Saturday, 9 January 2010

Civilisation 10: The Smile of Reason: 3

"Those who haven't lived in the eighteenth century before the Revolution do not know the sweetness of life" Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-PĂ©rigord.

The salon represented a form resistance  against an autocratic king and a centralised and authoritarian government. They brought together the brightest intellects of France. There aim was to transform society. One of the ways of countering the excesses of a king was to engage with the writing of an encyclopaedia  that would accurately define words and counter the official language, the language of an authoritarian government.

Clark travels to Scotland to discuss the great names in in the world of ideas and science: Adam smith, David Hume, Joseph Black and James Watt. These 18th Century Scots help to transform the whole current of European thought and life.

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