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Wednesday, January 20

Introduction and Review

Johnson, “The Age of Discovery”


Friday, January 22

The Scientific Revolution

Text: chap. 24 (pp. 592-95); Sources: Bacon, Descarte, Newton

Bacon, Novum Organum (Johnson)

1)     According to Bacon, what is the solution to the so-called idols that plague human thinking?  How can humans supersede them?

Descartes, Discourse on Method (Johnson)

1)     What quality does Descartes believe all humans possess and should know how to use?

2)     What is Descartes’ method to separate truth from falsehood?

3)     What is the most basic truth according to Descartes?

Newton, Optics and the Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy (Johnson)

1)     How is one supposed to study the natural world?

2)     What keeps the Universe together according to Newton?

General Question: how did people learn before these individuals? Are there other ways of acquiring knowledge?


Monday, January 25


Text: chap. 24 (pp. 582-92); Sources: Hobbes, Bossuet

Hobbes, Leviathan

1)     What is Hobbes’ view of human beings?

2)     What does Hobbes’ mean by the Right of Nature?

3)     How does Hobbes believe humans can co-exist within a society?

Bossuet, Politics Drawn From the Very Words of Holy Scripture

1)     What is rule by divine right? Why is it significant?

2)     What are the powers and privileges of the king?

3)     What is the role of the people?

General Question: What is Absolutism?  What other governmental options existed at the time?


Wednesday, January 27

Enlightenment Approach to Political Identity

Text: 595-97; Sources: Locke

General Question: what is the Enlightenment?

Locke, Of Civil Government

1)     What is the purpose of laws in society?

2)     What does Locke mean by property?

3)     What is liberty in society mean for Locke?

4)     What is the ultimate purpose of government?


Friday, January 29

Expanding Identities in the Enlightenment

General Question: What is a philosophe?

Text: chap. 24 (pp. 597-603); Sources: Condorcet, Smith; Anthology: Rousseau

Condorcet, The Progress of the Human Mind

1)     What is the general tone of Condorcet’s presentation?

2)     What are his hopes for mankind?  How does he propose these be achieved?

3)     Is his ideal of escape relevant today?

Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations

1)     What does Smith consider to the role of government in economic production?

2)     What is the ideal form of trade for Smith?

3)     What is the general tone of Smith’s writing?

Rousseau, Social Contract (excerpt in Anthology)

1)         Professor Agrait believes that the quotation “Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” is one of the dumbest things ever said.  Why do you think he might feel this way?

2)         What natural rights does Rousseau consider to all humans to possess?

3)          What is the General Will?

4)         What is Rousseau’s ideal situation for humanity’s existence?