Department of Philosophy
History of Modern Philosophy, Part I
This course will consist in a study of the philosophical school of Rationalism, the main current of philosophical thought in continental Europe in the 17th century. We will also touch on related movements of the period, such as Cambridge Platonism. We will pay particular attention to the metaphysical problems of cause, substance, and mind-body interaction, and freedom of the will, and will also consider early modern philosophy in its close relationship with the experimental sciences of the day, in particular with mechanical physics.
Hall Building 509
Instructor: Justin Smith
Office Hours: TJ 12:30-14:00
Address: PR-402, 2100 Mackay Street, SGW Campus
Telephone: 848-2424 x. 2504
Roger Ariew and Eric Watkins (Eds.), Modern Philosophy: An Anthology of Primary Sources (Hackett).
Available at Concordia University Bookstore.
Means of evaluation:
• Two midterm exams consisting in short answer and essay questions (20% each).
• One final exam consisting in short answer and essay questions (20%).
• One final paper of 5-7 pages on an assigned topic (20%).
• Class attendance and participation (20%).
September 2. Introduction: What do we mean by ‘modern’?
September 4. The Scientific Revolution: Galileo, The Assayer(excerpts); Francis Bacon, Novum Organon (excerpts).
September 9. René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy. Meditation I.
September 11. Descartes, Meditations II and III.
September 16. Descartes, Meditations IV and V.
September 18. Descartes, Meditation VI.
September 23. Descartes, Correspondence with Elizabeth (excerpts).
September 25. Descartes, Passions of the Soul (excerpts).
September 30. Nicolas Malebranche, The Search after Truth (excerpts).
October 2. Malebranche, Search (continued).
October 7. Baruch Spinoza, Ethics, Part I.
October 9. Spinoza, Ethics, Part I., continued.
October 14. Spinoza, Ethics, Part II.
October 16. Spinoza, Ethics, Part II, continued.
October 21. Anne Conway, Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy (excerpts).
October 23. Henry More, The Immortality of the Soul (excerpts).
October 28. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics.
October 30. Leibniz, Discourse (continued).
November 4. Leibniz, Correspondence with Arnauld (excerpts).
November 6. Leibniz, Principles of Nature and of Grace (excerpts).
November 11. Leibniz, New System of Nature.
November 13. Leibniz, New System of Nature (continued).
November 18. Leibniz, Monadology.
November 20. Leibniz, Monadology (continued).
November 25. Open.
November 27. Review.