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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Joseph H.Carens

POL320Y1Modern Political ThoughtWed Sept 9 2009All texts have been ordered through the Toronto Womans Bookstore at 720 Harbord StThere is no class November 11No Tutorials for the first two weeksEach textassigned reading is accompanied by a reading guide that is posted on blackboard It includes key study questions The course reader may be posted on blackboardThe Enlightenment the age of reasonAristotelian political philosophy any political philosophy that draws on AristotlethModern political philosophy begins in the 17 century and comes to full tharticulation in the 18 centuryThe term modern implies Western ThemesththReason The age of reason occurred in the 18 century 17 century philosophers Descartes Hobbes Spinoza Locke were characterized by thrationalism 18 century philosophers Voltaire Rousseau Smith Kant were characterized by the role of reason Everyone can use his or her own reasonReason functions in the same way for every human being Handout quotes Reason is to the philosopher what grace is to the Christian Encyclopedia This means that reason saves you Reason is the modern equivalent to the allknowing god who gives you eternal life One is liberated from ignorance external authority and the past To exercise reason one must not simply be given the answers Kant quote on handout Kant calls people to use their own reasonVoltaire quote on handout Voltaire points out the freedom from the past that is offered by reason Just because people believed something for hundreds of years doesnt mean its true This new attitude towards the past and the undermining of the authority of the past are central themes to the age of reason ReligionThere is a deep skepticism of religion in the age of reason This skepticism is not about distaste for God but for church and priestst1 Diderot quote on handout most enlightenment thinkers were anti religion but not antigod Access to God is through reason and not through revelatory textsDeism is natural religion It is a relationship with god that is separate from the church It is inside of the individual nd2 Diderot quote on handout Deism does not divide like organized religion It is more in line with the true principles of Christianity in this sense The public sphereAs the idea develops that everyone holds reason a parallel idea forms of The thPublic Sphere In the 18 century there was an explosion of public venues such as the salon This public sphere was central to the spreading of the enlightenment The notions of progress and rights were the key notions being circulated in the public sphere Progress Condorcet quotes in handout Condorcet was an optimist He rejects the medieval view that history repeats itself Instead we are on a path of progress with advancements in science and technology Commerce and morality are key factors to progress at the time of the enlightenment Here we see the development of capitalism People are making money and the general standard of living is going up for everyone The theory started to float around that commerce made people better not just their living situations The idea here was that people were no longer driven by their passions Honor was no longer the cornerstone of a mans life Instead men began to be concerned with interests Capital interests calmed the passions There was no presence of honor insults bravery etc With the introduction of commerce men were simply concerned with strategic instrumental reason It has been argued that the cost of commerce was the industrial revolution the deadening of the passions and robotic relationships amongst others
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