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Grant number: FS-256801-17

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University of Chicago (Chicago, IL 60637-5418)
Paul Cheney (Project Director: February 2017 to present)

Enlightenment Thinkers: from Mandeville to Hegel

A three-week seminar for sixteen college and university faculty examining Enlightenment political and social thought.

Invisible Bonds: The Enlightenment Science of Society from Mandeville to Hegel is a three-week seminar designed for college and university teachers in the humanities. We will look at the ways in which several eighteenth-century thinkers sought out alternatives to religious moral doctrine or state imposed force in their search for social stability. Believing that their own societies had become too large, complex, and pluralistic to impose solutions from above, Enlightenment social thinkers turned to the self-organizing potential of the market; to the other-regarding virtues that ripened in polite, commercial societies; and to the good government and progress ensured by the free discussion of ideas. These Enlightenment solutions resemble twenty-first century approaches; but we will ask, along with the Enlightenment thinkers we will examine in this course, whether they are a match for the anomic forces that are destabilizing society and politics in the Western world.

Project fields:
European History; Political Theory

Seminars for College Teachers

Education Programs

Total amounts:
$110,694 (approved)
$110,694 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2017 – 9/30/2018