unsurprisingly, a frangible term. And yet its bracketing dates encompass a
distinct phase of modernity. “Enlightenment” is also a period term, but in
addition it signifi es an alleged congeries of events in Western history: the rise
of reason, the spread of illumination, and a quickening in the long process
of secularization. Where Romanticism traditionally signifi ed widespread al-
terations in the styles of art, Enlightenment signaled a world- changing
alteration in the very bases of Western culture.
Like Romanticism, the term “Enlightenment” has been critiqued into
Th e Contradictions of Enlightenment
and the Crisis of Modernity
On a cold and rainy January day in 1793, a corpulent gentleman, just thirty-
eight years old, stepped out of his carriage in the midst of a hostile Parisian
crowd. He loosened his scarf, turned down his collar, and with some as-
sistance ascended the steep steps of the scaff old. Speaking in a surprisingly
loud voice, he declared himself innocent, pardoned those who were about
to kill him, and prayed that his blood would not be visited upon his coun-
try before placing his neck on the block of
T w o
“False or Defective”
Appetite in the Medical
In the early eighteenth century the attitudes of physicians
toward ancient teachings on appetite, ingestion, and diges-
tion were divided. Many physicians continued to extol the
Hippocratic tradition, with its emphasis on particularity
in health and sickness and the supreme value of bedside
observation. Indeed, from the late seventeenth century a
“Hippocratic revival” that gave new force to such views got
under way.1 Self- declared Hippocratists who regarded ap-
petite as highly
* 2 *
A New Public Nietz sche:
In late 1876 or early 1877 Nietz sche wrote a workbook entry intended for
Things Human All Too Human: “To readers of my earlier writings I want
to state explicitly that I have abandoned the metaphysical- artistic views that
in all essentials rule them: those views are comfortable but untenable” (KSA
8 23 ). But his huge 1878 book nowhere states explicitly that he had
abandoned the untenable metaphysical- artistic views of his fi rst fi ve books.
Instead, he left it to a reader made faithful by his
6 The Radical Enlightenment of Spinoza and Kant
I’m not finished.
What Is Enlightenment?
Kant’s essay, “An Answer to the Question ‘What Is En-
lightenment?’ ” is remembered for his exhortation “Sa-
pere Aude! Have the courage to use your own understand-
ing! . . . in matters of religion, as in all matters.”1 Although
readers continue to find much to do to comprehend Kant’s
dare in his time, I am interested, it will be clear, in the ques-
tion, How is it going?
Is this a recognizable question? The Enlightenment is
the designation for the
Preparation of this chapter was supported in part by a grant from the Athena program of the
Swiss National Science Foundation.
1. Dictionnaire philosophique, article “Loi naturelle,” in Oeuvres complètes de Voltaire, vol. 34
(Paris: Armand-Ambrée, 1829), 157– 60, here 160. Following the Kehl edition (1784 –89),
these Oeuvres collect under one title all of Voltaire’s dictionary-like works.
2. Jean Ehrard, L’idée de nature en France dans la première moitié du XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Albin
Michel, 1994 ).
Onanism, Enlightenment Medicine,
Economizing Agricultural Resources
in the German Economic Enlightenment
ma r cu s pop p low
Investigations into the properties of materials, which brought “artisanal” and
“learned” knowledge into contact in the early modern period, concerned not
only the arts and crafts, as the domain where materials were turned into fi n-
ished products, but also agriculture, as the domain where many such materi-
als, including foods, were produced.1 This chapter investigates strategies for
increasing the production of domestic agrarian resources by creating bod-
range of concerns, most signifi cantly, perhaps, those related
to the promises and perils of the modern industrial age.
Specifi cally, those android automata that were made
during the Enlightenment have played an infl uential role
in our understanding of modern industrial society and
the human-machine boundary in it, either directly or
through texts. Enlightenment automata were spectacu-
lar and innovative self-moving objects and, in regard to
mechanical complexity, the most sophisticated of their
kind compared to not only earlier but also later
T H E I TA L I A N E N L I G H T E N M E N T R E F O R M
O F T H E Q U E R E L L E D E S F E M M E S
Woman has an extra-fine intellect,
But the shrewd man will not let her study.
If woman were educated, sorry man
Would be seen to spin at the distaff.
And if a woman uses her intellect,
Man will be on the bottom and woman on top.
THE OTHER VOICE
During the course of the Italian Enlightenment (1700–1789),
women, Giuseppa Eleonora Barbapiccola, Aretafila Savini de’ Rossi,
Maria Gaetana Agnesi, and Diamante Medaglia Faini, joined the vigorous
Introduction: There Be Gods Even Here
The most oft-quoted mottoes of the Enlightenment did not just commit
what philosopher G. E. Moore was later to call the “naturalistic fallacy,” 1
they insisted upon it: “Whatever is, is right.” 2 This essay is about the ways
in which value in nature was created in eighteenth-century natural history,
with an emphasis on practices rather than theses: how certain regimens of
experience (rather than proofs and arguments) established nature’s values
in an age that looked to nature as its guide in every realm, from