Question #6

What do you take the relevant difference between the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries to be, such that it makes sense to call one period “Enlightened” and the other not? What is it that makes the eighteenth-century world of Hume, Smith, Kant, Voltaire and Rousseau distinct from the seventeenth-century world of Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Newton, Locke and Bayle? Or do you think the term “Enlightenment” ought to be stretched to cover pretty much all of modern science and philosophy (in which case, the more it’s stretched, the less it refers to anything terribly precisely any more)?

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