- 219,00 kr
The story of how, and why, the ideal of a universal, global, and cosmopolitan society became such a central part of the Western imagination in the ferment of the Enlightenment - and how these ideas have done battle with an inward-looking, tradition-oriented view of the world ever since.
For those who recognize the names Hegel, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Voltaire, and Diderot but unfamiliar with their thought, Padgen (Peoples and Empires) provides a fantastic introduction; explaining the driving philosophies of the period and placing their proponents in context. In wry asides, he also offers snippets of their personal lives and interactions with each other. Padgen argues that the Reformation and the discovery of the Americas shattered certainty, causing many to reject the scholasticism of their upbringing. This led to a questioning of religion and the need for a secular state, with America as the beacon. Voltaire's friend, Benjamin Franklin, wanted to prove that, "a society of unbelievers could be just as moral as a society of the devout." Padgen also discusses the search for a "natural" culture and blueprints made for creating one in Europe. Through the popularity of Enlightenment treatises, concepts of equality and human rights were broached without recourse to religion. Some promoted the idea of a united Europe and a few brave men even espoused the equality of women, guardedly. Padgen's belief that the Enlightenment "made it possible for us to think beyond the narrow worlds into which we are born," is clearly and cogently presented.