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Instructor: Devin Lane. This course meets MTWRF 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. via remote synchronous (RS) instruction.

In this course, we will study the work of some of the major philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries. We will spend a great deal of time on the work of René Descartes, David Hume, and John Locke, though we will engage with others as well. In addition to historical figures, we will also engage with more recent philosophy that tackles the same issues. We will study the historical and the contemporary in parallel to come to a better understanding of both. Some questions we will address:

  • Is knowledge possible? Or should we be skeptics?
  • If we do have knowledge, does it all come from experience? Or do we also have some additional, non-empirical knowledge?
  • What, if anything, justifies the use of induction?
  • What is causation?
  • What is the relationship between knowledge and uncertainty? Can we have knowledge even if we still have some degree of uncertainty?

This list is certainly not exhaustive. Time permitting, we will also investigate questions concerning how language works, whether morality is objective, and which political system is most justified.

All are welcome; no prior experience with philosophy is assumed.