Aspects of Enlightenment

Aspects of Enlightenment

by Thomas Osborne

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Aspects of Enlightenment is an attempt to reconfigure the terrain of contemporary social theory. Critical of sociologistic approaches in that discipline and of vague concepts such as modernity and postmodernity, the book argues that the proper subject matter of social theory is enlightenment itself. Dismissing for the most part the conflicts in social and critical theory between realist and relativist approaches, the book argues for the merits of various limited kinds of anti-foundationalism that would guide fieldwork in specific areas of enlightenment. As a means of illustrating this approach, the book focuses on case studies that consider critical attitudes to scientific, therapeutic and aesthetic kinds of enlightenment. A key theme throughout the book is the status of the social sciences themselves with regard to the question of enlightenment, as well as with the nature of the vocation of the intellectual as the embodiment of particular kinds of critical ethos. Finally, the book in an oblique homage to the work of Michel Foucault who figures here, along with Max Weber, as an exemplar of the critical attitude to enlightenment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780742570863
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 10/01/1998
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 232
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Thomas Osborne is lecturer in the department of sociology at the University of Bristol in Bristol, England.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: OFEnlightenmentality
Chapter 2 Reason, Truth, and Criticism
Chapter 3 Aspects of Scientific Enlightenment
Chapter 4 Aspects of Therapeutic Enlightenment
Chapter 5 Aspects of Aesthetic Enlightenment
Chapter 6 Questioning Enlightenment: Ethics of Truth in Foucault and Weber
Chapter 7 Agents of Enlightenment: In Praise of Intellectuals
Chapter 8 Conclusion: Social Theory, Sociology and the Ethics of Criticism

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