And yet these days, I’ve noticed, the Age of Reason has few friends. The religious right detests the Enlightenment because it leads to secularism; postmodern academics reject the Enlightenment as the presumed progenitor of an oppressive scientism; and the New Age fringe invites us to regard Reason as Spirituality’s feeble and overrated shadow.Precisely so. This is the underpinning of my argument in my thesis: that the Enlightenment is a much-maligned beast and that we should be celebrating it. Too often, it is used as a tool with which to beat humanity: the conservatives bemoan our hubris, the need for rationality, the desire to understand everything and place humanity at the pinnacle. And, in doing so, they bastardise the tenets of the Enlightenment and reduce them to scientism, the better to criticise them.
Monday, October 14, 2013
James Morrow on the Enlightenment