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The Postcolonial EnlightenmentEighteenth-Century Colonialism and Postcolonial Theory$
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Daniel Carey and Lynn Festa

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199677597

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199677597.001.0001

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Universalism, Diversity, and the Postcolonial Enlightenment

Universalism, Diversity, and the Postcolonial Enlightenment

Chapter:
(p.240) 7 Universalism, Diversity, and the Postcolonial Enlightenment
Source:
The Postcolonial Enlightenment
Author(s):
Daniel Carey

Sven Trakulhun

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199677597.003.0008

This chapter describes that among the many features of Enlightenment that have come under contemporary critical scrutiny, universalism remains the most contentious. The impulse in the period to universalize the claims of reason, to articulate the category of a shared human nature, or to fashion history in a grand narrative of social progress has been subject to widespread critique from an array of sources. Toleration of religious diversity also plays an important if little recognized part in the work of some figures in the period better known for defending a unified human nature and insisting on moral agreement. This chapter also emphasizes that universalism and diversity find themselves coexisting in political context, not as hostile forces but as necessary to one another.

Keywords:   Enlightenment, religious diversity, universalism, human nature, political context, social progress

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