Question #8

What do you think happened to the Enlightenment?

Do the French and American Revolutions somehow represent its climax – or its betrayal? In France, was Sieyès an Enlightened architect of modern politics, or someone who turned genuinely Enlightened political theory on its head? What’s the relationship between the nineteenth-century politics of nation-states and democratisation and what happened in the eighteenth century? Is there much connection between the social philosophies of the eighteenth century and those of the nineteenth (in Hegel, Marx and Weber, say), or not? And what, if anything, has the Enlightenment got to do with the political distinction between Left and Right?

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