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Change and the Enlightenment

 
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 06:55 am
David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times (a former philosophy major) who just wrote an interesting column for the May 25th issue of the Times. Brooks argues that the Enlightenment too two very different forms, one on the European continent, and one in Britain. The first (on the continent) was a radicalism that urged that all the old views and beliefs be swept away, and replaced those of enlightened philosophy informed by science. This is typified by Descartes and Voltaire. But across the channel, in Britain, Hume and Burke argued for gradualism, change that does not sweep away the past, but builds on the past, and connect to the best of the past. Brooks also argues that in the United States, at least, radicalism has taken control under Obama. You can read the column at the following site. If you have to register to read it, the registration is free. It is, I think, a good idea to be a regular reader of the New York Times, anyway.
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jgweed
 
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Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 07:23 am
@kennethamy,
It might be that Brooks--- someone whose views are always worth attending to--- has been too swayed by the Whig Interpretation of British history, although not just in the Enlightenment, but in other critical periods (e.g. under Henry and especially Elizabeth I) the British have generally followed a course of compromise and gradualism that has made society and government far more stable than elsewhere. Even the Cromwellian revolution, when compared to the French, was rather mild.
While generally advancing a contemporary conservative perspective that at least is somewhat reasonable, Brooks sometimes succumbs to rhetoric and is often not as careful in presenting his arguments as one would hope.
kennethamy
 
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Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 07:29 am
@jgweed,
jgweed;168545 wrote:
It might be that Brooks--- someone whose views are always worth attending to--- has been too swayed by the Whig Interpretation of British history, although not just in the Enlightenment, but in other critical periods (e.g. under Henry and especially Elizabeth I) the British have generally followed a course of compromise and gradualism that has made society and government far more stable than elsewhere. Even the Cromwellian revolution, when compared to the French, was rather mild.
While generally advancing a contemporary conservative perspective that at least is somewhat reasonable, Brooks sometimes succumbs to rhetoric and is often not as careful in presenting his arguments as one would hope.


Of course that was my presentation of what Brooks wrote. It may not be accurate. But, what I think Brooks wrote seems right to me. Have you any reason for thinking it is not?
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jack phil
 
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Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 01:34 pm
@kennethamy,
What does it matter? The 'Enlightenment' is the abandonment of the Renaissance- and science came from the Renaissance, not the 'Enlightenment'.

How the snake does eat itself...

Philosophy is not a science. Philosophy based on theories is ass backwards, and totally detached from reality.
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