Producing Relevant Knowledge: The Enlightenment Paradigm

CEU credits: 
ECTS credits: 
Academic year: 
Start and end dates: 
17 Aug 2009
Co-hosting Unit(s) [if applicable]: 
Department of History
László Kontler
Additional information: 
Having discussed the self-reflection of the Enlightenment as represented in the work of some eighteenth-century authors, we shall first look at the redefinition of the social functions of science and its still problematic but increasing distinction from the arts in the course of the movement generally known as the scientific revolution („new science”, „Baconianism”, „empirical and experimental approach”), and then proceed to assess the attempts to create a science of man and society and the outlines of the scientific study of the polity (natural law, anthropological approaches, political economy, moral philosophy, etc.). The implications of these themes for secular vs. religious attitudes, and for dominant attitudes towards religion itself, will be inevitably considered, as well as the debates in recent scholarship on the radical vs. conservative potential inherent in the Enlightenment. Next, we shall examine the mechanisms whereby the relationship between the knowledge created and the object to which it related, society, became reciprocal through a process of diffusion in an increasingly variegated public sphere (venues of sociability, dissemination and reception of ideas, publishing and the public, etc.). Finally, these aspects will be revisited against the background of the study of the Enlightenment in versus above national context (continent-wide unity and regional diversity, with a special emphasis on Central and Eastern Europe).
Learning Outcomes: 
The course provides familiarity with current research (through representative case studies) in the field of Enlightenment studies in a broader historical perspective, also helping students to place regional developments within a larger European comparison. Studying important primary texts and approaching them with up-to-date methods in intellectual history is of emphasis, too. Altogether, the course aims to develop a comprehensive and critical understanding of the Enlightenment as a fundamental episode in the rise of modernity and, as such, it also seeks to be attractive for students of other periods.
Assessment : 
Requirements and grading - at least one “position paper” (a prepared, formal comment on the readings for the week, in ca. 15 minutes, identifying central themes and attempting to set an agenda for discussion) – 10% of the grade - regular participation in class discussion (with comments whose precision and relevance demonstrates a careful reading of the texts for the week and a careful listening to the flow of discussion) – 40% of the grade - one written essay (ca. 3,000 words or 10-12 pages, topic and material to be discussed with the instructor, evaluated on the basis of its ability to address and answer key questions this course has been designed to raise) – 50% of the grade

PART I. General perspectives

1. Enlightenment: contemporary and modern reflections
Jean Le Rond D’Alembert, Preliminary Discourse to the Encyclopedia of Diderot (University of Chicago Press, 1986), 60-105. [savepdf]
Immanuel Kant,  „An Answer to the Question: What Is Enlightenment?”, ibid. 58-64. [savepdf]
John Robertson, The Case for the Enlightenment: Scotland and Naples 1680-1760 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 1-51. [savepdf] OR
Thomas Munck, Enlightenment. A Comparative Social History 1721-1794 (London: Arnold, 2001), 1-20. [savepdf]

2-3. Science, man, and society
Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, ed. Arthur Johnston (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), 5-16, 54-59. [savepdf]
John Glanvill and Thomas Sprat on the Royal Society [savepdf]; Robert Hooke and Robert Boyle on experimental philosophy [savepdf]; Isaac Newton: Principia [savepdf] – selections from Seventeenth Century England: A Changing Culture, ed. Ann Hughes (The Open University, 1980), 329-335, 341-346, 352-353, 358-360.
Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 1996), 1-14, 119-165. [savepdf]
Johann Reinhold Forster, Observations Made during a Voyage Round the World, ed. Nicholas Thomas, Harriet Guest, Michael Dettelbach (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996), 153-201. [savepdf]
E. C. Spary, „The ’Nature’ of Enlightenment” [savepdf]; Lorraine Daston, „Afterword: The Ethos of Enlightenment” [savepdf], both in Clark, Golinski and Schaffer (eds.), The Sciences, 272-304, 495-504.

4-5. The science of man and society
Samuel Pufendorf, On the Duty of Man and Citizen, ed. James Tully (Cambridge University Press, 1991), 17-38, 46-67. [savepdf]
David Carrithers, „The Enlightenment Science of Society”, in Christopher Fox, Roy Porter and Robert Wokler (eds.), Inventing Human Science. Eighteenth-Century Domains (University of California Press, 1995), 232-270. [savepdf]
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts and Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, in The Basic Political Writings, ed. Peter Gay (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1987), 2-21, 37-81. [savepdf]
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. D.D. Raphael and A.L. Macfie (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1982), 109-134, 179-187, 194-211. [savepdf]
Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. R..H. Campbell and A.S. Skinner (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1976), 13-30, 376-427. [savepdf]

6. The science of the polity
Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, ed. Anne M. Cohler, Basia Carolyn Miller and Harold Samuel Stone (Cambridge University Press, 1989), 3-30, 112-128, 154-166, 187-212. [savepdf]
David Hume, „Of the First Principles of Government”, „Of the Origin of Government”, Of the Original Contract”, in Essays Moral, Political and Literary, ed. Erugene F. Miller (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1985), 32-41, 465-487. [savepdf]
Robert Wokler, „The Enlightenment Science of Politics”, in Fox, Porter and Wokler (eds.), Inventing Human Science, 323-345. [savepdf]

7-8. The Enlightenment at work 
James van Horn Melton, The Rise of the Public in Enlightenment Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2001), 1-15. [savepdf]
Roger Emerson, "The Enlightenment and Social Structures," In: Paul Fritz and David Williams (ed.), City and Society in the 18th Century (Toronto: Hakkert, 1973), 99-124.
Paul Langford, A Polite and Commercial People. England 1727-1783 (Oxford University Press, 1992), 90-121. [savepdf]
Robert Darnton, The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France (Fontana, 1996), 169-197. [savepdf]
Hans Erich Bödeker, „Journals and the Public Opinion: The Politicization of the German Enlightenment in the Second Half of the Eighteenth Century”, in Eckhart Hellmuth (ed.), The Transformation of Political Culture. England and Germany in the Late Eighteenth Century (Oxford University Press, 1990), 423-447. [savepdf]

PART II. Central and East European perspectives

9. Conceptual issues
László Kontler, “Introduction: The Enlightenment in Central Europe?”, in Balázs Trencsényi and Michal Kopecek (eds.), Discourses of Collective Identity in Central and Southeast Europe. Vol. I: Late Enlightenment (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2006), 33/44.
R. J. W. Evans, „The Origins of Enlighternment in the Habsburg Lands” and „Culture and Authority in Central Europe 1683-1806”, in idem., Austria, Hungary, and the Habsburgs. Essays on Central Europe, c. 1683-1867 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 36-74.
Richard Butterwick, „What Is Enlightenment (Oswiecenie)? Some Polish Answers, 1765-1820”, Central Europe 3/1 (2005), 19-37.

10. "Enlightened absolutism"
H. M. Scott, Reform in the Habsburg Monarchy, 1740-1790”, in H. M. Scott (ed.), Enlightened Absolutism. Reform and Reformers in Later Eighteenth-Century Europe (London: Macmillan, 1990), 145-188. [savepdf]
Isabel de Madariaga, Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1981), 38-60, 151-163, 277-307. [savepdf]

11-12. Knowledge and virtue, sociability and improvement
J. Laurence Black, "Citizenship Training and Moral Regeneration as the Mainstay of Russian Schools," in: James A. Leith (ed.), Facets of Education in the Eighteenth Century (=SVEC; 167) (Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, 1977), pp. 427-451. [savepdf]
Kamilla Mrozowska, "Educational Reform in Poland during the Enlightenment," in: Samuel Fiszman (ed.), Constitution and Reform in Eighteenth-Century Poland. The Constitution of 3 May 1791 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), pp.113-154. [savepdf]
Ernst Wangermann, "'By and By We Shall Have an Enlightened Populace': Moral Optimism and the Fine Arts in Late-Eighteenth Century Austria," Austrian History Yearbook, 30, (1999): 1-15. [savepdf]
László Deme, "Maria Theresa’s Noble Lifeguards and the Rise of the Hungarian Enlightenment and Nationalism," in: K. Király and Walter Scott Dillard, (ed.), The East Central European Officer Corps, 1740-1920s: Social Origins, Selection, Education, and Training,  pp. 197-212. [savepdf]
Henry E. Lowood, "Ch. 3, Science for the Fatherland", in: idem, Patriotism, Profit, and the Promotion of Science in the German Enlightenment (New York: Garland Publishing, 1991), pp. 205-261, 408-426 (notes). [savepdf]
Jiří Kroupa, "The Alchemy of Happiness: The Enlightenment in the Moravian Context," in: Mikuláš Teich (ed.), Bohemia in History (Cambridge: CUP, 1998), pp. 164-181. [savepdf]