This multi-session seminar traces the liberation of thought as it progressed from the confines of the Middle Ages, advancing through the Renaissance and the Reformation, to burst forth finally into the ideological system of enlightened thought that sustains western civilization to the present day.
Selected readings and an introductory lecture each session will help guide the discussion as we familiarize ourselves with the essential components and context of Enlightenment thought: the corrosion of the systems of the previous age, the dawn of rationalism and science, of natural law and empiricism, the overthrow of timeless dogmas and the erection of others, the re-defining of morality, and the triumph of the individual as the supreme measure of things. As tremendous ground was gained in philosophy and the art, the Age of Enlightenment saw the birth of new ideologies, new forms of politics, and new pathologies, new grievances, and new wars.
To this day, we live under the shadow, with all of the protections and curses that it offers, of the Enlightenment. This class will explore both the most intelligent arguments against the Enlightenment as well as the most passionate arguments in its defense. The ultimate goal is the equip the student with the ability to situate our present-day political and cultural debates within their proper theoretical and historic framework.
Tuesdays beginning March 27th through May 1st : 7p-9
6 sessions :: $192
Course taught by Ryan Block.