Tag Archives: History of Concepts

Pursuing the “Shallow Enlightenment” (Part I: Nineteenth-Century Trash-Talk)

In my efforts to make sense of the various pejoratives hurled at the Enlightenment, the one whose depths I’ve yet to plumb is (oddly enough) “shallow.” The term surfaces in a number of places and there’s a lot to be … Continue reading

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What, if anything, does Dialectic of Enlightenment have to do with the Enlightenment?

It’s hardly surprising that scholars working in the area of eighteenth-century studies tend not to be well-disposed towards Dialectik der Aufklärung. At best, anyone who enters Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno’s labyrinth hoping to learn something about “the Enlightenment” is … Continue reading

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John Quincy Adams, Translator and Anti-Jacobin (Another Presidents’ Day Special)

Were there, in fact, a holiday called “Presidents’ Day” (for a discussion of why there isn’t, see my previous post) the existence of John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States, would be enough to justify it. Like his … Continue reading

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Further Thoughts on “the Enlightenment,” the OED, the History of Concepts

Last week’s post ended with some misgivings about the distinction Koselleck drew between the “history of concepts” and the “history of words.” Admittedly, the distinction seems plausible enough: since concepts can be designated by a number of different words (e.g., … Continue reading

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The Enlightenment, the OED, and the History of Concepts, with Ngrams

In the fall of 2010, the online Oxford English Dictionary revised its entry for “Enlightenment.” Since 1891 the definition had read as follows: 1. The action of enlightening; the state of being enlightened …. [I]mparting or receiving mental or spiritual … Continue reading

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