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This course is a survey of 17th- and 18th-century European philosophy with a focus on the nature of reality and the limits of knowledge (metaphysics and epistemology, respectively). That span—the “modern” era of philosophy—was active and exciting in a way that continues to attract much scholarly interest. Moreover, it remains a crucial inspiration for many contemporary philosophical approaches and themes. Understanding modern philosophy is to confront the ambitions and hopes of the Enlightenment, and to uncover the foundations and assumptions of contemporary Western philosophy. Topics include the origin and composition of the universe, the relation of mind and body, skepticism, free will, rationality, and the role of science in human understanding.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
weekly papers plus midterm and final exams
Philosophy majors must take either PHIL 201 or PHIL 202 (and can take both)