English 233:  Introduction to Western Humanities --
Baroque and Enlightenment
Spring 2000
Lyman Baker, Instructor
  Return to Part 1 of the Course Schedule.
  Go to Part 3 of the Course Schedule.

Course Schedule -- Part 2

Note:  The assignments here are provisional.  In the course of the semester it may be necessary or advisable to introduce changes in either assignments or due dates or both.  Such changes will be announced in class and through the course e-mail listserv.   Make it a habit to check your e-mail at least once a day.  As changes are announced, they will be worked into this Course Schedule as well.
Also:  Unless otherwise noted, assignments are expected to be completed before class on the dates specified.  Come to class prepared to discuss the assigned reading.  If you are doing a writing assignment, you should submit it at the beginning of class on the date it is due, so that it can be incorporated into discussion.
Page references to texts are to the texts officially ordered for our course, which are available at Claflin Books and Copies.  You are welcome to use other editions, but you will need to consult with a fellow student to convert the page references given here into the ones corresponding to the edition of your choice.  The abbreviation WH refers to Matthews and Platt, The Western Humanities (3rd Ed.)
Finally:  When you print out a hard copy of this for carrying around, you must keep in mind that any word or phrase that comes out underlined is a web link that you have to go back on-line to click upon.  (I never use underlining on a web page just for emphasis purposes.  Emphasized items will be highlighted in bold, italics, color, or some combination of these.)

Where are we going, where have we been?

We have just gotten acquainted with a major cultural trauma that marks the beginning of the "Early Modern Period" in Western Europe:  the Protestant Reformation split Western Christendom into two bitterly opposed camps (and continued splitting into mutually antagonistic camps itself).  These splits resulted in tremendous social violence (persecutions, civil wars, continental wars).  In important part, these conflicts reflect a profound crisis in authority:  people agreed that the ultimate authority in all things human must be God's will, but disagreed on the details of God's plan was for saving fallen man because they disagreed on what God had decreed as the secondary authority for humans to consult to discover these details -- the Church headed by God's Vicar on Earth (the Bishop of Rome, that is, the Pope), or Scripture alone. 

The second quarter of our course will introduce you to a second cultural trauma that emerged in the Early Modern Period -- the "Copernican Revolution," which is actually a revolution in both astronomy and physics, and which stretches from Copernicus to Newton.  The Copernican Revolution may at first glance seem "slow" for a "revolution" -- it took over 150 years to complete -- but compared with the nearly 2000 years in which the model it displaced had been establishing itself, this is indeed an historical "instant," and its ramifications were indeed radical.  We'll find ourselves covering the roughly the same period (1543-1687) we covered in the first quarter (1517-1688), but we'll be looking at a parallel development. 

So far we have kept within the sphere of [Western] Christianity; now we look at developments that ultimately called into question the very bases of authority within Christianity itself, the traditions of the Church, the judgment of the Popes, the Bible itself.  The "Copernican Revolution" presents us with the first of a series of conflicts, in modern Western culture, between "Religion and Science" or "Faith and Reason."

And up to now we have been looking at changes within the traditional Christian picture of history (specifically, the way divine providence accomplishes its ends in time); now we pass to the overthrow of the traditional picture of the nature of nature (specifically, of the structure of space and of the operation of the natural world).  This revolution in the picture of man's situation in the physical cosmos will in turn have a profound impact upon the traditional Christian picture of history that we have been examining so far.  In particular, two basic premises of the traditional Christian picture of history will come under stress:  the doctrine of Original Sin, and the causal role of divine intervention ("advent") in historical process.

8 Mar (W):  Ptolemy and Copernicus.

(1) Read the first part of Chapter 15 in WH. This is pp. 381-391 (top of column 1).  This gives you a broad overview of the revolutions in science and philosophy that occured over the course of the 16th and 17th Centuries.  We will be focusing on the Copernical Revolution and on the lessons Francis Bacon thought could be derived, from what he saw of it, for further progress in gaining knowledge of the natural world in general.

(2) Print out and get acquainted with (i.e., for now, skim) the following documents on our course web site.

"A New Cosmos" (cosmos1.htm).  The links on this page take you to the next three items below.

"Explaining in the Sciences" (cosmos2.htm) -- Bring this to class today.  (If you have access to a color printer, use it.  It will make it easier for you to follow the crucial methodological distinctions.  If you can't print it off in color, take a set of highlighting pens of 5 different colors and code your black-and-white copy to mark these distinctions.  You might, for example, use light green for green, orange for brown, light blue for navy blue, pink for red and yellow or light purple for purple.)

"Developments in Astronomy and Physics, 1543-1687)" (cosmos3.htm) -- Bring this to class today and Friday.

Astronomy: the appearances, Ptolemy's theory, Copernicus's theory (cosmos4.htm).

"Ramifications of the Victory of the New Picture" (cosmos5.htm) --

This is the pay-off / culmination / point of our examination of the Copernican Revolution!  Our discussion of it in class, however, will depend on how students themselves raise specific questions upon it.  This I strongly encourage you to do in class.  Or you can post questions on our course message boardMake sure you are on top of this.  You should understand

  • how the rest of the material we take up in connection with the Copernican Revolution feeds into it.
  • how it bears (by opposition, contrast, strain) on the traditional Christian picture of history that we took up at the beginning of the course
  • how it feeds in turn into the rest of the material we take up in the course.  (That is, in the third and fourth quarters of the course, you will need to be actively bringing these issues to bear.  If you don't, you will not understand the material we will be taking up there.)

10 March (F):  Ptolemy and Copernicus (continued).

(*) Work through the links in the section on Copernicus in "Developments in Astronomy and Physics, 1543-1687)" (cosmos3.htm) -- Bring this to class today and Monday.

13 Mar (M):  Galileo Galilei.

(*) Work through the material on Galileo in "Developments in Astronomy and Physics, 1543-1687)" (cosmos3.htm).  (You will already have a copy of this if you did the assignment for last Friday.) 

15 Mar (W):  The trial of Galileo before the Roman Inquisition.

In class today, we will view the video of Jacob Bronowski's "The Starry Messenger" (Part 6 of the television series The Ascent of Man), which gives a brief summary of astronomy up to Galileo and then devotes itself to the trial of Galileo. 

(1) In preparation for this, print off a copy of the Study Guide to this video.  Study it carefully and bring it with you to class.  Take your notes on the video directly on this sheet as the video is being shown.

(2)  Deadline for submission of optional extra credit assignment on Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress is 5:00 pm under the instructor's office door (Denison 109).

17 Mar (F):  The trial of Galileo, continued.

In class today, we will explore in detail the issues concerning authority at stake in the trial of Galileo.  In preparation for this, you should

(1) print off and study carefully the Follow-up Study Guide to the video, and

(2) bring to class the printout you made in the first quarter of the class Luther's account of his final response at the Diet of Worms.

20 Mar (M), 22 Mar (W), 24 Mar (F): No class -- Spring Break.

27 Mar (M):  Francis Bacon proposes a new method for discovering truths of nature (natural law).

(1) Review WH (p. 388) on Francis Bacon.  (Who are some famous contemporaries of Bacon?  What was going on in America when Bacon was alive?)

(2) Read our introduction to Francis Bacon.  Check out the links there.  (One of them is to the next item listed below.)

(3) Print off a copy of our excerpts from Bacon's Novum Organum.  Bring it with you to class today and Friday.

(4) Study these excerpts up through Aphorism #36.  Be sure to work through the relevant notes.

If you're thinking about attending the Bach recital on Sunday, 2 April, now's the time to get tickets.  (You can earn an easy 5 points of extra credit.)

29 Mar (W):  Continuation:  the empirical method proposed in Bacon's Novum Organum.

(1) Finish reading our excerpts from Bacon's Novum Organum.  Be sure to bring your copy with you to class.

Try your best to make sense of the famous passage on the "idols of the mind" (Aphorisms 39-44) and the parable of the ant, the spider, and the bee (Aphorism 95).

(2) Read the discussion on Bacon's and Descartes' challenges to scholasticism.

(3) Review the summary of "Ramifications of the Victory of the New Picture" (which you have been studying since we began our study of the Copernican Revolution and the methodological break with medieval philosophy).

31 Mar (F):  Review the summary of "Ramifications of the Victory of the New Picture" (which you have been studying since we began our study of the Copernican Revolution and the methodological break with medieval philosophy).

2 April (Sunday), 3:00 p.m., All Faiths Chapel:  Bach recital by internationally reknowned organist Kei Koito.  This is highly recommended, though not required.  (There is also an opportunity here for 5 points extra credit if you're interested.)

3 Apr (M):  Exam #2.  You'll want to consult the prep sheet to this exam.


  Return to Part 1 of the Course Schedule.
  Go to Part 3 of the Course Schedule.

  Go to the Home Page of the course.

  Suggestions, comments and questions are welcome.  Please send them to lyman@ksu.edu .

      Contents copyright 2000 by Lyman A. Baker

Permission is granted for non-commercial educational use; all other rights reserved.

      This page last updated 11 October 2000.