Virtual Talk – True Grid: François-Marc-Louis Naville and his moral tables

“The days flow by. I feel myself dragged about by time as if by a torrent. A decrease in energy and health, though possibly only temporary, makes me nevertheless fear for an early death. I feel deeply that there is nothing more to be desired than what pertains to eternity, that I should not waste a moment of time, that I should hurry to fulfill at least part of my task.”

Harro Maas, professor in history and methodology of economics at the Centre Walras-Pareto for the history of economic and political thought at the University of Lausanne,  will use these words from the diary of François-Marc-Louis Naville, a turn-of-the nineteenth-century Genevese pastor and pedagogical innovator, as a cue to examine his use of Benjamin Franklin’s tools of moral calculation and a lesser known tool, Marc-Antoine Jullien’s moral thermometer, to improve his moral character. He will situate Naville’s use of these tools within the Swiss pedagogical reform movement of Pestalozzi and others in the early nineteenth century and will examine in detail how Naville used and adapted Franklin and Jullien’s tools of moral accounting for his own moral and religious purposes. We will see that God’s most precious gift to man, Time, provided Naville the ultimate measure of his moral worth.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here: