Philosophy 305

PHIL 305: Early Modern Philosophy

Prerequisite: PHIL 114

Credit Hours: (3)

This course traces the development of Western philosophy from Descartes in the early 17th century through Hume in the mid- 18th century. Emphasis is placed on the metaphysical and epistemological systems of such major philosophers as Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, and Hume.


Detailed Description of the Content of the Course

This course traces the development of Western Philosophy from the Renaissance through the 18th century. Emphasis will be placed on the enduring contributions of past thinkers as well as on the development of human thought and culture. Philosophical developments are related to developments in science, religion, art, and politics. Emphasis is on metaphysics, epistemology, social, and political philosophy. Texts used in this course may include:

  • Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes
  • Meditations on First Philosophy, by Descartes
  • Ethics, by Spinoza
  • Monadology and Discourse on Metaphysics, by Leibniz
  • Essay Concerning Human Understanding, by Locke
  • Treatise on Civil Government, by Locke
  • Three Dialogues, by Berkeley
  • The Social Contract, by Rousseau
  • Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding, by Hume
  • Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics, by Kant
  • Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, by Kant


Detailed Description of the Conduct of the Course

This course combines lecture and discussion formats. Because philosophy can only take place through active involvement, the student is expected to attend regularly and to contribute to class discussions.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Students should:

1. Come to an understanding of the major philosophical problems of this period and the important contributions of major philosophers.
2. Understand how modern philosophical movements have influenced current thought about God, man, nature, etc.


Assessment Measures

Graded assignments may include essay exams, research papers, reflection essays, and class preparation and participation.


Other Course Information

This course is required of all Philosophy and Religious Studies majors who wish to concentrate in philosophy.


Approval and Subsequent Reviews

July 1991 None Charles D. Taylor
May 1994 None Kim J. Kipling
May 1995 Catalog entry revised Kim J. Kipling
January 27, 1997 Title change prerequisite change Approved by VPAA
April 17, 1998 Reviewed Kim Kipling
September 18, 2001 Reviewed Kim Kipling

July, 2010