PHILO215.051_Spring2011 - 1 PHILO 215.051 Syllabus PHILO...

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1 PHILO 215.051 Syllabus PHILO 215.051 (W) Foundations of (Early) Modern Philosophy Course Information Term Spring 2011 Code 1993 Time Tues. & Thurs., 19:00-20:15 Place HW 506 Instructor Moti Mizrahi Email Address Office HW 1447 Office Hours Tues. & Thurs., 18:00-19:00 Prerequisites ENGL 120 & 1 Philosophy Course (101/103/104/106) Course Description This course provides a historical survey of major philosophical developments in metaphysics and epistemology from roughly the 16 th through the 18 th century in Western Europe. We will read and discuss selected works of major Early Modern philosophers, such as Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, with special focus on their views about methodology, the fundamental nature of reality, the foundations and extent of knowledge, and natural philosophy. We will try as much as possible to place the texts and ideas of these thinkers in the intellectual and historical context in which they emerged. A note on prerequisites : The official prerequisites for this course are ENGL 120 (PHILO 215 is a writing intensive course) and one philosophy course (101/103/104/106/201). The course will be taught at a level of rigor and sophistication that assumes students have a background in the methods and problems of philosophy. I strongly recommend taking Intro to Logic & Critical Thinking, as well as Knowledge & Reality, before taking this course. Successfully completing PHILO 103 and PHILO 201 would be excellent preparation for this course. Students who are worried about their readiness for this course are encouraged to discuss this matter with me as soon as possible. Course Objectives 1. You will improve critical thinking by developing skills of identifying, reconstructing, interpreting, and analyzing arguments of Early Modern philosophers as well as explaining and critically examining Early Modern theories and issues in epistemology and metaphysics. 2. You will improve writing skills by explaining, interpreting, and critically examining Early Modern theories and arguments relating to epistemology and metaphysics clearly in writing. 3. You will acquire a familiarity with and an understanding of some Early Modern philosophical literature and will be able to explain important contributions to the history of philosophy made by major figures of the period. A note on studying the history of philosophy and “doing philosophy” : When studying the history of philosophy, one should approach it as one would approach contemporary philosophy. That is to say, it’s as important to identify, reconstruct, and evaluate the arguments of some historical figure, such as Descartes, as it is to identify, reconstruct, and evaluate the arguments of contemporary philosophers. In
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2 PHILO 215.051 Syllabus each case, one must apply the principle of charity (i.e., the methodological principle that arguments and theories should be understood in their strongest and most persuasive form before they are subjected to
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This note was uploaded on 02/25/2011 for the course PHILO 201 taught by Professor Mizrahi during the Spring '11 term at CUNY Hunter.

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PHILO215.051_Spring2011 - 1 PHILO 215.051 Syllabus PHILO...

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