Volume 31, Issue 2, 2021
Do We Need a New Enlightenment for the 21st Century?
A Historicist Critique of Steven Pinker’s Interpretation of Progress
This article presents an alternative account of the Enlightenment project than the one offered by Steven Pinker in Enlightenment Now. It also offers some insights into how historic changes concretely occurred. Based on a Marxian reading of history we attempt to complete the portrait of human progress that Pinker provides. The main arguments in support of our alternative explanation of social progress are based on insights taken from important works written by such intellectuals as Giovanni Arrighi, Andre Gunder Frank, Antonio Gramsci, Chris Harman, Eric Hobsbawm, C. L. R. James, Karl Korsch, Domenico Losurdo, Georg Lukács, Rosa Luxemburg and Herbert Marcuse. We believe that our explanation of progress is complementary to Pinker’s and provides a more realistic appreciation of the Enlightenment project.