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POL320Y1Y - lecture 1 (the enlightenment).docx

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Political Science
Simone Chambers

9/19/13 POL320: Modern Pol Thought Lecture 1: The Enlightenment MODERN POL THOUGHT  There has been a continuous intellectual tradition that the same books/authors are being read by students/teachers  Continuity story – rationalism was born with Plato; Western philosophy is the development of rationalism with various attacks and other strands along the way  Rationalism is the hegemonic strand  Machiavelli is the turning point in 16 century that slowly builds into modernity  We start with the Enlightenment and Rousseau  When we use the term modern we refer to the historical tradition that happened in a very specific place/culture/tradition – THE WEST  The challenges doesn’t completely overtake rationalism but it molds/changes it o Romanticism o Post-modernism THE ENLIGHTENMENT  The enlightenment – cultural/philosophical/social movement – people did identify themselves  The Enlightenment was a self-conscious/self-described term Enlightenment Themes  Reason o Everyone to use their own reason o Reason functions the same way for all human beings o In using one’s own reason, one is liberated  From ignorance (enlightenment)  No education  Push for knowledge  FIRST PARAGARAPH OF KANTS THE ENLIGHTENEMENT  Enlightenment thinkers apply this thinking to the entire world – highly problematic in cross culture dialogs  From external authority (autonomy)  Not just you need to be educated – need to use your own reason  Not just enlightened – need to think of yourself; need to have a critical stance towards the knowledge you already have  It’s revolutionary – tends to break down traditional community values  From the past  VOLTAIRE – the beginning  Just because that’s the way things are doesn’t mean it’s the way it ought to be  That “fact” from tradition has no normative value  You are not tied to the past  Romantic criticism = this leads to terror; aspirations of the rational world and the result of that has dangers o Reason is to the philosopher what race is to the Christian; reason will save us from all the ills in the world o Variations between individuals/societies are due to pernicious external challenges o The more people turn to reason the more alike people will be o The model is science: scientific truths; application of reason to scientific problems o Applicable to everything o We are being hindered by several things  Religion o Secularism:  Religious freedom  Pernicious influence of the Church  Anti-clerical not anti-God  You need separation of Church and St
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