The 18th-century Enlightenment was one of the most exciting and significant currents of European culture. Battling against tyranny, ignorance and superstition, it formulated the ideals which still inform our society today: a belief in reason, criticism, freedom of thought, religion and expression, the value of science, the pursuit of progress. Enlightenment thinkers undermined the "ancien regime" and provided the ideas for the French Revolution. Modern scholarship, however, has shown it was a more complex and ambiguous movement than commonly recognized. This book, now in a fully updated second edition, sympathetically explores the complexities of the Enlightenment. Synthesizing and evaluating the scholarship, it offers a comprehensive vision of this many faceted movement.