Sunday, May 19, 2019

On The Three Enlightenments

Gertrude Himmelfarb, on the three Enlightenments (The Roads to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments)"The British Enlightenment represents “the sociology of virtue,” the French “the ideology of reason,” the American “the politics of liberty.” The British moral philosophers were sociologists as much as philosophers; concerned with man in relation to society, they looked to the social virtues for the basis of a healthy and humane society. The French had a more exalted mission: to make reason the governing principle of society as well as mind, to “rationalize, as it were, the world. The Americans, more modestly, sought to create a new “science of politics” that would establish the new republic upon a sound foundation of liberty."

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