PHIL 220.001 – 17th and 18th Century Western Philosophy

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Instructor: Alan Nelson. This course meets TR 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in CW 103.

Western philosophy from roughly 1600-1800 is dominated by attempts to integrate traditional systems of theology and politics with the rapidly developing, revolutionary, scientific understanding of the natural world. In this course we’ll focus on René Descartes, the philosopher, scientist, and mathematician 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 in Thomas Hobbes and Margaret Cavendish. We will also more briefly consider the philosophies of Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Leibniz, and Hume. Topics include Mind, Matter, Space and Time, the foundations of morality, God, and the extent of human knowledge of these things.