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Fraser Institute News Release: New book explores key ideas of the Enlightenment

·2 min read

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new book about the Enlightenment, the intellectual and philosophical movement, based largely in Europe, that spawned the rise of reason and the scientific method, was released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

The Essential Enlightenment also includes a website and animated videos, which summarize key aspects of the research in an accessible format.

“The Enlightenment’s key ideas of liberty, freedom, limited government and separation of church and state helped shape revolutionary experiments in government in the United States and France, which helped change the world,” said the book’s editor Aeon J. Skoble, professor of philosophy at Bridgewater State University and senior fellow with the Fraser Institute.

Prior to the Enlightenment, which began in earnest in the late-1600s, religious and political absolutism dominated Europe. But these ideas—rights, freedoms, liberty—represented a new way of thinking about government and directly challenged the power of monarchs and the church.

Indeed, governments and church leaders banned many of the radical ideas of the movement’s well-known thinkers, which included Baruch Spinoza, Montesquieu, John Locke and Immanuel Kant. Yet ultimately, these ideas lay the foundation for the liberal democratic institutions we take for granted today including impartial courts and the rule of law, democratically elected governments, equality for all people and freedom of speech.

Finally, in addition to significant changes in philosophical and political thought, Enlightenment thinkers such as Adam Smith and David Hume also introduced radical new economic ideas about market economies and increased prosperity, which helped spark even greater change across Europe and North America.

At www.essentialenlightenment.org, you can download the complete book and individual chapters for free and view several short videos summarizing key points of individual chapters. The videos are also available on the Fraser Institute’s YouTube channel.

Aeon J. Skoble,
Senior Fellow, Fraser Institute

Jason Clemens
Executive Vice-President, Fraser Institute

To arrange interviews or for more information, please contact:
Mark Hasiuk, Senior Media Relations Specialist @ (604) 688-0221 ext. 517 or mark.hasiuk@fraserinstitute.org

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org