Science and Religion

by Kent Dunlap, Associate Professor of Biology, Trinity College

Course Description

The contemporary arguments on intelligent design and stem cell research demonstrate that the age old debate between science and religion is still very much still alive. This course will examine fundamental philosophical, ethical and historical questions at the intersection of religion and science. Are these two dominant “ways of knowing” destined to always conflict? Do religion and science provide separate and compatible world views? How has religion been a force in motivating and constraining science and technology? How has science prompted changing perspectives in theology and ethics? Using both historical and contemporary sources, we will explore ways in which religion and science collide, coexist and influence each other. We will focus on Christianity, Judism and the biological sciences, but also include some discussion of non-Western religions and physical sciences.

Required Texts

  1. Barbour, Ian, Religion and Science; Historical and Contemporary Issues, HarperCollins, 1997. ISBN 0-06-060938-9
  2. Appleman Philip. ed., Darwin (A Norton Critical edition), WW Norton and Company 2001. ISBN 0-393-95849
  3. Dawkins, Richard, The Selfish Gene, Oxford University Press, 1976. ISBN 0199291152
  4. James, William, Varieties of Religious Experience, Random House, 1999. ISBN 0-67964011-8
  5. Readings from Course book
  • One of the following:
  1. Miller, K., Finding Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution, HarperCollins Publishers, 2001 ISBN: 0060930497
  2. Collins, F. Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Free Press, 2006 ISBN: 0743286391

Readings  Course Packet

  1. Vedantam, S. “Eden and Evolution”, Washington Post, February 5, 2006.
  2. Gould, S.J., Nonoverlapping Magisteria, Natural History 106, 1999.
  3. Dawkins, R. You Can’t Have it Both Ways: Irreconcilable Differences? Skeptical Inquirer 23, 1999.
  4. Ruse, M. Commentary on NOMA. Published online: 1999.
  5. Regal, P.J. “The illusion organ” In: The Anatomy of Judgment, Univ Minnesota Press. 1990.
  6. Gladwell, M. The picture problem, The New Yorker. December 13, 2004.
  7. Specter, M. Rethinking the brain, The New Yorker, July 23, 2001.
  8. Russel B., Why I am not a Christian. Haldeman-Julius Publications, 1929.
  9. Larson, E.J., and Witham, L., Scientists and religion in America, Scientific American, September, 1999.
  10. Multiple authors. The future of stem cells. Scientific American, 2005.
  11. Blackmore, S., The power of memes, Scientific American, October 2000.
  12. Orr, H.A. Devolution. The New Yorker, May 30, 2005.
  13. Sapolsky, R., “Circling the blanket for God” In: The Trouble with Testosterone and Other Essays on the Biology of the Human Predicament. Simon and Schuster, 1997.
  14. Dunlap, K.D. Conflict of interest and the funding of biomedical research at universities, 2001 (unpublished).

Course Schedule

Week 1

Intro & / Quiet American

Relationships between Science & Religion Independence: Gould and the Two Magisteria

  1. Vedantam
  2. Gould

Week 2

Conflict and dialogue: responses to Gould

  1. Dawkins,
  2. Ruse

Barbour’s classification

  1. Barbour, Ch 4

Week 5

Philosophy of Science and Religion What is Science?: Theory

What is Science? Limits

  1. Regal,
  2. Gladwell

What is Science? Culture

  1. Spector

Week 6

World Religion: Chrisianity

World Religions: Islam

World Religions: Buddhism

Week 7

Comparison of Science and Religion

  1. Barbour Ch 5 & 6

Contemporary issue: Stem cell research

  • Sci American

Stem Cell Debate

Week 8

History of Science and Religion History 1: Medieval Origins of Science

  1. Barbour Ch 1

History 2: Enlightenment

  1. Barbour Ch 2

History 3: 19th Century

  1. Barbour Ch 3

History 4: Pre-Darwin

  1. Darwin

Week 9

Evolution and Human Nature Darwin and Darwinism

  1. Darwin

Darwin and Darwinism

  1. Darwin

Week 10 Genes and Human Nature

  1. Dawkins
  2. Blackmore

Week 11

Contemporary Issue: Intelligent Design

  1. Paley
  2. Orr

Intelligent Design Debate

Week 12

Science of Religiousity Phenomenon of Religious Experience

  1. James

Week 13

Neurobiology and Religion

  1. Sapolsky

Week 14

Evolutionary Origins of Religion

Relationship of Science and Religion Revisited Compatibility of Science & Religion

Week 15

Contemporary Issue: Corporate Funding of Academic Research

  1. Dunlap

Skepticism and Toleration in Early Modern Philosophy

by Todd Ryan, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Trinity College

Course Description

In the minds of most contemporary proponents of Liberalism, one of the most attractive and far-reaching achievements of the Early Modern period, is the is the articulation and defense of the value of civil toleration. Throughout the 17th- and 18th Centuries a number of disparate argumentative strategies were developed to defend what has come to be seen as one of the signature components of Western liberal democracy. Some based their rejection of religious intolerance on largely pragmatic considerations of the welfare of the state. Others offered a more principled defense of toleration, often on the grounds of the inviolable rights of persons. In this course will examine another strategy for defending religious toleration, namely an appeal to moral and religious skepticism. Among our central concerns will be to answer the question, what, if any, is the conceptual connection between philosophical skepticism and religious toleration?

Historically, there has been a close association between proponents of some form of philosophical skepticism and advocacy of religious toleration. And indeed there are obvious affinities between the two. To the extent that religious intolerance is predicated on a firm conviction that one possesses the truth about theological matters, the skeptical attack on dogmatism may prove a welcome ally. As Montaigne observes “It is putting a very high value on one’s conjectures to have a man roasted alive because of them (“On Cripples”). So, psychologically, the rejection of dogmatism may indeed be conducive to acceptance of religious difference. Yet, at first glance, skepticism seems particularly ill-suited to the task of mounting a robust philosophical defense of skepticism. For if one holds with the Academic skeptics that the only thing that can be known is that we know nothing, or with the Pyrrhonian skeptics, that even that is unknowable, it is difficult to see how one is any position to argue for the positive value of toleration. How can a denial of the possibility of genuine moral knowledge lead to the positing of toleration as an indispensable political value? Moreover, few people today are prepared to accept the radical skepticism of a Pyrrho or a Carneades; such wholesale rejection of the very possibility of knowledge might strike many as a rather desperate measure in the struggle against intolerance.

Further, from an historical point of view, ancient Greek skeptics professed to be social conservatives: the reasoning being that if we cannot know whether a certain thing is really good or just, then we have no reason to militate for political change. To the extent that the goal of ancient skepticism is ataraxia, or tranquility of mind, the best and most prudent course is simply to follow the prevailing mores of one’s own society. In the Early Modern period this tendency of radical skepticism to issue in social conservatism is displayed in the move by some of the most radical skeptical figures (Montaigne, Bayle) to ally skepticism with a fideistic conception of religious faith. Although both are in some sense proponents of religious toleration, it is not clear to what extent blind acceptance of religious dogma provides a firm ground for rejecting intolerance of dissent. For, as Edwin Curley has pointed out, if the best we can do in the face of a radical inability to attain to truth is to humbly submit to the teachings of the church, and the church itself has made intolerance of heretics a fundamental dogma, then a right-minded skeptic would do best to follow a course of intolerance.

The course will be structured as follows. We shall begin with a brief examination of Greek skepticism as articulated in Sextus Empiricus’ Outlines of Skepticism. This will provide students with the historical and philosophical background required to assess the skepticism of modern thinkers. Next, we will turn to Montaigne’s Essays, especially the Apology for Raymond Sebond. As I have indicated above, Montaigne’s dual reputation as a fideist and an early proponent of religious toleration pose the question of the relation between skepticism and toleration in a particularly acute form. Background for this section of the course will be provided by Richard Popkin’s excellent discussion of the influence of skeptical thought (and specifically the rediscovery of Sextus’ text) on Protestant and Catholics alike during the Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

Then, after a brief examination of Descartes and Spinoza, we will turn to the two most prominent defenses of religious toleration, Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration and Bayle’s Philosophical Commentary. Of particular interest here will be two relevant contrasts: first, the contrast between the relatively modest skepticism of Locke, as articulated in the Essay, with the far more radical and corrosive skeptical attacks on reason and religion to be found in Bayle. With respect to the latter, we shall look not only at the well-known attack on the rationality of Christian religion in the article Pyrrho, but also at Bayle’s efforts to dissociate individual morality from religious belief through his notorious “paradoxes” (e.g. the upright atheist, the untenability of a society of true Christians, the irrelevance of abstract religious beliefs in determining behavior, etc ). The second contrast between Bayle and Locke concerns their very different defenses of toleration itself. Whereas Locke effectively treats the separation of church and state as an axiom from which religious toleration immediately follows, Bayle argues at length for the impropriety of state interference in the private beliefs of individuals. Yet what is most revealing is that Bayle’s grounds for establishing tolerance as a moral and religious value are far removed from the skepticism of the Historical and Critical Dictionary. On the contrary Bayle appeals to the rights of individual conscience as the sacred and inviolable point of contact between God and the believer. This again raises the viability of a skeptical defense of toleration in an especially acute form.


All of the primary texts for the course are now readily available in modern translations. This includes both Bayle’s Various Thoughts on the Occasion of a Comet translated by Robert C. Bartlett (SUNY, 2000) and the Philosophical Commentary, edited by John Kilcullen (Liberty Fund, 2005). However, the unavailability of modern translations of several works has precluded their inclusion in the syllabus. Central among these are Sanchez, Quod Nihil Scitur; Pierre Jurieu, Des droits des deux souverains en matière de religion; and Pierre Jurieu, Le Philosophe de Roterdam accusé, atteint et convaincu.

Among the secondary literature I have found several texts to be especially useful. Perhaps the best philosophical discussion of ancient skepticism is Barnes and Annas, The Modes of Scepticism: Ancient Texts and Modern Interpretations (Cambridge, 1985). Despite its execrable production values, Early Modern Skepticism and the Origins of Toleration, edited by Alan Levine (Lanham: Lexington Books, 1999) contains useful articles on many of the central figures of the Early Modern period. Also useful, although somewhat broader in scope, is the collection of essays in Justifying Toleration, edited by Susan Mendus (Cambridge, 1988). Considerations The development of a course on skepticism and toleration raises a number of issues, two of which have been foremost in my mind. The first concerns the nature of the course as whole. Much of the course is given to the examination
of the historical alliance between skepticism and toleration in the Early Modern period. Needless to say each of these defenses of toleration arose in a specific historical context as a reaction to the prevailing political and social circumstances in which they were written. Often their aim was as much the establishment of concrete political change as the expression of abstract philosophical principle. Obviously, a proper understanding of the texts cannot safely ignore these historical contexts. Further, one of the main contentions of the course is that the purported conceptual connections between these two movements prove, upon examination, to be much more tenuous than has been commonly supposed. But this raises the question as to the extent to which such a course is a course in Philosophy at all (as opposed to, say, what used to be called history of ideas). This concern is neatly illustrated by Popkin’s enormously influential History of Skepticism from Erasmus to Bayle, which contains a first-rate analysis of the historico-political context in which skepticism was rediscovered, but comparatively little by way of philosophical analysis of those skeptical ideas themselves.

The second issue is a pedagogical one. Given the pervasiveness of our contemporary commitment to toleration, there is a serious threat that students will fail to engage the chosen texts critically. This, of course, is a familiar problem to those who attempt to teach the intellectual origins of a revolution that has achieved such overwhelming success that its once radical ideas have become the received wisdom. In these circumstances it is imperative that the instructor find a method of making as plausible as possible the intellectual case against toleration. This task, I fear, is complicated by the specifically religious nature of the debate. My own experience suggests that today’s philosophy undergraduates have relatively little sympathy for the religious dogmatism of an Augustine or Jurieu. Those who are not openly hostile to religion are mostly indifferent to it. How then can we offer a compelling case on both sides of the issue?

Required Texts

  1. Sextus Empiricus, Selections from the Major Writings on Scepticism, Man, and God
  2. Montaigne, Essays
  3. René Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations
  4. Pierre Bayle,
    1. Historical and Critical Dictionary
    2. Miscellaneous Thoughts on the Comet
    3. Philosophical Commentary
  5. John Locke
    1. , An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
    2. A Letter Concerning Toleration
  6. Michael Walzer, On Toleration


Ancient Greek Skepticism (Weeks 1-3)

  1. Sextus Empiricus,
  2. Outlines of Pyrrhonism

Rediscovery of Skepticism

Week 4

  1. Popkin, History of Skepticism from Erasmus to Bayle, Ch. 2
  2. Montaigne, Essays (Apology for Raymond Sebond)

Week 5

  1. Montaigne, Essays (On Cannibals, On Coaches, On the Liberty of Conscience)

Week 6

  1. Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations

Skepticism and Toleration

Week 7

  1. Spinoza, Theological-Political Treatise, Chs. 19 and 20

Week 8

  1. Bayle, Historical and Critical Dictionary (Pyrrho, Simonides, Zeno of Elea)

Week 9

  1. Bayle, Miscellaneous Thoughts on the Comet

Week 10

  1. Bayle, Philosophical Commentary

Weeks 11-12

  1. Locke, A Letter Concerning Toleration
  2. Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding

Toleration: A Contemporary Perspective

Week 13

  1. Walzer, On Toleration

Secularism, Skepticism, and Critiques of Religion

by Phil Zuckerman, Professor of Sociology, Pitzer College, Claremont, CA

The rejection of religion…is, in fact, almost as old as human thought itself. -James Thrower

The idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation of human liberty, and necessarily ends in the enslavement of mankind, both in theory and practice. -Emma Goldman

Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest. -Emile Zola


The world seems more religious than ever these days. But in the midst of all this holiness and piety, there are dissenting voices: people who reject religious doctrines and deny a faith in God. And there have always been such voices, going back to the earliest Greek and Indian philosophers. This course will examine major critiques of religion and theism as posited by significant doubters and skeptics — from classical thinkers all the way up to the contemporary work of atheists such as Richard Dawkins. We will explore the following questions: why critique religion? What motivates skeptics, secularists and those who reject religion? What are the strongest arguments posited against theism? The weakest? What are the sociological characteristics of secular people? Why is secularity relevant to today’s socio-political-religious situation? How is religious faith – or rather, its absence – linked to larger social and cultural developments?


  1. Euthyphro, by Plato (will be handed out in class)
  2. The Future of an Illusion, by Sigmund Freud
  3. Why I am not a Christian, by Bertrand Russell
  4. The End of Faith, by Sam Harris
  5. The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins
  6. God is not Great, by Christopher Hitchens
  7. Infidel, by Ayann Hirsi Ali


Week 1 Introduction to class

Week 2 Definition of Terms; Skepticism and Doubt in Antiquity

Week 3 Skepticism and Doubt in Antiquity, continued

  1. Freud, first half

Week 4-6 Critiques of Theism and Religion

  1. Freud, second half
  2. Russell

Week 7 Secularization

  1. Harris, first half

Week 8 Atheism, Secularism, and Societal Health

  1. Harris, second half

Week 9-10 Non-believers: a sociological and psychological portrait

  1. Dawkins

Week 11-1 The Bible Under Skeptical Scrutiny

  1. Hitchens
  2. Ali, first half

Week 14 Personal Journeys from Faith to Reason

  1. Ali, second half

Social Evolution & Classical Liberalism

by William N. Butos, Department of Economics

Course Overview

This Seminar will study classical liberalism – a body of ideas emphasizing individual rights, private property, limited government, and free markets – and its contributions to the development of an evolutionarily based social theory. Our aim is to approach the social realm from a perspective grounded on the evolutionary principles of variation, selection, and retention. These principles apply to both the biological (or natural) and social realms; however, their respective time-scales and degrees of complexity differ substantially. In directing our attention at the social realm, we recognize that for Homo sapiens the biological evolution of the species has been glacial compared to its social evolution.

But more than the pace of change, we must take special account of the qualitative differences between the capacities for producing emergent phenomena of a single individual and those of interacting individuals. Once we enter into social domains of inquiry, the interactions of individuals produce outcomes which reflect human purposes and design and thus are not entirely analogous to outcomes we associate with the biological realm. But these very same activities within the social realm also produce side-effects that are not part of human intentionality or design and so have in that sense a closer affinity with biological evolution. Understanding the mechanisms and processes within the social realm capable of producing emergent phenomena, both intentioned and unintended, requires analyzing the properties of social evolution from a distinctive vantage point.

To do so, we will use a body of ideas generally associated with classical liberalism as a framework for understanding social evolution in the political and economic spheres, especially in terms of the institutions that bear on the way individuals interact. Of particular interest will be to use insights from the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th century to understand the unintended emergence of phenomena under institutional arrangements that differ with respect to societal constraints that span deep-level cultural mores and norms to enforceable general rules and statutes. Institutional analysis, a benchmark of much of classical liberal thinking from the 18th century to the present, is central to understanding the social realm in terms of systems in motion and their capacity to generate emergent outcomes.

We will examine the intellectual foundations of Classical Liberalism as expressed in the work of philosophers, political theorists, and economists such as John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and other 18th and 19th century writers. Substantial attention, however, will be directed at a critical analysis of classical liberal thought and expression as it has evolved during the 20th and into the 21st Centuries under the impetus of such leading intellectuals as F.A. Hayek, Michael Polanyi, and Robert Nozick.

While we wish to understand how the ideas of classical liberal thinking were aimed at ways to improve social outcomes, we will also examine case studies to understand the sorts of consequences that social systems are subject to when certain institutional arrangements somehow come to dominant yet produce arguably unacceptable outcomes.

Three main questions and topics will be addressed in this course:

(1) What are the similarities and differences between biological and social revolution?

(2) What does the positive analysis of classical liberal social theory contribute to our understanding of social evolution and adaptation, especially with respect to political and economic institutions?

(3) Does the positive analysis of classical liberal ideas carry important normative implications?

Required Texts

  1. Steven Johnson, Emergence (2001) [E]
  2. David Boaz, Libertarianism: A Primer (1997) [Boaz]
  3. David Boaz, The Libertarian Reader (1997) [LR]
  4. Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson [Hazlitt]

Course Outline and Readings

  1. Evolution: Natural and Social
    1. Bowler, Evolution: The History of an Idea, chs. 1 & 11
    2. Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, ch. 2
    3. [E], chs 1-5
  1. What is Classical Liberalism?
    1. Boaz, chs 1 & 2
    2. LR: M. Friedman, “Relation Between Economic & Political Freedom” (pp. 292-303)
  1. Political & Economic Liberalism: Institutions and Evolution
    1. Boaz 3-11
    2. Selections from LR:
    3. Locke, “Toleration” (pp. 53-7); “Second Treatise of Government” (pp. 123-34)
    4. Hume, “Justice and Property” (pp. 135-39)
    5. Mill, “On Liberty”(pp. 25-8, 96-104)
    6. “Spontaneous Order” (pp. 204-5)
    7. Hayek, “Made and Spontaneous Order (pp.233-42)
    8. “Free Markets & Voluntary Order” (pp. 249-52)
    9. Adam Smith, “Wealth of Nations” (pp. 253-64)
    10. Bastiat, “What is Seen and Not Seen” (pp. 265-73)
    11. Hayek, “The Market Order” (pp. 303-12)
    12. Kirzner, “The Theory of Entrepreneurial Discovery” (pp. 31-49 & 71-5), photocopy.
    13. Hazlitt: chs 1,3, 5, 8,10, 11
    14. [E], chs 6 & 7
    15. Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), chs 1-3, 7.
    16. M. Polanyi, “The Republic of Science” (1962)
  1. Contra-Classical Liberal Evolution: Socialism & Totalitarianism
    1. LR: “Eclipse of Liberalism” (pp. 324-6)
    2. Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century (2000), “Into the Soviet Morass”
    3. LR: Mises, “Socialism and Interventionism” (pp. 274-85)
    4. R. Higgs (1987), Crisis & Leviathan, Ch. 1

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Eighteenth-Century European Art and Architecture

Alden R. Gordon, Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of Art History and Chair of the Fine Arts Department

This course idea is based upon a desire to create a philosophical and historical framework that permits the understanding of the dramatic changes in the settings of daily living, the fine arts and architecture that is based in the Enlightenment’s empowerment of the individual. These philosophical ideas along with the associated new respect for empiricism, science and nature (human, organic and inanimate) found expression in a dramatic new emphasis on secular subject matter in art and in new departures in the planning of domestic space in architecture. As the century progressed and Enlightenment individualism made an impact on political philosophy and government, architecture responded with forms and historical quotations of style that expressed republican and democratic values.

The course, to be entitled Art and the Impact of Secularism on Eighteenth-Century Society, will explain how absolutist monarchs like Louis XIV and his successors authorized the creations of academies which sponsored the growth of the new ideas and promoted the professionalization of artistic and intellectual pursuits even though those ideas eventually undermined the authoritarian basis of absolute divine-right monarchy. Ranging from the style and subject matter of painting to the appropriate forms of decorative furnishings for intimate spaces in private residences, the course will contextualize the way secular genre subjects of everyday life were powerfully expressive of the shift in values from hierarchichal institutions of religion and state to the subversive realm of private emotion and the desire for individual happiness and fulfillment.

The course will make use of philosophical, scientific and literary readings along with first-person accounts and travel literature to amplify the issues in the realm of ideas which were also expressed visually and materially in the arts. Eventually, it is my goal to write an art history text book to accompany this course.
Syllabus for a Proposed Course

This is a survey course which aims to give a picture of the entire spectrum of architecture and of the fine and decorative arts in a full European cultural context. Students will learn about individual artists and architects in readings which will be done in parallel to the course lectures which will concentrate on overarching patterns of stylistic evolution and changes in usage brought about by shifts in social and economic conditions. All students will do an independent research project and term paper based on a single work of art that they can study at first hand or on a central text of the period.  Students who are able to read in a foreign language (French, Italian, German, Spanish or a Scandinavian or Central or Eastern-European language) may earn an extra half-credit by doing an additional
body of reading in the foreign language as part of the Languages Across the Curriculum program.

Texts: There is no single adequate text book for the broad sweep of European arts of the eighteenth century. The books which do exist are divided by nationality and by medium. Therefore, I am obliged to use several different books in which students will be assigned readings. All of these will be on Reserve in the Trinity College Library. Shorter essays will be available in a course reading packet (indicated in the syllabus by an asterisk *) which will be sold at cost in the Department of Fine Arts office. Students who wish to own the books may purchase them either at the Trinity College Bookstore or via
one of the on-line commercial book dealers. Any edition is acceptible, though I provide below the essential information for the latest editions including ISBN numbers for such ordering:

  1. Wend von Kalnein, Architecture in France in the Eighteenth Century, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1972, reissued 1995 (about $85) (0-300-06013-0)
  2. Michael Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789, New Haven, Yale Univ. Press, (paperback, Amazon new $35, used $17.95);  (0-3-0006494-2)
  3. John Summerson, Architecture in Britain 1530-1830, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1993 (0-300-05886-1)
  4. Ellis Waterhouse, Painting in Britain: 1530-1790, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1953, 1994 (0-3-0005833-0)
  5. Michael Levey, Painting in Eighteenth-Century Venice, 1959. (0-3-0006057-2)
  6. Paul Hyland ed., The Enlightenment: A Sourcebook and Reader, New York, Routledge, 2003 [ISBN 0-415-20449-6 pap.]
For students without sufficient prior study of European history, it is recommended that you buy a standard history, such as Jeremy Black, Eighteenth-Century Europe in the History of Europe series in paperback, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 2nd edition, 1999.

PART I: From Grandeur to Intimacy. Circa 1680 to circa 1745. FRANCE

Introduction and Overview. Historical perspective.
  1. John Locke, “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding,” (1690) from Paul Hyland ed., The Enlightenment: A Sourcebook and Reader, New York, Routledge, 2003 [ISBN 0-415-20449-6 pap.]

The Pre-eminence of France and the reordering of artistic leadership in the Late Reign of Louis XIV. The importance of the French arts institutions and their educational model. Palaces, Gardens and Interiors
and the Expression of  Power and Social Order
  1. Joan DeJean, “Introduction, Living Luxe” and “Fashion Queens” from The Essense of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion …, New York, Free Press, 2005. (Coursepack) and Reserve:
  2. Skim picture books on Open Reserve on Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte; Palais de Versailles; French Gardens;

France as a Model for Europe.
  1. Wend von Kalnein, Architecture in France in the Eighteenth Century, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1972, (text and also on reserve). Introduction and Part I, Chapter 4. 5: “Domestic Architecture in and outside Paris.”
  2. Michael Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789, New Haven and London, Yale Univ. Press, 1993, Chapter 2, Sculpture: Coustou to Slodtz.

The Importance of Paris. Urbanism, Residences for the newly wealthy and changes in manners.
  1. Rochelle Ziskin, The Place Vendôme: Architecture and Social Mobility in Eighteenth-Century Paris, Cambridge University Press, 1999. Chapters 2, “Social Representation and Gendered Realms” pp 34-64 & Chapter 5, “Not at all Monsieur Jourdain,” pp 114-127.

PART II: Art And The Expression Of The Subjective. 1715-1760

Interior Architecture, Painting, Sculpture and Stucco. The Great Itinerant Artists.
  1. Kalnein, Architecture in France in the Eighteenth Century, Part Two, Chapter 5 and 7
  2. Katie Scott, The Rococo Interior, New Haven, Yale Univ Press, 1995, Ch 7, “Earthly Paradise on the Left Bank,” pp 147-176 (Coursepack).

Country Life and Gardens and Sculpture.
  1. Mark Girouard, Life in the French Country House, Chapters 5 (The Curious History of the Salon) and 6 (In and around the Boudoir).

The Decorative Arts: Tapestry, Silver, Porcelain, Furniture, Small Sculpture, Musical and Scientific Instruments.  This topic will be continued from class into the museum visits.
  1. Carolyn Sergentson, Merchants and Luxury Markets: The Marchands Merciers of Eighteenth-Century Paris, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996, Chapter 4, “Importation and Imitation,” pp. 62-96. (Coursepack). LIBRARY OPEN RESERVE: Consult pictures in books on French furniture, porcelain and tapesty.

The Eclipse of Dutch Art and the Rise of French Painting and Sculpture. The Literary and Philosophical sources of the Enlightenment. The emergence of new or newly respectable genres in art and contrast to Academic hierarchies. French Painting and Engraving.
  1. Michael Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789, New Haven, …, Chapter 1 & 4 (Painting up to the Death of Boucher, 1770, sections on Boucher, Chardin, Greuze).

PART III: Italy, Austria, Germany.
Italy in the Eighteenth Century: Rome..
  1. Christopher A. M. Johns, “The Entrepôt of Europe: Rome in the Eighteenth Century,” from E. Bowren and J. Rishel eds., Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000, pp. 16-45 (Coursepack).
  2. John Pinto, “Architecture and Urbanism,” from E. Bowren and J. Rishel eds., Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000, pp. 112-121. (Coursepack) [TC Quarto N 6920 .A7 2000]
Rome as the Destination of Travelers:
  1. Per Bjurström, “Physiocratic Ideals and National Galleries,” from Per Bjurström, The Genesis of the Art Museum in the 18th Century, Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, 1993, pp. 28-60. (Coursepack)

The Importance of Travel and First Hand Experience. II. Italian Painting, Sculpture & Decorative Arts by Artistic Centers: Naples, Venice, Turin, Genoa, Florence.
  1. Michael Levey, Venetian Painting, (On Reserve)

Austria and the German States.
  1. Books on Meissen Porcelain; Splendor of Dresden.

Architecture and Interior Decor in England and the British Embrace of Continentalism.
  1. John Summerson, Architecture in Britain 1530-1830, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1993, Chapter 17 (English Baroque: Hawksmoor, Vanbrugh, Archer); Chapter 20 (The Palladian Phase 1710-50: The Palladian Movement: Campbell, Burlington and Kent) and Chapter 23 (The House and the Street in the Eighteenth Century).

English Painting. Hogarth and Gainsborough to Wright of Derby.
Reading (On Reserve)
  1. Ellis Waterhouse, Painting in Britain: 1530-1790, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1953, 1994, Chapter 11 (Hogarth), Chapter 18 (Thomas Gainsborough).

PART V: Sublime, the Picturesque, National Antiquariansim and Historicism.

Historicism in Architecture and Decorative Arts.
  1. Summerson, Chapter 24 (Building in Gothic: From Wren to Walpole); Chapter 25 (Neo-Classicism and the Picturesque 1750-1830: Neo-Classicism and Britons Abroad); Chapter 26 (William Chambers and Robert Adam).

The Sublime and the Picturesque in Landscape Painting, Garden Design and in Art.
  1. Longinus, 1st C. AD, W. Rhys Roberts trans. Longinus: On the Sublime, Cambridge University Press, 1907, pp. 42-59, Sections 1- 8, and Section 36, pp.135-136, On Sublimity and Human Nature;
The English Garden: Its Sources in Baroque Landscape Painting and Its Impact on Later Art and Architecture.
  1. Waterhouse, Chapter 17 (Richard Wilson 1713-1782); Chapter 21(Wright of Derby and the Painters of Romantic Literature)
  1. Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789, Chapter 4 (Painting up to the Death of Boucher, 1770 section on landscape painter Vernet) & Chapter 6 (Painting up to the Salon of 1789, through section entitled Genre: Aubry and Boilly).
  2. The Psychological and Fantastic Dimension and the Transition to Romanticism: Fuseli, Stubbs, Goya

History Painting 1750-1789 in England and France:
  1. Waterhouse, Chapter 16 (Sir Joshua Reynolds); Chapter 19 (Foundation Members of the Royal Academy);
  2. Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789, Chapter 6 (Painting up to the Salon of 1789, Second part to end.)
  3. Andrew McClellan, The Museum and Its Public in Eighteenth-Century France,”
  4. Per Bjurström, The Genesis of the Art Museum in the 18th Century, Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, 1993, pp. 61-80 (Coursepack)

French Sculpture. Bouchardon, Caffiery & Falconet to Houdon.
  1. Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789, Chapters 3 & 5.

French Architecture from Soufflot to Ledoux.
  1. Kalnein, Architecture in France, Part Three, Early Neoclassicism. Note that interior styles are dealt with in the sections on “Decoration.”

Religious and Secular Thought in Iran

by Nastaran Moossavi, McGill Teaching Fellow in International Studies

The nature of Middle Eastern politics has increased the demand to understand the current complex structure at work. Any course that gives an in-depth description of the situation in the Middle East will be a step forward to gaining more knowledge about these societies in general. However, given the ways Islam has been intertwined in the lives of people in most of the countries in the Middle East special attention is to be paid to religion in that region. The subject of secularism versus religiosity in all societies is important to work on, yet it is incredibly imperative to study the issue of Islam and secularism. Such courses can illuminate the difficulties of secularization process in Muslim countries.

The debate between secularists and Islamists has started at the beginning of the 20th century, when some Muslim thinkers and social activists tried to adjust Islam to modern time requirements. Secularism had already emerged in the West, and certain contemporary interpretations of religious law were widely spread. Secularism was providing the rational civil society that the development of society as a whole required. It was trying to introduce a universal system of thought and practice, based on its redefinition of the Platonic-Christian civilization, to all societies. However, other societies did not go through the same change.

Some nations were more receptive than others and tried to build a local version of it and reconcile it with some values and beliefs from their own culture. In some countries, certain aspects of secularization were enforced by absolute despotism of local governments that had the support of the west. In others, a milder approach was taken. Anyhow, in all these cases of rejection and indigenization of secularism, Islam played a significant role.
In Iran, secularism arrived through intellectuals and social movements as early as 1900. The first debates between secularists and fundamentalists are reflected in the Constitution Revolution in 1906 and its aftermath. The Iranian society has had its own challenges to deal with the religious reformism. Being populated by a majority of Shi’ites, it has got a unique condition. The idea of establishing an Islamic government, based on the Shi’ite teachings, was realized soon after the 1979 revolution that led to the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty. A combination of republicanism and Islamic values was offered to people for their endorsement in a referendum. Once again the confrontation between secularism and religion was articulated in to a political language. This time the religious leaders believing in Velayat-e Faqih (the Guardianship of the Jurisconsult in the absence of the Twelfth Imam) could dominate over other interpretations of Shi’ism. The role of clerics in government was defined and enforced to the highest extent.

It took more than a decade to observe the emergence of some dissident voices coming from within the ruling Shi’ite circles. Debates on the role of clergymen in all aspects of government, on democracy and Islam, on reason and intellect, on religiosity and intellectual intuition, on modernity and tradition, and other relevant issues mark the new wave of revising Islam.

Though there is less dispute over the authority of the jurist in Shi’ism, and only the extent of this authority has been questioned the open criticism of it created a space for challenging the status quo. Since the Islamic theologians and clerics have differed on the issues of the leadership and/or advisory role of the jurists a significant number of books and articles have been published since early 90’s. This shows the popularity of the subject; however, the debate did not remain only in scholastic circles and gave way to a reformist movement. The women’s movement and the students’ movement both were influenced by these religious reformist ideas. The reformists participated in the political power and supported the Iranian presidency from 1997 until their recent defeat in 2005. Their participation in the political power escalated the tension between secular and religious values to unbelievable proportions over the recent years. At a time when almost everyone expected religious thought to undergo a slow but steady reform, another surge of fundamentalism is spreading.

This course will examine the social dynamism of both trends and their influence in shaping the life of Iranians. It will particularly focus on the dilemmas seculars and religious reformists face with in terms of survival, expression and practice their beliefs. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the issues, the course will look at different discourses of secularism, fundamentalism, and “religious intellectualism” as discussed in the recent decade. It will also explore the ways by which Islam on one hand, and secularism, on the other, have been intertwined in the contexts of social life and culture. Furthermore, it will also consider how all these discourses use the women’s rights to argue their points. Due to the fact that Islam prescribes certain ways to treat women, constructing the ideal image of women and shaping and re-shaping femininity has been at the heart of this debate. Therefore, it is necessary to touch the basic demands posed by “Islamic Feminism” in Iran, and study the way it has been related to the religious reforms of the present time.

The course on Religious and Secular Thought in Iran should be offered to the senior university students that have already gained some basic knowledge on Islam and/or Middle East. Besides, this course excludes debates on religion and secularism as emerged in the west. Therefore, taking courses on the history of Enlightenment and/or religious reforms prior to this one enables students to gain better understanding of the secular challenges in the Islamic countries.

Part I- Differentiation between Sunnism and Shi’ism

Basic background to concord and conflict between Shi’ism and Sunnism; Shi’ite and Sunni interpretation of the Islamic state; aspects of Shi’i modernism

Main resource:
  1. Enayat, Hamid. 1982.  Modern Islamic Political Thought. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 18- 51, pp. 69-110, and pp. 160-194.
  2. Suggested film(s) from Trinity College Library, Music and Media Service Collection:
    1. Islam, Empire of Faith: Call Number: BP50 .I74 2001
    2. Beirut to Bosnia: Call Number: DS119.7 .B457 2002

Part II- The Constitutional Revolution Historical background in late early 20th century; impact of the west; emergence of new classes; struggle for the Constitution

Main resource:
  1. Abrahamian, Ervand. 1982. Iran between Two Revolutions. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 9-101.
Secondary resources:
  1. A unauthorized English translation of the 1906 Constitution and its supplement can be found at :
Part III- Early Conflicts between Secularism and Fundamentalism in Iran
Competitive projects of nationalism, socialism, and Islamism for the development of Iran in modern times; influence of secularization in Turkey in Iran; advisory/leadership role of clerics in government; Pahalvi dynasty and its significance in modernizing Iran; concepts of modernization and westernization

Main resources:
  1. Abrahamian, Ervand. 1982. Iran between Two Revolutions. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 102-149.
  2. Kasravi, Ahmad. 1990. On Islam and Shi’ism, trans. M.R. Ghanoonparvar. Costa Meza: Mazda Publishers.
  3. Enayat, Hamid. 1982.  Modern Islamic Political Thought. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 111-159.
  4. Soroush, Abdolkarim. 2000. Reason, Freedom and Democracy in Islam. Oxford University Press. pp. 156-170.
Secondary resources:
  1. Sayyid, Bobby S. 1997. “Kemalism and the Politicization of Islam” in A Fundamental Fear. London: Zed Books. pp. 52-83.
Suggested film(s) from Trinity College Library, Music and Media Service Collection:
  1. People of the Wind: Call Number: VID 2915 (This film is more related to the issues of tradition versus modern ways of life in recent times. It gives a lively image of an Iranian tribe that tries to survive culturally and economically.)
Part IV- Islamic Revolution
Role played by Islam in the 1979 revolution; sources of the revolutionary inspirations; consolidation of Islamic power; Islamization process in the Middle East

Main resources:
  1. Shariati, Ali. 2003. Religion vs. Religion, trans. Laleh Bakhtiar. Chicago: ABC International Group.
  2. Abrahamian, Ervand. 1982. Iran between Two Revolutions. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 497-537.
  3. Afary, Janet and Kevin Anderson. 2005. Foucault and the Iranian Revolution. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. pp.38-66.
Secondary resources:
  1. Bayat, Asef. 1998. “Revolution without Movement, Movement without Revolution: Comparing Islamic Activism in Iran and Egypt” in Society for Comparative Study of Society and History. pp. 136-169.
  2. Tank, Pinar. 2005. “Political Islam in Turkey: A State of Controlled Secularity” in Turkish Studies, Vol.6 (1): pp. 3-19.
  3. The website of the Iranian Supreme Leader:
  4. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran can be found at:

Suggested films from Trinity College Library, Music and Media Service Collection:

  1. Century: Iranian Revolution: Call Number: PPCjl073
  2. Iran 1953: Call Number: PPCjl074
  3. Living Icons: (A RealPlayer version of it is attached.)
Part V- Criticism to Islamism from Religious Reformist Perspective
Role of clerics in government; democracy and Islam; Islamic revivalism; religious reform; modernity and tradition

Main resources:
  1. Soroush, Abdolkarim. 2000. Reason, Freedom and Democracy in Islam. Oxford University Press. pp. 26-69 and pp. 122-156.
  2. Jahanbegloo, Ramin. 2004. Iran: Between Tradition and Modernity. Lexington Books.
Secondary resources:
  1. Abdolkarim Soroush’s official website at
  2. There is a video film of one of Soroush’s lecture in the US at this address:
  3. Ghamari-Tabrizi, Behrooz. 2004. “Contentious Public Religion: Two Concepts of Islam i
    n Revolutionary Iran” in International Society, Vol.19 (4): 504-523.
  4. Sadri, Mahmoud. 2001. “Sacred Defense of Secularism” in International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, Vol. 15 (21): pp. 257-270.
Suggested film(s) from Trinity College Library, Music and Media Service Collection:
  1. Iran, the Broken Soul: Call Number: JC599.I65 I79 2003
Part VI- Women’s Movement and Islamic Feminism
Status of women in post-revolutionary Iran; patriarchy, women, and Islam; “indigenous feminism”; Islamist women’s reformism and its demands

Main resources:
  1. Afary, Janet and Kevin Anderson. 2005. Foucault and the Iranian Revolution. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. pp. 106-162.
  2. Shahidian, Hammed. 2002. Women in Iran: Gender Politics in the Islamic Republic. Westport: Greenwood Press. pp. 67-109; 161-261.
  3. Moghissi, Haideh.2002. Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism. London: Zed Books. pp. 125-148.
Secondary resources:
Suggested films from Trinity College Library, Music and Media Service Collection:
  1. Women and Islam: Call Number: VID 2096
  2. Under One Sky: Call Number: VID 2988
  3. Virgin Diaries: Call Number: HQ1791 .V57 2002
  4. Zinat: Call Number: VID 3667
  5. Divorce Iranian Style: Call Number: VID 2770
  6. Runaway: Call Number: HQ1735.2 .Z9 F37 2001 &  Call Number: VID 3616
  7. Ladies: Call Number: HQ1735.2 .Z9 T44 2003
  8. Under the Skin of the City: Call Number: PN1997 .Z58 2004
Class Organization
The class will be run as a lecture but certain time will be allocated to group discussion. The concept of the secularism in the West will be discussed during the first week of the course. Then the lectures will focus on the basic required knowledge on Islam, especially on Shi’ism. Finally, the course will deal with the challenges between religion and secular thought in contemporary Iran.

  1. Rodinson, Maxime. 1980. Muhammad. (With a New Epilogue by the Author Maxime Rodinson Translated from the French by Anne Carter). New York: The New Press. (MR)
  2. Jahanbegloo, Ramin. 2004. Iran: Between Tradition and Modernity. Lexington Books. (RJ)
  3. Lewis, Bernard. 2001. What Went Wrong: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response. Oxford University Press. (BL)
  4. Shariati, Ali. 1993. Religion vs. Religion. Abjad Book Designers and Builders. (ASH)
  5. Soroush, Abdolkarim. 2000. Reason, Freedom and Democracy in Islam. Oxford University Press. (ASO  )
  6. Enayat, Hamid. 1982.  Modern Islamic Political Thought. Austin: University of Texas Press. (HE)
Concept of Secularism in the West
Week 1
  1. Hobsbawm, Eric. “Ideology: Religion” in The Age of Revolution, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
  2. Hobsbawm, Eric. “Science, Religion, Ideology” in The Age of Capital, New York: Scribner.
  3. “The Relevance of the Past” (HE)
Basic Knowledge on Islam and Shi’ism
Week 2 and 3
  1. “Introduction” (MR)
  2. “Introducing a World” (MR)
  3. “Introducing a Land” (MR)
  4. “Birth of a Prophet” (MR)
  5. “Birth of a Sect” (MR)
  6. “Shi’ism and Sunnism” (HE)
  7. “Epilogue” (MR)
Secularism in Middle East
Week 4
  1. “Social and Cultural Barriers” (BL)
  2. “Modernization and Social Equality” (BL)
  3. “Secularism and the Civil Society” (BL)
  4. Sayyid, Bobby S. 1997. “Kemalism and the Politicization of Islam” in a Fundamental Fear. NY:Zed Books. pp. 52-83.
Islamization in Middle East
Week 5 and 6
  1. “The Concept of the Islamic State” (HE)
  2. “Nationalism, Democracy and Socialism” (HE)
  3. Bayat, Asef. 1998. “Revolution without Movement, Movement without Revolution: Comparing Islamic Activism in Iran and Egypt” in Society for Comparative Study of Society and History. pp. 136-169.
Revival of Islamic Thought in Iran
Weeks 8, 9, and 10
  1. “Aspects of Shi’ie Modernism” (HE)
  2. “Islamic Revival and Reform” (ASO)
  3. (ASH, the whole book)
  4. Foucault, Michel. 2005. “Iran: The Spirit of a World without Spirit” in Foucault and the Iranian Revolution, ed. Janet Afary and Kevin Anderson, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. pp. 250-260.
  5. Ghamari-Tabrizi, Behrooz. 2004. “Contentious Public Religion: Two Concepts of Islam in Revolutionary Iran” in International Society, Vol.19 (4): 504-523.
Secularism vs. Religion Thought in Iran in the Last Decade
Weeks 11, 12, 13, and 14
  1. “The Sense and Essence of Secularism” (ASO)
  2. The Idea of Democratic Religious Government” (ASO)
  3. “Tolerance and Governance” (ASO)
  4. “The Three Cultures” (ASO)
  5. “Life and Virtue” (ASO)
  6. Sadri, Mahmoud. 2001. “Sacred Defense of Secularism” in International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, Vol. 15, No. 21 Winter, pp. 257-270.
  7. Mahdavi, Mojtaba. 2005. “Max Weber in Iran: Does Islamic Protestantism Matter?” (University of Western Ontario)
  8. (RJ, the whole book)
  9. Shahidian, Hammed. 2002. “Patriarchy Blessed: Gender Teleogy and Violence” in Women in Iran, Westport: Greenwood Press.
  10. Shahidian, Hammed. 2002. “From Mother’s Bosoms: Patriarchy Vacillating between Private and Public” in Women in Iran, Westport: Greenwood Press.

Science, Religion, and Nature in the Age of Galileo

by Sean Cocco, Assistant Professor of History, Trinity College

Brief Course Description
After four centuries, the astronomer Galileo Galilei’s trial before the Roman Inquisition endures as a symbol of the clash between science and religion.  Undoubtedly, the rise of early modern science in seventeenth-century Europe provoked its share of battles, but the whole story defies simple explanation.  This course will lead you to consider the origin and extent of the apparently irreconcilable differences between world views.  How wide was the rift between science and religion before the Enlightenment?  You will be encouraged to explore this complex relationship in historical context, by weighing the coexistence of scientific curiosity and intense faith, and also by considering the religious response to the expanding horizons of knowledge.  The course will highlight investigations of the heavens and the earth, and will include a detailed look at Galileo’s trial. A number of broader themes will also be the focus.  Among these are the understanding of God and nature, authority (classical and scriptural) versus observation, the wide range of knowledge-making practices, the persistence of magic, and the influence of power and patronage. The class seeks to present a rich and exciting picture, looking forward as well to the influence of rational thinking and scientific inquiry on the making of modernity.

This course will be especially useful to students of history, science, and religion, and also those who wish to gain greater historical perspective on religious and secular thinking today. It is an introductory course that does not assume specific prior knowledge and welcomes undergraduates from different disciplines.

Books and Reading
  1. Sour Maria Celeste, Letters To Father
  2. Maurice Finnocchiaro, The Galileo Affair:  A Documentary History
  3. Galileo Galilei, Starry Messenger
  4. Malcom Oster, Science in Europe, 1500-1800: A Primary Sources Reader
  5. Stephen Shapin, The Scientific Revolution
  6. Robert Torrance, Encompassing Nature: Nature and Culture from Ancient Times to the Modern World
Course Objectives
  • Develop a critical understanding of the relationship between science and religion
  • Develop the ability to think as a historian
  • Develop the skills of oral communication, writing, and critical thought
  • Foster an environment where ideas might be shared and discussed openly
Online Resources
The Galileo Project

Interdisciplinary Documentation on Religion and Science

Institute and Museum of the History of Science (Florence, Italy)

Early English Books Online

Course Schedule and Outline
Part I Science and Religion in the Classical,  Medieval, and Renaissance Contexts
Week 1 Introduction & How do science and religion differ?
  1. Ernst Mayr, This is Biology, (24-64)
  2. Ian Barbour, When Science Meets Religion, (1-38)
  3. Bowler and Morus, Making Modern Science (1-78, 103-163, 319-365, 487-513)
Week 2
Philosophers and Physicians in Antiquity
  1. Torrance, Encompassing Nature
    1. Selections from the Hippocratic Corpus
    2. Plato: Phaedrus, Gorgias, Timaeus
    3. Aristotle: Physics, Metaphysics, On Generation, On the Parts of Animals
Early Christianity
  1. Augustine, Confessions (on astronomers)
  2. Torrance, Encompassing Nature
    1. St. Ambrose, The Six Days of Creation
Week 3
Reason and Faith in the Middle Ages
  1. Torrance, Encompassing Nature
    1. Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed
    2. St. Thomas Aquinas, On the Power of God
  2. Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature
Science and Nature in the Renaissance
  1. Torrance, Encompassing Nature
    1. Petrarch, The Ascent of Mount Ventoux
    2. Nicolas Cusanus, Of Learned Ignorance
    3. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Heptaplus
    4. Selections from Paracelsus
    5. Giordano Bruno, Concerning the Cause, Principle, and One
Week 4
Part II The Scientific Revolution
The Copernican Revolution
  1. Oster, Science in Europe
    1. Copernicus, On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres (with preface by Andreas Osiander)
Week 5
Medicine, Science, Technology and Exploration
  1. Oster, Science in Europe
    1. Andreas Vesalius, On the Fabric of the Human Body
    2. Garcia d’Orta, Colloquies on the simples and Drugs of India
  2. Anthony Grafton and Nancy Siraisi, New Worlds, Ancient Texts
Was there a Scientific Revolution?
  1. Shapin, The Scientific Revolution (all)
Part III The “Galileo Affair”
Week 6
Galileo’s Starry Messenger
  1. Galileo, Starry Messenger (all)
Week 7 The Two Books
  1. Finocchiaro, Galileo Affair,
    1. Letter to the Duchess Christina
1615-16 Proceedings
  1. Finocchiaro, Galileo Affair
    1. Complaints, letters, and depositions between 1615-1616
    2. Galileo’s letters to the Tuscan Secretary of State
    3. Cardinal Bellarmine’s Certificate
Week 8
The Condemnation of 1633
  1. Oster, Science in Europe
    1. Galileo: Assayer, Dialogue
  2. Finocchiaro, Galileo Affair
    1. Later Inquisition Proceedings (1633)
Week 9 What did women know about science?
  1. Sour Maria Celeste, Letters to Father
Part IV Secular trends
Week 10 Science’s Manifesto: Bacon’s New Organon
  1. Oster, Science in Europe
    1. Bacon: Preface and Aphorisms (New Organon)
Science and Utopia:
  1. Bacon, New Atlantis
  2. Tommaso Campanella, City of Sun
Week 11 Practitioners and Sites of Knowledge
  1. Oster, Science in Europe
    1. Thomas Sprat, History of the Royal Society
  2. Daston and Park, Wonders and the Order of Nature, 215-253.
  3. Findlen, “Inventing Nature:  Commerce, Art, and Science in Early Modern Cabinets of Curiosities,” in Findlen and Smith, eds., Merchants and Marvels
Protestantism and Science in Seventeenth-Century England
  1. Oster, Science in Europe
    1. Robert Hooke, Micrographia
    2. Robert Boyle, Of the Excellency and Grounds of the Corpuscular Philosophy
    3. Isaac Newton, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
Week 12 Science and Religion, Body and Soul
  1. From Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason,
  2. Oster, Science in Europe
    1. John Ray, The Wisdom of God Manifested in the Works of Creation
  3. Torrance, Encompassing Nature
    1. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
    2. Ralph Cudworth, The Digression Concerning the Plastick Life of Nature
    3. John Locke, Essay on Human Understanding
Science and Religion in Seventeenth-century France: Descartes and Pascal
  1. Torrance, Encompassing Nature
    1. Descartes, Meditations on the First Philosophy
    2. Blaise Pascal, Pensées
Week 13 Sciences of the Earth:  the Origins of Geology
  1. Oster, Science in Europe
    1. Georgius Agricola, De Re Metallica
  2. Robert Hooke, “Lectures and Discourses of Earthquakes,” in Posthumous Works
  3. Torrance, Encompassing Nature
    1. Robert Fludd, History of the Macrocosm and Microcosm
Geology Continued: Sacred and Secular History
  1. Torrance, Encompassing Nature
    1. Thomas Burnet, The Sacred Theory of the Earth
    2. James Hutton, Theory of the Earth 3) Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon: Natural History, The Epochs of Nature
  2. Dan Smail, “In the Grip of Sacred History” American Historical Review
Week 14 Class Interpreting a Disaster
  1. Giulio Braccini, The Eruption of Vesuvius (translation by Sean Cocco)
  2. Pietro Castelli, Of the Eruption that Occurred on Vesuvius
  3. Giovanni Battista Manso (letters; translated by Sean Cocco)
  4. [Visual source:  Domenico Gargiulo]
Are there final causes in nature?
  1. Torrance, Encompassing Nature
    1. Baruch Spinoza, Ethics
    2. Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, On Nature Itself
  2. Voltaire, Miscellaneous Letters and Lisbon Earthquake

Secularism and the Problem of Authority

by Professors Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar, Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society & Culture, Trinity College

The aim of the course is to foster a comprehensive understanding of two of the central issues confronting the contemporary world, secularism and authority. Hopefully, participants will emerge more knowledgeable about the provenance and scope of secularism and better informed to make choices as citizens and as leaders.

The course is interdisciplinary and ranges across a number of humanities and social science disciplines. You should approach it with this fact in mind.
The course will be intellectually demanding and there will be a considerable amount of reading involved prior to each class. You should expect around 2 hours of preparation in advance of each class requiring “reading for meaning”. The assigned reading is compulsory since the teaching will be Socratic in style and involves seminar discussions. The readings will facilitate class participation. Research reports with short verbal presentations and written papers will also be expected.
There are 3 parts to the course:
1. Introduction to concepts
2. Political secularism
3. Secularism in society and culture


Class 1 -Types of Authority, Definitions

Class 2 – Mapping the Territory of Secularism & Secularity
Class 3 -Laws, Rules, Regulations, Principles & Conventions:  10 Commandments and Sports as case studies
  1. Barry A. Kosmin, “Introduction: Contemporary Secularity and Secularism,” in Secularism & Secularity: Contemporary International Perspectives, Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar, eds. (Hartford, CT: ISSSC, 2007).
Class 4 -The Powers of Reason and Revelation – Habermas and Ratzinger
  1. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “That Which Holds the World Together,” in Habermas and Ratzinger, The Dialectics of Secularization (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006).
  2. Benedict XVI (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger), “Why Church and State Must Be Separate,” an excerpt from “Theology and the Church’s Political Stance,” in Cardinal Joseph Ratziner, Church, Ecumenism and Politics: New Essays in Ecclesiology, (NY: Crossroad, 1988).
  3. Jurgen Habermas, “Pre-political Foundations of the Democratic Constitutional State,” in Habermas and Ratzinger, The Dialectics of Secularization (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2006).

Class 5 -The Authority of Sacred Texts – Bible, Koran & Commentaries/ Guest: Prof. Ron Keiner

  1. S. Schechter, “Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology: The ‘Law,'” The Jewish Quarterly Review, Vol. 8, No. 1. (Oct., 1895), pp. 1-16.

  2. James Moffatt, “The Sacred Book in Religion,” Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 53, No. 1. (Apr., 1934), pp. 1-12.


Class 6 – Political Authority & Theocracy – Plato, Augustine, Marsilius of Padua, Calvin, Divine Right of Kings

  1. Marsilius of Padua, Defensor Pacis (NewYork: Columbia University Press, 1956, 2001), p 156-173.

  2. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, sections XXIX-XXXII (On Civil


  3. G. H. Sabine, A History of Political Thought (London: Harrap, 1964), pp. 391-397. (The Divine Right of Kings).

Class 7 -The English Revolution – Common Law, Laws & Liberties of Massachusetts, John Locke

  1. Laws & Liberties of Massachusetts, 1647:

  2. John Locke, Letters Concerning Toleration (1689-92).

Class 8 -The American Revolution – Declaration of Independence, Preamble to Constitution, Virginia Bill of Rights
  1. Virginia Bill of Rights, 1776:

  2. Document: Annotated text of the Declaration of Independence

Class 9 -The Authority of Learning & Enlightenment: les philosophes & l’Encyclopedie/Guest: Prof. Jean-Marc Kehres

  1. John Hope Mason and Robert Wokler, “Autorite Politique” in Diderot: Political Writings, (United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 6-11.

  2. Pierre Bayle, Various Thoughts on the Occasion of a Comet, translated with notes and an interpretive essay by Robert Bartlett (New York: State University of New York Press, 2000), pp. 18-23.

  3. Rene Descartes, A Discourse on the Method of Correctly Conducting One’s Reason and Seeking Truth in the Sciences, (Oxford University Press, 2006), pp. 5-11.

Class 10 -The French Revolution

  1. Declaration of the Rights of Man, 1789:

  2. The French National Assembly: Debate on Eligibility of Jews for Citizenship, 1789 in Paul R. Mendes-Flohr and Jehuda Reinharz, eds. The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History (Oxford University Press, 1980), pp. 103-105.

  3. Constitution of 1791:

Class 11 -Human Rights and Universal Values I/ Guest: Dr Frank Pasquale

  1. Micheline R. Ishay, “Introduction.  Human Rights:  Historical and Contemporary

    Controversies,” in The Human Rights Reader, 2nd Ed (New York: Routledge, 2007).

  2. Addendum B:  United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Class 12 – Human Rights and Universal Values II/ Guest: Dr Frank Pasquale
  1. Jack Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice, Second Edition (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003), pp. 13-21 and 40-53.

  2. Edward Feser, “Godless Morality?  Why Judeo-Christianity is Necessary for Human Rights,” Crisis, Volume 24, No. 6 July/August 2006  (

Class 13 -Leadership, Charisma & the Authoritarian Personality

  1. T.W. Adorno, E. Frenkel-Brunswik, DJ Levinson, The Authoritarian Personality (New York, 1950).

  2. Bruce E. Hunsberger and Bob Altemeyer, Atheists: A Groundbreaking Study of America’s Nonbelievers (New York; Prometheus Books, 2006), pp. 96-101.

Class 14 – The Marxist Revolutions/Joseph Stalin

  1. Paul Froese, The Plot to Kill God: Findings from the Soviet Experiment in Secularization (Los Angeles: University California Press, 2008).

Class 15 -Islam: The Ataturk Revolution & Turkish Secularism
  1. Patrick Kinross, Ataturk: The Rebirth of a Nation (London: Phoenix Press, 2003).

  2. Jacob M. Landau, Ataturk and the Modernization of Turkey (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1983).

  3. Binnaz Toprak, “The Islamist-Secularist Divide,” in Secularism, Women & The State: The Mediterranean World in the 21st Century, Barry A.Kosmin and Ariela Keysar, eds. (Hartford, CT: ISSSC, 2009).

Class 16 -Separation of Religion & State

  1. T. Jefferson, Letter to Danbury Baptists, 1802: H


  2. Gregory W. Hamilton, “Religious Pluralism and America’s Christian Nation Debate,” in Liberty Online: A Magazine of Religious Freedom, September/October 2007.

  3. Borden v. East Brunswick Board of Ed. – Full Text

  4. Borden v. East Brunswick Board of Ed. – Martin Pachman letter to Jo Ann Magistro

  5. Amanda Paulson, “Culture War Hits Local Pharmacy,” the Christian Science Monitor. April 08, 2005 edition:

  6. Nikkie R. Keddie, “Secularism and the State: Towards Clarity and Global Comparison,” New Left Review, Vol a. Nov/Dec 1997.

  7. Ahmet Kuru, “Passive and Assertive Secularism Historical Conditions, Ideological Struggles, and State Policies toward Religion,” World Politics 59 (July 2007), 568-94.


Class 17 – The Authority of Science  AND Class 18 – Science & Secular Values
  1. Barry Kosmin, “The Congruence between the Scientific and the Secular,” in Science Education & Secular Values: A Symposium, A Special Supplement to Religion in the News, Summer/Fall 2007.
  2. Michael Ruse, “Defusing the War Over Public Science,” in Secularism: A Symposium, A Special Supplement to Religion in the News, Winter 2006.
  3. Jon D. Miller and Robert T. Pennock, “Science Education and Religion in America in the 21st Century: Holding the Center, in Secularism & Science in the 21st Century, Ariela Keysar and Barry A. Kosmin, eds. (Hartford, CT: ISSSC, 2008).
  4. Jeffrey Burkhardt, “Scientific Literacy in a Postmodern World,” in Science Education & Secular Values: A Symposium, A Special Supplement to Religion in the News, Summer/Fall 2007.
  5. A. Einstein, “Ideas and Opinions” in Out of My Later Years (New York: Philosophical Library, 1950), Science and Religion, pp. 41-49.
  6. John Tierney, “Are Scientists Playing God? It Depends on Your Religion,” The New York Times, November 20, 2007.
  7. (Al Gore – An Inconvenient Truth)
Class 19 – Public Opinion Polls
  1. George Bishop, “Polls Apart on Human Origins,” Public Opinion Pros, August 2006.
Class 20 – Family, Patriarchy, and the Emancipation of Women
  1. John Stuart Mill – The Subjection of Women, 1869
Class 21 – Secularity in the U.S., U.K., Canada & Australia
  1. David Voas and Abby Day, “Secularity in Great Britain,” in Secularism & Secularity: Contemporary International Perspectives, Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar, eds. (Hartford, CT: ISSSC, 2007).
  2. Ariela Keysar, “Who are America’s Atheists and Agnostics?” in Secularism & Secularity: Contemporary International Perspectives, Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar, eds. (Hartford, CT: ISSSC, 2007).
  3. William A. Stahl, “Is Anyone in Canada Secular?” in Secularism & Secularity: Contemporary International Perspectives, Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar, eds. (Hartford, CT: ISSSC, 2007).
  4. Andrew Singleton, “‘People Were Not Made to Be in God’s Image:’ A Contemporary Overview of Secular Australians,” in Secularism & Secularity: Contemporary International Perspectives, Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar, eds. (Hartford, CT: ISSSC, 2007).
Class 22 -The Authority of the Media/Guest: Prof. Mark Silk
  1. Christian Smith, “Religiously Ignorant Journalists: What We Don’t Know and Why,” The Revealer, January 14, 2004.
  2. Mark Silk, Unsecular Media: Making News of Religion in America (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1995).
Class 23 -Catholic Americans & Church Authority in Social Policy
  1. William V. D’Antonio, James D. Davidson, Dean R. Hoge and Mary L. Gautier, American Catholics Today: New Realities of their Faith and their Church, (United Kingdom, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, 2007), pp. 85-104.
Class 24 – The Authority of the Market: The Secularization of the American Sunday
  1. Frank L. Pasquale, “The Quintessential Secular Institution,” Free Inquiry, December 2009/January 2010.
  2. Jonathan Finer, “Old Blue Laws are hitting red lights: Statutes rolled back as anachronisms,” Washington Post, December 4, 2004.
  3. Jonathan Gruber and Daniel M. Hungerman, “The Church versus the Mall: What Happens When Religion Faces Increased Secular Competition?” Quarterly Journal of Economics 123, no. 2: 831-862 (2008).
  4. Alan Raucher, “Sunday Business and the Decline of Sunday Closing Laws: A Historical Overview,” Journal of Church and State 36, no. 1: 13-33 (1994).
Class 25 -The Secularization Debate
  1. Daniel Rigney, Richard Machalek, and Jerry D. Goodman, “Is Secularization a Discontinuous Process?” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 17, no. 4: 381-387 (1978).
  2. William H. Swatos Jr. and Daniel V. A. Olson eds., The Secularization Debate (Maryland, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000).

From Theocracy to Democracy

Instructor: Chris Nadon, Associate Professor of Political Science, Claremont McKenna College
Course Outline and Texts:
Part I — The contemporary doctrine of Separation of Church and State in America
Supreme court cases: Reynolds v. U.S.  Everson v. Board of Education. Walz v. Tax Commission.  Zorach v. Clauson.  Torcaso v. Watkins.  [Do our political institutions presuppose the existence of a Supreme Being? What are the foundations of our rights?]
Part II – Jefferson and the Wall of Separation
Jefferson, “Declaration of Independence,” Letter to Weightman, 24 June 1826;  Notes on the State of Virginia, 17-18; “A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom.” “No Politics in the Pulpit;” “Freedom of Religion at the University of Virginia;” Letter to Mrs. Adams, 11 Sept 1804; Letter to Rush, 21 Apr 1803.  Madison, Letter to Jefferson, 8 Feb. 1825.
Mayflower Compact.  Roger Williams, “Mr. Cotton’s Letter Lately Printed,
Examined and Answered.”
Part III –Modern Natural Right and the Bible
The Christian doctrine of separation: selections from Augustine and Calvin.
Hobbes, Leviathan, Behemoth.
Contemporary reactions to Hobbes, esp. from divines.
Genesis, Samuel I and II.
Part IV — Separation of Church and State
The secular doctrine (Protestant England): Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration.  Jonas Proast’s resonse.
The secular doctrine (Catholic France): Montesquieu, Spirit of the Laws; Bossuet, Politics Drawn from the Very Words of Scripture.
Part V — America Reconsidered
Madison, Memorial and Remonstrance. Tocqueville, selections form Democracy in America.
Part VI – God is Dead and the problem of the Last Man
Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil.
For the most part, this course has its origins as a response to Bernard Lewis’ What Went Wrong.” Written before but published after September 11th, the book seeks to explain to a Western audience the specific historical and theoretical difficulties that stand in the way of modernization in Middle Eastern countries.  Religion plays a leading role as indicated by the work’s subtitle – The Clash between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East – but in manner somewhat more complicated than usually presented.  One of Lewis’ more provocative (and I think largely ignored) arguments is that the introduction of the office of Chief Mufti under the Ottomans and the similar institution of the ayatollahs in Iran introduced an “ecclesiastical hierarchy” unknown to “classical Islam,” and which in fact represents a “Christianizing” of Islam.1  So what the West or Modernity faces in Islamic radicalism and theocracy is not so much an Islamic other as it is a reconfigured version of itself.  Lewis, as a partisan of “the old pluralistic order, multi-denominational and polyethnic” which he claims was characteristic of classical Islam, laments its Christian infection.  But his diagnosis also holds out the hope of a cure, the same cure devised long ago in the West. In other words, having caught “a Christian disease,” it might be good for Islamic world to consider “a Christian remedy.”
I’m in no position to judge the validity of Lewis’ characterization of the Islamic world. But What Went Wrong contains within it another more or less explicit work that we might call What Went Right. One of the things he thinks went right in the West is the emergence of “secularism and civil society.”  According to Lewis, this could happen in Europe because Christianity, unlike Islam or Judaism, distinguishes between political and religious authorities (“Render therefore unto Caesar. . . ), something which allows for
1 What Went Wrong, 108-109. “The office of ayatollah is a creation of the nineteenth century; the rule of Khomeini and of his successor as ‘supreme jurist’ an innovation of the twentieth” (114).
their ultimate separation.2  Indeed, the separation of church and state is the “Christian remedy” for the “Christian disease” of religious intolerance that Lewis now thinks the Islamic world needs to apply to itself.  But, granted that the separation of church and state is a distinctive and distinctively liberating doctrine, is it right to conceive of it as necessarily or essentially a Christian doctrine?  If in fact it is, then there is something especially chimerical about Lewis’ hope to apply it in the Islamic world (the rhetorical difficulties alone seem insurmountable).  And, of course, the self-understanding of the West is also at stake in this question.  If secularism is an essentially Christian phenomenon, then to what extent is it actually secular?  The current conflict between the West and Islam seems to provide a real motive for us to look back at just how the doctrine of the separation of church and state managed to assert itself.
Pedagogic Difficulties and the American Context
It seems to me that the biggest difficulty in teaching a course on the separation of church and state is the fact that we all live within a secular political order, and that we do so more or less happily.  We agree with the implicit sub-title of Lewis’ book that something in the West did go right, and a large part of that something is the separation of church and state.  But this means that it is particularly difficulty for us to enter into and understand the (pre-modern) perspective that considers religion and politics to be necessarily intertwined, if not indistinguishable.  I’ve tried to address this problem by beginning the course with some US Supreme Court decisions that deal with the separation of church and State and raise the question of the relation of religion to our rights. Everson v. Board of Education (1946) serves to inject the language of a “high and 2 Want Went Wrong, 97, 113-116.
impregnable wall” between church and state, and revives Jefferson’s “Bill for Establishing Religious Liberty” and Madison’s “Memorial and Remonstrance” as providing some historical precedents for the policy.  Zorach v. Clauson (1951) asserts that “We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.”  Yet by Torcaso v. Watkins, the Court, following the internal logic of Everson, holds that the government must be neutral between those religions that are based on a belief in the existence of God and those that are not, as well as between religion and non-religion.  Are these claims compatible?
Thomas Jefferson gave sustained thought to the relation between religion and political liberties and rights, and current American jurisprudence owes much to his writings, especially the Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom.  Yet we find in him an ambiguity about our rights and our religion(s) similar to that found in current Court cases.  In the Declaration and Notes on the State of Virginia the connection between them seems to be relatively clear: men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights;” and “can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?”  But there are other passages and letters in which Jefferson seems to look forward to the waning and perhaps even disappearance of religious belief.   Hobbes
Again, my primary reason for starting with the American context is to try to come up with way
s of showing that the separation between church and state can never be so neat, clean and impermeable as the rhetoric of a wall of separation implies, and therefore to make other ways of handling relations between church and state more plausible.  But I’d also like to raise the question of the theoretical and possibly theological foundation of liberal rights. I take Hobbes to be the originator of modern natural rights doctrines, or at least of the strand of natural rights that ultimately leads to democratic constitutionalism.  And the centerpiece of the course will focus on his efforts to devise a commonwealth immune to the disease of religiously inspired tumults by subjecting them to political control, while in turn expelling from the political realm all claims based on transcendence.
Hobbes is adamantly against the separation of church and state.3 One can accordingly use his diagnosis of its pathologies from both the Leviathan and Behemoth to introduce the traditional Christian understandings of the separation as one based on different functions within a religious whole rather than on theoretically distinct spheres (secular and religious) of human activity or aspirations.  Selections from Augustine’s City of God and Calvin’s Institutes are useful (and easily available) for highlighting Hobbes’ points of departure. But I’d also like to read some responses to the Leviathan from Hobbes’ contemporaries.  There is now available a useful and not so expensive collection.4  Again, I’m interested in doing this as a way of combating the influence on us of Hobbes’ great practical success, not so much as a political theorist (after all, no
3 “All other men distinguish between the Church and the Commonwealth: Onely
T.H. maketh them to be one and the same thing,” John Bramhall, The Catching of Leviathan, or the Great Whale: Demonstrating, out of Mr. Hobs own Works, That no man who is thoroughly an Hobbist, can be a good Christian, or a good Commonwealths man, or reconcile himself to himself (1658).
4 G.A.J. Rogers, editor, Leviathan: Contemporary Responses to the Political Theory of Thomas Hobbes (Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1995), 126.
sovereign ever picked up the Leviathan on his own and implemented its prescriptions, as he seems to have hoped for), but as a political theologian.  A fair amount of recent scholarship on Hobbes’ focuses on his “religiosity,” a term that seems to me thinkable only if one has swallowed whole the theology he presents in Book III of the Leviathan. Contemporary responses to that part of the work are therefore helpful in seeing the extent to which it contained innovations.
Another way of bringing out what is new in Hobbes might be to contrast his overall “anthropology” with that contained in the Bible, or at least in the Old Testament.  First of all, having students read the first 10 chapters of Genesis, as well as selections from Exodus and Samuel I and II, allows them to judge for themselves the character of some of Hobbes’ uses of Biblical verses.  But it also exposes them to a way of looking at the world and man’s place in it that calls into question Hobbes’ embrace of technology and modern science, to say nothing of his portrait of forsaken lot.
Locke and Montesquieu
Locke’s Letter Concerning Toleration has been historically the most influential formulation of the modern doctrine of separation of church and state, not least of all in the 20th century when in the aftermath of World War II when UNESCO sponsored its translation and publication in some 20 languages.  [There is probably also some connection worth exploring between the new recourse to Locke through Jefferson in postwar Supreme Court jurisprudence and the emergence of the fascist and communist totalitarianisms that play such a large role in determining modern liberalism’s self-understanding.] Locke, like Hobbes, seems to me to wish to submit religion to political control. But he sees Hobbesian absolutism as likely to be ineffective at controlling religious dissent, or, if successful, a greater threat to political liberty than claims based explicitly on theology. To respond to this problem, it seems to me that Locke restores or restate the Christian distinction between and separation of church and state that Hobbes rejected, but that he does so on principles much closer to Hobbes than the Christians.  With Locke one can also begin to see the intimate connection between the separation of church and state and the modern constitutionalism that opposes political absolutism in the name of limited government with its separation of powers.  He also shows how the separation of church and state can allow the state to make use of religion for civil purposes without necessarily having to establish a civil religion.  The success of this project obviously owed much to the context of explicitly Protestant political thought.  Among the issues I’d like to raise in reading Locke’s Letter is the extent to which it is based upon or takes advantage of Protestant theology.  Is the separation of church and state dependent not only on Christian but more specifically Protestant premises? If so, does this undercut the universalist pretensions of the liberalism that seems so much to depend upon it?
Montesquieu helps in thinking about these issues inasmuch as he seems to be advocating some form of English constitutionalism but within a political and religious context where recourse to the contractualist premises of State of Nature doctrines and man’s original liberty result in charges of Protestantism, a sect no longer officially tolerated in the realm of the most Catholic kings.  Accordingly, one finds a much less juridical or doctrinaire approach to the separation of church and state in Montesquieu, which, for this very reason, might well be of greater theoretical interest and practical use in confronting the present day situation.
American Reconsidered
Having made this historical travel-trip, I’d like to return to reconsider the place of religion in America as Tocqueville describes it.  Tocqueville’s account of religion is related to his account of the vices of democratic society and is at least in part governed by the role he thinks religion can play in ameliorating them.  But he is of particular interest for this course because he gives an account of how the separation of church and state works within a democratic without recourse to the judiciary.  Given the prominent role the judiciary plays in enforcing the separation of church and state today, Tocqueville helps us to think about the non-governmental or informal mechanisms for handling religious diversity that antedate our approach.  He also provides much material for thinking about the ways in which democratic societies and sentiments act to transform religion.
Post Script?
Tocqueville is somewhat pessimistic, I think, about the fate of human dignity in what he takes to be the inevitable democratic future of mankind.  These concerns are pushed to an extreme in Nietzsche and explicitly connected to the destruction of genuine religion in and by modern democratic societies.  Reading his account of the Last Man in Zarathustra, along with some selections from Beyond Good and Evil, might allow one to consider whether the contemporary fundamentalism (in its Islamic as well as other forms) is perhaps as much a post-Modern, as opposed to a pre-Modern, phenomenon.  It might well then be, as Lewis contends, a typically Western phenomenon, yet without being at the same time essentially Christian or “Christianized.”

Enlightenment & Romanticism in Italy

by John Alcorn, Assistant Professor of Italian Studies & Principal Lecturer in Modern Languages and Literature
Pedagogical Rationale
The course is designed as an introduction to cultural expressions of modern ideas of nature, human nature, and history in Italy.  Thus the keywords modernity, nature, human nature, and history will guide our discussions of particular works. (During our ISSSC seminar, I learned that modernity is a contested concept; therefore I approach this keyword in an open-minded, open-ended spirit and hope to clarify my thoughts along the way.) To sharpen the focus of our keywords, we will examine a variety of paired values: science and art, aristocratic and bourgeois values, the passions and the interests, religion and secularism, crime and punishment, and revolution and reaction.
We will make one detour beyond Italy in order to incorporate the French moralistes, whose insights into psychology complement Machiavelli’s innovations in strategy. Jointly, Machiavelli and the moralistes set the stage for the Enlightenment idea of methodological individualism, which will be a crux of this course.  Moreover, inclusion of the moralistes (who become mainstays of European culture) will enable students to grasp more fully the emergence of secularism in Italian culture.  As an ISSSC seminar participant aptly noted, the moralistes (perhaps unwittingly) secularize sin.
Although the seminar will concentrate on the keywords and paired values noted above, in what follows in this statement of pedagogical rationale I situate the course in relation to some themes that marked our ISSSC seminar about “Secularism and the Enlightenment.”  Throughout the seminar, I was struck by my colleagues’ emphasis upon
(a) the most elusive aspects of historical inquiry, namely, colligation and causal explanation and (b) the treatment of cultural expressions (paintings, poems, and so on) as dependent variables. I lack confidence in my abilities in these two areas.  Therefore below I try and sketch why in my course I will be cautious in colligation and in causal analysis, and why I will mainly treat cultural expressions as independent variables – analyzing the cognitive and aesthetic value of particular works and perhaps (tentatively) how they shaped history (reception).
I am grateful to my colleagues for sharing their approaches and tolerating my preoccupations.  The seminar has deepened my understanding of secularism, which will figure threrefore more fully than I had planned in my new course.
I. Problems of colligation of historical events into meaningful wholes
We will ask whether the Enlightenment and Romanticism can be understood as meaningful wholes; perhaps as periods or patterns.  We will consider arguments against colligation, made by William Blake and Jean-François Lyotard. Blake insists that “Art and science cannot exist but in minutely organized Particulars.”  Lyotard contends that colligation (“grand narrative”) misleads and oppresses; he favors micro-histories that remind us of the myriad individuality of history.  The seminar will strike a balance between concentration on the particularity of individual works and (cautious, tentative) identification of patterns and relations among works.
By reading (or beholding) a range of works from Leonardo to Leopardi, we will learn how ideas and periods criss-cross in received historical categories–as we find, for example, expressions of Enlightenment ideas of nature, human nature, and history in the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, and the Romantic period.
II. Problems of causation
We will compare and contrast the natural sciences (by reading Galileo) and the humanities (in the broad sense, including the arts and social sciences).  The natural sciences discover laws of nature by controlled experiment, isolation of variables, identification of primary qualities, and the like.  Prediction is essential to the natural sciences.
The humanities rely on the commonsense idea that we understand social phenomena by identifying (i) what individuals do (behaviors), (ii) why they do what they do (motivations and psychological mechanisms), and (iii) how their behaviors have unintended consequences (social mechanisms).  Prediction is anomalous in the humanities; as Adam Ferguson puts it, history is “the result of human action, not of human design.”  We will read groundbreaking works in methodological individualism by Machiavelli (strategy), de la Rochefoucauld (psychology), and Beccaria (deviance).
III. Arts and sciences: Problems of (i) priority among disciplines and (ii) commensurability across disciplines
Methodological individualism is incompatible with general causal theories of history. We will illustrate how innovation among disciplines does not conform to any general causal pattern or order of priority.  Leonardo illustrates how the visual arts and the natural sciences can be inseparably innovative.  Pietro Longhi illustrates how painting can shape theater (Goldoni). Erwin Panofsky (secondary source) explains how technological innovation can divorce science from art.  Leopardi illustrates how psychology and poetry can be inseparably innovative.  Manzoni illustrates how historical inquiry and the novel can be inseparably innovative.  And so on.
The course will explore twin problems of commensurability: (a) the fact that Enlightenment ideas or attitudes were, so to speak, “in the air,” shaping creativity and innovation across disciplines (and also across national cultures), and (b) the fact that works in any particular discipline cannot be (fully?) translated into other disciplines.
IV. Problems of affinity between Enlightenment and Secularism
The seminar will examine relations between Enlightenment attitudes and secularism.  The latter may be (a) institutional (separation of church and state) or (b) individual (making sense of life and the world without reference to God).
Italy, unlike England, the United State, and France, did not experience major constitution-making episodes involving institutional secularism until the Napoleonic wars and the Risorgimento.  Nonetheless we may examine institutional secularism through Galileo’s defence of science’s autonomy and Beccaria’s innovative approach to crime and punishment.
We will explore artistic expressions on the individual, psychological dimension of secularism.  A fascinating puzzle is why some innovators in methodological individualism–which makes sense of behavior and history without reference to God– are personally religious and others not. These matters will be studied in some depth by sustained comparison and contrast of Manzoni (religious psychology) and Leopardi (secular psychology).
Course description:
An introduction to cultural expressions of modern ideas of nature, human nature, and history in Italy. The course covers the period from the Scientific Revolution to Italy’s national revolution and concentrates on original works (primary sources) from the period. Topics include science and art, aristocratic and bourgeois values, the passions and the interests, religion and secularism, crime and punishment, and revolution and reaction.
We will study in depth two literary masterpieces: Alessandro Manzoni’s historical novel, The Betrothed, and Giacomo Leopardi’s collection of poems, Canti.
Authors and artists in other genres include Cesare Beccaria (politics), Carlo Goldoni (theater), Pietro Longhi (visual arts), and Giambattista Vico (philosophy).
We will begin with a few key short works – by Leonardo Da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Galileo, and the French moralistes François de la Rochefoucauld and Blaise Pascal – that provide foundations from the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution.
Seminar format.  Enrollment is limited to 25 students.  Students majoring in Italian will meet separately for a supplementary session in Italian and will do coursework in Italian.
Course requirements:
  1. Four papers (one for each Part of the syllabus).
  2. Class participation, consisting in regular attendance, discussion, and two oral reports (one about a primary source, the other about a secondary source).  Oral reports should encapsulate the assignment and invite discussion.
Grade policy:
  1. The cumulative score is on a scale of 100 points and may be graded on a curve.
  2. Papers amount to 60% of the course grade.  Each paper is worth 15% (15 points available). Each paper should be five pages.  Papers are graded on five criteria: focus, integration of assigned materials, argument or analysis, evidence, and prose. Each criterion is graded on a 3-point scale. 3 points = excellent.  2 points = satisfactory. 1 point = poor.
  3. Class participation amounts to 40% of the course grade.  (The two oral reports are worth 15% each and discussion is worth 10%.)
  4. Penalties apply to students who miss more than three classes.

Purchase list. (All books are paperback):

  1. Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishments (Cambridge U. Press, 1995)
  2. Leonardo’s Notebooks (H. Anna Suh, ed., Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, 2005)
  3. Carlo Goldoni, The Coffee House (bilingual edition, Marsilio Classics, 1999)
  4. Giacomo Leopardi, Poems (translated by Arturo Vivante, Delphinium Press, 1988)
  5. Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (Cambridge U. Press, 1988)
  6. Alessandro Manzoni, The Betrothed: I Promessi Sposi (Penguin Classics, 1984)
  7. François de la Rochefoucauld, Collected Maxims and Other Reflections (bilingual edition, Oxford World’s Classics, 2007)
An asterisk denotes materials available online at course BlackBoard site
Part One: Foundations
Introduction to the course
Leonardo 1: Nature (Notebooks)
Leonardo 2: Human nature (Notebooks)
Machiavelli 1: Human nature The Prince, Skinner (1988)*
Machiavelli 2: History The Prince, Anderson (1974)*
Galileo: Nature  Letter to G. Duchess Christina*
Panofsky (1962)*
Rochefoucauld: Motivations Maxims
Rochefoucauld: Mechanisms Maxims, Elster (1999) 76-107*
Pascal: Rationality   Pascal’s Wager*, Elster (2003)*
Part Two: Beccaria, Goldoni, Longhi
Beccaria 1: Crime
Beccaria 2: Punishment
Beccaria 3: Deterrence
On Crimes … chs. 1-16 On Crimes… chs. 17-32
Duff (1999)* On Crimes … chs. 33-47
Vico: Human nature  Vico: History
New Science selections TBA
Bellamy (1995)* New Science selections TBA
McCullagh (2008)*
Goldoni 1: Comedy
Goldoni 2: Social norms
Longhi The Coffee House The Coffee House
Sohm (1982)*
Images at ArtStor
Tiepolo, Canaletto,
Canova Images at ArtStor
Part Three: Manzoni, The Betrothed Chapters 1-6
McCullagh (1993)
Part four: Leopardi, Canti
InfinityFirst LoveTo Silvia
Timpanaro (1979)*
Alcorn (2008b)*
SaturdayNight SongMemories
Alcorn (2008a)*
Alcorn (1996)*
Wild Broom Review
Alcorn & Del Puppo (1994)*
Bibliography of secondary sources
  • Alcorn (1996).  John Alcorn, “Giacomo Leopardi’s Art and Science of Emotion in Memory and Anticipation,” MLN 111:1 (January 1996) 89-122.
  • Alcorn (2008a).  John Alcorn, “The Search for Meaning without God in Giacomo Leopardi’s Canto Notturno,” Secularism and the Enlightenment
  • Alcorn (2008b). John Alcorn, “Giacomo Leopardi–Poet of Unspoken, Unrequited Love,” MS (2008).
  • Alcorn & Del Puppo (1994).  John Alcorn & Dario Del Puppo, “Giacomo Leopardi’s La ginestra as Social Art,” MLR 89:4 (October 1994) 865-88.
  • Anderson (1974). Perry Anderson, Lineages of the Absolutist State (New Left Books, 1974) 143-72.
  • Bellamy (1995).  Richard Bellamy, “Introduction,” in Beccaria: On Crimes and Punishments, edited by Richard Bellamy (Cambridge U. Press, 1995) ix-xxx.
  • Duff (1999).  R. A. Duff, “Punishment, Communication, and Community,” in Punishment and Political Theory, edited by M. Matravers (Hart Publishing, 1999) 48-68.
  • Elster (1999). Jon Elster, Alchemies of the
    Mind (Cambridge U. Press, 1999) 76-107.
  • Elster (2003). Jon Elster, “Pascal and Decision Theory,” in Cambridge Companion to Pascal, edited by Nicholas Hammond (Cambridge U. Press, 2003) 53-74.
  • McCullagh (1993).  C. Behan McCullagh, “Truth and Metaphor in History,” Clio 23:1 (1993) 23-49.
  • McCullagh (2008).  C. Behan McCullagh, “The Lessons of History: Generalizations, Traditions, and Inspirations,” MS (2008).
  • Skinner (1988).  Quentin Skinner & Richard Price, “Introduction,” in Machiavelli: The Prince, edited by Quentin Skinner and Richard Price (Cambridge U. Press, 1988) ix-xxiv.
  • Sohm (1982).  Philip L. Sohm, “Pietro Longhi and Carlo Goldoni: Relations between Painting and Theater,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 45:3 (1982) 256-73.
  • Timpanaro (1979).  Sebastiano Timpanaro, “The Pessimistic Materialism of Giacomo Leopardi,” New Left Review 1: 116 (July-August 1979).