Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement

This book tackles an obvious yet profound problem of modern political life the disorientation of intellectuals and activists on the left As the study of political history and theory has been usurped by cultural criticism, a confusion over the origins and objectives of progressive politics has been the result Specifically, it has become fashionable for intellectuals to aThis book tackles an obvious yet profound problem of modern political life the disorientation of intellectuals and activists on the left As the study of political history and theory has been usurped by cultural criticism, a confusion over the origins and objectives of progressive politics has been the result Specifically, it has become fashionable for intellectuals to attack the Enlightenment for its imperialism, eurocentrism, and scientism, and for the sexism and racism of some of its major representatives Although the fact that individual thinkers harbored such prejudices is irrefutable, Stephen Bronner argues that reducing the Enlightenment ethos to these beliefs is wholly unsustainable.With its championing of democracy, equality, cosmopolitanism, and reason and its vociferous attacks on popular prejudice, religious superstition, and arbitrary abuses of power the Enlightenment was once hailed as the foundation of all modern, progressive politics But in 1947, this perspective was dramatically undermined when Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno published their classic work, Dialectic of Enlightenment, which claims that the Enlightenment was the source of totalitarianism and the worst excesses of modernity Reclaiming the Enlightenment from purely philosophical and cultural interpretations, Bronner shows that its notion of political engagement keeps democracy fresh and alive by providing a practical foundation for fostering institutional accountability, opposing infringements on individual rights, instilling an enduring commitment to social reform, and building a cosmopolitan sensibility This forceful and timely reinterpretation of the Enlightenment and its powerful influence on contemporary political life is a resounding wake up call to critics on both the left and the right.
Reclaiming the Enlightenment Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement This book tackles an obvious yet profound problem of modern political life the disorientation of intellectuals and activists on the left As the study of political history and theory has been usurped b

  • Title: Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement
  • Author: Stephen Eric Bronner
  • ISBN: 9780231126090
  • Page: 461
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement”

    1. very good. political philosophy is not a main interest, so i have only read fringes of argument denigrating the enlightenment. this work reminds me i am a child of enlightenment. all the values, dreams, faiths i have are enlightenment ideals. i do not ever need to argue for these are axiomatic, i can recognize no other position but that of an engaged leftist sentiment. i am heartened that somebody will formulate argument, clarify, promote enlightenment ideals, and speak against those who embody [...]

    2. Very good so far as it goes, but it fails to address the new crisis for Enlightenment thought, which is the ecological crisis. He briefly mentions that ecologists question progress, and dismisses the problem in a sentence or two by saying that the answers to environmental problems are going to be technological. That is insufficient treatment of what many feel is the big failure of the Enlightenment project in a book that spends chapters dealing with other objections.

    3. The book explores contemporary society's interpretation of the Enlightenment and the impact that these interpretations have had on society. Bronner attempts, with relative success, to demystify beliefs regarding the Enlightenment and shows that we are still developing and learning from their successes and failures.

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