Ada Palmer on the Nature of Intellectual Transformation

Course Description

This interactive, non-credit course at the Graham School offers adult learners an opportunity to explore intellectual transformation across more than 500 years of European history with historian, Ada Palmer. The evolution of Western thought will be examined through four interlinked revolutions: Medieval scholasticism, the Renaissance revival of antiquity, the "new philosophy" of the seventeenth century, and light and dark faces of the Enlightenment.

Course Outline

Required Texts:

Educational Treatises, ed. Craig Kallendorf (I Tatti Renaissance Library ISBN 978-0674007598)

Francis Bacon, Selected Philosophical Works, Hackett 978-0872204707

Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations, Hackett, 978-0872204201

Hobbes, Leviathan (Penguin Classics, 978-0141395098)

Locke, Second Treatise of Government, Hackett 978-0915144860

Montsequieu, Persian Letters Penguin Classics, 978-0140442816

You will need one a good Voltaire collection. We are reading Candide, Micromegas, the Tale of the Good Brahman, the Poem on the Lisbon Earthquake, and excerpts from the Letters on England and some other essays. You may use any edition of Voltaire that contains all these. These are recommended; Block is best but out of print.
Voltaire, Candide and Other Writings, ed. Haskell M. Block, the Modern Library (1956, out of print hardcover) B004JKINTW (This is better but out of print).
Voltaire, The Portable Voltaire. Penguin Classics. ISBN 0140150412
Diderot, Rameau’s Nephew/D’Alambert’s Dream, Penguin, 978-0140441734
Manetti, On Human Worth and Excellence I Tatti Renaissance Library ISBN 978-0674984585
Additional texts will be available as PDF files on Canvas



No class on Saturday, Nov 27.


The list of the required texts is available on the course page (click the Register button to view).

Deadline for Online Registration: Thursday, September 23 at 5 pm CT

Remote courses require you to login to Canvas to access the Zoom Classroom. You will receive an invitation to join Canvas about a week before your course begins. Please visit the Liberal Arts Student Resources page to find step by step instructions for Canvas and Zoom: Online Learning Resources


Enroll Now - Select a section to enroll in
Section Title
Monks to Voltaire: European Intellectual Transformations 1200-1750
10:00AM to 12:30PM
Oct 16, 2021 to Dec 11, 2021
Schedule and Location
Contact Hours
  • Online
Delivery Options
Course Fee(s)
Tuition non-credit $395.00
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