ENGL 320:  Introduction to Western Humanities -- Baroque & Enlightenment

Reading List #3

The Seventeenth-Century Enlightenment:
The emergence of a new picture of the Cosmos

Readings on the "Copernican Revolution"  

(1) Chapter in WH on the revolution in scientific thought in the 17th Century (pp. 381-91).

(2) An introduction to the topic of the change from the traditional Christian picture of the spatial structure of the cosmos.

(3) A memo on the logical structure of scientific explanation.

(4) Outline of developments in astronomy and physics from 1500 to 1800 (i.e., from before Copernicus up through Newton).

(4) Discussion of the ramifications of the victory of the new picture.  

Readings on early modern philosophy of science.

(5) Bacon's and Descartes departures from scholasticism in philosophy

(6) Selection from Thomas Aquinas' Summa contra Gentiles:  on the end of intellectual creatures.

(7) Selection from Aquinas' Summa Theologiae:  on the nature of law.

(8) Study Guide to selections from Aquinas.

(9) An Introduction to Francis Bacon.

(10) Francis Bacon, selections from the Novum Organum.

(11) Study Guide to the selections from Bacon's Novum Organum.

(12) Introduction to René Descartes.

(13) René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy.

(14) Study Guide to Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy.

(15) Selections from Descartes' letters.

(16) Chapter 6 of Descartes' Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking Truth in the Sciences.

(17) Selections from Galileo Galilei's Starry Messenger and The Assayer.

(17) Study Guide to Jacob Bronowski's "The Starry Messenger" (program 7 of the TV series The Ascent of Man).  

(18) Follow-up to Bronowski's "The Starry Messenger."

Readings on political absolutism.

(19) The section in WH on "The Revolution in Political Thought" (pp. 391-393, with special emphasis on how the doctrine of "divine right of kings" differs from the others discussed there).  

(20) Molière, Tartuffe (pp. 169-326 of the Harvest paperback edition, translation by Richard Wilbur), together with Wilbur's introduction to the play (pp. 159-162).

(21) Study Guide to Molière's Tartuffe.

(22) "Tartuffe as political parable:  reason, laughter, and responsible authority in an age of absolutism".

(23) "Molière's Tartuffe as a satire on religious fanaticism".


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      This page last updated 15 October 1997.