HIST 331
European Intellectual History from Aquinas to Kant Spring 2018
Division II
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Class Details

The scholars and philosophers of early modern Europe set the agenda for much of modern Western thought concerning epistemology, morality, religion, and politics. Many of their debates still inform our intellectual world: How do we know what we know? Is human nature intrinsically selfish? What is the nature of God, and of His revelation? Is individual freedom or political stability more important? Our class will examine how these ideas emerged in the context of such intellectual movements as scholasticism, humanism, the new philosophy and the Enlightenment. We will also discuss the effects of the invention of the printing press, the edition and translation of the classics and the Bible, and the foundation of journals and new gathering places for public discussion. Thus we will retrace the long and winding path from the intellectual culture of late medieval Europe to that of the Enlightenment. In the process, we will rediscover the arguments of major thinkers and consider what they can teach us today. Authors to be read include Petrarch, Machiavelli, Montaigne, Hobbes, Spinoza, Voltaire and Rousseau.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 25
Expected: 15
Class#: 3470
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: attendance and participation; two short papers; a longer final paper
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: juniors and senior History majors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: HIST Group C Electives - Europe and Russia
HIST Group P Electives - Premodern
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