Jefferson and Nature
Jefferson and Nature: 4 lectures followed by open discussion
When: Weds. 7-8:30 PM, Mar. 30, Apr. 6 + 30, May 4
Where: Watson Room, Forbes Public Library, Northampton, MA
Whether he was drafting the Declaration of Independence, building Monticello, or sending Lewis and Clark off to find the Pacific Ocean, Thomas Jefferson reveled in the concept and reality of nature. His entire political philosophy is distilled in a phrase he wrote to his nephew: “freedom is the gift of nature.” Four 1/2 hour lectures, followed by open discussion, introduces you to the key writings of America’s most influential natural philosopher.
1) Jefferson’s Roots: Stoicism, Deism and “the laws of nature and of nature’s god”
2) Meeting Nature’s God: The Jeffersonian Sublime
3) Jefferson and the idea of wilderness
4) The Environmental Basis of the Declaration of Independence
Our primary text will be “Thomas Jefferson: Writings” (Modern Library edition) but links to all readings will be posted online @ biocitizen.org.
Each meeting builds upon contexts established on the one before it, so that when we get to the Declaration, you have the conceptual tools you need to perform a reading that links nature and democracy in a revelatory way. You are not required, but are strongly encouraged, to keep a journal of your reflections and questions.
Cost: free, but tax-deductible donations to fund Biocitizen educational programs are appreciated.