The Age of Enlightenment was one of the most important periods in the history of thought. It gave birth not only to deists and freethinkers, but also to democratic ideals and the scientific method.
Perhaps most important was David Hume's idea that mankind's next project as a civilization should be to found a "science of human nature" -- a body of concepts that would help us distinguish between the fixed characteristics of human nature and those flexible dimensions in which individuals develop unique qualities. If we had such a science, we could stop fighting our nature and focus on developing those assets our nature is designed to acquire -- things like truth and right, knowledge and ability, insights and skills. Come join a small group of men and women who meet every month in Manhattan to discuss books and other media that relate broadly to themes of intellectual liberation and social progress, and more specifically to the question "Who are we and what are we capable of?"
In addition to books, we'll read shorter works like essays, speeches, and anthologies split up into two or more sessions, a well as works that our members have written. Although you don't have to be an expert on the topic we're focusing on before visiting, if you don't have anything to contribute then please just listen. Questions about our policies or history should be raised before or after the group but not during it. And if you haven't done the reading let the discussion be led by those who have. Your hosts are Dean Hannotte (http://www.hannotte.com) and Rachel Bartlett (http://www.rachel-bartlett.com) and our website is The Enlightenment Book Club (http://www.enlightenment-book-club.org).