Philosophy 303                                                                                                                                          Office: LAEB 7142
Spring 1996                                                                                                                                                   Phone: 49-44428
T,Th: 10:30-11:45; LAEB 1222                                                                                                  Office Hours: M, 2:30-4:00
Phil 303
Professor Cover

Welcome to the Spring 1996 session of Philosophy 303.  I hope you all had a good winter break, and have returned
to campus rested and eager to start a new semester.  I guess we're starting, whether we're rested and eager or not.
Course Description

The catalogue description for this course is sufficiently general to be at once helpful and unhelpful:  it tells you that
we'll "concentrate on major philosophical figures from the Renaissance to the beginning of the nineteenth century,"
and gives you a batch of names.  That orients you to the big picture, but leaves plenty unsaid, and invites you to come
into the course with expectations that may be reasonable but in fact misplaced.  You might, for example, expect that
we'll make some effort to trace out the historical lineages of political (say) or religious thought, as it figures in the
hands of intellectuals in the early modern period.  A course doing this or something like it would have considerably
more historical, less philosophical flavor than ours shall in fact have.  Or you might expect that we'll try to ferret
out broadly cultural artifacts of the 17th and 18th century thinkers, engaging their texts as a critical theorist might
engage them--to discover beneath their surface various social (say, power) relations among the voices or ideologies
they represent.  That too would be a reasonable but unmet expectation in this course.  Here is the description of our
course that went into the Spring 1996 Philosophy Department course description packet:

In this course we shall treat the history of philosophy not as history with a certain subject, but rather as philosophy
with a certain focus.  The material we examine will be taken up not out of respect for the past, nor for the purpose of uncovering intellectual, social, moral, or emotional currents influencing the central figures in early modern philosophy,
but simply out of an intrinsic desire to discover the truth about the world.  That is what philosophy is, according to
those thinkers most influential in European philosophical thought during the so-called early modern period (roughly 1600-1800).  They made claims about how the world is; these claims are either true or false--true if the world is the
way they claimed it is, false if the world isn't the way they claimed it is.  Of these influential thinkers, we shall examine
the philosophical writings of five:  Descartes, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.  Readings and lectures will focus
primarily on metaphysical and epistemological topics, since those are the philosophical topics of central concern to
these figures.

I wrote that to be informative, in a way the catalogue description wasn't informative.  While I think it's fine to be
concerned with charting intellectual history or cultural currents (and weíll do some very small unavoidable bits of
that as we go), it turns out that I am not concerned to approach the course in that way, but rather in a more
philosophical way.  My hope is that we can all adjust our expectations so as to be more closely aligned with the
material and methodology of the course as it will be taught this semester--more closely aligned than your expectations might otherwise be if that description werenít in place.  Please don't let any of this put you off from asking questions
of a purely historical or cultural nature, if you have them.  I may well not have their correct answers, but presumably
none of them deserve to go unasked if you reckon them interesting and relevant to our discussion.

And on reflection, perhaps it doesn't go without repeating that we will focus primarily on the metaphysical and epistemological doctrines of the figures we'll be reading.  Metaphysics is the study of what there is and the nature
of what there is; from the Greeks on down, until relatively recently, that has been reckognized as what Aristotle
called "first philosophy"--as central and foundational to this enterprise we call philosophical inquiry.  I do see
metaphysics as central to the writings of these thinkers.  So did they, it turns out; and so, I hope, will you.  Epistemology
is the study of knowledge, and we'll do a fair bit of epistemology along the way.  One of the themes crucial to understanding the early modern period, I think, is the interplay between metaphysics and epistemology.  Indeed,
it is useful to see the so-called Empiricists (Berkely and Hume) as arriving at their metaphysical agendas via a kind
of epistemological critique of the earlier Rationalists (Descartes and Leibniz), and to see Kant as reacting to this
conflict between these two traditions.

Course Objectives

The primary objective of this course is to introduce students to some of the most important and influential
philosophical themes of the early modern period, as they found expression in its most central figures.  Students
should come out of the course (i) acquainted with the broad outlines of European philosophy in the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries, (ii) familiar with the details of particular doctrines of particular figures, and (iii) in
possession of the critical analytic tools necessary to properly engage historical texts (in philosophy) on their own.

Required Texts

We shall look at five figures in the early modern period, and there are five required texts, available at Follett's
and University Bookstores.  You'll need to purchase these books.

Descartes (Cottingham, et. al.)         CSM           Descartes: Selected Philosophical Writings (Cambridge)

G. W. Leibniz (Ariew and Garber)  AG              Philosophical Essays (Hackett)

George Berkeley (Winkler)              W                A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (Hackett)

David Hume (Steinberg)                   S                 An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Hackett)

Immanuel Kant (Beck)                      B                 Kant: Sections (Macmillan)

Course Requirements

There will be two shorter writing assignments--"overnight," take-home essay questions to answer--, and two
medium-length papers assigned.  The first writing assignment and first paper are meant to see how well you're
keeping up with, and working to understand, the readings.  The second assignment and paper will give you a
chance to present a more sustained bit of writing on a topic of my choosing, presented in class but perhaps left
somewhat hanging, for you to think about for yourself.  The weighting of short essays and papers as contributing
to your final grade will be:

  Two short essay questions:                         first, 10%; second, 20%       =30%
  Two longer papers:                                       first, 20%; second, 30%      =50%
  Attendance and classroom participation:           20%                              =20%

One comment, about attentance, which ought to (but doesn't, anymore) go without saying.  I expect you to attend
all class sessions.   That's an expectation I can do something about:  I'll take attendance, and herewith reserve the
right--if I see the need--to announce an explicit policy that makes your final grade a function of unexcused absences thereafter.  I hope to avoid that altogether.

[Note:  if you have a learning disability or other special need that qualifies you for some aid or service that I should
know about, please tell me, so that I can do everything I can to help you.]

A Proposed Schedule for the Course

Here is a tentative schedule for the semester, indicating the sessions during which we will discuss the various figures.
 It also gives reading assignments for the course.  I want to remain a bit flexible with the schedule, to accommodate
special interests or difficulties that seem to me to be arising along the way.  But the sketch below will give us
something to work from, or towards:  departures from it will become obvious in class sessions, or be announced
n advance, or (likely) both.  Please do readings in advance--i.e., by the day for which they are assigned.


JAN    T   9        Background Aristotle [Physics, Metaphysics]

           Th 11      (cont'd.) Copernicus, Galileo [Commentariolus; Assayer & Dialogues]

Descartes Reading
Rules for the Direction of the Mind Rules 1 - 13 
Discourse on Method  Parts I - IV
Meditations   All (Meditations I - VI)
Principles   Part I

           T 16         Descartes      Method                                        Rules...   CSM 1-18; Discourse on Method CSM 20-40
                                                   Start: General Doubt                 Meditation I CSM 76-79; Principles I.1-6 CSM 160-61
           Th 18       Descartes      General Doubt (contíd)
                                                   Start: Knowledge (Self, Body) Meditation II CSM 80-86; Principles I.7-8; I.1-12 CSM 161-62; 189-94
           T 23         Descartes      Knowledge (contíd)
                                                   Start: God                                    Meditation III CSM 86-98; Principles I.17-30 CSM 165-70

           Th 25       Descartes      God (contíd.)
                                                  Truth and Error                           Meditation IV CSM 98-105; Principles I.29-38 CSM 170-72

           T 30        Descartes      God and Certainty                     Meditation V CSM 105-110; Principles  I.13-16 CSM 164-65
                                                  Mind and Body                         Meditation VI CSM 110-22

Leibniz Reading
Primary Truths  All
Discourse on Metaphysics All (Sections 1 - 37)
Arnauld Letters  All (of AG selections)
Principles of Nature and Grace All
Monadology  All
Clarke Letters  Letters 3 - 5
FEB  Th 1          Leibniz          Principles: Truth and Reason     Letter to Foucher AG 1-5;  Primary Truths AG 30-34;
                                                                                                           Monadology §31-36 AG 217
                                                   Substance                                     Discourse  §8-11 AG 40-43

          T 6            Leibniz           Against Cartesian Extension     New System AG 138-39;  Discourse  §12, 17-21 AG 44, 49-54;
                                                                                                           On Nature  §9,11,13 AG 160-65; Specimen AG 123-24
         Th 8          Leibniz          (cont'd.)                                         Conversation... AG 257-63; de Volder letters AG 171-84;
                                                                                                          Arnauld letters AG 77-90
         T 13          Leibniz           Space                                             Clarke Letters AG 324-46
                                                  Mental Substance                        Monadology §1-24 AG 213-16

         Th 15        Leibniz           Mental Substance (contíd)        Discourse §14-15 AG 46-48; Monadology §49-74 AG 219-22
                                                  God and Creation                         Discourse §1-7 AG 35-40; Nature and Grace §7ff AG 209-13
                                                                                                          Monadology §36-48 AG 217-19

* * * * * *

       T 20           Transition       Rationalism and Empiricism

Berkeley Reading
  Treatise Concerning Principles of Human Knowledge §§1-84

         Th 22          Berkeley         Perceptual Knowledge
                                                      Berkeley vs. Realism                     Principles §8-10,14,19 W 26-31
         T 27            Berkeley         vs. Realism (cont'd.)
                                                      Empirical view of Meaning          Principles §1-2 W 23-24
         Th 29          [No class: Cover at a conference]

MAR T 5              [No class: Spring Break]

         Th 7            [No class: Spring Break]

         T 12            Berkeley       Objects and Ideas                             Principles §3-7,23 W 24-6, 32-3

         Th 14         Berkeley        Ideas and Minds                              Principles §25-33,45,48 W 33-7, 41, 43
         T 19            Berkeley       Difficulties                                         Principles §34ff. W 37ff
                                                    Berkeley and Leibniz Handout

Hume Reading
   An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding    §§II - VII, XII

         Th 21       Hume            Ideas and Impressions                       Enquiry §II, III S 9-15

         T 26         Hume           Causality and Induction                    Enquiry § IV S 15-25

         Th 28      Hume            Causality and Necessity                    Enquiry § VII S 39-53

APR  T 2           Hume           Causality and Habit                           Enquiry § V S 25-37

        Th 4         Hume            Skepticism                                           Enquiry §XII S 102-114

Kant Reading
  Critique of Pure Reason                     Selections

        T 9          Kant             Introduction                                         Critique, Pref. & Intro B 95-104

        Th 11      Kant             Intuition, Space and Time                  Critique, Trans. Aesthetic B 104-09

         T 16       Kant            Categories                                             Critique, Anal. Concepts B 110-15

        Th 18      Kant            Synthetic Unity, Causality                Critique, Anal. Principles B 115-25

        T 23       Kant             Idealism, Freedom                               Critique, Dialectic B 125-36

       Th 25      Kant             Rational Theology                             Critique, Dialectic B 136-48