By the end of the eighteenth century a distinctly modern vision of life was emerging. The revolutions in America and France revealed new beliefs about human nature, rights and duties, the natural and material worlds, and a new faith in science, technology and the idea of progress. As people began to change the way they thought about themselves and the world around them, a whole new way of thinking developed, which still has an overwhelming impact two centuries on. The Enlightenment brings together the work of major Enlightenment thinkers such as Hobbes, Rousseau, Diderot and Kant, to illustrate the full importance and achievements of this period in history. Extracts are gathered thematically into sections on such aspects of the Enlightenment as: political theory religion and belief art and nature. All essays are introduced and a final section on 'Critical Reflections' provides a selection of modern critical opinions on the period by writers including Foucault, Habermas, and Lyotard.