Fall 2016 - Graduate Course Description
Park, Peter
Discipline and Number
HUHI 6300 Section 501
T Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
History of Early Modern Thought

Description of Course:

This course is a graduate-level introduction to some of the major source texts and themes in the history of early modern European natural science, theology, and moral or political theory. Most of the required texts in this course are works of theory stemming from the early modern period (ca. 1450 to ca. 1800) and are considered crucial to understanding modern thought and modern historical experience.

Natural philosophy, theology, and political philosophy are separable in name or by abstraction only. Historically, thinking about nature has always carried religious meaning and moral implications. In the early modern period, changes in natural-scientific knowledge led to great changes in European religious culture and in the conception of human nature and government. Natural philosophers addressed central theological questions. A political philosopher such as Hobbes had his particular view of nature. Some theologians understood the dangers of Cartesianism while others saw in it new supports for Christian religion. In important cases, the theological and moral implications of a natural philosopher’s work overwhelmed its scientific meaning.

Required Texts:

Joe Sachs, ed., Aristotle’s Physics: A Guided Study (Rutgers UP, 2004) ISBN: 9780813521923

René Descartes, The World and Other Writings, ed. by Stephen Gaukroger (Cambridge UP, 1998) ISBN 9780521636469

René Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, trans. by Donald A. Cress, 4th ed. (Hackett, 1998) ISBN 0872204200

Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Revised Student Ed., ed. by Richard Tuck (Cambridge UP, 1996) ISBN 978-0521567978

Baruch Spinoza, Theological-Political Treatise, 2nd Ed., trans. by Samuel Shirley (Hackett, 2001) ISBN 9780872206076

Benedict de Spinoza, Ethics, trans. by Edwin Curley (Penguin, 2005) ISBN 9780140435719

Anne Conway, The Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy, edited by Allison Coudert and Taylor Corse (Cambridge University Press, 1996) ISBN 978-0521479042

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Discourse on Metaphysics and Other Writings, edited by Peter Loptson (Broadview Press, 2012) ISBN 9781554810116

Margaret Cavendish, Observations upon Experimental Philosophy, edited by Eileen O’Neill (Cambridge UP, 2001) ISBN 978-0521776752

Samuel Pufendorf, On the Duty of Man and Citizen According to Natural Law (Cambridge UP, 1991) ISBN 9780521359801

John Locke, Two Treatises of Government, ed. by Peter Laslett, 3rd/Student Ed. (Cambridge UP, 1988) ISBN 9780521357302

Mary Astell, Political Writings, edited by Patricia Springborg (Cambridge UP, 1996) ISBN 978-0521428453

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

attendance and participation in discussion (25%); ten response papers (75%).

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