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The Greatness of the 18th-Century Enlightenment

John Ridpath

Presented at: Lyceum 1999

Date: Jul 09, 1999

The 18th-century Enlightenment is one of history's most vivid demonstrations, on a vast scale, of human potential. It reveals to us the heroic ability of man to command the world. It gives us factual proof that men can live in freedom, prosperity, benevolence and happiness.

These two lectures will present the context for appreciating the greatness of the 18th-century by contrasting it with what came before.

We will then examine the Enlightenment in detailóboth its intellectual essence and its existential accomplishments. As well, we will note, as non-essential background at the time, ambiguities and even contradictions present within the Enlightenmentóthus allowing us to assess the strengths and weaknesses of this heroic epoch in human history.

These lectures, in essence, will be a demonstration of the power of reason and freedom in the living of human life. While including the context for assessing the significance, for man, of trying to embrace and live with contradiction, these lectures will in essence offer us an informed context from which to understand, in real terms, what Objectivism, if victorious, offers man.


Parts: 2

Handout: none


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