Please join the World Religions discussion group as we complete Alan Kors’s The Birth of the Modern Mind in December and January. On December 11 we will consider some work by David Hume who undermined the prevailing assumptions of optimistic natural theology and religion. We then turn to Candide and other works where Voltaire continued the assault on philosophical and theological optimism, highlighting the problems of human suffering and general experience.
On January 8 we will take up the French Enlightenment as a whole, including the philosophes, the Encyclopedie, and the conflict over authority between the clergy and secular, naturalist intellectuals. Then Prof. Kors turns to Cesare Beccaria, a notable jurist, philosopher, and politician who exemplified Enlightenment values as he essentially founded modern thought on criminal justice and criminal law. His influence on our Founding Fathers was profound.
On January 22 we conclude the course, first with Rousseau, who is both a product of and at odds with much of the French Enlightenment, and second with Diderot and LaMettrie who exemplify the complete overthrow of the Aristotelian, scholastic system of philosophy and religion that had been dominant at the start of the era.
Questions? Contact Lessie Culmer-Nier (firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-593-0114)