Society, Institutions, Revolution
This chapter begins with a discussion of whether there is a social dimension that helps explain the timing and psychological origins of the rise of radical thought. It cites the invaluable role of Spinoza in furnishing more, better, and pithier arguments and proofs against revealed religion, divine Providence, and supernatural forces than any other philosopher of the age. It then describes the many nobles that figured among the ranks of the radical writers and thinkers of the early Enlightenment, including Lahontan, Boulainvilliers, d' Argens, Vauvenargues, the third Earl of Shaftesbury, Conti, Radicati, and Ehrenfried Walter von Tschirnhaus. This is followed by a discussion of the revolutionary impulse.
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