This is an introductory account of social theory and the central role of enlightenment within it. Tom Osborne argues that: contemporary social theory can only fail when viewed as a "science of society", and rather than focusing upon the question of society or even "modernity" should focus on the question of human nature. The most immediate and central topic of such a social theory should be the question of enlightenment.; However, the book departs from traditional accounts locating the vocation of social theory in the system of values established in the original Enlightenment by the French philosophers and others.; Rather it makes a strong argument for the ethical status of enlightenment, going on to analyze particular "regimes of enlightenment" in modernity, namely those associated with the social ethics of science, expertise, intellect and art.

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