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UCI EUROST 10 - From Chaos to Order and Certainty in Mid-17th Century Europe

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Professor Smith European Studies Department Europe Studies 10 European History Course Code: 24000 ● From Chaos to Order and Certainty in Mid-17th Century Europe ○ The Treaties of Westphalia and Rene Descartes ● C ○ Founded October 1945 ○ In the shadow of the 300th anniversary of the treaties of Westphalia ○ The UN Charter reads in article 2(4): “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations” ● And Now? ○ Are we seeing an end of or at least challenge to the Westphalian order? Are we entering into a “post-Westphalian age”, for better or for worse? ● Moves beyond Westphalian system? ○ The European Union ○ And yet Brexit… ○ “Non-state actors” ○ Globalization - capital flowing across borders ○ Mass migration ○ Resurgence of nationalism? ● A Related Consequence: ○ The rise of formal armies to defend the new state entities ○ See article 16, paragraph 19 ■ “Unneeded soldiers” are to be disbanded; “only each party shall send to and keep up as many men in his own dominion, as he shall judge necessary for his security” ● Birth of the “military-industrial complex” ○ What happens when we add the rise of capitalism to the formation of standing armies to defend nation-states? ○ President Dwight D. Eisenhower ● Where was England? ○ England was embroiled in its own struggles ○ The English Civil War (or the wars of the three kingdoms) ■ Three wars between 1642 and 1651 ● Major Actors ○ King Charles the first ○ Parliament, which objected to Charles as tyrannical ○ Demanded more political say in taxes, land use, court proceedings ● Beheading of Charles the first ○ January 30 1649○ Oliver Cromwell ○ 1599-1658 ○ Became a puritan ○ Eventually declared himself “protector” of the commonwealth ○ The monarchy was restored when king Charles the second (son of Charles the first) was restored to the throne in 1660 ○ In sum, England was otherwise preoccupied while the other kingdoms battled it out with the holy roman empire on the continent ● Background ○ We saw how Cardinal Richelieu for/with Louis XIII entered the war (Catholic France on the side of the Protestants) ○ 1. King centralizes power at expense of nobles ○ 2. France’s power rises as the holy roman empire is weakened ○ King Louis XIV starts expanding a chateau about 20 miles outside Paris in 1661 ○ He starts pressuring the nobility to spend time there as a means of political control ○ The court moves there in 1682 (and remains until 1789 and the french revolution) ● Hence, one result of the “religious” wars ca 1500-1648 ○ The rise of a centralized nation state, with a “monopoly on the use of force” (weber), sovereignty within its borders, and the right to engage with other similar states internationally ○ The state establishes the rules within its jurisdiction ○ Even religious practice is subordinated to the interests of state and securing its peace ○ And the interests of business (trade and early capitalism)becomes central, taking priority over religion ○ The “Westphalian order” is established ● A second development of the 17th century ○ The desire for philosophical certainty and the rise of rationalism (i.e., primacy of the human faculty of reason) ○ Why a search for (a new source of) certainty? ○ Religion no longer a guarantee of security and stability because of conflicting beliefs ○ The bible now available to everyone thanks to Luther, but this just opens up a the possiibility of conflicting interpretations ○ And people changing their religions (recall the treaty) ● Rene Descartes ○ 1596-1650 ○ Developed analytical geometry ○ Spent much time in netherlands and traveling for the court ○ Died in Sweden as tutor to Queen Christiana ● Major Works ○ Discourse on method (1637) ○ Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) ○ On the passions of the soul (1649) ● What is certain?○ 1. Mathematics ○ Begin with something certain and proceed logically ○ 2. My reasoning (not my senses) ○ Developed the philosophical approach called “rationalism” (as opposed to “empiricism”) ○ The “wax” argument ○ If i have a piece of wax, i know its properties (cube shape, hard), if i melt it, all those properties change, but i know it is the same piece of wax, hence, true knowledge does not come from my perception but from my reason ● Descartes method of doubt - methodological skepticism ○ “Several years have now elapsed since i first became aware that i had accepted even from my youth, many false opinions for true, and that consequently what i afterward based on such principles was highly doubtful; and from that time i was convinced of the necessity of undertaking once in my life to rid myself of all the opinions i had adopted, and of commencing anew the work of building from the foundation...” ○ Doubt everything ○ Can one use doubt in order to find something that one cannot doubt? ● Cartesian skeptism - from doubt to certainty? ○ I certainly can doubt my sensory experience (“wax argument”) ○ I could even doubt everything i experience as real, since it could be in fact be a dream ○ Indeed, nothing in my experience could be it is because an “evil genius” could be deceiving me ● Is there anything that cannot be doubted? ○ I cannot doubt that i am doubting ○ That is, i cannot doubt that i am using my reason, i.e. that i am thinking, in doubting, i still know that i am thinking ○ I am, without doubt, a thinking being ○ This is the new foundation: the inner rational core of myself that i find when i place all else in doubt ○ A radically new “modern subjectivity” - founded in reason, not faith ● Where to go from the cognito? ○ Now that i can look into myself and find there a sense of absolute certainty, i can use my thinking to test what else might be certain ○ I proceed from “clear and perspicuous ideas” in a logical (quasi-mathematical) way. Each new conclusion must then be certain as well ○ Everyone, using his or her reason, can test and follow my reasoning ● The “ontological proof” for the existence of god ○ I doubt everything but cannot doubt my thinking ○ So i’ll


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