Google Books NGram Viewer


Google Books have a new tool that lets you search the incidence in the appearance of words in their massive archive, This, I think, is one of the most important historical tools to be made free for public use in a long time. Thank you Google!

To demonstrate how we can substantiate certain historical claims using this tool allow me to substantiate my claims that the philosophers George Berkeley and Johann Georg Hamann who were skeptical of the claims of Enlightenment were suppressed in the English-speaking world in favor of their pro-Enlightenment rivals David Hume and Immanual Kant.



About pilkingtonphil

Philip Pilkington is a macroeconomist and investment professional. Writing about all things macro and investment. Views my own.You can follow him on Twitter at @philippilk.
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2 Responses to Google Books NGram Viewer

  1. Bill Rabara says:

    This provides no support to your claim that criticism of the Enlightnenment was suppressed in the English-speaking world. This provides support for a claim that Hume and Kant have been more popular in English-speaking text. Also, Berkeley was a significant influence on Hume. The N-gram is also not surprising, since the English-speaking academic world has found an agnostic, naturalistic view of the world to be very useful when it comes to gaining knowledge. Berkeley was of course a classic theist and inclined to seek supernatural explanations.

    • Eh, what? Hamann and Berkeley were read very little while Hume and Kant were read rather a lot. Therefore the approach that Hume and Kant favoured — i.e. Enlightenment — was cited far more often than the approach Hamann and Berkeley favoured — i.e. counter-Enlightenment. I wasn’t claiming some nefarious conspiracy. Just a conspiracy of silence which these graphs prove.

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