Early Moderns 3
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Western Culture 4-3: The Enlightenment


The Enlightenment is the third unit of Early Moderns, year four in the Old Western Culture curriculum on the Great Books. Dr. Mitch Stokes begins his introduction to the Enlightenment of the 18th century with the Greek Pythagoreans and the “problem of change” and traces those issues to the Scientific Revolution.


Dr. Mitch Stokes begins his introduction to the Enlightenment of the 18th century with the Greek Pythagoreans and the “problem of change” and traces those issues to the Scientific Revolution. Students learn about the search for certainty that led to skepticism through the works of Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Hume, Kant, and finally Reid, as each philosopher grapples with the nature of knowledge.

License: This product is licensed for use by one family.

Additional information





1/2 HS

Credit Amount



Lesson Length

30-45 minutes


Mitch Stokes





Lecture List for The Enlightenment

  1. Introduction: What Is the Enlightenment?
  2. The Scientific Revolution: An Overview
  3. Galileo Moves the Earth
  4. The Galileo Affair
  5. Descartes & Skepticism
  6. Descartes’ Search for Certainty
  7. Did Descartes Succeed?
  8. Descartes & the Scientific Revolution
  9. Isaac Newton Takes the Throne
  10. Hume: Taking Skepticism Seriously
  11. Kant’s Answer to Hume
  12. Thomas Reid & Genuine Enlightenment

Sample Lesson


What is “Old Western Culture”?

“Old Western Culture” is a literature curriculum named after a term coined by C.S. Lewis to describe the fabric of ideas that shaped Western Civilization. For centuries, a “Great Books” education lay at the heart of what it meant to be educated. It was the education of the Church Fathers, of the Medieval Church, of the Reformers, and of all the Founding Fathers of the Unites States.

– It is a CLASSICAL EDUCATION, based on the great books of western civilization.
– It is a CHRISTIAN EDUCATION, which sees the history and literature of the West through the eyes of the Bible and historic Christianity.
– It is an INTEGRATED HUMANITIES CURRICULUM, bringing together literature, history, philosophy, doctrine, geography, and art.
– It is a HOMESCHOOL oriented curriculum, made by homeschoolers with the needs of homeschooled in mind, including flexibility, affordability, and ease-of-use.
We bring a master-teacher into your home, and encourage parents to gain an overview of Western Civilization themselves by watching the video lessons with their children.

How does Old Western Culture work?

Old Western Culture is a video course. It is built around master teachers. This unit is taught by Mitch Stokes. The Enlightenment contains 12 video lessons (approx 30-45 min each).
Each lesson begins with a brief review before jumping into summary, commentary, analysis, and inter-disciplinary connections of the works covered. After each lesson, students complete the assigned readings, and answer comprehension questions in the Student Workbook or online workbook.

Are there any prerequisites?

Old Western Culture is intended for mature and discerning students. We recommend this course for ages 14 and up. The course will deal with mature themes such as paganism, sexual immorality, battle scenes (mostly in actual reading), and classical paintings. Old Western Culture is meant to equip your child with a Biblical lens from which to process these themes. We assume your child has a working knowledge of the Bible and basic Christian doctrine.

How many credits is this course worth?

The Enlightenment is 1/2 High School Credit in either literature or history. Each year of Old Western Culture is a double-credit Humanities course which is most commonly broken down into 1 Literature credit and 1 History credit. The double-credit assumes that the student will watch all the videos, read the required reading, answer the daily worksheets, and take 4 exams (one for each unit). This a robust course academically, and requires a fair bit of reading. Average daily reading load is 30-40 pages.
As an “integrated humanities” course, Old Western Culture will constantly be incorporating history, literature, theology, philosophy, art, and art history, all through the eyes of the Great Books.


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