The birth of modernity

There are those who place [modernity’s] beginning in the Enlightenment. Others hold off its birth until Kant’s Critiques. Others see its great initiator in Hegel’s who was very hard on the superficial rationalism of the Enlightenment. Still others say that the era of modernity began with scientific "positivism," as it was called in the last century. Finally for some of our contemporaries modernity really began only with the exclusive application of the scientific spirit to the study of man himself, taken as a laboratory object – i.e., with the rise of human sciences and their achieving a monopoly of thought and the expulsion of all metaphysical reflection and all religion. Such will be the last and definitive conquest: the refusal to see in man any transcendent aspiration or to admit that "man surpasses man infinitely."