What's Left of Enlightenment?: A Postmodern Question

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Stanford University Press, 2001 - 203 pages
It has become increasingly clear in recent years that, for all their differences, the many varieties of thinking commonly grouped together under the rubric of postmodernism share at least one salient characteristic: they all depend upon a stereotyped account of the Enlightenment. Postmodernity requires a modernity to be repudiated and superseded, and the tenets of this modernity have invariably been identified with the so-called Enlightenment Project. This volume aims to explore critically the now conventional opposition between Enlightenment and Postmodernity and question some of the conclusions drawn from it.

In so doing, the authors focus on three general areas. Part I, Enlightenment or Postmodernity? , reflects on the way in which contemporary discussion characterizes the two movements as radical alternatives. Part II, Critical Confrontations, provides a kind of archaeology of this opposition by charting a series of critical engagements by those who have affirmed or demeaned Enlightenment values in the twentieth century. Part III, A Postmodern Enlightenment? , complicates the perceived dichotomy between Enlightenment and Postmodernity by pointing to the existence within the Enlightenment of elements frequently seen as characteristic of Postmodernity.

The contributors are Lorraine Daston, Dena Goodman, David Hollinger, Lawrence E. Klein, Jonathan Knudsen, Michael Meranze, Richard Rorty, Hans Sluga, and Johnson Kent Wright.


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About the author (2001)

Keith Michael Baker is Anthony P. Meier Family Professor of History and Director of the Humanities Center at Stanford University. His works include Inventing the French Revolution: Essays on French Political Culture in the Eighteenth Century. Peter Hanns Reill is Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles and Director of the UCLA Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies. Among his works is The German Enlightenment and the Rise of Historicism.

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