Week 21

Week 21: Monday, April 6, 2020
Christopher Columbus

His name in Italian: Cristoforo Colombo.  In Catalan: Cristòfor Colom. In Spanish: Cristóbal Colón. In Portuguese: Cristóvão Colombo.  In Latin: Christophorus Columbus.  In Genoese: Christoffa Corombo

Wikipedia: Christopher Columbus (October 1451 – 20 May 1506) was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in what is today northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the Western Hemisphere. Those voyages, and his efforts to establish permanent settlements in the island of Hispaniola, initiated the process of Spanish colonization, which foreshadowed the general European colonization of the "New World". In the context of emerging western imperialism and economic competition between European kingdoms seeking wealth through the establishment of trade routes and colonies, Columbus' far-fetched proposal to reach the East Indies by sailing westward received the support of the Spanish crown, which saw in it a promise, however remote, of gaining the upper hand over rival powers in the contest for the lucrative spice trade with Asia. During his first voyage in 1492, instead of reaching Japan as he had intended, Columbus landed in the Bahamas archipelago, at a locale he named San Salvador. Over the course of three more voyages, Columbus visited the Greater and Lesser Antilles, as well as the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Venezuela and Central America, claiming them for the Spanish Empire. Though Columbus was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas (having been preceded by the Norse expedition led by Leif Ericson) , Columbus' voyages led to the first lasting European contact with America, inaugurating a period of European exploration and colonization of foreign lands that lasted for several centuries. They had, therefore, an enormous impact in the historical development of the modern Western world. Columbus himself saw his accomplishments primarily in the light of the spreading of the Christian religion. Never admitting that he had reached a continent previously unknown to Europeans, rather than the East Indies he had set out for, Columbus called the inhabitants of the lands he visited indios (Spanish for "Indians"). Columbus' strained relationship with the Spanish crown and its appointed colonial administrators in America led to his arrest and dismissal as governor of the settlements in Hispaniola in 1500, and later to protracted litigation over the benefits which Columbus and his heirs claimed were owed to them by the crown.

REQUIRED READING:

Read the "Introduction" and the First Voyage

Christopher Columbus,

The Four Voyages: Being His Own Log-Book, Letters and Dispatches with Connecting Narratives,

Penguin Classic,

ISBN 0140442170

RECOMMENDED READING:

Here is a new biography of Columbus, the first new one in English in sixty years, and you will enjoy it and learn a lot. It is also available in new quality paperback from Penguin.

Laurence Bergreen,

Columbus: The Four Voyages,

Viking Penguin; First Edition (September 20, 2011),

ISBN 0670023019

"Laurence Bergreen's ambitious new biography, Columbus: The Four Voyages [is] a spellbinding epic that's simultaneiously a profoundly private portrait of the most complex, compelling, controversial creature ever to board a boat. This scrupulously researched, unbiased account of four death-defying journeys to The New World reveals the Admiral's paradoxical personality."

— USA Today

22

Week 22: Monday, April 13, 2020
Martin Luther

LECTURE

The Reformation and Martin Luther

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 15th century

Chronology of the 16th century

Biography of Martin Luther

REQUIRED READING

The Ninety-Five Theses

RECOMMENDED READING

The biography of Luther that everyone should own is the one book on Luther that has dominated all studies of Luther in the United States for the last fifty years. It is the work of Roland Bainton, the Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale for almost half a century. Bainton was the professor of my professor, Lewis Spitz. So I am his academic "grandson." Bainton's biography of Luther is still in print fifty five years after its first publication. It's a complete bargain in hardcover, at $14.

Roland Bainton,

Here I Stand,

Hendrickson Publishers (April 2009),

ISBN 1598563335

RECOMMENDED READING: NEW BOOK ON LUTHER

Eric Metaxas,

Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World,

Viking; First Edition edition (October 3, 2017),

ISBN 110198001X

 

 

 

23

Week 23: Monday, April 20, 2020
Rembrandt

LECTURE

Rembrandt and the new individualism

  The painter and individualism

  The self-portrait and individualism

  Democratic republics and individualism

  Protestants and individualism

Rembrandt and Holland

Consciousness, self-consciousness, and modern life

 

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 17th century

Rembrandt page

Rembrandt biography

REQUIRED READING

No required reading

24

Week 24: Monday, April 27, 2020
Birth of Modern Science

LECTURE

We can cite many steps in the history of Western Civilization that led to today's modern science. The Greeks, of course, began simple experimental science. We can think of Euclid, and of Ptolemy and the experiments he carried out in the Egyptian desert to calculate the size of the earth. Later, Islamic centers pursued experimental science, especially mathematical. Medieval philosophers such as Roger Bacon understood empirical science. In the early 1400's, a scientific center at the Florentine Cathedral experimented and achieved some sophisticated research under the leadership of many Florentine philosophers, as well as Brunelleschi and other artists.

Lacking in all of these earlier phases of science were three essential aspects of modern science: 1) devices such as the microscope, developed specifically to be used in discovery and experimentation; 2) A publicly chartered institution, with its own building, established for and dedicated to science; and 3) a scientific publication. These three new features of modern science appeared in England in the 1660s, during the monarchy of Charles II.

 

 

RECOMMENDED READING

This book based on lectures delivered earlier, was first published in 1957.  There have been many other books since then on this subject, but Butterfield is still the right place to begin.  A great book and still in print.

Herbert Butterfield,

The Origins of Modern Science,

Free Press; Revised edition (April 1, 1997),

ISBN 0684836378

Review:

Superb Book September 29, 2003 By Benjamin B. Eshbach Format:Paperback

Professor Butterfield's history is easy to read and refreshing. Especially interesting are his chapters on pre-Newtonian mechanics and the transfer from Ptolemaic to Copernican models of the universe.

25

Week 25: Monday, May 4, 2020
Galileo

LECTURE

Italy, Florence, and the Papacy

Galileo and the overthrow of Aristotle

The beginnings of modern philosophy and modern science

Galileo published his observations in Sidereus Nuncius in March, 1610:

"I should disclose and publish to the world the occasion of discovering and observing four Planets, never seen from the beginning of the world up to our own times, their positions, and the observations made during the last two months about their movements and their changes of magnitude; and I summon all astronomers to apply themselves to examine and determine their periodic times, which it has not been permitted me to achieve up to this day . . . On the 7th day of January in the present year, 1610, in the first hour of the following night, when I was viewing the constellations of the heavens through a telescope, the planet Jupiter presented itself to my view, and as I had prepared for myself a very excellent instrument, I noticed a circumstance which I had never been able to notice before, namely that three little stars, small but very bright, were near the planet; and although I believed them to belong to a number of the fixed stars, yet they made me somewhat wonder, because they seemed to be arranged exactly in a straight line, parallel to the ecliptic, and to be brighter than the rest of the stars, equal to them in magnitude . . .When on January 8th, led by some fatality, I turned again to look at the same part of the heavens, I found a very different state of things, for there were three little stars all west of Jupiter, and nearer together than on the previous night." . . ."I therefore concluded, and decided unhesitatingly, that there are three stars in the heavens moving about Jupiter, as Venus and Mercury around the Sun; which was at length established as clear as daylight by numerous other subsequent observations. These observations also established that there are not only three, but four, erratic sidereal bodies performing their revolutions around Jupiter."

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 17th century

Galileo page on Wikipedia

Galileo photos on Wikipedia

Please be sure to visit the Galileo page on Wikipedia and click on the photos. You will find photos of the villa in which Galileo spent the last years of his life under house arrest and also of the convent where his daughter Maria Celeste lived. You can click on the thumbnail photos to see the larger photos. The villa and monastery are in Arcetri, just outside Florence.

REQUIRED READING

No required reading.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING

I highly recommend this wonderful book to you and am delighted that it is now available in a paperback edition. It is a book that will capture your heart as you read of Galileo's extraordinary daughter Suor Maria Celeste and read her touching letters to her beloved father. We will visit her monastery on our Galileo night, so it will be a great night with beautiful pictures of the hills south of Florence where Galileo and his daughter lived their lives.

Dava Sobel,

Galileo's Daughter,

Penguin Books,

ISBN 0140280553

26

Week 26: Monday, May 11, 2020
Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Genevan philosopher, writer and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the development of modern political, economic and educational thought. His Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought. Rousseau's sentimental novel Julie, or the New Heloise (1761) was important to the development of Romanticism and Romanticism in fiction. His Emile, or On Education (1762) is an educational treatise on the place of the individual in society. Rousseau's autobiographical writings—the posthumously published Confessions (composed in 1769), which initiated the modern autobiography, and the unfinished Reveries of a Solitary Walker (composed 1776–1778)—exemplified the late-18th-century "Age of Sensibility", and featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that later characterized modern writing.. During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of the philosophers among members of the Jacobin Club. He was interred as a national hero in the Panthéon in Paris, in 1794, 16 years after his death.
(Wikipedia)

 

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 18th century

Rousseau biography

REQUIRED READING

Jean-Jacques Rousseau,

Discourse on the Origin of Inequality,

Hackett,

ISBN 0872201503

RECOMMENDED READING

Maurice Cranston,

Vol. 1: Jean-Jacques; the early Life and Work,

University of Chicago Press,

ISBN 0226118622

Maurice Cranston,

Vol. 2: The Noble Savage,

University of Chicago Press,

ISBN 0226118649

The best biography of Rousseau is written by an Englishman, (Can you imagine how the French hate that!) Maurice Cranston who devoted a lifetime to Rousseau and produced a brilliant biography at the end of his life. It is available in 3 softcover volumes. It is very readable, very well written. For our work the first volume is the most immediately useful but all three are worth reading at some point in your investigations into Romanticism.

Vol. 1: Jean-Jacques; the early Life and Work (1712-1754)

Vol. 2: The Noble Savage (1754-1762)

Vol. 3: The Solitary Self (1762-1778)

University of Chicago Press.

Maurice Cranston,

Vol. 3: The Solitary Self,

University of Chicago Press,

ISBN 0226118665

27

Week 27: Monday, May 18, 2020
Byron

LECTURE
The Poet and Romanticism

Byron's life

Byron's works: readings from his works, critical opinions

Importance of Byron in the Romantic Movement

 

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 18th century

Byron page

Byron biography

Byron bibliography

Byron critical opinion:  Please do not read the critical opinion until after class.  We will read him ourselves before we read the critics.

REQUIRED READING

Lord Byron,

Selected Poems,

Penguin Classics,

ISBN 0140424504

We will discuss in class which poems to read on your own.

RECOMMENDED READING

If you visit the Byron Bibliography you will see a number of excellent books on Byron, his wife, his daughter and his sister and other aspects of his fascinating story. If you would like one good biography to begin your extra reading on Byron, the Benita Eisler biography is a good choice.

Benita Eisler,

Byron: Child of Passion, Fool of Fame,

Vintage,

ISBN 0679740856

Here is a short review from Amazon: "In this masterful portrait of the poet who dazzled an era and prefigured the modern age of celebrity, noted biographer Benita Eisler offers a fuller and more complex vision than we have yet been afforded of George Gordon, Lord Byron. Eisler reexamines his poetic achievement in the context of his extraordinary life: the shameful and traumatic childhood; the swashbuckling adventures in the East; the instant stardom achieved with the publication of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; his passionate and destructive love affairs and finally his tragic death in the cause of Greek independence. This magnificent record of a towering figure is sure to become the new standard biography of Byron."

28

Week 28: Monday, May 25, 2020
John Stuart Mill and Liberty

Why is John Stuart Mill so important?
Here is a quotation from a brilliant essay on Mill by Isaiah Berlin entitled John Stuart Mill and the Ends of Life:
"Mill is not interested in actuarial calculations. At the center of his thought and feeling lies, not his utilitarianism, nor the concern about enlightenment, nor about dividing the private from the public domain—but his attempt to fuse rationalism and romanticism; the aim of Goethe and Humboldt; a rich, spontaneous, many-sided, fearless, free, and yet rational, self-directed character. He perceived something profound and essential about the destructive effect of man's most successful efforts at self-improvement in modern society."

Berlin alerts us to the extraordinary insight of Mill as he lived through the mid-nineteenth century and contended with the two conflicting visions of the previous 100 years: Enlightenment Rationalism and Romantic emotionalism. This was the great debate of Voltaire and Rousseau. But now in 1850 you added trains and coal.

John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873) was an English philosopher, political economist and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory and political economy. Dubbed "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century", Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. Mill was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by his predecessor Jeremy Bentham, and contributed significantly to the theory of the scientific method. A member of the Liberal Party, he was also the first Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage.

 

RECOMMENDED READING

Richard Reeves,

John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand,

Atlantic Books; Main edition (September 1, 2008),

ISBN 1843546442

RECOMMENDED READING

John Stuart Mill,

On Liberty and the Subjection of Women,

Penguin Classics; 1 edition (April 24, 2007),

ISBN 014144147X

29

Week 29: Monday, June 1, 2020
Nietzsche and Dostoevsky

LECTURE

Wikipedia on Nietzsche:

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche ( October 15, 1844–August 25, 1900) was a German philosopher, poet, composer, cultural critic, and classical philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism. Nietzsche's key ideas include the death of God, the Übermensch, the eternal recurrence, the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy, and the will to power. Central to his philosophy is the idea of "life-affirmation," which involves questioning all doctrines that drain life's expansive energies, however socially prevalent and radical those views might be. His influence remains substantial within philosophy, notably in existentialism, post-modernism and post-structuralism, as well as outside it. His radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary, especially in the continental tradition. Nietzsche has been called one of the masters of the "school of suspicion," alongside Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. In 1869, at the age of 24 he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel (the youngest individual to have held this position), but resigned in the summer of 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life. In 1889 he suffered a collapse and a complete loss of his mental faculties. The breakdown has been ascribed to an atypical general paralysis attributed to tertiary syphilis, but this diagnosis has since come into question. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897, and then under the care of his sister until his death in 1900.

Crime and Punishment

From Wikipedia:

Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. It was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. It was later published in a single volume. This is the second of Dostoevsky's full-length novels following his return from ten years of exile in Siberia. Crime and Punishment is the first great novel of his "mature period" of writing.

Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in St. Petersburg who formulates a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her cash. Raskolnikov argues that with the pawnbroker's money he can perform good deeds to counterbalance the crime, while ridding the world of a worthless vermin. He also plans this murder to test his own hypothesis that some people are naturally capable of such things, and even have the right to do them. Several times throughout the novel, Raskolnikov justifies his actions by connecting himself mentally with Napoleon Bonaparte, believing that murder is permissible in pursuit of a higher purpose.

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Dostoevsky page

Dostoevsky biography

REQUIRED READING

Fyodor Dostoevsky,

Crime and Punishment,

Vintage,

ISBN 0679734503

RECOMMENDED READING

Friedrich Nietzsche,

Basic Writings of Nietzsche,

Modern Library edition, 2000,

ISBN 9780679783398

Introduction by Peter Gay Translated and edited by Walter Kaufmann Commentary by Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus, and Gilles Deleuze. One hundred years after his death, Friedrich Nietzsche remains the most influential philosopher of the modern era. Basic Writings of Nietzsche gathers the complete texts of five of Nietzsche’s most important works, from his first book to his last: The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, The Case of Wagner, and Ecce Homo. Edited and translated by the great Nietzsche scholar Walter Kaufmann, this volume also features seventy-five aphorisms, selections from Nietzsche’s correspondence, and variants from drafts for Ecce Homo. It is a definitive guide to the full range of Nietzsche’s thought.

30

Week 30: Monday, June 8, 2020
The Western Tradition and the Twentieth Century

LECTURE

In this thirtieth week of our study of the Western Tradition, we will look at the story of the twentieth Century and freedom. How did freedom advance or retreat during the twentieth Century? We begin at 1900, with the great Universal Exhibition at Paris to which fifty million people came. And we continue to look at the entire century all the way to 1990's and the fall of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall (Nov. 9, 1989), the birth of. freedom in Poland, and the rest of Eastern Europe.

RECOMMENDED READING

Phillipe Nemo,

What is the West?,

Duquesne University Press (December 15, 2005),

ISBN 0820703753

Review:

In this short, illuminating, and very readable work, Philippe Nemo argues that what we call 'the West' is one and only one cultural entity, to which both North America and Western Europe belong. In contemporary debates, then, Nemo asserts, it is simply incorrect to exaggerate the differences or gaps between countries that are indeed 'Western'. Brilliantly and succinctly surveying the last five or six millenia, Nemo pieces together the history of the West's development. He weaves together political events, philosophical discoveries, religious movements, and scientific and technological innovations to demonstrate the factors that have influenced and shaped Western culture. Already translated from the original French into Portuguese, Italian, German and Greek, "What is the West?" has received considerable interest throughout Europe; earlier this year, in fact, it received the Italian 'Citte della Rose' prize for essays. Now available for the first time in English, this book will be essential reading for those interested in contemporary cultural debates on Western culture and nationhood, as well as American values; as well as those interested in world history and politics, philosophy and religion, and contemporary global politics. Not geared to specifically conservative or liberal viewpoints but to an accurate rendering of historical ideas and trends, Nemo's book should do much to advance our understanding of each other in an increasingly global community.

About the Author:

PHILIPPE NEMO is a professor at the ESCP-EAP European School of Management, where he teaches philosophy and the history of political ideas. He is also the author of Job and the Excess of Evil.

All

Week 21: Mon., Apr. 6, 2020
Christopher Columbus

His name in Italian: Cristoforo Colombo.  In Catalan: Cristòfor Colom. In Spanish: Cristóbal Colón. In Portuguese: Cristóvão Colombo.  In Latin: Christophorus Columbus.  In Genoese: Christoffa Corombo

Wikipedia: Christopher Columbus (October 1451 – 20 May 1506) was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in what is today northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the Western Hemisphere. Those voyages, and his efforts to establish permanent settlements in the island of Hispaniola, initiated the process of Spanish colonization, which foreshadowed the general European colonization of the "New World". In the context of emerging western imperialism and economic competition between European kingdoms seeking wealth through the establishment of trade routes and colonies, Columbus' far-fetched proposal to reach the East Indies by sailing westward received the support of the Spanish crown, which saw in it a promise, however remote, of gaining the upper hand over rival powers in the contest for the lucrative spice trade with Asia. During his first voyage in 1492, instead of reaching Japan as he had intended, Columbus landed in the Bahamas archipelago, at a locale he named San Salvador. Over the course of three more voyages, Columbus visited the Greater and Lesser Antilles, as well as the Caribbean coast of Colombia, Venezuela and Central America, claiming them for the Spanish Empire. Though Columbus was not the first European explorer to reach the Americas (having been preceded by the Norse expedition led by Leif Ericson) , Columbus' voyages led to the first lasting European contact with America, inaugurating a period of European exploration and colonization of foreign lands that lasted for several centuries. They had, therefore, an enormous impact in the historical development of the modern Western world. Columbus himself saw his accomplishments primarily in the light of the spreading of the Christian religion. Never admitting that he had reached a continent previously unknown to Europeans, rather than the East Indies he had set out for, Columbus called the inhabitants of the lands he visited indios (Spanish for "Indians"). Columbus' strained relationship with the Spanish crown and its appointed colonial administrators in America led to his arrest and dismissal as governor of the settlements in Hispaniola in 1500, and later to protracted litigation over the benefits which Columbus and his heirs claimed were owed to them by the crown.

REQUIRED READING:

Read the "Introduction" and the First Voyage

Christopher Columbus,

The Four Voyages: Being His Own Log-Book, Letters and Dispatches with Connecting Narratives,

Penguin Classic,

ISBN 0140442170

RECOMMENDED READING:

Here is a new biography of Columbus, the first new one in English in sixty years, and you will enjoy it and learn a lot. It is also available in new quality paperback from Penguin.

Laurence Bergreen,

Columbus: The Four Voyages,

Viking Penguin; First Edition (September 20, 2011),

ISBN 0670023019

"Laurence Bergreen's ambitious new biography, Columbus: The Four Voyages [is] a spellbinding epic that's simultaneiously a profoundly private portrait of the most complex, compelling, controversial creature ever to board a boat. This scrupulously researched, unbiased account of four death-defying journeys to The New World reveals the Admiral's paradoxical personality."

— USA Today

Week 22: Mon., Apr. 13, 2020
Martin Luther

LECTURE

The Reformation and Martin Luther

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 15th century

Chronology of the 16th century

Biography of Martin Luther

REQUIRED READING

The Ninety-Five Theses

RECOMMENDED READING

The biography of Luther that everyone should own is the one book on Luther that has dominated all studies of Luther in the United States for the last fifty years. It is the work of Roland Bainton, the Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale for almost half a century. Bainton was the professor of my professor, Lewis Spitz. So I am his academic "grandson." Bainton's biography of Luther is still in print fifty five years after its first publication. It's a complete bargain in hardcover, at $14.

Roland Bainton,

Here I Stand,

Hendrickson Publishers (April 2009),

ISBN 1598563335

RECOMMENDED READING: NEW BOOK ON LUTHER

Eric Metaxas,

Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World,

Viking; First Edition edition (October 3, 2017),

ISBN 110198001X

 

 

 

Week 23: Mon., Apr. 20, 2020
Rembrandt

LECTURE

Rembrandt and the new individualism

  The painter and individualism

  The self-portrait and individualism

  Democratic republics and individualism

  Protestants and individualism

Rembrandt and Holland

Consciousness, self-consciousness, and modern life

 

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 17th century

Rembrandt page

Rembrandt biography

REQUIRED READING

No required reading

Week 24: Mon., Apr. 27, 2020
Birth of Modern Science

LECTURE

We can cite many steps in the history of Western Civilization that led to today's modern science. The Greeks, of course, began simple experimental science. We can think of Euclid, and of Ptolemy and the experiments he carried out in the Egyptian desert to calculate the size of the earth. Later, Islamic centers pursued experimental science, especially mathematical. Medieval philosophers such as Roger Bacon understood empirical science. In the early 1400's, a scientific center at the Florentine Cathedral experimented and achieved some sophisticated research under the leadership of many Florentine philosophers, as well as Brunelleschi and other artists.

Lacking in all of these earlier phases of science were three essential aspects of modern science: 1) devices such as the microscope, developed specifically to be used in discovery and experimentation; 2) A publicly chartered institution, with its own building, established for and dedicated to science; and 3) a scientific publication. These three new features of modern science appeared in England in the 1660s, during the monarchy of Charles II.

 

 

RECOMMENDED READING

This book based on lectures delivered earlier, was first published in 1957.  There have been many other books since then on this subject, but Butterfield is still the right place to begin.  A great book and still in print.

Herbert Butterfield,

The Origins of Modern Science,

Free Press; Revised edition (April 1, 1997),

ISBN 0684836378

Review:

Superb Book September 29, 2003 By Benjamin B. Eshbach Format:Paperback

Professor Butterfield's history is easy to read and refreshing. Especially interesting are his chapters on pre-Newtonian mechanics and the transfer from Ptolemaic to Copernican models of the universe.

Week 25: Mon., May. 4, 2020
Galileo

LECTURE

Italy, Florence, and the Papacy

Galileo and the overthrow of Aristotle

The beginnings of modern philosophy and modern science

Galileo published his observations in Sidereus Nuncius in March, 1610:

"I should disclose and publish to the world the occasion of discovering and observing four Planets, never seen from the beginning of the world up to our own times, their positions, and the observations made during the last two months about their movements and their changes of magnitude; and I summon all astronomers to apply themselves to examine and determine their periodic times, which it has not been permitted me to achieve up to this day . . . On the 7th day of January in the present year, 1610, in the first hour of the following night, when I was viewing the constellations of the heavens through a telescope, the planet Jupiter presented itself to my view, and as I had prepared for myself a very excellent instrument, I noticed a circumstance which I had never been able to notice before, namely that three little stars, small but very bright, were near the planet; and although I believed them to belong to a number of the fixed stars, yet they made me somewhat wonder, because they seemed to be arranged exactly in a straight line, parallel to the ecliptic, and to be brighter than the rest of the stars, equal to them in magnitude . . .When on January 8th, led by some fatality, I turned again to look at the same part of the heavens, I found a very different state of things, for there were three little stars all west of Jupiter, and nearer together than on the previous night." . . ."I therefore concluded, and decided unhesitatingly, that there are three stars in the heavens moving about Jupiter, as Venus and Mercury around the Sun; which was at length established as clear as daylight by numerous other subsequent observations. These observations also established that there are not only three, but four, erratic sidereal bodies performing their revolutions around Jupiter."

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 17th century

Galileo page on Wikipedia

Galileo photos on Wikipedia

Please be sure to visit the Galileo page on Wikipedia and click on the photos. You will find photos of the villa in which Galileo spent the last years of his life under house arrest and also of the convent where his daughter Maria Celeste lived. You can click on the thumbnail photos to see the larger photos. The villa and monastery are in Arcetri, just outside Florence.

REQUIRED READING

No required reading.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING

I highly recommend this wonderful book to you and am delighted that it is now available in a paperback edition. It is a book that will capture your heart as you read of Galileo's extraordinary daughter Suor Maria Celeste and read her touching letters to her beloved father. We will visit her monastery on our Galileo night, so it will be a great night with beautiful pictures of the hills south of Florence where Galileo and his daughter lived their lives.

Dava Sobel,

Galileo's Daughter,

Penguin Books,

ISBN 0140280553

Week 26: Mon., May. 11, 2020
Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Genevan philosopher, writer and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the development of modern political, economic and educational thought. His Discourse on Inequality and The Social Contract are cornerstones in modern political and social thought. Rousseau's sentimental novel Julie, or the New Heloise (1761) was important to the development of Romanticism and Romanticism in fiction. His Emile, or On Education (1762) is an educational treatise on the place of the individual in society. Rousseau's autobiographical writings—the posthumously published Confessions (composed in 1769), which initiated the modern autobiography, and the unfinished Reveries of a Solitary Walker (composed 1776–1778)—exemplified the late-18th-century "Age of Sensibility", and featured an increased focus on subjectivity and introspection that later characterized modern writing.. During the period of the French Revolution, Rousseau was the most popular of the philosophers among members of the Jacobin Club. He was interred as a national hero in the Panthéon in Paris, in 1794, 16 years after his death.
(Wikipedia)

 

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 18th century

Rousseau biography

REQUIRED READING

Jean-Jacques Rousseau,

Discourse on the Origin of Inequality,

Hackett,

ISBN 0872201503

RECOMMENDED READING

Maurice Cranston,

Vol. 1: Jean-Jacques; the early Life and Work,

University of Chicago Press,

ISBN 0226118622

Maurice Cranston,

Vol. 2: The Noble Savage,

University of Chicago Press,

ISBN 0226118649

The best biography of Rousseau is written by an Englishman, (Can you imagine how the French hate that!) Maurice Cranston who devoted a lifetime to Rousseau and produced a brilliant biography at the end of his life. It is available in 3 softcover volumes. It is very readable, very well written. For our work the first volume is the most immediately useful but all three are worth reading at some point in your investigations into Romanticism.

Vol. 1: Jean-Jacques; the early Life and Work (1712-1754)

Vol. 2: The Noble Savage (1754-1762)

Vol. 3: The Solitary Self (1762-1778)

University of Chicago Press.

Maurice Cranston,

Vol. 3: The Solitary Self,

University of Chicago Press,

ISBN 0226118665

Week 27: Mon., May. 18, 2020
Byron

LECTURE
The Poet and Romanticism

Byron's life

Byron's works: readings from his works, critical opinions

Importance of Byron in the Romantic Movement

 

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Chronology of the 18th century

Byron page

Byron biography

Byron bibliography

Byron critical opinion:  Please do not read the critical opinion until after class.  We will read him ourselves before we read the critics.

REQUIRED READING

Lord Byron,

Selected Poems,

Penguin Classics,

ISBN 0140424504

We will discuss in class which poems to read on your own.

RECOMMENDED READING

If you visit the Byron Bibliography you will see a number of excellent books on Byron, his wife, his daughter and his sister and other aspects of his fascinating story. If you would like one good biography to begin your extra reading on Byron, the Benita Eisler biography is a good choice.

Benita Eisler,

Byron: Child of Passion, Fool of Fame,

Vintage,

ISBN 0679740856

Here is a short review from Amazon: "In this masterful portrait of the poet who dazzled an era and prefigured the modern age of celebrity, noted biographer Benita Eisler offers a fuller and more complex vision than we have yet been afforded of George Gordon, Lord Byron. Eisler reexamines his poetic achievement in the context of his extraordinary life: the shameful and traumatic childhood; the swashbuckling adventures in the East; the instant stardom achieved with the publication of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage; his passionate and destructive love affairs and finally his tragic death in the cause of Greek independence. This magnificent record of a towering figure is sure to become the new standard biography of Byron."

Week 28: Mon., May. 25, 2020
John Stuart Mill and Liberty

Why is John Stuart Mill so important?
Here is a quotation from a brilliant essay on Mill by Isaiah Berlin entitled John Stuart Mill and the Ends of Life:
"Mill is not interested in actuarial calculations. At the center of his thought and feeling lies, not his utilitarianism, nor the concern about enlightenment, nor about dividing the private from the public domain—but his attempt to fuse rationalism and romanticism; the aim of Goethe and Humboldt; a rich, spontaneous, many-sided, fearless, free, and yet rational, self-directed character. He perceived something profound and essential about the destructive effect of man's most successful efforts at self-improvement in modern society."

Berlin alerts us to the extraordinary insight of Mill as he lived through the mid-nineteenth century and contended with the two conflicting visions of the previous 100 years: Enlightenment Rationalism and Romantic emotionalism. This was the great debate of Voltaire and Rousseau. But now in 1850 you added trains and coal.

John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 8 May 1873) was an English philosopher, political economist and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory and political economy. Dubbed "the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century", Mill's conception of liberty justified the freedom of the individual in opposition to unlimited state and social control. Mill was a proponent of utilitarianism, an ethical theory developed by his predecessor Jeremy Bentham, and contributed significantly to the theory of the scientific method. A member of the Liberal Party, he was also the first Member of Parliament to call for women's suffrage.

 

RECOMMENDED READING

Richard Reeves,

John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand,

Atlantic Books; Main edition (September 1, 2008),

ISBN 1843546442

RECOMMENDED READING

John Stuart Mill,

On Liberty and the Subjection of Women,

Penguin Classics; 1 edition (April 24, 2007),

ISBN 014144147X

Week 28: Thu., May. 24, 2018
Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil

LECTURE

Wikipedia on Nietzsche:

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche ( October 15, 1844–August 25, 1900) was a German philosopher, poet, composer, cultural critic, and classical philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism. Nietzsche's key ideas include the death of God, the Übermensch, the eternal recurrence, the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy, and the will to power. Central to his philosophy is the idea of "life-affirmation," which involves questioning all doctrines that drain life's expansive energies, however socially prevalent and radical those views might be. His influence remains substantial within philosophy, notably in existentialism, post-modernism and post-structuralism, as well as outside it. His radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary, especially in the continental tradition. Nietzsche has been called one of the masters of the "school of suspicion," alongside Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. In 1869, at the age of 24 he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel (the youngest individual to have held this position), but resigned in the summer of 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life. In 1889 he suffered a collapse and a complete loss of his mental faculties. The breakdown has been ascribed to an atypical general paralysis attributed to tertiary syphilis, but this diagnosis has since come into question. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897, and then under the care of his sister until his death in 1900.

28motwm.5.24.18
RECOMMENDED READING

Friedrich Nietzsche,

Basic Writings of Nietzsche,

Modern Library edition, 2000,

ISBN 9780679783398

Introduction by Peter Gay Translated and edited by Walter Kaufmann Commentary by Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus, and Gilles Deleuze. One hundred years after his death, Friedrich Nietzsche remains the most influential philosopher of the modern era. Basic Writings of Nietzsche gathers the complete texts of five of Nietzsche’s most important works, from his first book to his last: The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, The Case of Wagner, and Ecce Homo. Edited and translated by the great Nietzsche scholar Walter Kaufmann, this volume also features seventy-five aphorisms, selections from Nietzsche’s correspondence, and variants from drafts for Ecce Homo. It is a definitive guide to the full range of Nietzsche’s thought.

Week 29: Mon., Jun. 1, 2020
Nietzsche and Dostoevsky

LECTURE

Wikipedia on Nietzsche:

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche ( October 15, 1844–August 25, 1900) was a German philosopher, poet, composer, cultural critic, and classical philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism. Nietzsche's key ideas include the death of God, the Übermensch, the eternal recurrence, the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy, and the will to power. Central to his philosophy is the idea of "life-affirmation," which involves questioning all doctrines that drain life's expansive energies, however socially prevalent and radical those views might be. His influence remains substantial within philosophy, notably in existentialism, post-modernism and post-structuralism, as well as outside it. His radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary, especially in the continental tradition. Nietzsche has been called one of the masters of the "school of suspicion," alongside Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. In 1869, at the age of 24 he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel (the youngest individual to have held this position), but resigned in the summer of 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life. In 1889 he suffered a collapse and a complete loss of his mental faculties. The breakdown has been ascribed to an atypical general paralysis attributed to tertiary syphilis, but this diagnosis has since come into question. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897, and then under the care of his sister until his death in 1900.

Crime and Punishment

From Wikipedia:

Crime and Punishment is a novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky. It was first published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly installments during 1866. It was later published in a single volume. This is the second of Dostoevsky's full-length novels following his return from ten years of exile in Siberia. Crime and Punishment is the first great novel of his "mature period" of writing.

Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in St. Petersburg who formulates a plan to kill an unscrupulous pawnbroker for her cash. Raskolnikov argues that with the pawnbroker's money he can perform good deeds to counterbalance the crime, while ridding the world of a worthless vermin. He also plans this murder to test his own hypothesis that some people are naturally capable of such things, and even have the right to do them. Several times throughout the novel, Raskolnikov justifies his actions by connecting himself mentally with Napoleon Bonaparte, believing that murder is permissible in pursuit of a higher purpose.

MATERIAL ON THE WEB

Dostoevsky page

Dostoevsky biography

REQUIRED READING

Fyodor Dostoevsky,

Crime and Punishment,

Vintage,

ISBN 0679734503

RECOMMENDED READING

Friedrich Nietzsche,

Basic Writings of Nietzsche,

Modern Library edition, 2000,

ISBN 9780679783398

Introduction by Peter Gay Translated and edited by Walter Kaufmann Commentary by Martin Heidegger, Albert Camus, and Gilles Deleuze. One hundred years after his death, Friedrich Nietzsche remains the most influential philosopher of the modern era. Basic Writings of Nietzsche gathers the complete texts of five of Nietzsche’s most important works, from his first book to his last: The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, On the Genealogy of Morals, The Case of Wagner, and Ecce Homo. Edited and translated by the great Nietzsche scholar Walter Kaufmann, this volume also features seventy-five aphorisms, selections from Nietzsche’s correspondence, and variants from drafts for Ecce Homo. It is a definitive guide to the full range of Nietzsche’s thought.

Week 30: Mon., Jun. 8, 2020
The Western Tradition and the Twentieth Century

LECTURE

In this thirtieth week of our study of the Western Tradition, we will look at the story of the twentieth Century and freedom. How did freedom advance or retreat during the twentieth Century? We begin at 1900, with the great Universal Exhibition at Paris to which fifty million people came. And we continue to look at the entire century all the way to 1990's and the fall of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall (Nov. 9, 1989), the birth of. freedom in Poland, and the rest of Eastern Europe.

RECOMMENDED READING

Phillipe Nemo,

What is the West?,

Duquesne University Press (December 15, 2005),

ISBN 0820703753

Review:

In this short, illuminating, and very readable work, Philippe Nemo argues that what we call 'the West' is one and only one cultural entity, to which both North America and Western Europe belong. In contemporary debates, then, Nemo asserts, it is simply incorrect to exaggerate the differences or gaps between countries that are indeed 'Western'. Brilliantly and succinctly surveying the last five or six millenia, Nemo pieces together the history of the West's development. He weaves together political events, philosophical discoveries, religious movements, and scientific and technological innovations to demonstrate the factors that have influenced and shaped Western culture. Already translated from the original French into Portuguese, Italian, German and Greek, "What is the West?" has received considerable interest throughout Europe; earlier this year, in fact, it received the Italian 'Citte della Rose' prize for essays. Now available for the first time in English, this book will be essential reading for those interested in contemporary cultural debates on Western culture and nationhood, as well as American values; as well as those interested in world history and politics, philosophy and religion, and contemporary global politics. Not geared to specifically conservative or liberal viewpoints but to an accurate rendering of historical ideas and trends, Nemo's book should do much to advance our understanding of each other in an increasingly global community.

About the Author:

PHILIPPE NEMO is a professor at the ESCP-EAP European School of Management, where he teaches philosophy and the history of political ideas. He is also the author of Job and the Excess of Evil.