Edmund Burke and Roy Porter : two views of revolution and the British enlightenment
Polachic, Mark Lewis
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This thesis presents an analysis of Edmund Burke's place in intellectual history by examining his commentary on the French Revolution as well as his role in the Enlightenment itself. In doing so, it brings to bear the previously unexplored ideas of the twentieth-century historian Roy Porter. The thesis proposes that Burke's indictment of French philosophy as the cause of the French Revolution created enduring historiographic connotations between radicalism and the notion of enlightenment. Consequently, British thinkers of the eighteenth-century were invariably dismissed as conservative or reactionary and therefore unworthy to be regarded as enlightened figures. Porter's reconsideration of the British Enlightenment reveals Burke to be a staunch defender of hard-won enlightened values which British society had already long enjoyed.The source material is, for the most part, primary. For Edmund Burke, his correspondence and his Reflections on the Revolution in France. For Roy Porter, his most relevant essays, journal articles and monographs.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
History of Ideas