The Age of Reason: Europe from the 17th to the Early 19th Centuries

A painting of Isaac Newton done by William Blake in 1795.

A painting of Isaac Newton by William Blake. Isaac Newton was a natural philosopher and an important influence for Enlightenment philosophers. (Painting by William Blake, 1795.)


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Spring 2011



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Course Description

This course asks students to consider the ways in which social theorists, institutional reformers, and political revolutionaries in the 17th through 19th centuries seized upon insights developed in the natural sciences and mathematics to change themselves and the society in which they lived. Students study trials, art, literature and music to understand developments in Europe and its colonies in these two centuries. Covers works by Newton, Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, Marx, and Darwin.

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Jeffrey Ravel. 21H.433 The Age of Reason: Europe from the 17th to the Early 19th Centuries. Spring 2011. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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