Themes in metaphysics and epistemology in early modern and contemporary philosophy
This course addresses some philosophical topics that are in the focus of interest both in the early modern period and contemporary research. One goal of the course is to explore how assumptions in formulating and answering problems changed in the history of philosophy. For each topic, we will pair readings from the early modern period with a representative piece from the contemporary period.
Topics: Scepticism, Justification and the nature of knowledge, Perception, Substance, Freedom, Dualism/physicalism.
We aim to develop the following skills: presenting, with a minimum of jargon, the central claims of our philosophers so that it is clear to a thoughtful non-specialist what these claims mean; providing textual evidence that our interpretation is accurate; making explicit the logical structure of the arguments, which includes uncovering implicit principles and assumptions; and finally, evaluating the arguments for cogency and persuasiveness and considering possible responses to objections.
- 20% presentation
- 80% term paper
- Informed and active participation in the seminar discussions will be taken into account in borderline cases to improve the grade.