Biography & Autobiography

The Enlightened Joseph Priestley | ,

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In The Enlightened Joseph Priestley Robert Schofield completes his two-volume biography of one of the great figures of the English Enlightenment. The first volume, published in 1997, covered the first forty years of Joseph Priestley’s life in England. In this second volume, Schofield surveys the mature years of Priestley, including the achievements that were to make him famous—the discovery of oxygen, the defenses of Unitarianism, and the political liberalism that characterized his later life. He also recounts Priestley’s flight to Pennsylvania in 1794 and the final years of his life spent along the Susquehanna in Northumberland. Together, the two volumes will stand as the standard biography of Priestley for years to come. Joseph Priestley (1733–1804), a contemporary and friend of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, exceeded even these polymaths in the breadth of his curiosity and learning. Yet Priestley is often portrayed in negative terms, as a restless intellect, incapable of confining himself to any single task, without force or originality, and marked by hasty and superficial thought. In The Enlightened Joseph Priestley, he emerges as a man who was more than a lucky empiricist in science, more than a naive political liberal, more than an exhaustive compiler of superficial evidence in militant support of Unitarianism. In fact, he was learned in an extraordinary variety of subjects, from grammar, education, aesthetics, metaphysics, politics, and theology to natural philosophy. Priestley was, in fact, a man of the Enlightenment..

History

Jesus in an Age of Enlightenment | Jonathan C. P. Birch

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This book explores the religious concerns of Enlightenment thinkers from Thomas Hobbes to Thomas Jefferson. Using an innovative method, the study illuminates the intellectual history of the age through interpretations of Jesus between c.1650 and c.1826. The book demonstrates the persistence of theology in modern philosophy and the projects of social reform and amelioration associated with the Enlightenment. At the core of many of these projects was a robust moral-theological realism, sometimes manifest in a natural law ethic, but always associated with Jesus and a commitment to the sovereign goodness of God. This ethical orientation in Enlightenment discourse is found in a range of different metaphysical and political identities (dualist and monist; progressive and radical) which intersect with earlier ‘heretical’ tendencies in Christian thought (Arianism, Pelagianism, and Marcionism). This intellectual matrix helped to produce the discourses of irenic toleration which are a legacy of the Enlightenment at its best..

Psychology

Enlightenment Now | Steven Pinker

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INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2018 ONE OF THE ECONOMIST'S BOOKS OF THE YEAR "My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science. Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. Instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise, not just in the West, but worldwide. This progress is not the result of some cosmic force. It is a gift of the Enlightenment: the conviction that reason and science can enhance human flourishing. Far from being a naïve hope, the Enlightenment, we now know, has worked. But more than ever, it needs a vigorous defense. The Enlightenment project swims against currents of human nature--tribalism, authoritarianism, demonization, magical thinking--which demagogues are all too willing to exploit. Many commentators, committed to political, religious, or romantic ideologies, fight a rearguard action against it. The result is a corrosive fatalism and a willingness to wreck the precious institutions of liberal democracy and global cooperation. With intellectual depth and literary flair, Enlightenment Now makes the case for reason, science, and humanism: the ideals we need to confront our problems and continue our progress..

Philosophy

The Enlightenment | Ritchie Robertson

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The Enlightenment is one of the formative periods of Western history, yet more than 300 years after it began, it remains controversial. It is often seen as the fountainhead of modern values such as human rights, religious toleration, freedom of thought, scientific thought as an exemplary form of reasoning, and rationality and evidence-based argument. Others accuse the Enlightenment of putting forward a scientific rationality which ignores the complexity and variety of human beings, propagates shallow atheism, and aims to subjugate nature to so-called technical progress. Answering the question 'what is Enlightenment?' Kant famously urged men and women above all to 'have the courage to use your own understanding'. Robertson shows how the thinkers of the Enlightenment did just that, seeking a rounded understanding of humanity in which reason was balanced with emotion and sensibility. His book goes behind the controversies about the Enlightenment to return to its original texts and to show that above all it sought to increase human happiness in this world by promoting scientific inquiry and reasoned argument. His book overturns many received opinions - for example, that enlightenment necessarily implied hostility to religion (though it did challenge the authority traditionally assumed by the Churches). It is a master-class in 'big picture' history, about one of the foundational epochs of modern times..

History

The Enlightenment: History, Documents, and Key Questions | William E. Burns

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Based on the most recent scholarship, this book provides students and interested lay readers with a basic introduction to key facts and current controversies concerning the Enlightenment. • Provides the Enlightenment in various formats, thereby enabling students to better understand and fully appreciate its causes and effects • Develops critical thinking skills through the interplay of primary and secondary sources • Includes argumentative essays that showcase the diversity of informed opinions on the modern Enlightenment • Supports NCHS World History content standards for Era 6, Standard 2E.

Philosophy

The Correspondence of Catharine Macaulay | Karen Green

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Catharine Macaulay was a celebrated republican historian, whose account of the reasons for the seventeenth-century English Revolution, the parliamentary period, and its aftermath was widely read by the mothers and fathers of American Independence and by central players in the French Revolution. As well as publishing her eight volume history, spanning the period from the accession of James I to the Glorious Revolution of 1688, she wrote political pamphlets, offered a sketch of a republican constitution for Corsica, advocated parliamentary reform, and published a response to Edmund Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France. Her Letters on Education of 1790 made a decisive impact on the thought of Mary Wollstonecraft, and her Treatise on the Immutability of Moral Truth opposed the skeptical and utilitarian attitudes being developed by Hume and others. This volume brings together for the first time all the available letters between her and her wide-ranging correspondents, who include George Washington, John Adams, Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, James Otis, Benjamin Rush, David Hume, James Boswell, Thomas Hollis, John Wilkes, Horace Walpole, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jacques-Pierre Brissot de Warville, and many other luminaries of the eighteenth-century enlightenment. It includes an extended introduction to her life and works and offers a unique insight into the thinking of her friends and correspondents during the period between 1760 and 1790, the crucible for the development of modern representative democracies. The Correspondence of Catharine Macaulay will appeal to scholars of philosophy, political thought, women's studies, and eighteenth-century history, as well as those interested in the development of democratic ideas..

History

Jacobitism, Enlightenment and Empire, 1680–1820 | Douglas J Hamilton

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The essays in this collection examine religion, politics and commerce in Scotland during a time of crisis and turmoil. Contributors look at the effect of the Union on Scottish trade and commerce, the Scottish role in tobacco and sugar plantations, Robert Burns’s early poetry on his planned emigration to Jamaica and Scottish anti-abolitionists..

History

Science and Spectacle in the European Enlightenment | Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent

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Air-pumps, electrical machines, colliding ivory balls, coloured sparks, mechanical planetariums, magic mirrors, hot-air balloons - these are just a sample of the devices displayed in public demonstrations of science in the eighteenth century. Public and private demonstrations of natural philosophy in Europe then differed vastly from today's unadorned and anonymous laboratory experiments. Science was cultivated for a variety of purposes in many different places; scientific instruments were built and used for investigative and didactic experiments as well as for entertainment and popular shows. Between the culture of curiosities which characterized the seventeenth century and the distinction between academic and popular science that gradually emerged in the nineteenth, the eighteenth century was a period when scientific activities took place in a variety of sites, ranging from academies, and learned societies to salons and popular fairs, shops and streets. This collection of case studies describing public demonstrations in Britain, Germany, Italy and France exemplifies the wide variety of settings for scientific activities in the European Enlightenment. Filled with sparks and smells, the essays raise broader issues about the ways in which modern science established its legitimacy and social acceptability. They point to two major features of the cultures of science in the eighteenth-century: entertainment and utility. Experimental demonstrations were attended by apothecaries and craftsmen for vocational purposes. At the same time, they had to fit in with the taste of both polite society and market culture. Public demonstrations were a favourite entertainment for ladies and gentlemen and a profitable activity for instrument makers and booksellers..

Science

Mario Bunge: A Centenary Festschrift | Michael R. Matthews

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This volume has 41 chapters written to honor the 100th birthday of Mario Bunge. It celebrates the work of this influential Argentine/Canadian physicist and philosopher. Contributions show the value of Bunge’s science-informed philosophy and his systematic approach to philosophical problems. The chapters explore the exceptionally wide spectrum of Bunge’s contributions to: metaphysics, methodology and philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of physics, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of social science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of technology, moral philosophy, social and political philosophy, medical philosophy, and education. The contributors include scholars from 16 countries. Bunge combines ontological realism with epistemological fallibilism. He believes that science provides the best and most warranted knowledge of the natural and social world, and that such knowledge is the only sound basis for moral decision making and social and political reform. Bunge argues for the unity of knowledge. In his eyes, science and philosophy constitute a fruitful and necessary partnership. Readers will discover the wisdom of this approach and will gain insight into the utility of cross-disciplinary scholarship. This anthology will appeal to researchers, students, and teachers in philosophy of science, social science, and liberal education programmes. 1. Introduction Section I. An Academic Vocation (3 chapters) Section II. Philosophy (12 chapters) Section III. Physics and Philosophy of Physics (4 chapters) Section IV. Cognitive Science and Philosophy of Mind (2 chapters) Section V. Sociology and Social Theory (4 chapters) Section VI. Ethics and Political Philosophy (3 chapters) Section VII. Biology and Philosophy of Biology (3 chapters) Section VIII. Mathematics (3 chapters) Section IX. Education (2 chapters) Section X. Varia (3 chapters) Section XI. Bibliography.

History

British Visions of America, 1775-1820 | Emma Macleod

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Macleod examines changing British conceptions of America across the political spectrum during a period of political, cultural and intellectual upheaval. Macleod incorporates British writers of conservative, liberal and radical views..

Literary Criticism

Imagining Solar Energy | Gregory Lynall

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How has humanity sought to harness the power of the Sun, and what roles have literature, art and other cultural forms played in imagining, mythologizing and reflecting the possibilities of solar energy? What stories have been told about solar technologies, and how have these narratives shaped developments in science and culture? What can solar power's history tell us about its future, within a world adapting to climate crisis? Identifying the history of capturing solar radiance as a focal point between science and the imagination, Imagining Solar Energy argues that the literary, artistic and mythical resonances of solar power – from the Renaissance to the present day – have not only been inspired by, but have also cultivated and sustained its scientific and technological development. Ranging from Archimedes to Isaac Asimov, John Dee to Humphry Davy, Aphra Behn to J. G. Ballard, the book argues that solar energy translates into many different kinds of power (physical, political, intellectual and cultural), and establishes for the first time the importance of solar energy to many literary and scientific endeavours..

Philosophy

Democratic Enlightenment | Jonathan Israel

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The Enlightenment shaped modernity. Western values of representative democracy and basic human rights, gender and racial equality, individual liberty, and freedom of expression and the press, form an interlocking system that derives directly from the Enlightenment's philosophical revolution. This fact is uncontested - yet remarkably few historians or philosophers have attempted to trace the process of ideas from the political and social turmoil of the late eighteenth century to the present day. This is precisely what Jonathan Israel now does. He demonstrates that the Enlightenment was an essentially revolutionary process, driven by philosophical debate. From 1789, its impetus came from a small group of philosophe-revolutionnaires, men such as Mirabeau, Sieyes, Condorcet, Volney, Roederer, and Brissot. Not aligned to any of the social groups who took the lead in the French National assembly, the Paris commune, or the editing of the Parisian revolutionary journals, they nonetheless forged 'la philosophie moderne' — in effect Radical Enlightenment ideas — into a world-transforming ideology that had a lasting impact in Latin America and eastern Europe as well as France, Italy, Germany, and the Low Countries. Whilst all French revolutionary journals clearly stated that la philosophie moderne was the main cause of the French Revolution, the main stream of historical thought has failed to grasp what this implies. Israel sets the record straight, demonstrating the true nature of the engine that drove the Revolution, and the intimate links between the radical wing of the Enlightenment and the anti-Robespierriste 'Revolution of reason'..

History

The Enlightenment that Failed | Jonathan I. Israel

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The Enlightenment that Failed explores the growing rift between those Enlightenment trends and initiatives that appealed exclusively to elites and those aspiring to enlighten all of society by raising mankind's awareness, freedoms, and educational level generally. Jonathan I. Israel explains why the democratic and radical secularizing tendency of the Western Enlightenment, after gaining some notable successes during the revolutionary era (1775-1820) in numerous countries, especially in Europe, North America, and Spanish America, ultimately failed. He argues that a populist, Robespierriste tendency, sharply at odds with democratic values and freedom of expression, gained an ideological advantage in France, and that the negative reaction this generally provoked caused a more general anti-Enlightenment reaction, a surging anti-intellectualism combined with forms of religious revival that largely undermined the longings of the deprived, underprivileged, and disadvantaged, and ended by helping, albeit often unwittingly, conservative anti-Enlightenment ideologies to dominate the scene. The Enlightenment that Failed relates both the American and the French revolutions to the Enlightenment in a markedly different fashion from how this is usually done, showing how both great revolutions were fundamentally split between bitterly opposed and utterly incompatible ideological tendencies. Radical Enlightenment, which had been an effective ideological challenge to the prevailing monarchical-aristocratic status quo, was weakened, then almost entirely derailed and displaced from the Western consciousness, in the 1830s and 1840s by the rise of Marxism and other forms of socialism..

Science

A World on Fire | Joe Jackson

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Like Charles Seife’s Zero and Dava Sobel’s Longitude, this passionate intellectual history is the story of the intersection of science and the human, in this case the rivals who discovered oxygen in the late 1700s. That breakthrough changed the world as radically as those of Newton and Darwin but was at first eclipsed by revolution and reaction. In chronicling the triumph and ruin of the English freethinker Joseph Priestley and the French nobleman Antoine Lavoisier—the former exiled, the latter executed on the guillotine—A World on Fire illustrates the perilous place of science in an age of unreason..

History

The Nonconformist Revolution | Amanda J Thomas

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The Nonconformism Revolution explores the evolution of dissenting thought and how Nonconformity shaped the transformation of England from a rural to an urban, industrialized society. The foundations for the Industrial Revolution were in place from the late Middle Ages when the early development of manufacturing processes and changes in the structure of rural communities began to provide opportunities for economic and social advancement. Successive waves of Huguenot migrants and the influence of Northern European religious ideology also played an important role in this process. The Civil Wars would provide a catalyst for the dissemination of new ideas and help shape the emergence of a new English Protestantism and divergent dissident sects. The persecution which followed strengthened the Nonconformist cause, and for the early Quakers it intensified their unity and resilience, qualities which would prove to be invaluable for business. In the years following the Restoration, Nonconformist ideas fueled enlightened thought creating an environment for enterprise but also a desire for more radical change. Reformers seized on the plight of a working poor alienated by innovation and frustrated by false promises. The vision which was at first the spark for innovation would ignite revolution..

History

Matter and Method in the Long Chemical Revolution | Victor D. Boantza

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The seventeenth-century scientific revolution and the eighteenth-century chemical revolution are rarely considered together, either in general histories of science or in more specific surveys of early modern science or chemistry. This tendency arises from the long-held view that the rise of modern physics and the emergence of modern chemistry comprise two distinct and unconnected episodes in the history of science. Although chemistry was deeply transformed during and between both revolutions, the scientific revolution is traditionally associated with the physical and mathematical sciences whereas modern chemistry is seen as the exclusive product of the chemical revolution. This historiographical tension, between similarity in ’form’ and disparity in historical ’content’ of the two events, has tainted the way we understand the rise of modern chemistry as an integral part of the advent of modern science. Against this background, Matter and Method in the Long Chemical Revolution examines the role of and effects on chemistry of both revolutions in parallel, using chemistry during the chemical revolution to illuminate chemistry during the scientific revolution, and vice versa. Focusing on the crises and conflicts of early modern chemistry (and their retrospectively labeled ’losing’ parties), the author traces patterns of continuity in matter theory and experimental method from Boyle to Lavoisier, and reevaluates the disciplinary relationships between chemists, mechanists, and Newtonians in France, England, and Scotland. Adopting a unique approach to the study of the scientific and chemical revolutions, and to early modern chemical thought and practice in particular, the author challenges the standard revolution-centered history of early modern science, and reinterprets the rise of chemistry as an independent discipline in the long eighteenth century..

History

Hazlitt the Dissenter | Stephen Burley

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Hazlitt the Dissenter is unique in providing the first book-length account of Hazlitt's early life as a dissenter. As the first multi-disciplinary account of Hazlitt's early literary career, it provides a new insight into the literary, intellectual, political and religious culture of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century..

Science

Science, Worldviews and Education | Michael Matthews

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This book has its origins in a special issue of the journal Science & Education (Volume 18 Numbers 6–7, 2009). The essay by Costas Skordoulis – ‘Science and Worldviews in the Marxist Tradition’ – did not appear in that special issue due to a mistake in production scheduling. It was published in an earlier issue of the journal (Volume 17 Number 6, 2008), but has been included in this book version of the special issue. As explained in the Introduction, the catalyst for the journal special issue was the essay on ‘Science, Worldviews and Education’ submitted to the journal by Hugh G. Gauch Jr. This was circulated to the other contributors who were asked to write their own contribution in the light of the arguments and literature contained in the paper. Hugh made brief ‘Responses and Clari?cations’ after the papers were written. However the Tanis Edis article on Islam and my own article on Priestley were processed too late to bene?t from Hugh’s appraisal. The journal is associated with the International History, Philosophy, and Science Teaching Group which was formed in 1987. The group stages biennial international conferences and occasional regional conferences (details can be found at www. ihpst. org). The group, though the journal, conferences, and its electronic newsletter (at www. ihpst..

Religion

Enlightenment and Modernity | Wayne Hudson

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The writers known as the English deists were not simply religious controversialists, but agents of reform who contributed to the emergence of modernity. This title claims that these writers advocated a failed ideology which itself declined after 1730. It argues for an evolution of their ideas into a more modern form..

Business & Economics

Utilitarianism and Malthus’ Virtue Ethics | Sergio Cremaschi

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The die-hard image of Malthus the ogre has not completely disappeared yet. And yet, Malthus showed no less concern than Adam Smith for the labouring poor. In order to make full sense of such expression of concern and to appraise their relevance in Malthus’s work, we need to know what moral philosophy, what view of natural science, and what view of the "moral and political science" Malthus endorsed. This book reconstructs Malthus’s meta-ethics, his normative ethics and his applied ethics on such topics as population, poverty, sexuality and war and slavery. They show how Malthus’s understanding of his own population theory and political economy was that of sub-disciplines of moral and political philosophy. Empirical enquiries required in order to be able to pronounce justified value judgments on such matters as the Poor Laws. But Malthus’s population theory and political economy were no value-free science and his non-utilitarian policy advice resulted from his overall system of ideas and was explicitly based on a set of familiar moral assumptions. It is mistaken to claim that Malthus’s explanation of disharmony by reference to Divine Wisdom is extraneous to analysis and without influence on the theory of policy; it is true instead that theological consequentialist considerations were appealed to in order to provide a justification for received moral rules, but these were meant to justify a rather traditional normative ethics, quite far from Benthamite ‘new morality’..