Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able:
- To define and explain key philosophical terms, concepts, arguments and issues as discussed in the modern period;
- To place different authors within a coherent chronological and/ or thematic narrative and explain their position on key issues relative to those of predecessors, contemporaries, and later thinkers;
- To reconstruct major arguments developed by leading philosophers of the modern period (such as Spinoza, Hume, and Kant);
- To understand and analyze philosophical texts from the modern period by reconstructing their context, their goals, their specific targets, and their arguments;
- To engage with historical philosophical arguments critically, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses, presenting objections and considering replies.
Course specific skill: primary text reading (interpretation, explanation)
no prerequisite required.
Assignments (more details in Canvas)
1. Midterm assignment (25 %)
2. Concluding exam (75 %)
Resit for the midterm will be a new essay assignment, to be submitted before the concluding exam. In as far as the new essay relies substantially on feedback given to the first essay, such improvements will contribute less to the grade for the new essay.
Resit for the concluding exam will be scheduled.
The course surveys the rise of modern philosophy, from the sixteenth century to the beginning of the nineteenth century, and some major philosophical themes as discussed in this period. Themes include epistemological ones (knowledge, science), ontological ones (metaphysics, mind and soul), practical ones (ethics, social philosophy), and theological ones (God). Key thinkers considered will be René Descartes, Benedict Spinoza, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and others. The main aim of the course is to introduce students to a formative period of philosophy and modern critical thinking, to the ideas of major thinkers from that period, and thereby to important philosophical discussions, concepts, and arguments.
- Anthony Kenny, The Rise of Modern Philosophy. (A New History of Western Philosophy, Volume III.) Oxford University Press, 2006.
- Texts read in seminars; see for further details Canvas.
- Handouts and additional materials as provided during the course; see Canvas