Princeton professor Jonathan Israel will speak on November 8 and 9 on the relation between philosophy and revolution in the late eighteenth century as part of the Cluster of Excellence’s Frankfurt Lecture series
The ‘torch of philosophy’ has finally been borne into society: this was the tenor of the judgement shared by many philosophers at the time of the French Revolution. Yet how should we judge the optimism of that era from where we stand today? The relation between philosophy and revolution in the late eighteenth century will be the topic of the next series of Frankfurt Lectures presented by the Cluster of Excellence ‘The Formation of Normative Orders’.
The speaker is Jonathan Israel, Professor of Modern History at Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Study. Prof. Israel is widely regarded as one of the leading experts on the European Enlightenment. The unifying theme of his two lectures is ‘Philosophy and Revolution in the late 18th Century: a Reinterpretation’. The lectures will take place on November 8 and 9, 2010 on the Campus Westend (HZ3), with each commencing at 7:15 PM. Interested members of the public are cordially invited.
On November 8 Jonathan Israel will lecture on ‘The late 18th Century’s Curious Idea that Philosophy Caused the French Revolution’. On the following day, November 9, the focus will shift to ‘The Enlightenment’s Quarrel over Basic Human Rights’. The lectures will deal primarily with the 1790s, a decade in which philosophers sympathetic to the French Revolution regarded it also as the ‘realisation of modern philosophy’. This reflected their view that modern philosophy provided the intellectual tools to bring about wide-ranging political, social and legal transformations. At least for a brief moment, according to Jonathan Israel, it actually seemed as though reason had found its way into reality.
Further information can be found here.