The author of the celebrated The Dream of Reason vividly explains the rise of modern thought from Descartes to Rousseau.
In a short period - from the early 1640s to the eve of the French Revolution - Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, and Hume all made their mark on Western thought. The Dream of Enlightenment tells their story and that of the birth of modern philosophy. What does the advance of science entail for our understanding of ourselves and for our ideas of God? How should a government deal with religious diversity - and what is government actually for? Their questions remain our questions, and it is tempting to think these philosophers speak our language and live in our world; but to understand them properly, we must step back into their shoes. Gottlieb puts readers in the minds of these frequently misinterpreted figures, elucidating the history of their times while engagingly explaining their arguments and assessing their legacy. Gottlieb creates a sweeping account of what they amounted to, and why we are still in their debt.
“Wondrously perceptive and exceptionally well-written”
Edward O. Wilson
“The Dream of Enlightenment follows Anthony Gottlieb's superb The Dream of Reason - now a modern classic - and looks set to become one too”
Dominic Green, Spectator
“A joy to read . . . an entertaining introduction to a range of daring thinkers of the long Enlightenment”
“His prose is as witty as it is punctilious, peppered with clever, memorable lines”
Julian Baggini, Financial Times