Academic year
2020/2021 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
FT0423 (AF:312487 AR:178981)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Bachelor's Degree Programme
Educational sector code
3rd Term
Course year
Go to Moodle page
This course offers a survey of the history of modern philosophy, covering the major figures in the history of Western thought in the 17th and 18th centuries, within the broadest discipline of the history of philosophy. After briefly reviewing the developments in the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Scientific Revolution which set the stage for the appearance of the modern world view, the course will pay particular attention in reviewing this history of thought to problems in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and political philosophy. At the end of the course it will be considered how this history of thought shaped the development of subsequent philosophy.

The course aims to provide a good understanding of key problems and ideas which shaped the history of modern philosophy. At the end of the course the students should have a good understanding of the difference between the traditions of Rationalism and Empiricism that divided Western thought during this period, as well as some understanding of how this difference has continued to shape the course of the development of philosophy. Considerable attention will also be given to understanding that intellectual, cultural movement known as the Enlightenment, a movement which came to a culmination in the philosophies of Hume and Kant at the end of the 18th century and which continues to shape, to some extent, the world today. In critically reviewing this history of thought the course also seeks to develop important critical thinking skills.
At the end of the course the students
1) should demonstrate knowledge and understanding in early modern philosophy that builds upon and their general secondary education, and is typically at a level that includes some aspects that will be informed by knowledge of the forefront of the philosophical research;
2) could apply their knowledge and understanding in a manner that indicates a professional approach to their possible work or vocation, and have competences typically demonstrated through devising and sustaining arguments and solving philosophical problems;
3) should have the ability to gather and interpret relevant data of a historical text to inform judgements that include reflection on relevant social, scientific or ethical issues;
4) could communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to both specialist and non-specialist audiences;
5) should have developed those learning skills that are necessary for them to continue to undertake more advanced courses or further study with a high degree of autonomy.

The readings, lectures, and assignments will be designed to
• introduce students to some of the central figures in early modern philosophy (Descartes through Kant) and the questions and arguments that preoccupied them;
• introduce students to philosophical methodology in the history of philosophy;
• foster critical engagement with the ideas and arguments discussed;
• increase competencies in reading and writing philosophical texts.
A general knowledge of the history of early modern philosophy is preferable, but not necessary.
The subject of the course is the history of early modern philosophy from Bacon to Rousseau. The following topics will be examined:

1) Introduction
2) Philosophy at the edge of the early modern times
3) Francis Bacon
4) Galileo Galilei
5) René Descartes
6) Blaise Pascal
7) Thomas Hobbes
8) Baruch Spinoza
9) John Locke
10) George Berkeley
11) Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
12) Isaac Newton
13) David Hume
14) Illuminismo
15) Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The text book is Giuseppe Cambiano e Massimo Mori, Tempi del pensiero. Storia e antologia della filosofia, Roma-Bari, Editori Laterza 2012

Other material will be uploaded on moodle.
The oral exam, ca. 30 minutes, will be on 4/5 topics discussed in class and in particular on the discussion of the homework, which will be an integrating part of the exam
The course will be on-line with a video of 10-15 minutes and series of questions to answer before proceeding to the next lecture.
Accessibility, Disability and Inclusion

Ca’ Foscari abides by Italian Law (Law 17/1999; Law 170/2010) regarding support services and accommodation available to students with disabilities. This includes students with mobility, visual, hearing and other disabilities (Law 17/1999), and specific learning impairments (Law 170/2010). If you have a disability or impairment that requires accommodations (i.e., alternate testing, readers, note takers or interpreters) please contact the Disability and Accessibility Offices in Student Services: disabilita@unive.it.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 21/01/2021