Illustrated reason and human diversity

This paper discusses how the XVIIIth century French philosophy interpreted the multiplicity of social experiences existing on the planet in a moment of renewal of the European expansion and of the conception of the idea of a history of mankind. It especially debates the illustrated representation of China, taken as a model of civilized life diverse from the European one, and of the supposedly savage peoples of America and Africa, considered as examples of primitive societies. It particularly focuses on texts by Voltaire, Montesquieu and Rousseau.

Enlightenment; Diversity; History of mankind; Primitive man; Civilized man


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