start, then, that the different kinds of forests in ques-
tion will come together in one way or another to tell an overt or covert
story of the post-Christian era, into whose horizon we now pass.
The post-Christian era is broadly defined here in terms of his tori-
cal detachment from the past. The first section of the chapter suggests
that the era unfolds under the Cartesian auspices of Enlightenment. If
Petrarch can be called the "father of humanism," then Descartes can be
called the father of Enlightenment. In his Discourse on Method Des-
cartes compares the
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