STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY – DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY PHI 206: MODERN PHILOSOPHY SECTION 01 Syllabus – Spring Semester 2016 Professor: Jeffrey Edwards (Philosophy) Office Hours: 246 Harriman Hall Mo/We 1:00-2:15; Tu/Th (by appointment) Email: [email protected] Teaching Assistants: Chris Fremaux ( [email protected] ) and Ethan Hallerman ([email protected]) COURSE DESCRIPTION Undergraduate Bulletin Description: Readings and discussion of the major thinkers of the 17th and 18th centuries, e.g., Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant, who all reflect the scientific, philosophical and political revolutions that would lay part of the foundation of our own age. Advisory Prerequisite: U2 standing or one course in philosophy This course, PHI 206, belongs to a family of courses offered by the Philosophy Department. It has a twin sibling course, PHI 200, which treats ancient Greek philosophy. Both PHI 200 and 206 enable you to take courses in the Philosophy Department’s more advanced 300 -level sequences on the history of philosophy. COURSE LEARNING OBJECTIVES Our course provides an overview of key developments in Western philosophy during the early modern period. We will begin by examining modern thinkers' concern to reshape traditional conceptions of knowledge and reassess the moral foundations of political life. We will seek to understand this concern in connection with the religious and social conflicts of early modern Europe and in view of the rise of natural science. Against this background we will go on to survey important developmental aspects of modern philosophy between 1600 and 1800. We will pay special attention to pivotal metaphysical, epistemological, and moral arguments presented by the following thinkers: Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Hume, and Kant. Your most fundamental objective in taking this course is thus to gain a historically well grounded understanding of philosophical concepts, principles, methods, and problems that continue to shape our understanding of material nature and the conditions of human agency in nature.
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