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LPHI 2020 - Philosophy II: Modern

Modern Western Philosophy is often described as a break both with Medieval Scholasticism, rooted in Aristotelian thought, and traditional forms of authority. It takes shape around several major historical events and responds to these: the 16th-century Protestant Reformation; the European scientific revolution of the 17th century; the 18th-century Enlightenment; and the French Revolution of 1789. This period was defined by enormous optimism and a belief in human thought and invention, which came as a challenge to the goal of divine salvation, all-pervasive during the Middle Ages. The modern hope was that science, technology, and education could set humanity free. This optimism was strongly tested by the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake and again, nearly four decades later, by the "Terror” of the French Revolution. Throughout the course, we will consider different ways of thinking about freedom and progress, based on a variety of philosophical texts from early Modernity. The course is organized around different themes, to do with freedom and progress, such as Utopia, Natural Science, Subjectivity, Freedom and Politics, Enlightenment and the Emancipation of Women, and Freedom after the French Revolution.
Liberal Arts, Open to Non Majors
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Fall 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2019
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