PHIL 220.001 – Modern Philosophy: Descartes to Hume

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Instructor: Alan Nelson. This course meets TR 12:30 – 1:45 p.m. in CW 103.

Modern (Western) Philosophy (roughly 1600-1780) is dominated by attempts to integrate traditional systems of theology and politics with the rapidly developing, revolutionary understanding of the natural world. We’ll focus on Descartes, the philosopher and scientist who did the most to set the philosophical agenda for this period (and for a good deal of 21st century philosophy). This will provide a basis for considering developments due to Margaret Cavendish, Thomas Hobbes, Baruch Spinoza, George Berkeley, Gottfried Leibniz, and David Hume.  Topics include Mind, Matter, Space and Time, the foundations of morality, God, and the nature of human knowledge of these things.