The virtues of Edward Baring's superb book are many.
Converts to the Real demonstrates the importance of phenomenology--typically viewed as a philosopher's philosophy--not only for twentieth-century European intellectual life but for key social and political trends as well. Its great achievement is to merge two contemporary histories by showing how transformations in modern Catholic thought turned phenomenology into the continental philosophy. Baring has done impressive archival research to create a narrative with considerable detail. An excellent book.
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Vali ostukorv Raamatud E-Raamatud E-kinkekaartide tellimused. Israel sees a continuous triangular conflict from the end of the seventeenth century down to the present between three main intellectual blocs on the threshold of modernity: the radical, the moderate mainstream, and the counter Enlightenment. In line with Israel, Darrin McMahon sees a dialectics of the Enlightenment and the Counter Enlightenment, which proceeded from the early modern period until today.
But whereas for Israel the real Enlightenment is the radical Enlightenment, for McMahon the dialectics as such are constitutive of modernity. The controversialist approach makes sense, particularly for the Early Modern period, with its pamphlet wars, and its severe theological and philosophical polemics. Yet, some critical reviews of Israel's work have appeared, in which he was accused of substituting one doxa for the other by constructing an artificial homogeneous philosophical tradition and a teleology of radical philosophy, from Spinoza to the French Revolution, and beyond.
Nevertheless, after the debates initiated by Israel, one can trace a more modest but still ambitious paradigm in the intellectual historiography of the Enlightenment.
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According to John Robertson, the intellectual coherence of. He distinguishes between three lines of enquiry: human nature, material betterment and political economy. Another interpretation of Enlightenment thought is definitely less ambitious in its claims.
It does not necessarily see the Enlightenment as a uniform movement, with a fixed set of principles but, more in line with Ernst Cassirer, as an open process of inquiry. After having studied the eighteenth century reaction to mechanical thought, Peter Reill concludes that the Enlightenment might be much more in tune with our own concerns than is usually conceived. Assuming that the Enlightenment could be equated with the philosophy of absolute reason, enlightened thought is often seen as a principal cause for social deprivation, environmental pollution, eurocentrism, racism, and totalitarianism, all strengthened by rationalisation and efficiency processes.
Instead, the actuality of the Enlightenment Reill describes is to be found in a group of open minded researchers, who tried to find answers to questions we still have today.
Modernity does not seem to be a big issue for historians of the Sixties who study mainly social and cultural change. While in the Fifties modernity was closely linked to the post-war reconstruction, to modernism and democracy, in the Sixties the concept became contested, associated with two World Wars, economic crises, a Cold War, convulsive decolonisation processes, totalitarianism, and other atrocities of modern society.
Generally, historians studying the Sixties are more concerned with questions of looking different, of being modern, trendy, and up to date. Particularly the sound of the Sixties, its pop music, was considered innovative. Seen from a. Of course, at the end of the decade, the Beatles had transformed themselves, their music, and their appearance impressively, but the new styles, instruments, sound recording techniques, and video editing, which developed in the second half of the twentieth century at large, are too often solely ascribed to the Golden Sixties.
Tony Judt, author of the famous book Postwar , may have been right by stating that the political geography of the Sixties is misleading, that the most important developments did not always happen in the best-known places. Whereas many university students in the West were lured by neo-Marxist theory, their counterparts in the East, who had to face real existing socialism, kept aloof from politics and withdrew into their private spheres.
From today's point of view, the student protests, with their sit-ins, teach-ins, and bed-ins, and its predominantly masculine appearance, belong to the rich folklore of history. Particularly the idea of sexual liberation is modified today. In his voluminous The Sixties , the British historian Arthur Marwick wondered whether women profited from the new freedom, or, whether the sexual liberation related particularly to the freedom of men to exploit their own fantasies.
He concluded that male chauvinism had its positive consequences in providing a stimulus to the nascent women's liberation movement. According to Judt, what changed in the Sixties were the working conditions in the industry, and the still very hierarchical labour relations.
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Certainly, the new jobs in the service industry. Also, Arthur Marwick asserted that we should not exaggerate the extent of change or of novelty in the Sixties. In this period, he did not discern anything of particular importance in terms of economic and diplomatic history, the history of political institutions or even the history of the Third World.
The Sixties were neither an economic, nor a political but a cultural revolution.
According to Marwick, the main issue was that so many things happened simultaneously. What changed was the visibility of all sections of society: workers, blacks, women, provincials. What changed was the development of a strong civil rights movement, which represented the interests of the blacks, of women and gays. Yet, as the American intellectual historian Richard Wolin argues, French students and intellectuals appropriated Mao to incite grassroots social movements and to reinvigorate civic and cultural life at home.
The American political scientist Edward Morgan blames the mass media for aggrandising the anthropological features of the protest movement, and for simultaneously downgrading one of the defining qualities of the Sixties, which almost disappeared in public memory: the search for democratic empowerment. The question of how to relate the Sixties to modernity is complex, since the Sixties were of great importance to the changing philosophical discourse of modernity itself.
His discourse analysis became one of the primary sources of postmodernist thought. Foucault, Derrida, and Roland Barthes published their most important works in the Sixties. Even their most convinced opponents could not deny this. While working on this article I came across some particular similarities. In the Sixties, something similar happened with headgear, which was until this decade an important indicator of social class or regional heritage.
The focus of Enlightenment research was broadened to urban cultures of mostly men, meeting in clubs, coffee houses, fraternities, learned societies, freemason lodges, and salons. Due to an overload of sources, and in competition with journalists who are interested in contemporary history as well, historians of the postwar period are inclined to use other concepts, such as civil society, which came under discussion in the Sixties, when citizen assertiveness contributed to a new political culture, in which the mass media vividly registered the new vibes. Remarkably, the image of the wider movement of the Sixties has changed in the opposite direction of Enlightenment research: Until the s, the idea prevailed that one generation changed the Western world.
Nowadays, historians realise that the massive protest was often limited to particular groups of students at universities, and to the well-educated social circles in the bigger towns in Western Europe and the United States. Also the working class called for attention; particularly the massive strikes against bad circumstances on the shop floor were of importance. In the historiography, the protest of the Sixties was limited to those two groups - students and workers - rather than spreading in all directions.
Undoubtedly, the dominant school of research of the Sixties studies changing mentalities, manners, fashion, music, leisure, consumerism, in short: the development of a post-material, or post-industrial culture. Historians who study these trends often tend to downtune the importance of as a turning point in history.
The connections made between the introduction of new techniques, a rapidly rising economy, changing ways of life, and changing social values, could be of interest to historians of the eighteenth century. There are many possibilities to do research on new consumption patterns, due to new techniques, a globalising economy, and products from the colonies, which became accessible for the urban elites. Particularly the role of the fashion industry is of importance, not only since silk and cotton replaced old cloth and set new dress codes, but also since clothing became - more than before - a political topic, as for example the Dutch patriots showed by banning orange dresses and symbols.
An emerging civil society gained access to a more complex material culture, which provided new paths, choices and horizons of ordinary people. The improvement of road networks in France, Germany and Great Britain, and of an extended mail coach network, made it much easier to travel in these countries. Possibly, the Dutch Republic benefited relatively poorly from the technical improvement of stage and mail coaches, since it had already developed an extended waterway system.
The enormous technological advancements of the eighteenth century deserve more attention. In the long run, the discovery of the Leyden jar, designed to store electricity , the lightning conductor , and the steam engine , would prove to be of great value for humanity. For the history of thought, the late Nineteen Sixties and the early Seventies are a crucial period. Traditional intellectual history was criticised by several new schools, such as the French structuralists particularly by Foucault in his Les Mots et les Choses , the German conceptual historians particularly.
Recently, Jonathan Israel gave a new impetus to the traditionally strong historical discipline. Though Israel's Radical Enlightenment is often presented as a new approach to the history of the Enlightenment, one might claim that the author is the most important representative of an already existing group of Spinoza scholars, who, contrary to Israel, were not prepared to present their findings as a new grand narrative.