Flesh in the Age of Reason

by Roy Porter

Hardcover, 2004




New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 2004.


"How did we come to a modern understanding of our bodies and souls? ... Roy Porter charts how, through figures as diverse as Locke, Swift, Johnson, and Gibbon, ideas about medicine, politics, and religion fundamentally changed notions of self"--p. [2] of jacket.

User reviews

LibraryThing member WarnerToddHuston
A great Enlightenment History...

Flesh in the Age of Reason is wonderful. I mean, I cannot give this book enough credit. One can easily find books on various aspects of Enlightenment period philosophy. Adams, Hume, Locke, et al., are easy to find. But, put into context with their day, their battles with each other, and the growth of their ideas in that context is something not as easily found.

Roy Porter passed away just after finishing and publishing this work and it is a fitting end to his career. In fact, in retrospect, it seems a fitting exploration for one on the verge of death himself. Was Porter, aware that the end of his days was approaching, was he seeking to locate that final truth? I cannot say, but he certainly gave the rest of us who are still shuffling about this mortal coil a great resource to assist us in our own search.

This book neatly "historicizes" the ebb and flow of Enlightenment philosophy and gives us all something to think about.

Thanks Roy Porter and R.I.P.
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LibraryThing member BeeQuiet
Having been recommended this book by a professor of sociology, I had high hopes for Flesh in the Age of Reason, and I was not disappointed. Porter deftly handles multiple facets of philosophy around the time of the enlightenment, weaving together the ideas of well known theorists on the links between mind, soul, spirit and the body. From Descarte's reasoning on the duality of the mind and body, providing a vehicle for discourse still relating to religion through to later atheists' ideas, Porter never fails to bring the reader to a rounded understanding of the social, historical and philosophical contexts involved.… (more)
LibraryThing member mbmackay
Scholarly discussion of body & soul in Britain in 18th & 19th centuries. A bit too scholarly for me.
Read June 2007



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