The French Enlightenment

Inanna Hamati-Ataya

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


The French Enlightenment is best understood as a body of literature, ideas, and mores that became representative in eighteenth-century France of a broader European age of self-acclaimed intellectual and political emancipation. There is a general consensus among historians to date the beginning of this movement toward the end of King Louis XIV's reign, but some of its origins can be traced back to the beginning of the Renaissance period. The French Enlightenment did not produce a unified or dogmatic set of philosophical or political principles, despite its crucial role in transforming the French and European political culture. It is rather characterized by an “ethos” that is best illustrated by the social persona and ideas of the philosophes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of Political Thought
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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