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Book review: The Enlightenment, by Anthony Pagden

The term "Enlightenment" refers to a period in European history from roughly the middle of the seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth, during which radical changes in thought occurred that had a profound influence on politics, philosophy, science, and religion. But there are major disagreements among historians, not only about the dating of this event, but also about its significance. Was it a time of liberation, when ways of thinking that had blocked progress for centuries were cast aside, or did it bring about an over-reliance on the intellect and on reason and lead to a loss of moral certainty caused by the erosion of religious faith? Pagden's subtitle makes clear that he is favours the positive view. So do I, but I have to say that I was disappointed by this book. [More]

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