Carlo Augusto Viano

L'Illuminismo tra risurrezioni e miraggi

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The essay simultaneously explores the calls that have been made for a renewal of the Enlightenment project and the criticisms leveled against it, primarily in the cultural context of the 20th century. The major philosophical interpretations of the Enlightenment elaborated in the historiography of the period are examined, in light of possible renewal on the one hand and of leveled criticism on the other. This shows how these interpretations of the Enlightenment were formed in the framework of 19th and 20th century philosophy, which considered the Enlightenment a historical period to be surpassed. The ongoing projects to reintroduce the Enlightenment therefore appear without foundation, and also unlikely, in societies that, as ours, are so profoundly different from those of the 18th century. Additionally, those seeking to reinstate the Enlightenment often propose to exclude some of the most important ingredients of its legacy, such as its scientific framework and critical approach to religious dogmas.

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