History of modern philosophy (Dr. Vailati)   Spring 2001
Ezio Vailati, PB 2212. Phone # 3376; Homepage: http://www.siue.edu/~evailat
Office Hours: T;TH 10:00-11:00, and by appointment if needed.

I) Course description: A critical examination of Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume and Kant, the most important and influential philosophers of the XVII and XVIII centuries, in the light of their reactions to the scientific revolution.

II) Course objectives: 1) to assist the student in understanding some of the 17th and 18th century philosophic systems 2) to develop the student's ability to identify, compare and evaluate arguments, assumptions, perspectives of famous philosophers as well as to reason to the student's own position on philosophical issues.

III) Course-format: as far as possible, lecture/discussion.  If possible, I shall institute a section of one hour a week devoted to discussion.  The lectures are on-line at my homepage; have a look at them before class (if you do not have a computer account, get one for free from SIUE).  Remember that they can only supplement, not substitute, class attendance.

IV) Texts:
1) Kaufmann/Baird (eds.), Modern  Philosophy (Rental text) [M]  [M1 for 3rd edition]
2) Hobbes, Leviathan (Rental text)
3) Locke, Two Treatises (Rental Text)
4) Rousseau, The Social Contract (Rental text)
5) Assorted primary texts which will be posted on my homepage.

V) Course outline:
Jan. 9 Intro to the course: the new science and the crisis of  Aristotelianism.
Jan 11-16 Descartes, M 18-33 [M1 11-30].  Download Descartes' Meditations
Jan. 18-25  Descartes continued, M 33-60 [M1 30-59]; download Descartes on innate ideas
Jan. 30 First quiz
Jan. 30-Feb 1 Hobbes, Leviathan, Introduction; chs. 1-7; 10-11; 13-15; 17-18; 21. [M1 63-101]
Feb. 6-8  Spinoza, M 105-128 [M1 115-140].
Feb. 13-15  Spinoza continued:  M 151-156 [M1 14-144; 164-168]; download Spinoza on political philosophy.
Feb. 15 Second quiz.
Feb. 20-22 Locke (Download lecture-1; lecture-2) , M 160-187 [M1 169-215]; download E II, 21, and E II, 27.
Feb. 27 Locke continued, M 187-198 [M1 214-236]; download E IV, 10; E IV, 18-19.
Mar. 1: Locke's political philosophy: Second Treatise, sections 1-50; 82-90; 93, 95, 99-102; 110-113; 119; 131; 140.
Mar. 6 Third quiz; first paper due (download topics)
Mar. 6-8 Leibniz, M 242-251 [M1 280-288]. (Download text)
Mar 11-17 Break
Mar. 20-22 Berkeley, M 255-285 [M1 289-317];
Mar. 27 Berkeley continued, M 285-304 [M1 317-341].
Mar. 29 Fourth Quiz.
Mar. 29-Apr 3: Hume, M 309-343 [M1 342-380]
Apr. 5 Hume continued, M 344-384 [M1 381-421].
Apr. 10 Fifth Quiz
Apr. 10  Rousseau, The Social Contract, Book I; Book II, secs. 1-5.
Apr. 12-17 Kant, M 447-470 [M1 532-555]; M, 473-5 (§§21-23) [M1 557-560 (§§21-23)];
Apr. 19-26 Kant continued, 478-83 (§§30-36) [M1 563-567 (§§30-36)] ; download transcendental deduction, download second analogy and refutation of idealism; M 486-508 [M1 571-595]
Apr. 26 Sixth Quiz. Second paper due (download topics).

VI. Course requirements.
1) Six multiple choice quizzes. That with the lowest grade will be discarded and the remaining five will each be worth 4% of the course grade.
2) Two 5-page papers (not 4 pages and one or two lines!), typed, double-spaced, which will be each worth 30% of the course grade.
3) A one hour long final exam, consisting of a multiple choice quiz and a short essay.  The essay will be chosen by me (not by you) out of a set of essay topics you can Download now.  The final is worth 20% of the course grade.

VII. Academic policies.
1) Cheating of any kind will be swiftly and severely punished.
2) Students are responsible for knowing what has been said in class, especially announcements concerning reading assignments and papers.  Papers or quizzes may be based on classroom discussions not derived from any written material.  If for any reason you miss some classes, make sure to find out. e.g., from some other student, what has been done in class.

VIII. Papers
1) You are encouraged to give me rough drafts of your papers.  Keep in mind that I can return them with significant comments only if: i) they are given to me at least one week before the papers are due; ii) they are written reasonably clearly.  Rough drafts consisting only of disjointed paragraphs or, worse, mere paragraph headings cannot be properly evaluated.  You may turn in your rough drafts as many times as you like, compatibly with the above requirements.  Paper topics will be posted on my homepage in due time.
2) Grading criteria for papers are as follows.  A paper providing all the information adequately and accurately in clear prose substantially free of spelling and grammatical mistakes will be in the C-range.  A paper which in addition to meeting this requirement shows some originality supported by reasonably clear and cogent arguments will be in the B-range.  A paper which shows significant originality, clarity and cogency will be in the A-range.
My reading a student's rough draft of a paper does not entail, although it makes it somewhat likely, that the paper, even if my comments are considered, will get a "B" or an "A."   Often a bad paper must be revised more than once to become good.
Half a letter grade will be subtracted from a given paper for every solar day  it is late.

IX) Grammar and spelling
Please try to write in proper English, avoiding common errors such as sentence fragments and run-on sentences.  In addition, avoid bad misspellings resulting from ignorance rather than from mere slips of the pen.  Here are some common misspellings arising from a confusion between words (note that a spell-checker won't catch these):

it's/its; there/their; cite/site/sight; principal/principle; than/then; to/too/two; who's/whose; weather/whether; conscience/conscious; since/sense; coarse/course; role/roll    .
In addition, the following are common misspelling errors in philosophy papers:
arguement; diety; concieve; decieve; percieve; sieze; truely; wholely; spacial.
If unsure about how to spell these words correctly, check a dictionary.

X) Thought questions (Download): take time to look at them and make sure you're able to answer most of them.