Avi Lifschitz

in Language and Enlightenment

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199661664
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191751653 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs


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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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The Introduction situates the book against the background of current trends in Enlightenment studies. It highlights the naturalistic perspective on the evolution of human society, which was common to authors who have been identified as radical and conservative alike. A discussion of the Enlightenment view of language as an essential tool of human cognition leads to the rejection of Isaiah Berlin's thesis of a German ‘Counter-Enlightenment’ allegedly reacting to a French Enlightenment that believed in the sovereign powers of reason and logic. This study demonstrates the common features shared by French and German authors.

Keywords: enlightenment; language; mind; cognition; conjectural history; naturalism; Berlin; Counter-Enlightenment; evolution of society

Chapter.  6924 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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