Betsy Speicher

The Enlightenment and the American Founding

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Thompson_150w.jpg

The Enlightenment and the American Founding

by C. Bradley Thompson.

Lecture suggested for rating by JohnRgt.

Description from the AynRandBookstore.com (link)

The Declaration of Independence is, as Abraham Lincoln once said, "the central idea" of America "from which all the others radiate." This course offers an in-depth analysis of the philosophic foundations of the Declaration and the moral foundations of the American republic.

Lecture One traces the development of the major philosophic principles of the Enlightenment in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and politics, with particular emphasis on John Locke's natural-law/natural-rights teaching and his attempt to establish a "demonstrative science of ethics."

Lectures Two and Three provide a close textual analysis of the Declaration of Independence within the broader context of the Enlightenment and the American Revolution. Thompson examines how Jefferson and the other Founders understood philosophical concepts such as necessity, natural law, law of nature, self-evident truths, despotism, justice, freedom, natural rights, equality, prudence, self-interest, individualism, rule of law, sovereignty, representation, republicanism and constitutional government.

The course concludes with an examination of the flaws, inconsistencies and contradictions in the Founders' moral-political philosophy and the philosophic requirements necessary to correct their errors and complete the promise of the American Revolution.

(Audio CD; 4-CD set; 4 hrs., 27 min., with Q&A)

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