Annullamento lezione 26-28 marzo

A causa di impegni personali improrogabili sono costretto ad annullare le lezioni previste per i giorni dal 26 al 28 marzo pv e il ricevimento studenti per la prossima settimana. Le lezioni riprenderanno regolarmente, come da calendario il giorno 9 aprile e le lezioni verranno recuperate nelle settimane successive.

Voltaire, the most alive of dead white males

Voltaire Foundation

Voltaire’s afterlife is complex, his reputation changing with successive regimes. The French Revolution looked back to him as a heroic precursor of its struggle, and in 1791 his remains were brought back to Paris and with great ceremony placed in the Panthéon. For much of the nineteenth century the name of Voltaire was synonymous with anticlericalism, and the philosophe was widely, if implausibly, seen as an Antichrist. In the wake of the Dreyfus affair Voltaire’s reputation as a crusader for tolerance was re-emphasised, and in the latter years of the Third Republic, under the influence of the Sorbonne literary historian Gustave Lanson, Voltaire became a fixture of the republican school and university curriculum. The latter half of the twentieth century has taken a more nuanced approach to Voltaire’s religious views, especially in the wake of René Pomeau’s La Religion de Voltaire (first published in 1954), which stresses the depth…

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Nona lezione: introduzione al Sogno di D’Alembert

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Su Formazione on line – Unisalento troverete la nona lezione del corso di Storia della filosofia francese moderna e contemporanea: Elogio del materialismo, dedicata ancora al Sogno di D’Alembert. La prossima lezione si terrà lunedì prossimo, 26 marzo. Domani, mercoledì 21 marzo, infatti, le attività didattiche sono sospese – come da indicazione del Senato Accademico – per la giornata in memoria delle vittime di mafia.

Improvement and Enlightenment

Voltaire Foundation

A recent invitation to talk to the Enlightenment Workshop of the Voltaire Foundation prompted me to consider the ways in which some modes of thinking common during the Enlightenment might have been inherited – directly or indirectly – from the English idea of ‘improvement’, a topic on which I had been working. By ‘improvement’ I refer to a word and a culture which were invented in England in the seventeenth century and had their most notable effects, at least initially, at home. Other countries might have been striving for improvement in practice in one way or another at the same time, but the English found a word which embraced every aspect of it, and fashioned out of it a frame of mind which had remarkable consequences.

The word ‘improve’ was first coined in England in the later fifteenth century, and it meant to make a profit from land. By the…

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