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Lecture 83

EURO ST 10 Lecture Notes - Lecture 83: Bourgeoisie, Dialectic, Centrality

European Studies
Course Code
John Smith

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Professor Smith
Europe Studies 10
Course Code: 24000
4 units
2018 Fall Quarter
To be clear…
I am looking critically at the enlightenment, but not offering a rejection of it
Its project of reason, autonomy, and public debate is extremely powerful
(and still needs to be protected and universalized)
However, where there are limitations and exclusions, they need to be addressed
In the name of enlightenment
Otherwise, it becomes its opposite…
And a higher enlightenment needs to be found that can think with and through
To keep in mind when discussing the French Revolution
The critique of religion
Transformation of religion
The celebration of the enlightenment
The dialectic of the enlightenment
Oppositional thinking that can become dangerous
Why the French Revolution?
Foundations of the Modern World”
Formation of the modern nation state system
Reformation -> wars of religion -> secularization (complex)
Development of capitalism (the netherlands as an example) and formation of
bourgeoisie (middle class)
Increasing focus on reason, rationality, science
Centrality of individual autonomy and freedom
Politics as an art of wielding power in changing circumstances
All these developments that made up the Early Modern Period” reach their
fruition with the enlightenment and the unfolding events of the French Revolution
Modern”, we saw at the beginning of the quarter, defined the now” in
opposition to the past
The French Revolution attempted a complete revisioning of fundamental
principles and structures of society
Hence, more radical than Machiavelli, Luther, Galileo, Descartes, all of whom
profoundly altered one sphere of thought or society
Early on the French Revolution was considered a new era of liberty (beginning
14 July 1789)
When the republics was instituted in 1792, the decision was to make 2 January
1792 the beginning of Year 1” of the new era
That’s modern
The revolutionary system was designed in part to remove all religious and royalist
influences from the calendar, and was part of a larger attempt at decimalisation in
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