[[ Audible ]] L'Esprit des LumièresAuthor Tzvetan Todorov – Replica-watches.co

[[ Audible ]] L'Esprit des LumièresAuthor Tzvetan Todorov – Replica-watches.co

This Brilliant And Concise Book From Internationally Renowned Historian Tzvetan Todorov Establishes The Enlightenment As The Philosophical Cornerstone Of The Modern World And Argues That The Wisdom Of Those Times Is Just As Relevant Today Although Our Liberal Democracies Are The Offspring Of The Enlightenment, They Also Illustrate The Ways In Which Its Ideas Can Be Distorted And Perverted People Living In These Democracies Today Are Often Baffled By A Host Of Phenomena Which They Don T Know How To Judge Globalisation And Media Omnipotence, State Sponsored Torture And Lies, Moralism And The Right Of Intervention, The Domination Of Economics And The Triumph Of Technology Is It Possible To Distinguish Between The Enlightenment Legitimate And Illegitimate Heirs We Cannot Learn Lessons From The Past Unless We Know How To Relate Them To The Present In This Brilliant And Concise Book, Internationally Renowned Historian TT Shows That What Remains Relevant To Us Today Of The Th Century Debates Is Their Spirit, As Expressed In A Number Of Crucial Principles And Values It Is By Criticizing The Enlightenment That We Remain Faithful To It

10 thoughts on “L'Esprit des Lumières

  1. says:

    Todorov 150 , , , Steiner.

  2. says:

    I don t think I can praise this work highly enough.In a mere 150 pages, with wide spacing, Todorov examines what we mean by the Enlightenment, what it meant to the people articulating its ideals in the 18th century, and the differing arguments they raised in their discussions and essays on the new ideas arising from the collapse of the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the rise of science, developments in technology, the Reformation which resulted in at least a further two types of Christianity there were already two East and West , etc and the implications of those developments All of this is done in simple, lucid prose, beautifully rendered by the translator Gila Walker The modern world is one of the consequences as well.Some Conservatives, usually of the extreme type, both secular and religious, advocate openly, or snidely suggest, that the many bad things one can find in today s society have their origins in the Enlightenment They imply that we need to move away from these corrupting ideas perhaps they want to return to the purity of the feudal Middle Ages Todorov reminds us that such thinkers are grossly mistaken, and that there is much to cherish and hold fast to as a result of the many dissertations provided in the Age of Enlightenment He also examines modern Enlightenment distortions and their misapplications, such as can be found in scientism, individualism, racial desacralisation, loss of meaning, and wholesale relativism None of these are conducted in the true spirit of the Enlightenment and its core values, which he examines in five chapters, one each on autonomy, secularism, truth, humanity and universality All of these qualities are certainly what we would all characterise as Western values and ideals, and in a sense, without them, we have no real identity.It is, perhaps, sad that we need to defend these values, but it would be a serious mistake to simply disregard them, or to denigrate them As Todorov points out at the end, the process of defending these ideals is an interminable one, a task we need to take up willingly every day This is not to say that there may be dangers in the process all the reason for having clear ideas about what we are on about This little book is a perfect starting point Read it.

  3. says:

    Original review here almost bought this book when it came out in December 2009, but I had read at least one review which was not very positive I wish I could find whatever I had read to see whether I agree with it I have tried but I failed.I have read at least three other Tzetvan Todorov books that I am certain of Facing the Extreme, Imperfect Garden, and Hope and Memory I have enjoyed them all, even when I have not entirely agreed with him.I decided to pick this up now as I am taking a class this semester in Enlightenment Literature, or, specifically on Anglo American Enlightenment literature Todorov focuses on the French Enlightenment, understandably he has lived in France since 1963 Certainly, a few other thinkers from Germany, England, and America crop up but the vast majority of references are to French thinkers.I read this book, in essence, twice between 3 February and 5 March 2012 I read a chapter or two and then I went back and reread and took my notes, leapfrogging slightly ahead with my reading over my note taking.I have decided to count it as a Two Thirds Book Challenge book as it is directly applicable to my current interests, it is a fairly meaty book for its length, and, as I said, I read it twice.I wanted to like this book than I did It s not bad but it seemed a little narrow minded, or defensive, perhaps And, yes, I am fully aware that it is supposed to be a defense but, there is a fine line between making a defense and being defensive Contents Introductory Note 1 The Project 2 Rejections and Distortions 3 Autonomy 4 Secularism 5 Truth 6 Humanity 7 Universality 8 The Enlightenment and Europe A Note of Conclusion Notes The physical book hardbound is a nice artifact, well edited, no typos, with good margins, but no index Introductory Note I set out here to outline the key points of Enlightenment thought, without losing sight of our times, in a continual back and forth movement between past and present 2 The Project Trying to define the Enlightenment project is difficult for two reasons 1 It was a period of culmination, recapitulation and synthesis, not one of radical innovation and 2 Enlightenment thinking was formulated by a great many individuals who, far from agreeing with one another, were constantly engaged in bitter discussions, from one country to another and within each country 3 4.Three ideas form the basis of the Enlightenment project, according to Todorov autonomy the human end is the purpose of our acts universality 4 5 W hat we need today is to re establish Enlightenment thinking in a way that preserves the past heritage while subjecting it to a critical examination, lucidly assessing it in light of its wanted and unwanted consequences I t is through criticism that we remain faithful and put its teaching into practice 23 Rejections and Distortions Enlightenment thinking was the subject of much criticism, particularly from the civil and church authorities that were being challenged 25 Many criticisms were directed against caricatures of Enlightenment thought, while some simply misread its spirit, Todorov tells us.But this is one of the weak points of the book Todorov told us earlier that many different and disparate voices vehemently disagreed about what exactly was the Enlightenment project but throughout the rest of the book he gives us a pretty straightforward account, claiming that such and such is the Enlightenment view of each topic that he covers But it simply is not that easy While I agree with him in general outline most of the time, the discussions he provides really need to be complicated and nuanced Perhaps that would lengthen the account but if one is going to defend the Enlightenment then one should do it well and not use an oversimplified caricature of Enlightenment thought.I do think he does a decent job of showing how various ideas that pass for a fairly mainstream view of the Enlightenment are actually distortions of it, and how these ideas were often bastardized in the employment of dubious, and much worse, ends Autonomy Twofold movement a negative movement of liberation from norms imposed from the outside and a positive movement of construction of new norms of our own devising 41.Discusses various forms and kinds of autonomy, such as collective vs, individual, of thought, opinion, etc., and its abuses by thinkers such as de Sade Some of the possible conflicts between demands for collective autonomy and individual autonomy discussed include education as indoctrination 50 economic globalization 51 international terrorism 51 2 mass media 53 influence of fashion spirit of the age place 53 5 public opinion 54 5 advertising 55 Secularism Discusses various forms of temporal vs spiritual power and what exactly secularism is Other threats discussed are the family, Communism, Nazism and fascism As Todorov tells us, The enemies of a secular society are many 70 Several pages discuss the role of the sacred in a secular society, and it does have one Truth Distinguishes between two types of acts and discourses, those that aim for the good and those that aim for truth 77 Also discusses dangers to truth The political life in a republic and the autonomy of its citizens are threatened by two symmetrical opposing dangers moralism and scientism Moralism reigns when the good prevails over truth and, under the pressure of the will, facts become malleable materials Scientism carries the day when values seem to proceed from knowledge and political choices are passed off as scientific deductions 82 3.The scientism that arose, and is still with us, was opposed by some Enlightenment thinkers like Montesquieu, Rousseau 85 Some of the dangers of scientism discussed include 20th century totalitarianism and the elimination of inferior races and or reactionary classes 86 the temptation to rely on experts to formulate moral norms or political objectives 86 the sociobiological project 86 heterogeneity in the paths to knowledge 87 8 Moralism is, of course, much older than the Enlightenment and its dangers are also discussed.Todorov writes, Truth cannot dictate the good but neither should it be subjugated to it Scientism and moralism are both alien to the spirit of the Enlightenment But a third danger exists, and that is that the very notion of truth be considered irrelevant The challenge to truth in totalitarian regimes is that the very distinction between truth and falsehood, between truth and fiction, became superfluous in light of the purely pragmatic considerations of usefulness and convenience 91 2 He then goes on to show several examples in the US where truth is subjugated to usefulness and convenience in the very late 20th century early 21st 92 4 We would do well to think about these kinds of issues And, yes, he slams present day France repeatedly throughout the book, too Humanity Discusses how the shift of the human to the center was practically Copernican Not surprisingly this reversal elicited strong opposition from those who defended the existing hierarchy, from Bonald to John Paul II 103.de Sade is again mentioned in this chapter for his distortions of Enlightenment views Universality Discusses equality and human rights, along with challenges to them such as the death penalty, political correctness, and relativism The Enlightenment and Europe Discusses why the Enlightenment happened where and when it did considering that none of its ideas were particularly new, and some went back thousands of years The lesson of the Enlightenment consists in saying that plurality can give rise to a new unity in at least three ways it encourages tolerance through emulation it develops and protected a critical spirit and it facilitates self detachment, which leads to a superior integration of the self and the other 143 44 A Note of Conclusion On why the Enlightenment still holds relevance today The reason for its topicality is twofold we are all children of the Enlightenment, even when we attack it at the same time, the ills fought by the spirit of the Enlightenment turned out to be resistant than eighteenth century theorists thought They have grown even numerous The traditional adversaries of the Enlightenment obscurantism, arbitrary authority and fanaticism are like the heads of the Hydra that keep growing back as they are cut This is because they draw their strength from characteristics of human beings and societies that are as ineradicable as the desire for autonomy and dialogue Added to this are modern distortions of the Enlightenment, in the form of scientism, individualism, radical desacralization, loss of meaning and wholesale relativism, to name a few 149 50.The Enlightenment may be history but it is still extremely relevant today Enlightenment thinking was highly complex, and it was disputed by those within and without the project It deserves not to be oversimplified.This is a decent book and it was worth reading, but it is flawed by simplification where there should have been complexity.

  4. says:

    3.5 stars More a Beginner s Guide to the Enlightenment than anything else I was hoping it would directly engage with specific aspects of contemporary culture, but it was broader and general in scope, and aimed at a historical overview of Enlightenment philosophies Not a waste reading it, by any means, but not what I was hoping for The traditional adversaries of the Enlightenment obscurantism, arbitrary authority and fanaticism are like the heads of the Hydra that keep growing back as they are cut This is because they draw their strength from characteristics of human beings and societies that are as ineradicable as the desire for autonomy and dialogue The age of maturity that past authors were hoping would come seems not to be the destiny of humankind humanity is condemned to seek truth rather than possess it This would be the vocation of our species to pick up the task of enlightenment with each new day, knowing that it is interminable. loc 1326 1336

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  7. says:

    Not a perfect book Todorov sets up easily dismissed strawman versions of the internet s potential and actual impact on human co operation and the space program s relevance to our fate as a species There s also a sense that his vision of Enlightenment thinking is so subtle as to be almost nebulous it s not the radical desacralisation and scientism of Dawkins et al., nor the radical relativism of post modernism, just as much as it isn t the pursuit of theocracy or autocracy, but I think is to the good, as I ll explain in a moment He makes an important distinction between societies that uphold the common good and the general good the former leading to some form of totalitarianism while the latter necessarily embraces diversity In his conclusion he points out that the fate of humanity is not to find truth, but to pursue it , and this is as compelling an argument as any not to enshrine a rigid set of ideals or ideas as our guiding light, but to imbibe the spirit of open minded, clear thinking questing as individuals and as a species There are certain basic values that we are to be guided by Todorov rejects the Sadeian notion of the individual as a sort of monad, adrift in a hostile world, pointing out that we are embedded in a web of relationships without which we could not exist However, there is no privileged source for these values or for answers to the many social, economic, political and moral questions that face us Todorov makes the case that a certain bent of mind, identified with the Enlightenment, can give us a way to negotiate these challenges without resorting to the kind of totalitarian or Manichean policies that made the 20th century such a minefield and seem likely to do the same for the 21st A useful primer on its subject, not without limitations and contentious claims, but all in all an even handed, sane breath of fresh air.

  8. says:

    This book is a relatively easy reading and a very good defense of the enlightenment idea s According to Todorov, enlightenment is not a comprehensive or a single project as it is often proclaimed to be Enlightenment is rationalist and empiricist, emphasizing universality and particularity, it is a open debate rather than an achieved consensus In other words, it is an attack on how the society was structured, and that religious institutions or any other object aren t holistic, what is holistic is individual autonomy The well being of the individual is the center of how society must be structured not transcendental commitments I personally agree with most of the Enlightenment notions, however, I have some reservations when it comes to the notion of equal rights for all under the same law I think that in the post modern world, nation states are no longer homogeneous entities but very diverse composed with so many national minorities, indigenous people or immigrants These different groups have different needs, and it is believed that state institutions and laws are not neutral but rather representing the majorities interests, and if we call for equal rights under the same law, it means that we have to obey the laws of the dominant majority without paying attention to the minority s interests, or how they perceive what is the good life By not considering that fact we are undermining the most vital feature of enlightenment itself individual autonomy Therefore, many marginalized groups are striving for the recognition of group rights since only individual rights are not sufficient to address these needs.

  9. says:

    Despite being little over one hundred and fifty pages in length, In Defence of the Enlightenment offers a surprisingly wide ranging critique of the Enlightenment and, in Tzvetan Todorov s view, what it means for us as citizens of the modern world Todorov examines the writings of the main Enlightenment thinkers and links them to the present day, arguing throughout that these ideas remain as relevant now as they were in the eighteenth century.Coming as it did in the wake of the global financial crisis and during a period in which right wing populist parties were starting to find their feet, In Defence of the Enlightenment is a timely reminder of the ideas and morals that we, as citizens of liberal democracies, are sometimes guilty of taking for granted Todorov not only explains how much the modern world owes to the Enlightenment thinkers but also offers a vigorous defence of these values against those that, even today, question their worth.Todorov also tackles the ways in which the Enlightenment s ideas have been distorted and perverted, and by doing so both criticises those that dispute the period s achievements and the actors who have used its name to enslave and terrorise The sections dealing with these issues are particularly interesting but, unfortunately, far too short, and their extension by the author would have been greatly appreciated.Overall, however, In Defence of the Enlightenment is an illuminating and thought provoking examination of a fascinating period of history, one that resonates today as we continue to grapple with what it means to be citizens in a liberal, modern, forward thinking world.

  10. says:

    A very enjoyable, and very quotable short book I dont remember being taught about the enlightenment in school to be honest i wasnt paying much attention but what the enlightenment gave us in terms of critical thought and the freedom to express those thoughts should be a key part of our education The importance of a plurality of ideas was something i hadn t considered before free thinking can only really exist when people are thinking different things I m probably not doing the book justice here so i ll leave you with a couple of quotes Humanity is condemned to seek truth rather than possess it Eloquence of speech should not be mistaken for accuracy of thought And one final one from Voltaire The best citizen is the one who contributes to the happiness of the world A very accessible book for anyone who is interested in finding out about enlightenment ideas.