Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 700292-B-6
History of Modern Philosophy
Course info
Course module700292-B-6
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryBA (Bachelor)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byTilburg University; Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences; TSH: Department of Philosophy; Philosophy;
Is part of
B Philosophy
PM Ethics of Business and Organizations
PM Philosophy of Contemporary Challenges
PM Philosophy of Humanity and Culture
PM Academic Teacher in Philosophy
prof. dr. W.B. Drees
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2019
Starting block
SM 2
Course mode
Registration openfrom 15/01/2020 up to and including 21/08/2020

Upon successful completion of the course, you will be able:

  1. To define and explain key philosophical terms, concepts, arguments and issues as discussed in the modern period;
  2. 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;
  3. To reconstruct major arguments developed by leading philosophers of the modern period (such as Spinoza, Hume, and Kant);
  4. To understand and analyze philosophical texts from the modern period by reconstructing their context, their goals, their specific targets, and their arguments;
  5. 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)

Required Prerequisites
no prerequisite required.

Assignments (more details in Canvas)
1. For Bachelorstudents Philosophy: Six tutorials text reading (minor assignments and participation, 25 %)
1. For Premaster students: Midterm assignment (25 %)
2. For all students: Concluding exam (75 %)
Resit for the midterm or the tutorials 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 or at the tutorials, 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.

Lectures will be in English unless all participants are fluent in Dutch; additional tutorials for bachelor students philosophy will be in Dutch. See Canvas for more details.

Compulsory Reading
  1. Anthony Kenny, The Rise of Modern Philosophy. (A New History of Western Philosophy, Volume III.) Oxford University Press, 2006.
  2. Texts read in seminars; see for further details Canvas.
  3. Handouts and additional materials as provided during the course; see Canvas
Course available for exchange students
Conditions of admission apply
Contact person
prof. dr. W.B. Drees
Timetable information
History of Modern Philosophy
Required materials
Title:The Rise of Modern Philosophy
Author:Anthony Kenny
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Handouts and additional materials will be made available in Canvas
Recommended materials

Written (Open Book)

Final Result

Kies de Nederlandse taal