Enlightenment Archives - Ethics & Public Policy Center

Diderot and the Enlightenment Cult of Reason

A praiseful new intellectual biography of the French philosophe Denis Diderot (1713–1784) offers hope that serious engagement with the past is still possible in the academy.

The Uses of Friendships: Moses Mendelssohn

The life of 18th-century German intellectual Moses Mendelssohn does not hold some secret answer to the challenges that confront our age. But he offers a model of taking such challenges seriously, and of keeping in mind the importance not only of toleration and of steadfastness but also of friendship, which can sometimes bridge the two.

Did the Enlightenment Cause a Global Decline in Violence?

The modern age included a laudable squeamishness against tyranny, but it also included a nice dose of utopian hubris, and the special horrors of the modern age are incomprehensible without this Enlightenment idea.