Chapter

Introduction

Natania Meeker

in Voluptuous Philosophy

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780823226962
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240944 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823226962.003.0001
Introduction

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This book returns to the scene of French Enlightenment materialism as a crucial staging ground for the modern construction of human beings as objects of knowledge. In the broadest sense, it contributes an articulation of the ways in which eighteenth-century authors participate in what Hans Blumenberg has called the “the elementary exertions of the modern age: the mathematizing and the materializing of nature”. Whether the material subjects of the French Enlightenment are ultimately renounced or embraced by those who follow in their wake, this period's intense preoccupation with the objectification and rationalization of matter —in forms ranging from human anatomies to atomic particles— remains fundamental to an understanding of the positioning of the age within the various critical genealogies that have taken the Enlightenment as a point of origin for modernity.

Keywords: French Enlightenment; materialism; mathematizing; materializing; matter; nature; objectification; rationalization; modernity

Chapter.  6894 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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