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9780691115177

Enlightenment Against Empire
Enlightenment Against Empire
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  • ISBN-13: 9780691115177
  • ISBN: 0691115176
  • Publication Date:
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr

AUTHOR

SUMMARY

"Neither pure universalism nor radical relativism can provide the foundation for a valid critique of imperial ideology. A successful attempt at coordinating the two approaches was made at the time of the Enlightenment. In today's world, where imperialism has again become a motivating force in international politics, Sankar Muthu does well to revive and analyze this critical conception."--Tzvetan Todorov, author ofHope and Memory "This is a remarkable book to come from a young scholar. Sankar Muthu has recovered a lost history of Enlightenment anti-imperialism, and shown us how its great exponents--Diderot, Kant and Herder--were able to combine a keen sense of cultural diversity with a steady awareness of what may be morally universal. The book is not only a virtuoso piece of historical reconstruction, but also a lesson in how a proper understanding of history equips us in unexpected and powerful ways to make sense of our own time."--Richard Tuck, Harvard University "An impressive work of scholarship with a fascinating line of argument,Enlightenment against Empireis an important contribution to contemporary debate and a necessary corrective to one of its main tendencies. In very readable prose, Muthu demonstrates that the characterization of Enlightenment humanism as Eurocentric and exclusionary does not fit the three very important thinkers examined, and indeed that Enlightenment humanism provides valuable resources for rethinking moral, social, and political theory today."--Thomas A. McCarthy, Northwestern University "Through close readings of Diderot, Kant, and Herder, Muthu analyzes an anti-imperialist strand in eighteenth century political thought. He sees these thinkers as providing a novel view of what it means to be human: 'humanity as cultural agency,' that is, membership in diverse social units with distinctive practices and beliefs. From Muthu's emphasis upon the thick notion of culture shared by these authors, he derives general arguments for human worth and respect, and rejects facile indictments of 'The Enlightenment' or 'The Enlightenment Project.'"--Melvin Richter, Hunter CollegeMuthu, Sankar is the author of 'Enlightenment Against Empire', published 2003 under ISBN 9780691115177 and ISBN 0691115176.

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