The History of Modern Philosophy
Classroom: Silver 411
Telephone: 212 998-7884
Office: 269 Mercer St., Room 525
Office hours: MW 12:30-2:00 or by appointment
Modern Philosophy. An Anthology of Primary Sources, ed. By Roger Ariew and Eric Watkins. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Inc.
Supplementary readings will be posted on the course web-site:
Evaluation will be based on philosophical skills such as reading texts critically, the analysis of concepts and reasoning, devising arguments to support a viewpoint, awareness of opposing positions and possible counterarguments, and the ability to respond appropriately to objections.
The midterm examination on the Rationalists will take place when we finish Leibniz (approximately the seventh week of the term) and will count for 20% of your grade. It will consist of two sections containing two questions each. You will be required to answer one question per section. Bluebook required.
A paper due the last week of classes will be 40% of your grade. It must be a minimum of five complete pages and should not exceed seven pages. A list of topics will be distributed shortly after the midterm.
The cumulative final examination will be 40% of your grade. It will consist of four sections of two questions each, of which you will answer one per section. Bluebook required.
There will be a topics sheet distributed in advance of the final.
III. Reading assignments
- THE RATIONALISTS
Week 1: Introduction to course. Descartes – Meditations on First Philosophy, beginning through Second Meditation
Week 2: Descartes – Meditations on First Philosophy, Third through Fifth Meditations plus Objections and Replies
Week 3: Descartes – Meditations on First Philosophy, Sixth Meditation. Spinoza –Ethics Book I
Week 4: Spinoza – Ethics Book II
Weeks 5 - 6: Spinoza – Ethics Book V. Leibniz – Discourse on Metaphysics and Correspondence with Arnauld
- THE EMPIRICISTS
Week 7: Midterm. Introduction to Empiricism. Locke – Essay concerning Human Understanding I.1-2 and II.1-14.
Week 8: Locke – Essay concerning Human Understanding II.21-23, 27, III.3, 6
Week 9: Locke – Essay concerning Human Understanding IV.1-4, 10-11, 15-16. Berkeley – Principles of Human Knowledge Preface and Introduction
Week 10: Berkeley – Principles of Human KnowledgePart I §§ 1-33, New Theory of Vision
Week 11: Hume – An Inquiry concerning Human Understanding Sections 1-6, A Treatise of Human Nature I.iii.3
Week 12: Hume – An Inquiry concerning Human Understanding Sections 6-12
Week 13: Hume – A Treatise of Human Nature I.iv.2,6
Week 14: Kant – Critique of Pure Reason B edition Preface and Introduction, Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics Preface and Preamble. Term papers due.