Download Imperfect Garden: The Legacy of Humanism by Tzvetan Todorov PDF

By Tzvetan Todorov

The most effective books on humanism to be had at the present time. A clean and unique examine what it potential to be human, to be all-at-once self-aware, intentional, and social. "For Todorov, humanism represents an highbrow reaction to the consequences of human freedom." (from "Freedom, unbounded" through Carol E. Quillen)

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Lacking this, certain positive inclinations may be repressed and disappear, while negative inclinations may prosper. Evil is also learned. ” (Grandeur, XV, 463). It is not accidental that so many of the great humanists, Montaigne, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and many others evinced, a particular interest in the subject of education. While the conservatives recommend the pure maintenance and faithful transmission of traditions, the scientists lean toward training that mechanically produces the desired results, and the individualists are happy with searching for anything that contributes to the flowering and maximal satisfaction of each person, the humanists would like to have common 38 T h e I n t e r p l a y o f Fo u r Fa m i l i e s principles of education that allow men to acquire a greater autonomy, give a human finality to their acts, and recognize the same dignity in all members of their species.

Likewise for less macabre aspects of these societies, from industrialization to the organization of daily life: everything is decided by an iron will, unhindered by any hesitation since it claims to rely on the verities of scientific knowledge. Controlling society in its entirety, its rulers may be animated by an ideal that is not altogether foreign to that of the conservatives: they are trying to impose greater social cohesion and a submission to common values. This was true of the “socialism” inaugurated by the October Revolution in Russia: victory of the collective over the individual of submission over freedom.

The ultimate result of individualism, then, would be the disappearance of the individual. The Scientists I have identified the conservative family in terms of its reaction to the advent of modernity. Modernity affirms the freedom of the subject, individual or collective, along with other causes of his action. The conservative reaction says: the price of this freedom is too steep; we would do better to renounce the transaction so as not to have to pay. On this level, the position of the conservatives is clear.

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