Project (2018)

Generations of Reason

"Generations of Reason" follows the path of reason blazed by three generations of an English family from the middle of the eighteenth to the end of the nineteenth centuries. In the first generation, Theophilus and Hannah Lindsey founded a Unitarian Church of reason; in the second generation, William Frend expanded the scope of reason beyond theology to include mathematics and astronomy; in the third generation, Augustus and Sophia De Morgan followed reason into a world divided between his mathematical, logical interests and her spiritual ones. As the changing foci of the generations suggest, over the course of these one hundred years, their country was slowly transforming itself from a religious society into a secular state. Following the development of this family’s understandings is a way to illuminate the deep underpinnings of modern ideas of reason as they are expressed in mathematics, logic, and religious conviction.