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LIST 502: European Enlightenment: Intellectual History from Luther to the French Revolution

Area: Intellectual History
Instructor: Dr. Paul Johnson

Course Description
This course will trace the rise of modern natural science within the context of religious controversy, social upheaval and political transformation across Europe. The century of Enlightenment dates, for the purposes of this course, form the publication of Isaac Newton's Principia Mathematica in 1687, but requires for historical context some treatment of the Reformation of the 16th Century and the early confrontation  between science and religion in the early 17th Century. The Enlightenment extends to the opening of the French Revolution in 1789, and represents a watershed event in the history of the West. The Enlightenment was multi-national in scope, and this course will focus in particular on the French, Scottish and American phases of the Enlightenment. Primary emphasis will be placed on how the emergence of natural science forced a fundamental transformation and reordering of Western social, economic, and political institutions.

Key figures to be studied will include Isaac Newton, John Locke, and Rene Descartes as precursors of Enlightenment; Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Claude-Adrein Helvetius, Montesquieu, Adam Smith, David Hume; and prominent thinkers among the American Founding generation such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Required Book List
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