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Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement

by Stephen Eric Bronner

Since the mid-twentieth century, intellectuals have attacked the Enlightenment for its imperialism, eurocentrism, and scientism and for the sexism and racism of some of its major representatives. Eager to reclaim the Enlightenment from purely philosophical and cultural interpretations, Bronner shows that the Enlightenment's notion of political engagement keeps democracy fresh and alive by providing a practical foundation for fostering institutional accountability, opposing infringements on individual rights, instilling an enduring commitment to social reform, and building a cosmopolitan sensibility. This forceful and timely reinterpretation of the Enlightenment and its powerful influence on contemporary political life is a resounding wake-up call to critics on both the left and the right.

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