The focus of this course includes central themes in European thought during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (1600-1800), when currents stemming from the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution combine, gain force, and threaten to erode traditional cornerstones of Western Culture. Basic assumptions concerning God, the natural world, and human beings are brought into question, examined, and either modified and defended or rejected and replaced with alternative commitments.
The bulk of our time will be spent on the texts and contexts of three central figures: Descartes, Hume, and Kant. Each takes up the intellectual currents of the time in unique ways that continue to impact the theory and practice of contemporary philosophy, the humanities, and both the social and natural sciences.
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
- Discuss the cultural context of Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century European thought and the philosophical movements that emerge during the time
- Read philosophical texts and answer questions about their argumentative structure and the positions they develop and defend
- Write clear and concise essays explaining motivations, reconstructing arguments, and comparing and evaluating philosophical positions
Modern Philosophy: An Anthology of Primary Sources (2nd Edition)
Ariew and Watkins eds., Hackett 2009, ISBN: 9780872209787
(If you experience problems with this link, go directly through the ANGEL site for the course to access readings in ‘Additional Readings’ folder.)