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Radical EnlightenmentPhilosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750$
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Jonathan I. Israel

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206088.001.0001

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From La Mettrie to Diderot

From La Mettrie to Diderot

(p.704) 37 From La Mettrie to Diderot
Radical Enlightenment

Jonathan I. Israel

Oxford University Press

The two authors who most effectively summed up the radical thought of the early Enlightenment era in the middle of the 18th century were both Frenchmen — La Mettrie and the famous chief editor of the Encyclopédie, Diderot. In their published writings a tradition of thought stretching back a century to the 1650s was powerfully restated and rendered into one of the central planks of the European Enlightenment as a whole. Both writers, and especially Diderot, also added some original touches of their own. But the essential ideas making up their radicalism were those of a late 17th- and early 18th-century tradition which culminated in their work.

Keywords:   La Mettrie, Diderot, radical thought, Early Enlightenment, radical philosophy

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