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.