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Publication Date: 19 Oct 2017
Series: Very Brief Histories
Publisher: SPCK Publishing
Page Count: 144
Author: Anthony Kenny
ISBN-13: 9780281076437, 9780281076444

The Enlightenment

A Very Brief History
By Anthony Kenny
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ISBN-13
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ISBN: 9780281076437
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Summary
‘If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.’
Voltaire

Montesquieu, Hume, Voltaire, Diderot, Smith, Gibbon, Bentham . . . These are among the great thinkers who contributed to the dramatic developments in religion, science and philosophy that we now call the Enlightenment. They dominated the second half of the eighteenth century and their writings continue to shape the intellectual and political worlds we now inhabit.

Written by a world authority, this brief history of the Enlightenment concludes with a perceptive assessment of the cultural, religious, ethical and political dimensions of its legacy.

‘A remarkable short tour of the Enlightenment that is brisk but never hurried, covering more than seems possible. Kenny is as spirited and opinionated as the age he describes, tempered by a moderation and breadth of knowledge that comes from experience and hindsight.’
Julian Baggini, founder editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine
About the Author
Sir Anthony Kenny FBA was born in Liverpool in 1931, and was educated at Upholland College and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. From 1963 to 1989 he was at Balliol College, Oxford, first as Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy, and then as Master. He later became Warden of Rhodes House, President of the British Academy and of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, and Chair of the Board of the British Library. In 2006 Kenny was awarded the American Catholic Philosophical Association's Aquinas Medal for his significant contributions to philosophy.
Press Reviews

The author not only has a remarkable grasp of the broad sweep of philosophical ideas, but is also an authority in his own right. The fluency and elegance of the writing, and the sensitivity to cultural and historical context, together with the eminence of the author, will ensure a wide international readership.

- John Cottingham, University of Reading

The book's great merit is its lucidity and approachability, and it probably does convey some of the excitement which Kenny claims belongs to the subject."

- David Hamlyn, Times Literary Supplement

This is simply a jolly good read, with pithy historical and biographical scene–setters, authoritative accounts of how successive philosophers have contributed to the development of Western thought, and often brilliant single–sentence summaries.

- Church Times

A Brief History of Western Philosophy is a stimulating, impressive work by one of Britain's leading philosophers. It is valuable both as an introduction to the history of ideas as well as a record of a distinguished philosopher's mature reflections...It is a richly detailed, critical look at philosophy, displaying both Kenny's love for philosophical engagement and for good history...Kenny's style is unpretentious, effective, and at times wonderfully informal and amiable.

- Charles Talifierro, the Review of Metaphysics

As a very short introduction to a vast topic, The Enlightenment works a treat, thanks to the author’s flair for marshalling all he knows into succinct, lucid, eloquent prose.

- Michael Duggan

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