|1||Shelby||M/W||12:30pm to 1:45pm||
The period of Western philosophy commonly referred to as “modern” (roughly the end of the 16th century to the end of the 18th century) is often presented as a period narrowly focused on questions of epistemology: questions concerning the nature and extent of human knowledge. In our course, we will examine some of these basic epistemological themes, while attempting to broaden that scope a bit by also surveying some of the metaphysical themes that modern thinkers inherit from classical and medieval philosophy. We will be reading and discussing texts by Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, and Kant. Some of the basic questions we will be addressing are as follows: how does the strictly causal realm of matter in motion relate to the mental, subjective character of knowledge, and what can we claim about the nature of subjectivity within that relation? Similarly, can philosophy establish a foundation for knowledge that can save scientific inquiry from the challenges of skepticism?