Reason, radicals and unsung heroes in the 1790s

John Issitt

Tuesday, May 13 2014 at 7:30PM

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38 Westgate Street
(Used to be 'the Rat & Parrot')

John Issitt

What's the talk about?

The vision of a society formed from progressive equality was based on a claim of reason. For radicals of the 1790s and for a child brought up a socialist in post war Britain, inequality was fundamentally unreasonable - society could and should be organised on equitable and therefore rational grounds. Yet the French Revolution brought Robespierre and the Guillotine and the Russian Revolution brought Stalin and the Gulag. Have we expected too much of reason? Is reason confounded by the human condition? John Issitt uses the critical episode of radical challenge in 1790s to explore the limits of reason and ask whether life is essentially mysterious?

John Issitt is a writer and a part time lecturer at the University of York UK where he teaches philosophy of learning. He taught for the Open University for 23 years and is a National Teaching Fellow.