Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2023

Course Description

Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant attempted some of the more ambitious projects in Western philosophical history, trying to identify the extent of human knowledge and the true nature of the universe. This course is a chance to understand and critically engage with their projects and begin to see the universe in radically different ways through the eyes of these brilliant people. We will survey key texts from each of them, getting a sense of their overall arc and zooming in on especially interesting arguments. In your writing you will practice articulating complex and difficult ideas and critically evaluating them.

Student Outcomes

To put the above another way, students will be able to: • Understand and summarize important works by Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. • Explain how these thinkers argue for their views. • Identify areas of agreement and disagreement between them. • Critically evaluate the arguments of those thinkers and others (e.g., me, other students) give. • Demonstrate your grasp of the above in reading responses, exams, and discussion.