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PSCI 0050 Enlightenment Political Thought

The legacy of Enlightenment thinkers has left an indelible mark on Western political thought. This course aims to introduce students to the main intellectual and political currents of the Enlightenment. It begins with an analysis of philosophical and political rationalism. It examines debates pertaining to concepts such as rights, obligations, power, progress, refinement, liberty, equality and political sovereignty. It traces the development of political ideas and practices through the eighteenth century and shows how Enlightenment political thought served as the impulse to the political radicalism of revolutionary Europe.

 Sample Topics:

David Hume, Political Essays

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

Denis Diderot, Political Writings

Voltaire, Political Writings

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origins of Inequality

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract

J.-A.-N.C. Marquis de Condorcet, Sketch on the Progress of the Human Mind

Immanuel Kant, What is Enlightenment?

Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man

Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women

One Semester... not nearly enough
After only one semester at CMRS I found I hadn’t had nearly enough.  The academic experience itself was incredibly engaging and I felt like my wri...
Mrig Mehra, Spring Semester 2012, Middlebury College