Graduate Program (& Advanced Certificate) Status
This course is a survey of 17th and 18th-century philosophy meant to fulfill a core requirement in the 2-year MA program. The main aim of the course is to acquire knowledge of the central issues and arguments of the early modern period. Reading will be drawn from the works of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley and Hume. Topics will include knowledge and skepticism, the nature of substance, the relation of mind and body, the scope and limits of scientific explanation, personal identity and freedom and necessity. By the end of the course students will be able to read historical texts and interpret and evaluate their philosophical content.
At the completion of their work for this course, students will be able to present, with a minimum of jargon, the central claims of a historically significant philosopher so that it is clear to a thoughtful non-specialist what these claims mean; provide textual evidence that their interpretation is accurate; and evaluate the position arguments for cogency and persuasiveness.