<<

329L: Early : Descartes to Kant Spring 2020 Unique numbers: 41355, 41360 MW 11:30-1, WAG 420

This course is an introduction to . The objectives of the class are to identify and analyze arguments in philosophical texts of the early modern period, and to become familiar with central themes and problems. Topics include causation, substance, and the possibility of . The relationship of philosophical theories to contemporary science be an ongoing theme.

Professor: Katherine Dunlop Email: kdunlop[at]utexas.edu Office: WAG 410B Office telephone number: (512) 232-8467 Office Hours: Wednesday 1:30 – 3:00, and by appointment (Please note that I do not permit concealed carry of weapons in my office.)

TA: Matthew Matherne Email: mmatherne[at]utexas.edu Office: WAG 309 Office Hours: Monday 1:00 – 3:00

Required texts are available for purchase at the UT Co-Op. If you obtain them from another source, make sure to get the correct edition/translation.

Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy. Cambridge U.P., 1996. Nicolas Malebranche, Philosophical Selections. Hackett Publishing Co., 1992. , An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Hackett Publishing Co., 1993. , Prolegomena to Any Future . Cambridge U.P., 1997.

Additional required readings will be available on the course Canvas site.

A reminder about academic honesty. UT’s Honor Code is: “The core values of the University are learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility. Each member of the university is expected to uphold these values through integrity, honesty, trust, fairness, and respect towards peers and community.” In the academic context, honesty means taking credit only for work that is your own. Consult the professor or TA if you are not certain how to acknowledge sources you use.

Students with disabilities may request appropriate academic accommodations from the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, Services for Students with Disabilities. Grading. The components of the course will be weighted as follows. These weightings are defaults and may be adjusted in individual cases on the basis of instructors’ judgment (e.g. to reflect significant improvement).

First Paper (): 20% First Exam (): 20% Second Exam (): 20% Second Paper (): 30% Class participation: 5% Section attendance: 5%

Note: In the typical case, ungraded portions of the course (participation and section attendance) will count toward the overall course grade as the weighted average of graded portions. So in typical cases, attendance and participation will not raise the grade earned on graded work, but failure to attend and participate can lower your overall grade.

Why coming to class matters for your grade. Staying informed: The outline of material included in this syllabus is provisional; the timing and selection of readings may change, and you must attend class to stay current with any changes. Papers: In the absence of documented extenuating circumstances, late papers will be penalized by 1/3 of a letter grade per day. E.g., a paper turned in 2 days late that would otherwise have received an “A” will be given a “B+”. Exams: Except in the case of documented illness or other emergency, it will not be possible to make up missed exams. Participation: You may demonstrate participation in office hours and through communication with instructors, but to earn full credit for participation, you must attend class regularly.

Schedule of Readings and Assignments. This is a provisional outline of material to be covered. The actual pace of the class and selection of material will be determined by students’ interest. It is important to attend class regularly to stay current on the readings!

Week 1, January 22: Introduction to Early Modern Philosophy and to Descartes’s Meditations. Reading: Descartes, Meditations (all).

Week 2, January 27 - 29: Descartes on Doubt and Certainty. Reading: Descartes, First Meditation.

Week 3, February 3 - 5 and Week 4, February 10 - 12: Descartes on the Self and . Reading: We will still be discussing the First Meditation at the beginning of Week 3, but will move quickly to the Second and Third Meditations. First Paper Topics will be assigned by Friday, February 14.

Week 5, February 17 - 19: Descartes on the Foundations of Science. Reading: Descartes, Fourth and Fifth Meditations and Treatise on .

Week 6, February 24 - 26: Introduction to Early Modern . Reading: Boyle, On the Origin of Forms and Qualities (excerpts). First Paper Due Wednesday, February 26.

Week 7, March 2 - 4: Boyle on the of . Reading: Boyle, Free Enquiry into the Vulgarly Received Notion of Nature (excerpts).

Week 8, March 9: Descartes on the Human . Reading: Descartes, Sixth Meditation. Note: No class March 11. Compensatory reading will be assigned.

March 16 – 18: Spring Break.

Week 9, March 23 – 25: Malebranche and Descartes on and Body. Reading: Malebranche, Search After , pp. 3-26, 38-45; First and Second , pp. 147-167.

Week 10, March 30 – April 1: Malebranche on Mind and . Reading: First Exam Monday, March 30. Reading: Malebranche, Third and Fourth Dialogues, 168-197.

Week 11, April 6 – 8: Malebranche’s . Reading: Search After Truth, 92-144; Dialogues, 239-253.

Week 12, April 13 - 15: Hume. Reading: For an introduction to Hume (Apr. 13), read Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section I (pp. 1 – 9) and “Letter from a Gentleman” (pp. 115 – 124). Then read Sections II and III (pp. 9 – 15) for Apr. 15.

Week 13, April 20 - 22: Hume’s Empiricism, with Special Reference to Causation. Reading: Hume, Enquiry, Sections II through VII (pp. 9 – 53). Second Exam Wednesday, April 22.

Week 14, April 27 - 29: Hume on and Skepticism. Reading: Hume, Enquiry, Sections IX-XII (pp. 69-114).

Week 15, May 4 - 6: Kant’s Solution to Hume’s Problem. Reading: Prolegomena (Preface, pp. 5-14; Preamble, §§1-3; §5; §§18-20; §§27-32). Second Paper Due Friday, May 8.