The Enlightenment

A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Robertson

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199591784

Category: History

Page: 144

View: 4544

A foundational moment in the history of modern European thought, the Enlightenment continues to be a reference point for philosophers, scholars and opinion-formers. To many it remains the inspiration of our commitments to the betterment of the human condition. To others, it represents the elevation of one set of European values to the world, many of whose peoples have quite different values. But what is the relationship between the historical Enlightenment and the idea of 'Enlightenment', and can these two understandings be reconciled? In this Very Short Introduction, John Robertson offers a concise historical introduction to the Enlightenment as an intellectual movement of eighteenth-century Europe. Discussing its intellectual achievements, he also explores how its supporters exploited new ways of communicating their ideas to a wider public, creating a new 'public sphere' for critical discussion of the moral, economic and political issues facing their societies. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Voltaire: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Nicholas Cronk

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199688354

Category: History

Page: 144

View: 5508

Voltaire (1694-1778), best remembered as the author of Candide, is one of the central actors -- arguably the defining personality -- of the European Enlightenment. In this Very Short Introduction, Nicholas Cronk explores Voltaire's remarkable career and demonstrates how his thinking is pivotal to our notion and understanding of the Enlightenment. In a fresh and modern examination of his writings, Cronk examines the nature of Voltaire's literary celebrity, demonstrating the extent to which his work was reactive and practical, and therefore made sense within the broader context of the debates to which he responded. The most famous living author in Europe in the 18th century, Cronk emphasizes Voltaire's skills of "performance" as a writer and his continued relevance today. He concludes by looking not only at Voltaire's impact in literature and philosophy, but also his influence on French political values and modern French politics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Hume: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Alfred Ayer

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191606537

Category: Philosophy

Page: 144

View: 5459

Hume is one of the greatest of all British philosophers, and even in his own lifetime was celebrated as one of the pivotal figures of the Enlightenment. A central theme of his philosophy is the conviction that questions traditionally thought of as completely independent of the scientific realm–questions about the mind, about morality, and about God, for example–are actually best explained using the experimental methods characteristic of the natural sciences. Hume's 'naturalist' approach to a wide variety of philosophical topics resulted in highly original theories about perception, self-identity, causation, morality, politics, and religion, all of which are discussed in this stimulating introduction by A J Ayer, himself one of the twentieth century's most important philosophers. Ayer also gives an account of Hume's fascinating life and character, and includes generous quotations from Hume's lucid and often witty writings. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Rousseau: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Robert Wokler

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191604429

Category: Political Science

Page: 188

View: 5017

One of the most profound thinkers of modern history, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) was a central figure of the European Enlightenment. He was also its most formidable critic, condemning the political, economic, theological, and sexual trappings of civilization along lines that would excite the enthusiasm of romantic individualists and radical revolutionaries alike. In this study of Rousseau's life and works Robert Wokler shows how his philosophy of history, his theories of music and politics, his fiction, educational and religious writings, and even his botany, were all inspired by visionary ideals of mankind's self-realization in a condition of unfettered freedom. He explains how, in regressing to classical republicanism, ancient mythology, direct communion with God, and solitude, Rousseau anticipated some post-modernist rejections of the Enlightenment as well. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Locke: A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Dunn

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191577855

Category: Philosophy

Page: 136

View: 4151

John Locke (1632-1704) one of the greatest English philosophers of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, argued in his masterpiece, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, that our knowledge is founded in experience and reaches us principally through our senses; but its message has been curiously misunderstood. In this book John Dunn shows how Locke arrived at his theory of knowledge, and how his exposition of the liberal values of toleration and responsible government formed the backbone of enlightened European thought of the eighteenth century. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Spinoza: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191604534

Category: Philosophy

Page: 144

View: 4635

Benedict de Spinoza (1632-77) was at once the father of the Enlightenment and the last sad guardian of the medieval world. In his brilliant synthesis of geometrical method, religious sentiment, and secular science, he attempted to reconcile the conflicting moral and intellectual demands of his epoch, and to present a vision of humanity as simultaneously bound by necessity and eternally free. In this book Roger Scruton presents a clear and systematic analysis of Spinoza's thought, and shows its relevance to today's intellectual preoccupations. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The History of Medicine: A Very Short Introduction

Author: William Bynum

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019921543X

Category: Medical

Page: 169

View: 6205

This Very Short Introduction explores the history of Western medicine, examining the key turning points, discoveries, and controversies in its rich history from classical times to the present.

The Russian Revolution: A Very Short Introduction

Author: S. A. Smith

Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks

ISBN: 0192853953

Category: History

Page: 180

View: 2608

This Very Short Introduction provides an analytical narrative of the main events and developments in Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1936. It examines the impact of the revolution on society as a whole—on different classes, ethnic groups, the army, men and women, youth. Its central concern is to understand how one structure of domination was replaced by another. The book registers the primacy of politics, but situates political developments firmly in the context of massive economic, social, and cultural change. Since the fall of Communism there has been much reflection on the significance of the Russian Revolution. The book rejects the currently influential, liberal interpretation of the revolution in favour of one that sees it as rooted in the contradictions of a backward society which sought modernization and enlightenment and ended in political tyranny. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Freemasonry: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Andreas Önnerfors

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198796277

Category: Social Science

Page: 152

View: 5153

Freemasonry is one of the oldest and most widespread voluntary organizations in the world. Over the course of three centuries men (and women) have organized themselves socially and voluntarily under its name. With a strong sense of liberation, moral enlightenment, cosmopolitan openness and forward-looking philanthropy, freemasonry has attracted some of the sharpest minds in history and has created a strong platform for nascent civil societies across the globe. With the secrecy of internally communicated knowledge, the clandestine character of organization, and the enactment of rituals and the elaborate use of symbols, freemasonry has also opened up feelings of distrust, as well as allegations of secretiveness and conspiracy. This Very Short Introduction introduces the inner activities of freemasonry, and the rituals, symbols and practices. Looking at the development of the organizational structure of masonry from the local to the global level, Andreas Onnerfors considers perceptions of freemasonry from the outside world, and navigates through the prevalent fictions and conspiracy theories. He also discusses how freemasonry has from its outset struggled with issues of exclusion based upon gender, race and religion, despite promoting tolerant openness and inclusion. Finally Onnerfors shines a light on the rarely discussed but highly compelling history of female agency in Masonic and Para-Masonic orders. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Exploration

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Stewart A. Weaver

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199946957

Category: History

Page: 133

View: 8608

For as long as there have been civilizations, there has been the urge to venture outside of them, either in search of other civilizations or in search of novelty. Exploration: A Very Short Introduction surveys this quintessential human impulse, tracing it from pre-history to the present, from east to west around the globe, and from the depths of volcanoes to the expanses of space. Stewart Weaver arranges the history of world explorations into thematic chapters, each of which isolates the distinctive qualities and characteristics of exploration in a particular era, period, or place. He introduces the reader to the definition of exploration; to the Polynesians crossing vast seas on their canoes and other early explorers; through Columbus and the European discovery of the Americas. James Cook and the place of exploration in the Enlightenment form the subject of a chapter. So too do the natural histories and explorations of Alexander von Humboldt in South America and Lewis and Clark in North America. The book's final chapters chart exploration through imperial expansion and into new frontiers, guiding the reader through exploration in Africa and Central Asia, the race to the North and South Poles, and today's efforts in space and deep sea exploration. But what accounts for this urge? Through this unique survey of the history of exploration, Weaver clearly shows how the impulse to explore is also the foundation of the globalized world we inhabit today. Exploration combines a narration of explorers' daring feats with a wide-lens examination of what it fundamentally means to explore. As Weaver shows us, the act of exploration in the largest possible global context is the natural history of the earth itself. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Meisterdenker: Kant

1724 - 1804

Author: Roger Scruton

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9783926642431

Category:

Page: 140

View: 8694

Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Mark A. Noll

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199560978

Category: Religion

Page: 161

View: 3341

Presents an accessible history of Protestantism from Martin Luther to the present day, focusing on worldwide developments and examining not only European and North American aspects of Protestant journeys, but also the importance of Protestant expansion into the non-Western world.

Magic: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Owen Davies

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199588023

Category: History

Page: 135

View: 4495

A wide-ranging overview of how magic has been defined, understood and practiced over the millennia introduces it in today's world as a real force that helps people overcome misfortune, poverty and illness. By the author of Grimoires: A History of Magic Books. Original.

Eighteenth-Century Britain: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Paul Langford

Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks

ISBN: 9780192853998

Category: History

Page: 116

View: 2039

Part of The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, this book spans from the aftermath of the Revolution of 1688 to Pitt the Younger's defeat at attempted parliamentary reform.

Critical Theory: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Stephen Eric Bronner

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190692677

Category: Philosophy

Page: 144

View: 4990

Preface -- Introduction: what is critical theory? -- The frankfurt school -- A matter of method -- Critical theory and modernism -- Alienation and reification -- Enlightened illusions -- The utopian laboratory -- The happy consciousness -- The great refusal -- From resignation to renewal -- Unfinished tasks -- Further reading -- Index

Heredity

A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Waller

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198790457

Category:

Page: 144

View: 4105

The concept of heredity is fundamental to how we see ourselves and others. It goes far beyond the obvious continuity of physical traits across generations. We routinely ascribe similarities in personality, intellect, outlook, and aptitude between family members to what's passed down in sperm and eggs. The simple idea that children take after their ancestors has long been central to science and medicine and to the breeding of plants and animals. It has also been used for ideological purposes to impute innate differences in character and rationality between males and females and among different ethnicities and social classes. Slavery, colonialism, and genocide, the unequal treatment of women, and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few have been consistently rationalized in the language of heredity and 'natural' hierarchy. In this Very Short Introduction John Waller traces the diverse ideas about biological inheritance expressed by Europeans and their colonial descendants during two millennia of human history. He charts the changing ways in which scholars and laypersons have believed heredity to work, the development of spurious and self-serving beliefs about heredity by dominant groups, the recent revolution in our ability to understand the mechanics of heredity, and the difficult dilemmas our species is likely to face as we gain increasing mastery over the contents of our own genomes. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Lincoln: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Allen C. Guelzo

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199743742

Category: History

Page: 160

View: 5043

Beneath the surface of the apparently untutored and deceptively frank Abraham Lincoln ran private tunnels of self-taught study, a restless philosophical curiosity, and a profound grasp of the fundamentals of democracy. Now, in Lincoln: A Very Short Introduction, the award-winning Lincoln authority Allen C. Guelzo offers a penetrating look into the mind of one of our greatest presidents. If Lincoln was famous for reading aloud from joke books, Guelzo shows that he also plunged deeply into the mainstream of nineteenth-century liberal democratic thought. Guelzo takes us on a wide-ranging exploration of problems that confronted Lincoln and liberal democracy--equality, opportunity, the rule of law, slavery, freedom, peace, and his legacy. The book sets these problems and Lincoln's responses against the larger world of American and trans-Atlantic liberal democracy in the 19th century, comparing Lincoln not just to Andrew Jackson or John Calhoun, but to British thinkers such as Richard Cobden, Jeremy Bentham, and John Bright, and to French observers Alexis de Tocqueville and François Guizot. The Lincoln we meet here is an Enlightenment figure who struggled to create a common ground between a people focused on individual rights and a society eager to establish a certain moral, philosophical, and intellectual bedrock. Lincoln insisted that liberal democracy had a higher purpose, which was the realization of a morally right political order. But how to interject that sense of moral order into a system that values personal self-satisfaction--"the pursuit of happiness"--remains a fundamental dilemma even today. Abraham Lincoln was a man who, according to his friend and biographer William Henry Herndon, "lived in the mind." Guelzo paints a marvelous portrait of this Lincoln--Lincoln the man of ideas--providing new insights into one of the giants of American history. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

Tibetan Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Matthew T. Kapstein

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199735123

Category: Religion

Page: 130

View: 7101

What does Tibetan Buddhism teach? Just what is the position of the Dalai Lama, and how will his succession be assured? This Very Short Introduction offers a brief account responding to these questions and more, in terms that are easily accessible to those who are curious to learn the most essential features of Tibetan Buddhist history, teachings, and practice.

Goethe: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Ritchie Robertson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199689253

Category:

Page: 160

View: 3595

In 1878 the Victorian critic Matthew Arnold wrote: 'Goethe is the greatest poet of modern times... because having a very considerable gift for poetry, he was at the same time, in the width, depth, and richness of his criticism of life, by far our greatest modern man.' In this Very Short Introduction Ritchie Robertson covers the life and work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832): scientist, administrator, artist, art critic and supreme literary writer in a vast variety of genres. Looking at Goethe's poetry, novels and drama pieces, as well as his travel writing, autobiography, and essays on art and aesthetics, Robertson analyses some of the key themes in his works: love, nature, religion and tragedy. Dispelling the misconception of Goethe as a sedate Victorian sage, Robertson shows how much of his art was rooted in turbulent personal conflicts, and draws on recent research to present a complete portrait of the scientific work and political activity which accompanied Goethe's writings. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.