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Enlightenment: The crisis and transformation of the concept

DOI: 10.2298/fid0630009s

Keywords: enlightenment , modernity , humanism , crisis

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Abstract:

The subject of the paper is the crisis of the concept of enlightenment examined at three levels: polemic-rhetorical, historical-descriptive, and philosophical-normative. The author argues that the inconsistency of substantive definitions of enlightenment does not necessarily result in rejection of this concept but rather in its continuous transformation. By way of conclusion, the author stresses that the normative revival of the concept of enlightenment may be rendered more viable by making a distinction between Enlightenment, as a particular historical period and intellectual legacy, and enlightenment, as a continuous process. He argues that the former is not the only possible form of the latter, but just one of its historical manifestations and one among many agents in the complex and uncertain history of modern process of enlightening.

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