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This thought-provoking analysis evaluates the progress that global society has made since the Enlightenment. The author begins by pointing out features of present-day society that are the direct descendants of the Enlightenment's discoveries and advances: our technology, modern medicine, science-based worldview, democratic political institutions, and concepts of human rights are all an outgrowth of the pioneering efforts of Enlightenment reformers.
But along with these benefits, the author notes that we are also the inheritors of some significant problems produced in the wake of these advances; overpopulation, nuclear proliferation, and global climate change are just some of the recent developments that seem to threaten the whole Enlightenment project. Other great concerns include the continuing economic disparity between prosperous and impoverished nations, the persistence of widespread ignorance, and destructive reactionary forces bent on provoking new conflicts.
Despite these and other daunting challenges of the twenty-first century, the author concludes on a cautiously optimistic note, predicting that the Enlightenment vision of prosperity, security, justice, and good health for all will eventually be achieved.
From the Hardcover edition.