05w03:1 The Enlightenment

by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 3 number 1 (The Enlightenment)


Group Think | Malcolm Gladwell
“Darwin, in a lovely phrase, called it ‘philosophical laughing,’ which was his way of saying that those who depart from cultural or intellectual consensus need people to walk beside them and laugh with them to give them confidence. But there’s more to it than that. One of the peculiar features of group dynamics is that clusters of people w
ill come to decisions that are far more extreme than any individual member would have come to on his own. People compete with each other and egg each other on, showboat and grandstand; and along the way they often lose sight of what they truly believed when the meeting began. Typically, this is considered a bad thing, because it means that groups formed explicitly to find middle ground often end up someplace far away. But at times this quality turns out to be tremendously productive, because, after all, losing sight of what you truly believed when the meeting began is one way of defining innovation.”Although this article begins with an history of Saturday Night Live, it also contains a history of the Lunar Society

The Lunar Society | BBC Radio 4
this links directly to a Real Media file and will launch your player. It is a radio discussion on the history of the Lunar Society that Gladwell wrote about

French Enlightenment overrated, historian says | Chuck Leddy
“Himmelfarb’s basic contention, one she supports with great passion and wide-ranging scholarship, is that the great 18th century French Enlightenment has been vastly overrated and that the British and American Enlightenments have been comparatively underrated. Her goal in writing this book is to ‘reclaim the Enlightenment … from the French who have dominated and usurped it’ and restore it to the British and Americans.”

The Enlightenment | Robert Wokler
“On the other hand, the same critics of an Enlightenment Project, […] commonly trace its conceptual roots to eighteenth-century philosophy. They are convinced that modernity was bred from the loins of the Enlightenment, out of its notions of the rights of man and its principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, which brought the age of feudalism to a close. If they are communitarians or post-modernists, they seldom hesitate to blame the Enlightenment for having conceived that monstrous child which our civilization has become, since they believe that, even while disposing of original sin, the philosophes of the eighteenth century actually committed it. The attempts of eighteenth-century thinkers to free human nature from the shackles of tradition are alleged to have given rise either to the empty desolation of atomistic individualism or to schemes of social engineering on a vast scale, or indeed to both at once. Such propositions, in different permutations, inform Max Horkheimer’s and Theodor Adorno’s Dialektik der Aufklärung, Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue and Zygmunt Bauman’s Modernity and the Holocaust. I mean to show here that both propositions—that the Enlightenment loved the thing it killed, and that modernity springs from the Enlightenment—are false.”PDF file, 115 KB

PR men of reason | Anthony Daniels
“We are all children of the Enlightenment, even if historical experience has taught us that rationality and benevolence do not necessarily go hand in hand, to put it mildly. The Enlightenment, indeed, could be regarded as a second expulsion from Eden: an imperfect Eden of cruelty and superstition to be sure, but one which at least contained a degree of stability and a number of comforting religious certitudes. Having eaten of the fruit of the tree of the Enlightenment, however, we cannot ever return to that imperfect Eden. We have been destined ever since to live in a permanent effervescence of expanding knowledge and competing ideas.”

Long links made short by using TinyURL (http://www.tinyurl.com)
To remove or add yourself to this list, go here

emailed by Timothy on Wednesday 19 January 2005 @ 11:18 PM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *