Spring 2020 Schedule

All dates given below are subject to change.

Important Dates

20 Feb Term Paper 1 Posted
5 Mar Term Paper 1 Due
12 Mar Term Test 1
26 Mar Term Paper 2 Posted
14 Apr Term Paper 2 Due
7 May Term Test 2

Schedule of Topics & Readings

B = available on Blackboard
Unit 0 Introduction to Early Modern Philosophy
28 & 30 Jan Descartes and the Scientific Revolution
Francis Bacon, Selections from New Organon
Galileo Galilei, Selections from The Assayer
René Descartes, Discourse on the Method, Parts 1–2
Unit 1 Foundations: Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy
4 & 6 Feb 1.1 Descartes on Skepticism, Certainty, & God
Meditations I–III
11 & 13 Feb 1.2 Cartesian Dualism & Its Early Critics
Meditations V–VI
“The Cartesian Circle”: Selections from the Objections and Replies B
18 Feb Unit 1 Discussion
Unit 2 Metaphysics After Descartes: the Mind-Body Problem
20 & 25 Feb 2.1 Discovery of the Problem: Elisabeth of Bohemia & Malebranche
Elisabeth of Bohemia, Selections from Correspondence with Descartes
Nicolas Malebranche, Selections from The Search After Truth (Optional)
Margaret Cavendish, Selections from Philosophical Letters
27 Feb 2.2 Is Mind-Body Interaction a Miracle? Malebranche and Leibniz on Substance
G. W. Leibniz, New System
Damaris Cudworth, Selections from Correspondence with Leibniz (Optional)
3 & 5 Mar 2.3 Idealism: Berkeley’s Empiricist Critique of Matter
George Berkeley, Three Dialogues, Preface & First Dialogue
Mary Shepherd, Selections from Essays
10 Mar Unit 2 Discussion
12 Mar Term Test 1
Unit 3 Epistemology after Descartes: Rationalism & Empiricism
17 & 19 Mar 3.1 Locke’s Critique of Innatism
John Locke, Essay I.i, I.ii.1–8, 15–16, 22
G. W. Leibniz, Selections from Preface to the New Essays
24 & 26 Mar 3.2 Locke’s Empiricism
John Locke, Essay II.i.1–9, II.ii, II.viii.7–26, II.xii, II.xxiii.1–4
31 Mar & 2 Apr 3.3 Hume’s Skeptical Empiricism
Hume, Enquiry Sects. II–V
14 Apr Unit 3 Discussion
Unit 4 Rationalism After Descartes: Kant’s Transcendental Philosophy
16 & 21 Apr 4.1 Kant’s Prolegomena I: the Possibility of Metaphysics
Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics, Preface & Preamble
23 & 28 Apr 4.2 Kant’s Prolegomena II: Pure Mathematics & Pure Natural Science
Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, Sects. 6–23, 27–38
30 Apr 4.3 Kant’s Prolegomena III: A Science of Metaphysics?
Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, Sects. 40–44, Scholium: Solution to the General Question of the Prolegomena, “How is metaphysics possible as a science?”
5 May Unit 4 Discussion
7 May Term Test 2