: Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752, is the concept of a dialectical Enlightenment pitting the mainstream or moderate Enlightenment of Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Smith against the clandestine forces of a Radical Enlightenment advocated by Baron d'Holbach, Helvetius, and Diderot. Israel maintains that while moderate advocates were comfortable working within the confines of traditional authority characterized by censorship, social inequality, and privilege, radical thinkers sought nothing less than the destruction of the ancien regime and the restructuring of society based upon equality. Verdict Israel's reasoned assertion for the influence of the Radical Enlightenment on democratic thought is certainly compelling, making this essential reading for students of the Enlightenment era as well as anyone interested in the foundations of modern democracy.-Brian Odom, Pelham P.L, AL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2010-05-01:
Israel's new book is a breathtaking rethinking of the Enlightenment and its impact in the modern world. Drawing upon his multivolume work on the Enlightenment, Israel (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton) argues that a great debate between two Enlightenments took place in the late 18th century. The Moderate Enlightenment, which included Voltaire, David Hume, Adam Ferguson, and Adam Smith, viewed progress through the lens of a progressive or deistic theology that largely accepted the existing structures of power and privilege. The Radical Enlightenment, which included Baruch Spinoza, Denis Diderot, Baron d'Holbach, Tom Paine, and Joseph Priestley, grounded its view in a materialistic, secular view of the world that called for a "revolution in mind" to pave the way for a "revolution in fact." Distinguishing between these two ideological camps and the different positions taken on theology, metaphysics, economics, political institutions, and moral philosophy provides a useful lens for reading the vast literature that comprises Enlightenment thought. Contrasting these camps with the ideas of Rousseau and his revolutionary followers highlights the important roles ideas played in defining the present-day cultural and political worlds. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels. E. J. Harpham University of Texas at Dallas
Reviews
Review Quotes
Israel is right to emphasize the importance of this intellectual movement, but since his is such a sweeping revision of so many generations of received ideas, his work raises the question of why the radical Enlightenment has been misunderstood or obscured for so long in favor of such colorful figures as Voltaire (in Israel's telling, a witty, snobbish sycophant). . . . We are lucky that a historian of Israel's caliber has taken these subjects on and lucky, too, that he has now produced a readable introduction to them.
"Israel is right to emphasize the importance of this intellectual movement, but since his is such a sweeping revision of so many generations of received ideas, his work raises the question of why the radical Enlightenment has been misunderstood or obscured for so long in favor of such colorful figures as Voltaire (in Israel's telling, a witty, snobbish sycophant). . . . We are lucky that a historian of Israel's caliber has taken these subjects on and lucky, too, that he has now produced a readable introduction to them."-- Benjamin Moser, Harper's Magazine
Israel is right to emphasize the importance of this intellectual movement, but since his is such a sweeping revision of so many generations of received ideas, his work raises the question of why the radical Enlightenment has been misunderstood or obscured for so long in favor of such colorful figures as Voltaire (in Israel's telling, a witty, snobbish sycophant). . . . We are lucky that a historian of Israel's caliber has taken these subjects on and lucky, too, that he has now produced a readable introduction to them. -- Benjamin Moser, Harper's Magazine
Israel's new book is a breathtaking rethinking of the Enlightenment and its impact in the modern world.
"Israel's new book is a breathtaking rethinking of the Enlightenment and its impact in the modern world."-- Choice
Israel's new book is a breathtaking rethinking of the Enlightenment and its impact in the modern world. -- Choice
Israel's reasoned assertion for the influence of the Radical Enlightenment on democratic thought is certainly compelling, making this essential reading for students of the Enlightenment era as well as anyone interested in the foundations of modem democracy.
Israel's reasoned assertion for the influence of the Radical Enlightenment on democratic thought is certainly compelling, making this essential reading for students of the Enlightenment era as well as anyone interested in the foundations of modem democracy. -- Library Journal
Israel's reasoned assertion for the influence of the Radical Enlightenment on democratic thought is certainly compelling, making this essential reading for students of the Enlightenment era as well as anyone interested in the foundations of modern democracy.
"Israel's reasoned assertion for the influence of the Radical Enlightenment on democratic thought is certainly compelling, making this essential reading for students of the Enlightenment era as well as anyone interested in the foundations of modern democracy."-- Library Journal
Israel's reasoned assertion for the influence of the Radical Enlightenment on democratic thought is certainly compelling, making this essential reading for students of the Enlightenment era as well as anyone interested in the foundations of modern democracy. -- Library Journal
"Israel succeeds commendably in a great evaluation and dissemination of generally unknown texts from beyond the familiar territories of France, England, and America. In this respect, he broadens the common conception of where Enlightenment ideas were debated and implemented, unlike Isaiah Berlin, who failed to notice the American Enlightenment."-- Rivka Weisberg and Carl Pletsch, 1650-1850
Perhaps no active scholar has shaped the conversation about the sources and meaning of the Enlightenment more than Jonathan Israel. . . . Almost miraculously, Israel manages to embody the greatest intellectual virtues and vices.
"Perhaps no active scholar has shaped the conversation about the sources and meaning of the Enlightenment more than Jonathan Israel. . . . Almost miraculously, Israel manages to embody the greatest intellectual virtues and vices."-- Christian Century
Perhaps no active scholar has shaped the conversation about the sources and meaning of the Enlightenment more than Jonathan Israel. . . . Almost miraculously, Israel manages to embody the greatest intellectual virtues and vices. -- Christian Century
Spinoza's radicalism was certainly frightening in its time, and Israel has valuably if aggressively opened the question of its influence on the Enlightenment and the era of revolution.
"Spinoza's radicalism was certainly frightening in its time, and Israel has valuably if aggressively opened the question of its influence on the Enlightenment and the era of revolution."-- Samuel Moyn, Nation
Spinoza's radicalism was certainly frightening in its time, and Israel has valuably if aggressively opened the question of its influence on the Enlightenment and the era of revolution. -- Samuel Moyn, Nation
Interesting, erudite, and provocative, this book provides readers with a succinct and clear introduction to Jonathan Israel's wide-ranging work on the Radical Enlightenment. It should command a broad readership.
This book succeeds beautifully. Written with confidence and concision, it lays out Jonathan Israel's central ideas about the Radical Enlightenment and its fundamental importance in shaping the values of democratic modernity. Those who already know his work will find a clear and bold statement of his principal arguments, as well as important elaborations and expansions. Those unfamiliar with his scholarship will get a masterful introduction to the work of one of the leading Enlightenment scholars in the world today.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, March 2010
Choice, May 2010
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Back Cover Copy
"This book succeeds beautifully. Written with confidence and concision, it lays out Jonathan Israel's central ideas about the Radical Enlightenment and its fundamental importance in shaping the values of democratic modernity. Those who already know his work will find a clear and bold statement of his principal arguments, as well as important elaborations and expansions. Those unfamiliar with his scholarship will get a masterful introduction to the work of one of the leading Enlightenment scholars in the world today."--Darrin M. McMahon, Florida State University "Interesting, erudite, and provocative, this book provides readers with a succinct and clear introduction to Jonathan Israel's wide-ranging work on the Radical Enlightenment. It should command a broad readership."--James Schmidt, Boston University
Back Cover Copy
"This book succeeds beautifully. Written with confidence and concision, it lays out Jonathan Israels central ideas about the Radical Enlightenment and its fundamental importance in shaping the values of democratic modernity. Those who already know his work will find a clear and bold statement of his principal arguments, as well as important elaborations and expansions. Those unfamiliar with his scholarship will get a masterful introduction to the work of one of the leading Enlightenment scholars in the world today."-- Darrin M. McMahon, Florida State University "Interesting, erudite, and provocative, this book provides readers with a succinct and clear introduction to Jonathan Israels wide-ranging work on the Radical Enlightenment. It should command a broad readership."-- James Schmidt, Boston University
Bowker Data Service Summary
In this work, Jonathan Israel, one of the world's leading historians of the Enlightenment, traces the philosophical roots of ideas such as free thought and expression, religious tolerance, individual liberty, political self-determination of peoples, and more.
Main Description
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. In A 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 Mind shows 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 Mind reveals the surprising origin of our most cherished values--and helps explain why in certain circles they are frequently disapproved of and attacked even today.
Main Description
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.
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 in Conflictp. 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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