In this reissue, originally published in English in 1973, French philosopher Lucien Goldmann turns his attention to the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century, the great age of liberalism and individualism and analyses the ‘mental structures’ of the outlook of the philosophes, who showed that the ancien regime and the privileges of the Church were irrational anachronisms.
In assessing the strengths and limitations of individualism, Goldmann considers the achievements and limitations of the Enlightenment. He discusses the views of Hegel and Marx and examines the relation between liberal scepticism and traditional Christianity to point the way to the possible reconciliation of the two seemingly incompatible ‘world visions’ of East and West today.
Part 1: The Structure of the Enlightenment 1. The Encyclopédie 2. Kant 3. Dialectical Criticism 4. The Economic and Social Background 5. Ethical Theory 6. Religion 7. Politics 8. Inner Structure of the Movement 9. Criticism of Bourgeois Values Part 2: The Enlightenment and Christian Belief 10.Christianity and the Rationalised Society 11. Attacks on Christianity 12. Alienation 13. Part 3: The Enlightenment and the Problems of Modern Society 14. The 'Internal Crisis' 15. Marxist Criticism 16. Western Society 17. Towards a Synthesis