Modernity and Its Discontents

Steven B. Smith, the Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science and professor of philosophy

(Yale University Press)

In this book, Steven B. Smith examines the concept of modernity, not as the end product of historical developments but as a state of mind. He explores modernism as a source of both pride and anxiety, suggesting that its most distinctive characteristics are the self-criticisms and doubts that accompany social and political progress. Providing profiles of the modern project’s most powerful defenders and critics — from Machiavelli and Spinoza to Saul Bellow and Isaiah Berlin — this work of philosophy and political science offers a perspective on what it means to be modern and why discontent and sometimes radical rejection are its inevitable by-products.

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