A study of rationalist philosophy in the European Enlightenment period of the 17th and 18th centuries. Selected writings of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz are analysed and interpreted. As we discuss each author's ideas, we will evaluate their positions on: the limits of reason, the intelligibility of revelatory truth, the existence of God, the divisibility of reality, the role of nature, and the ethics and politics of human life. In the process of dialoguing about these ideas, we shall also study the historical importance of the Enlightenment in modernity as well as the original intent of the philosophers in question with attention to their historic context. We shall also assess the enduring relevance of the Enlightenment to the modern age.
Reason and the Enlightenment
Not offered every year See department chair
6 sem. hrs. of philosophy.