PHIL 220.001 – 17th and 18th Century Western Philosophy

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Instructor: Nathan L. Smith. This course meets MWF 2:30 – 3:20 p.m. in PE 2080 via in-person instruction.

This course serves as an introduction to early modern philosophy, which set the contours of much of our thought today. Topics include the origin of our ideas and whether any are innate; the nature of experience; whether true knowledge is possible and how we are sure when we have it; how minds relate to bodies and whether one is prior to the other; beauty, its value, and how we find it; and God. Texts include Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy, Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Berkeley’s Three Dialogues, and Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature, as well as Hutcheson and Hume on aesthetic concerns.

There are no prerequisites, and the course is open to students of all majors. No background in philosophy is presumed, although students of philosophy will find their experience a valuable and welcome contribution.