What is Enlightenment?


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Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Kant's Enlightenment 1. The Official Story 2. A Different Side of Kant Part 2: Kant's Critics 3. From Hamann to Burke 4. Hegel Part 3: Maximalist theories of Enlightenment 5. From Strauss to Marx Part 4: Twentieth century critics of Enlightenment 6. Forerunners 7. Horkheimer/Adorno; Foucault 8. Difference Critics Part 5: Minimalist theories of Enlightenment 9. Foucault, Habermas, Rawls Part 6: Kantian Enlightenment Today 10. Assessing Foucault, Habermas, and Rawls 11. In Defense of Kantian Enlightenment. Index

About the Author

Samuel Fleischacker is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Illinois-Chicago, USA.


'The book has much to recommend it. It ranges widely and discusses a variety of thinkers, both familiar and somewhat less familiar. It is attentive to discussions of the concept of enlightenment that Kant provided in texts other than the now-familiar essay from 1784 (e.g., his 1786 contribution to the Pantheism Dispute "What is Orientation in Thinking?") and examines the implications of Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason.' - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews "First-rate scholarship and fascinating reading. Fleischacker's account of both Kant's conception of enlightenment and its complex and variegated legacy should be mandatory reading for philosophers and historians interested in enlightenment ideals or their critique." - Marcia Baron, Indiana University, USA, and University of St. Andrews, UK "There is no shortage of critics for whom the Enlightenment condemns itself by its hubris, its cultural arrogance, and its imperialist tendencies. But does the appeal to the ideal of becoming enlightened involve dictating what will be believed by those who achieve this ideal? Or is it merely a matter of how those who are enlightened hold the beliefs they do (thereby preserving humility and securing greater allowance for pluralism)? Samuel Fleischacker, in an argument that distinguishes itself in equal measure by its learning and its lucidity, shows that Kant was torn between these two conceptions, and so were his philosophical successors. What results is a terrifically enhanced appreciation of the complexity and richness of the Kantian legacy." - Ronald Beiner, University of Toronto, Canada "A rich introduction to post-Kantian philosophy. It would be an excellent selection for courses in the history of ideas, as well as for courses specifically focused on Kant and his critics." - Lara Denis, Agnes Scott College, USA "Fleischacker brings out not only the contemporary value of Kant's work but also some of its limits and ambiguities, especially with respect to a distinction between "minimal" and "maximal" conceptions of Enlightenment, political liberalism, and freedom of expression. This is a volume that should be of interest to a very wide range of scholars, and of use to readers at all levels." - Karl Ameriks, University of Notre Dame, USA "Crystal-clear yet cutting-edge, this new analysis is particularly strong on the subtleties of Kant's concept of Enlightenment, proceeding to shed fresh light on Foucault, Habermas and Rawls. This book accomplishes a double feat: helping students to orient their reading of Kant, while challenging teachers and scholars to reorient theirs." - Fania Oz-Salzberger, University of Haifa, Israel '... a considered and timely discussion of matters of current interest that addresses not just students of political and social philosophy, but a broad audience, which it fully deserves to reach.' - Katerina Deligiorgi, History of Political Thought

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