International Enlightenment Congress


Under the sign of the Encyclopédie and of the philosophical spirit which it embodies

Under the sign of the Encyclopédie and of the philosophical spirit which it embodies a spirit which, unlike that of our age, does not recognise academic specialisation, nor separates the sciences from rhetoric, and which proclaims the unity of all knowledge-Congress members are invited to reflect upon the interfaces and interactions between the sciences, knowledge in all domains, technologies and cultures in the eighteenth century. United under the principal theme of the Congress, all fields of knowledge and human activity are concerned : philosophy, literature, the fine arts, the history of science and of mentalities, political economy, demography etc.

Thus, for example (and avoiding the assumptions of modern classifications), we shall want to consider : the development of the scientific spirit (networks, the influence of the State, scientific expeditions, academies, learned societies, periodicals and reviews, collectors, scientific debates and quarrels, vulgarization, education .), and also the resistances it encountered-religion, illuminism, charlatanism ; its influence on philosophy (empiricism, experimentation, rationalism, nature and culture, materialism, utilitarianism) ; on metaphysics (Descartes, Newton, Leibniz, Buffon; men and animals ; final causes ; innate and acquired knowledge) ; on the life sciences and medicine ; on literature (science and poetry, the novel, the dialogue, science and the imaginary); on history (chronology, erudition, causality, the philosophy of history) ; on the arts (opera, theatre and its machinery, musical theory and instruments, art collectors and amateurs; on urbanism and architecture (real and ideal cities); on political and economic thought (public welfare, physiocracy, demography, statistics, science and the State). A section will be reserved for debate on today’s sciences and technologies applied to the study of the eighteenth century, and to the critical evaluation of their contribution to that study (major publishing projects, material bibliography, texts on-line, data bases.).

The scientific committeee welcomes with pleasure all suggestions and proposals, including those which do not enter readily into the large framework sketched above. It reserves the right to group proposals on related topics, in the interest of offering members from the entire international community who will be present in Montpellier the opportunity to present and confront their diverse scholarly approaches.