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Wednesday, 7 November 2012, 6:00PM
Museum of London

Why the Enlightenment still matters today

Professor Justin Champion

“The Enlightenment” has been regarded as a turning point in the intellectual history of the West. The principles of religious tolerance, optimism about human progress and a demand for rational debate are often thought to be a powerful legacy of the ideas of Locke, Newton, Voltaire and Diderot. There was however a radical Enlightenment, indebted to the materialism of Hobbes and Spinoza, which posed an even greater challenge to traditional religious and political values. Given the ‘return of religion’ and the challenges of potential environmental catastrophe, Professor Champion argues to the contrary in this lecture on why we would be wise to go back to explore some of the more radical insights of Enlightenment freethinkers.

This is the 2012 Joint Royal Historical Society/Gresham College Annual Lecture. The other joint lectures can be accessed here:
       2011 - The Rural Past and Urban Histories, 1881 - 2011 by Professor Alun Howkins
       2010 - What did eighteenth-century men want? by Professor Amanda Vickery
       2009 - The Institutionalisation of the Arts in Early Victorian England
                 by Charles Saumarez Smith
       2008 - History, Science and Religion by Dr Allan Chapman
       2007 - The fabrication of medieval history by Dr Simon Thurley
       2006 - The Curse of the Poke Bonnet: Television's Version by Joan Bakewell
       2005 - Travels in Time: History and identity in today's world by Michael Wood
       2004 - Presenting unwanted histories by Dr Gareth Griffith

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Royal Holloway, University of London

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7 November 2012

Why the Enlightenment still matters today
Professor Justin Champion

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