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A Genealogy
Food and the Sciences in Paris, 1670-1760
Mechanics, Artisans, and Cultures of the Self

217 Nobody has come up with a better project than the Enlightenment. —Richard Rorty, “Human Rights, Rationality and Sentimentality” Capitalized as a period concept or presumed movement, “the Enlight-enment” is too large a term to be attacked, or indeed defended, with precision. Its modern assailants commonly fail to quote or refer to indi- vidual writers or works, let alone engage with their arguments. A dismissive gesture suffices. Specific indictments of the Enlightenment for the sins of modernity, from colonialism to the Holocaust to atomic weapons

1 THE ENLIGHTENMENT PERIOD The Rent Reforms The economic system based on compulsory labor spread through- out Poland during the sixteenth century. It began to show signs of crisis in the seventeenth century, it began to disintegrate in the eighteenth century, and it was eventually suppressed in the nineteenth century. The first visible signs of a crisis consisted in a steady decline of Polish agriculture. Between 1620 and 1720 the population of the Polish state dropped more than 30 percent, and the tilled area at least 20 percent. The output of

Selected Bibliography for the Enlightenment primary sources (limited to one emblematic text per author, preferably in translation) d’Alembert, Jean-le-Rond. “Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclo- pédie.” 1751. Translated by Richard Schwab. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995. Algarotti, Francesco. Th e Lady’s Philosophy: or Sir Isaac Newton’s Th eory of Light and Colours, and His Principle of Attraction, Made Familiar to the Ladies in Several Entertainments. 1738. London: F. Newbery, 1772. Bayle, Pierre. Miscellaneous Refl ections, Occasion’d by the

1 Interpreting the Enlightenment: On Methods Scholars, philosophers, churchmen, journalists, offi cials, teachers, and scores of others have been discussing the Enlightenment for nearly three hundred years, yet there is still remarkably little agreement on what, precisely, the Enlightenment was. Language is part of the problem: the expression “the Enlightenment,” for instance, appeared in English only around the mid–nineteenth century. Of course, there were plenty of other words, especially in other languages, available to designate a phenomenon that

15 France and the European Enlightenment If the ideals of the French Revolution could be so quickly exported (before they were imposed by force), it was also because the rest of Europe was already in the habit of following intel- lectual and other fashions set in Paris. Until now, I have mostly discussed the role played by French académiciens and other writ- ers in synthesizing an assortment of observations about the past and present states of society, culture, and learning into a uni- fi ed concept, or narrative, of the Enlightenment. But France also

98 c h a p t e r f o u r Psychology in the Age of Enlightenment In his lectures of the 1770s, Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) advocated inte- grating empirical psychology into university curricula as an autonomous discipline. He argued that psychology had remained subordinated to meta- physics because metaphysics had been wrongly construed and because psy- chology had until then been insufficiently systematic and its field of study too limited. But now the moment had come (as it had for anthropology) for it to acquire a place of its own alongside other university

the government; but even this false honour is as useful to the public as true honour could possibly be to private persons. Il est vrai que, philosophiquement parlant, c’est un honneur faux qui conduit toutes les parties de l’État; mais cet honneur faux est aussi utile au public que le vrai le seroit aux particuliers qui pourroit l’avoir.¹ C H A P T E R 3 Motivation and Leadership in the Enlightenment Chapter Three Motivation and Leadership in the Enlightenment 58 Chapter Three Montesquieu illustrates the mysterious power and majesty, as well as the