The Substance of Things Unseen: Matter and Spirit, 1650-1800

History 280B

Fall 2014
Section: 
001
Instructor: 
Location: 
204 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
M 10-12P
CCN: 
39858
Units: 
4

Between 1650 and 1800, matter, spirit, and their relationship, became subjects of unprecedented attention in Europe. Mechanism, the development of a science of forces, new forms of religious imagination, new spiritualisms, the rise of sensationalist psychology, the development of an aesthetics of the sublime, fascination with legal and political abstraction, new materialist ethics, the discovery of “real” immaterial things (public opinion, society, the economy, e.g.): all of these together fundamentally structured what we might broadly call modern immanence and transcendence. Primary readings will likely include: Descartes, Hobbes, Newton, Bekker, Hume, Diderot, Rousseau, Smith, and Kant