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Our Renaissance Enlightenment

PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:00 pm
by Publius Sextius Laevus
Salvete Omnes

I had come across two things while waiting for the Forum to revive and thought that they might be interesting to the Colleium Philosophicum.

The first is a YouTube video from the Paideia Media by Christophe Rico on the Sixth Renaissance (the one we're in now). He establishes criteria for 'Renaissance Movements' as:
New access to sources
1. Either continuity or break away from the immediate past.
2. Link with a technological innovation.
3. Renewal of ancient languages knowledge.
4. Concept of Classical author.

He lays out each of the previous five and how they match his criteria and how what is now begun in the present century as the Sixth Renaissance (with the technological innonovation of the Digital Revolution).

The second is a book (through the magic of the internet because the authors name was similar, Pinker vs. Finkel, to one* for which I was looking) Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress Hardcover – February 13, 2018 by Steven Pinker. (Lupe, you may want to open your collar a bit before looking.)


* From a Latin blog I follow occasionally is 'Deus in crapulum' In this he mentions the book The Writing in the Stone by Irving Finkel & illustrated by Angharad Morgaine Crossley - Assyria some 3000 years ago, cuneiform ... 191148706X

Re: Our Renaissance Enlightenment

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:07 pm
by Spurius Iuventius Catulus
Very nice. I'm not sure when I'll have an opportunity to lay hands/eyes on these, but thank you for sharing them!

Re: Our Renaissance Enlightenment

PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 10:26 pm
by Gaius Florius Lupus
Salve Laeve!

Gratias tibi!!
This is really my favorite topic. I downloaded Pinker's book right away. I heard about it before, but some critics were not overly impressed with it, so I never bothered to read it. After you recommendation I decided to have a look at it. The title sounds quite promising, since bringing rationalism back is the most important issue for me in our time.

I was disappointed by the lecture in the video though. Cristophe Rico's first criterion is meaningless, since it is a statement that is indistinguishable from its negation.
I would say that a renaissance requires a break away from its immediate past. His first four renaissance periods were always continuations, so I cannot classify them as renaissance periods. The fifth one would be the only exception, and the only one that I can accept as a real renaissance. If our own time becomes a break away from the post-modern era, then I would accept it as a renaissance, otherwise not.

Is it really true that interest in classic languages is currently increasing? I thought the interest in Latin and ancient Greek is declining.
I come from a Roman(-Catholic) family and therefore went to a private Roman-Catholic school, where Latin was our first foreign language. And it was the last one I kept until graduation. But the rules have been relaxed, and now most students choose English as first and French as second language, many avoid Latin completely. So they can pass through the school without ever learning Latin, which would have been unthinkable in the past. It seems to me that fewer people are learning Latin. Is this really different elsewhere in the world?

I am not sure, whether or not there is a new renaissance coming, but I see it as our task to preserve classic knowledge and our commitment to reason and the Age of Enlightenment through the post-modern dark ages.


Re: Our Renaissance Enlightenment

PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:29 pm
by Gaius Florius Lupus
Salvete amici!

Pinker's book was rather disappointing, although there is certainly a need to speak out for the values of the Enlightenment in our time.

First of all there are simply too many words for too little content. The message of the book could have been condensed into less than 10%. The excessive use of footnotes, which make more than 50% of the whole book, indicates a pretty bad writing style.
Although it was good to see the achievements of Modernity and the Enlightenment pointed out, the conclusions were distorted by the political stance of the author. Pinker fell short in addressing the threat of post-modernism and moral relativism. They are hardly mentioned in the whole book. Instead the author is obsessed with criticizing the person of Donald Trump, the one man whose slogan is the restauration of those values that made the modern Western society to what it is today. A serious book would have made more generalized statements, otherwise it will lose any relevance once Trump's time in office will be over.

It is certainly good to be reminded of the achievements of the Enlightenment, but it should have been written in a less politicized way - and a more condensed form. But apparently more money can be made by writing more pages.

In summary I would not recommend the book as a valuable contribution to the discussion about Enlightenment and its values. Although it is a collection of a lot of data, it is rather a waste of time that can be spent in a better way, if one is seriously interested in the topic.
Finishing the book leaves you with the question: What have I read on these 576 pages that I did not know already?