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The programme begins with a quotation from the German 18th century philosopher Leibniz, who was renowned as the Father of Optimism. This philosophy dominated the intellectual climate of mid-18th ce...ntury Europe and it can be summarised in Alexander Pope's famous phrase "Whatever is, is right." This optimism, however, was shaken in 1755 by a shattering earthquake which destroyed the city of Lisbon. Although a number of scientists and divines clung to their optimistic beliefs it was Voltaire who with his Poem on the Lisbon Disaster and his satirical novel Candide put paid to the philosophy of Optimism. Dr. Tony Lentãin traces the changes in 18th century thought, through contemporary documents and writings.
Metadata describing this Open University audio programme
Module code and title: A204, The Enlightenment
Item code: A204; 19
Recording date: 1979-02-12
First transmission date: 24-06-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement: Rights owned or controlled by The Open University
Restrictions on use: This material can be used in accordance with The Open University conditions of use. A link to the conditions can be found at the bottom of all OUDA web pages.
Duration: 00:18:28
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Producer: Helen Rapp
Contributors: Michael Kilgariff; Toni Lentin; Allan McClelland
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): 18th century thought; Optimism; Voltaire
Master spool number: TLN07950H827
Production number: TLN07950H827
Available to public: no