History 280B: The Substance of Things Unseen: Matter and Spirit, 1650-1800

Instructor: Jonathan Sheehan

Between 1650 and 1800, matter, spirit, and their relationship, became subjects of unprecedented attention in Europe. Mechanism, the development of a science of forces, new forms of religious imagination, new spiritualisms, the rise of sensationalist psychology, the development of an aesthetics of the sublime, fascination with legal and political abstraction, new materialist ethics, the discovery of “real” immaterial things (public opinion, society, the economy, e.g.): all of these together fundamentally structured what we might broadly call modern immanence and transcendence. This course will explore this terrain with a broad set of readings in the history of philosophy, religion, and science.

It satisfies the requirement for Intellectual History.