- John Robertson
‘The Enlightenment in philosophy and history’ assesses the Enlightenment’s legacy—and why it is contested—by returning to the different ways in which philosophers and historians have portrayed the Enlightenment. Recently, historians have been determined to assert the Enlightenment’s ‘modernity’, and to affirm that it ‘still matters’; but it is also important to understand why so many philosophers have differed, and have made Enlightenment the subject of critique rather than celebration. Enlightenment thought was willing to engage with change in this world independent of the next, to think about what might constitute ‘progress’. Precisely because so much human catastrophe lies between it and our 21st-century world, this commitment to progress, to human betterment, challenges our comprehension.