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Enlightenment



  • When Black Humanity is Denied

    by Edna Bonhomme

    Enlightenment institutions – the prison, science, and asylums – are organized through binaries that draw boundaries between people who are and are not able to exercise freedom. Black artistic work supports Black freedom by challenging those boundaries. 



  • The American Exception: How Faith Shapes Economic and Social Policy

    by Benjamin M. Friedman

    Historian Benjamin Friedman's new book examines the importance of changing religious ideas in American Protestantism as influences on the development of social and economic policy. Part of the concluding chapter is excerpted here. 



  • An Inspiring History of the Enlightenment

    A new book focuses on the generation of the body of Enlightenment thought through debate and dispute which foreshadows many of today's debates about the merits of universal humanism and liberal democracy. 



  • Is History Now Our Judge?

    by L.D. Burnett

    "Warning someone that they will face the judgment of history and the shame of opprobrium seems much more rational than warning them that they will face the judgment of God and the fires of hell."



  • Voltaire Spread Darkness, Not Enlightenment. France Should Stop Worshipping Him.

    by Nabila Ramdani

    Nabila Ramdani argues that the French Enlightenment thinker's abstract defenses of free speech and inquiry should not overshadow the concrete content of what he said and wrote, which included historically influential racist and antisemitic bigotry cloaked in the language of reason and science.



  • John Locke Breaks His Silence

    A new manuscript is located in Maryland. But do Americans care what the philosophers have to say?



  • Studies show enlightenment has no bearing on torture

    Two recent examinations suggest that torture arises not because of individual barbarity and sadism, or even because of the presence or absence of enlightened laws, but because of social and psychological structures. The 20th century provided more avenues for such structures to flourish, these analyses suggest, which is why so much more torture took place in the last 100 years. Sociologist Christopher Einolf recently compiled a history of torture. He limited his study to cases involving conduct t