A C Grayling

To Think for Oneself

Encylopédie: The Triumph of Reason in an Unreasonable Age

By

Fourth Estate 400pp £20 order from our bookshop

IN HIS SEMINAL essay ‘What Is Enlightenment?’ the great Immanuel Kant wrote that the aim of enlightenment is thinking and choosing for oneself – and, more to the point, thinking fruitfully and choosing wisely. That in turn requires being well informed. But mere information is not sufficient; one’s information must be organised into knowledge. And the knowledge must not be mere knowledge for its own sake, but knowledge which gives rise to insight and understanding.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The physical courage he demonstrated as a young man [...] gave way to intellectual power; radical thought, gifted… ,
    • 'While Jane Austen didn’t perhaps achieve the full recognition that she deserved in her lifetime, even then she out… ,
    • 'All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And t… ,
    • 'You are interested in a particular subject; basic research hardens this interest into an obsession, after which th… ,
    • 'Keynes predicted that future generations would enjoy such an improved standard of living that they might work just… ,
    • 'Various dislocations ... emerge, iceberg-like, out of a troubled sea of unconscious motivation and confront Eisenb… ,
    • Today is the first today of the – they've got some excellent events coming up over the next two weeks.… ,