Tag Archives: Begriffsgeschichte

Isaiah Berlin & the “Counter-Enlightenment”: A Reassessment (Fabricating the “Counter-Enlightenment” — Conclusion)

Since the middle of October I have been attempting to trace the history of the concept “counter-Enlightenment.” I set out on this venture convinced that Zeev Sternhell’s account of the history was wrong and confident that the sketch that I … Continue reading

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“Counter-Enlightenment” in English (1908-1942) (Fabricating the “Counter-Enlightenment” Part III)

The two previous posts in this series examined nineteenth and early twentieth-century German uses of the term “Gegenaufklärung” and argued, contra Zeev Sternell, that the term does not seem to have been generally adopted as a convention for referring to … Continue reading

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Fabricating the “Counter-Enlightenment” — Part II: German Uses 1875 – 1925

The first post in this series examined Zeev Sternhell’s claim that Nietzsche “probably invented” the term Gegenaufklärung and noted that (1) Nietzsche’s one use of the term is difficult to reconcile with the subsequent usage of the term that we … Continue reading

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Enlightenment and Ngram Wild Card Searches

A link on my Twitter feed this morning alerted me to Ben Zimmer’s article in the Atlantic on a new (and welcome) feature that Google has added to the Ngram:  wild card searches. Naturally, I thought I’d try it out with … Continue reading

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Fabricating the “Counter-Enlightenment” — Part 1: Nietzsche’s Role

When asked “Who invented the word ‘counter-Enlightenment?” Isaiah Berlin replied I don’t know who invented the concept …. Someone must have said it. Could it be myself? I should be somewhat surprised. Perhaps I did. I really have no idea.1 … Continue reading

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Securing the Borders: On the Genealogy of Scientism (Part II)

Leon Wieseltier’s response to Steven Pinker’s rejoinder to Wieseltier’s earlier attempt to defend the humanities from the depredations of what he terms “scientism” prompted me, in my previous post, to offer a few thoughts on the history of this peculiar … Continue reading

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Making Sense of “Aufklärung” – Translating Kant, Part III

I began this series of posts more or less as a lark, thinking that I’d look at how my fellow translators of Kant’s response to the question “What is enlightenment?” handled the opening sentence. But this exercise turned out to … Continue reading

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