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History

Lectures in Intellectual History

Updated 4 days ago

Society & Culture
Philosophy
History
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Recordings from the popular public lecture series featuring new work on all aspects of intellectual history. Hosted by the Institute of Intellectual History at the University of St Andrews.

Read more

Recordings from the popular public lecture series featuring new work on all aspects of intellectual history. Hosted by the Institute of Intellectual History at the University of St Andrews.

iTunes Ratings

31 Ratings
Average Ratings
17
6
3
1
4

Bad audio

By nendjksjenf - Nov 07 2019
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I’ve tried to listen to several lectures, published at different times, and the audio has been awful every time. Not podcast quality.

Worth the effort.

By raulrey0 - Oct 08 2017
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A bit dense but these lectures are packed with ideas and knowledge.

iTunes Ratings

31 Ratings
Average Ratings
17
6
3
1
4

Bad audio

By nendjksjenf - Nov 07 2019
Read more
I’ve tried to listen to several lectures, published at different times, and the audio has been awful every time. Not podcast quality.

Worth the effort.

By raulrey0 - Oct 08 2017
Read more
A bit dense but these lectures are packed with ideas and knowledge.

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Cover image of Lectures in Intellectual History

Lectures in Intellectual History

Updated 4 days ago

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Recordings from the popular public lecture series featuring new work on all aspects of intellectual history. Hosted by the Institute of Intellectual History at the University of St Andrews.

Rank #1: Sophie Page - Cosmology and Ritual Magic in the Late Middle Ages

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The importance of general celestial influences on the Earth in Aristotle's cosmological model enabled the art of astrology to find a large degree of acceptance in intellectual circles by the mid-twelfth century, even if throughout the late Middle Ages it continued to be haunted by the debate about determinism. Astrology - or the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies in order to make predictions about human personalities, dispositions, and public and personal events - included the belief that the planets could incline men to good and evil, and negatively influence the course of events. In this paper, Sophie Page examines how the question of whether or how demons could provoke, manipulate or make use of these celestial influences was of particular concern to three different types of medieval author: theologians explaining the structure and operations of the cosmos, authors of literary or popular scientific texts discussing the origins of evil in the world, and writers of texts on astrology and magic, whose main goal was to identify networks of power in the cosmos which could be manipulated by humans.

Apr 18 2017

56mins

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Rank #2: Norman Vance - Sporting St Patrick's Breastplate: war and peace in Irish Intellectual History

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In this wonderfully rich talk, Norman Vance explains how three interpretations of the Irish hymn 'The Breastplate of St Patrick', from Catholic, Episcopalian, and Presbyterian perspectives, are a pathway to studying the wider context of Irish intellectual history, taking in aspects of literary history, musicology, and theology.

Nov 18 2014

56mins

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Rank #3: David Armitage - The Dark Side of Enlightened Cosmopolitanism: Civilisation and Civil War

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Modern cosmopolitanism traces its routes back to the Enlightenment. In its individual and collectivist strains, it has become programatically pacifist by virtue of many of its central defining features. Under such a regime of cosmopolitanism, one might imagine the Kantian goal of perpetual peace. Kant’s conception of cosmopolitanism was progressive and developmental, but also fundamentally conflicted. Its motor was that famous unsocial sociability, which compelled humans to seek peace even as they experienced destructive forms of competition. The connection between cosmopolitanism on one hand and peace on the other, therefore, is neither essential or natural; it is contingent and accidental despite the strong connection between modern contemporary cosmopolitanism and peace. Only recently have scholars acknowledged that cosmopolitanism might indeed have something to say about war, or that war might shed light on its limits and possibilities. Is contemporary cosmopolitanism theoretically robust enough to face the challenges of unconventional warfare in the 21st century? And if cosmopolitanism defines transnational borders as morally arbitrary, what can it tell us about conflicts that occur within such borders, that is to say about civil war? In this lecture, David Armitage pursues these and other important questions.

Mar 14 2018

47mins

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Rank #4: J. R. Milton - The Rise of Mechanism: What and Why?

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At the end of the seventeenth century, corpuscularianism, the mechanical philosophy, and mechanics (as a branch of applied mathematics) were all rising in importance. In this paper, John Milton provides a definitive account of these three concepts, how they relate to each other, and explains why they became popular.

Nov 04 2014

55mins

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Rank #5: Riccardo Bavaj - The Spatiality of Ideas: Ernst Fraenkel, Richard Löwenthal, and the "Westernisation" of Political Thought

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Oct 31 2019

56mins

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Rank #6: Lynette Mitchell - Monarchs in democracy

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The hallmark of Athenian democracy was equality. From at least the beginning of the 5th century, Athens was a place where there was equality in political rights. By the mid-5th century, the Athenian assembly had sovereignty in matters of decision making. The practical politics of Athens, however, required political leaders: able, often wealthy men, well-practised in rhetoric, who arose out of the elite political think tanks and who guided the decision making in the assembly. At an ideological level, democracy found this tension difficult to resolve. In tracing the early development of Athenian democratic thinking in this paper, Lynette Mitchell argues that there also emerged a way of projecting good and ideal kings onto the ancient history of democratic Athens, and that this positive theorisation of kingship was important to several thinkers for the space it gave to political leadership.

Oct 17 2017

1hr

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Rank #7: Gareth Stedman Jones - Karl Marx and the Emergence of Social Democracy

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The years between 1864 and 1867 were among the most fulfilling of Marx’s life. Not only were these the years in which he wrote up Capital, it was also the period in which he became an active and influential participant in the International Workingmen’s Association, founded in London in 1864. Almost by chance, it fell to Marx to compose the inaugural address of the Association and formulate its rules. In this lecture, Gareth Stedman Jones argues that in writing the address, Marx made his greatest and most permanent contribution to the International: he had formulated the new social democratic language of the 1860s, both in the definition of the political and social end of the association, and in a global diagnosis of the worker’s condition.

Sep 19 2017

56mins

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Rank #8: Rory Cox - Just War Doctrine in Ancient Egypt

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In the literature of the Just War tradition there is an overdrawn association between the Just War tradition and Christian political theology. This produces a misconception that Just War is an exclusively Christian idea, and also that is an exclusively Western idea as well. In this lecture, Rory Cox argues that ideas analogous to Just War developed in Ancient Egypt, more than 2,000 years prior to the advent of Christianity and beyond the traditional boundaries of the West.

Mar 28 2017

47mins

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Rank #9: Susan James - Putting One's knowledge to work: Spinoza on 'fortitudo'

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Recorded on February 13th 2018 at the University of St Andrews.

Oct 31 2019

52mins

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Rank #10: Richard Whatmore - Scotland, Europe and the End of Enlightenment

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Why did so many European luminaries who had lived through the turmoil of the French Revolution turn to Scotland as a state that might represent a model for the future of the world? In this Inaugural Lecture, Professor Richard Whatmore explains why so many figures at the end of the eighteenth century felt that the Enlightenment had failed, and that a new beginning was necessary in politics, economics, religion and culture. Europe had been torn apart by war and revolution; Scotland appeared to offer grounds for optimism, being characterised by economic development, religious peace and a distinctive sense of identity.

Nov 22 2017

56mins

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Rank #11: Nicholas Mithen - Codifying Good Taste: Historical Scholarship and Epistemic Virtue in Early 18th Century Italy

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Oct 31 2019

40mins

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Rank #12: Janet Coleman - Reflections on the Self Itself: in antiquity, the Middle Ages, and what happened next?

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Are people’s characters and the values that shape them thought to be stable in terms of what we may judge to be virtuous or vicious performances across time and place? If this was the case, should we today not be able to emulate those of the past in their best practices? In this lecture, Janet Coleman charts a journey, beginning with Aristotle and ending with Hobbes, that deals with what has been called an anthropological prelinguistic set of conditions of experiences that were held by representative premoderns to be the ways in which the self itself comes to acknowledge of suitable human action and seeks to conform to it.

Nov 06 2017

1hr 11mins

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Rank #13: Caroline Humfress - Natural law and casuistic reasoning in Roman jurisprudence

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There is no evidence for any Roman jurist writing a treatise entitled On Natural Law, or similar. Ius naturale had a very limited place in Roman jurisprudence, and when Roman jurists want to reason about law, they pretty much always began from the standpoint of the Roman ius civile and worked outwards. There is a fundamental difference between this concentric way of reasoning about natural law, and the way in which the medieval natural lawyers influenced by Thomas Aquinas, as well as later 17th and 18th century thinkers, reason about it. In this lecture, Caroline Humfress examines this tension.

Apr 11 2017

57mins

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Rank #14: Teresa Bejan - Equality and hierarchy in the thought of Mary Astell

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Ever since Mary Astell was introduced as the "First English Feminist" in 1986, scholars have been perplexed by her dual commitments to natural equality and social, political, and ecclesiastical hierarchy. But any supposed "paradox" in her though is the product of a modernist conceit that treats equality and hierarchy as antonyms, assuming the former must be prior, normative, and hostile to the latter. Seeing this, two other crucial features of Astell's thought emerge: her ethics of ascent and the psychology of superiority. These, in turn, illuminate her lifelong fascination with ambition as a feminine virtue, as well as her curious embrace of Machiavelli. Astell's politics and ethics are thus doubly worthy of recovery, both as the product of a singularly brilliant early modern mind and as a fascinating but forgotten vision of "equality before egalitarianism" that sheds light on the persistent complexities of equality and hierarchy to this day.

Oct 31 2019

46mins

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Rank #15: Stewart J. Brown - China and the European Enlightenment

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Vital themes in Europe's Enlightenment project included a new cosmopolitanism rooted in a growing awareness of other world cultures, an interest in forms of natural religion, and efforts to find a new foundation for social ethics apart from the moral laws and teachings of Christianity. In this lecture, Stewart J. Brown argues that Europe's growing awareness of China, and especially of Confucian thought, played a significant role in shaping early European Enlightenment thought.

Dec 02 2014

51mins

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Rank #16: Susan Manly - Maria Edgeworth as political thinker: government, rebellion and punishment

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The issue of slavery is a constant in Maria Edgeworth's thinking about questions of government, from the beginning of her writing career until the 1820s and 30s. In this paper, Susan Manly discusses the multiple elements to this seam of thinking, and in particular examines the importance of the reformist thinker Jeremy Bentham and his French interlocutor Étienne Dumont.

Apr 25 2017

46mins

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Rank #17: Rachel Foxley - The City and the Soul in James Harrington's Republicanism

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The political theorist James Harrington transformed and deployed many aspects of ancient thinking about the ethical character of the state in his political thought. In this paper, Rachel Foxley analyses Harrington's use of the correspondence between the city and the soul, arguing that this is a crucial mechanism enabling Harrington to attribute virtue to his ideal polity.

Oct 21 2014

51mins

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Rank #18: Phil Connell - Wordsworth’s “Sonnets Dedicated to Liberty” (1802-3) and the British Revolutionary Past

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William Wordworth's Sonnets Dedicated To Liberty are dominated by his personal and political connections with France, and his changing attitudes to Britain's participation in the counter-Revolutionary war effort. Wordsworth's experiments with the sonnet form in this period were clearly sustained, intensive and closely engaged with affairs of state. However, a number of the sonnets are also keenly responsive to 17th-century British history in ways that raise distinct challenges to our sense of Wordworth's shifting political attitudes. Are the sonnets continuous with Wordsworth's early radicalism? Or are the poems better understood as a redirection of political and imaginative energies under the pressure of the Napoleonic threat towards the conservative defence of the nation and tradition? In this lecture, Phil Connell considers these and other questions.

Apr 04 2017

50mins

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Rank #19: David D’Avray - How to do intellectual history

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How can you combine the so-called Cambridge School of intellectual history, which tends to shrink the focus to a particular period and particular context, with a longue durée approach which follows through themes over many centuries? In this lecture, David D’Avray attempts to resolve this argument with the help of 20th century German philosophers Niklas Luhmann and Hans-Georg Gadamer.

Mar 07 2017

53mins

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Rank #20: Tom Jones - George Berkeley in Livorno: Missionary Anglicanism and Commerce

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Whilst George Berkeley's visit to Livorno in 1714 may seem relatively unremarkable at first look, the content of the sermons he preached there appear significant to the attitudes and behaviours of his later life. Chief among these is Berkeley's project to establish a university or college on Bermuda, and his interest in economic reform, particularly in Ireland in the 1730s. In this paper, Tom Jones identifies the early association of missionary Anglicanism and commerce as pivotal to our understanding of the history of Berkeley's later thought.

Feb 07 2017

48mins

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