The Enlightenment

Anthony Pagden

Why I looked at this book

The Enlightenment was an important influence on the way we live today. The values it has given us seem to the values we should have - what's not to like? But looking at it from the inside, as it were, its hard to be clear about what it is and whether there are any substantial reasons to find faults with it. I'm hoping that this book will give me a clearer idea of what the Enlightenment means and what arguments there are against it.

First impressions

Pagden starts the book by looking at what is meant by the term 'Enlightenment'. I would have liked this to be easier to follow - I didn't feel that my ideas on this point were clarified after reading the sample. Hopefully this will improve as I get further into the book - in a sense the whole book is on this topic.

One thing I did note is that at one point Pagden mentions the early Romantics as opponents of the Enlightenment. This isn't my understanding at all - I would see the Romanticism and Enlightenment as overlapping to a considerable degree. For instance Goethe certainly seems to be an important figure in both camps.
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