Curs optional in limba engleza: Causation in European Philosophy: The 17th and 18th Centuries

Causation in European Philosophy: The 17th and 18th Centuries

Professor: Bryan Hall, Ph.D., Fulbright Scholar from Indiana University, Southeast

Description: This seminar deals with European Philosophy in the 17th-18th centuries and focuses on the nature of causation which was of particular interest to natural philosophers (the precursors of contemporary scientists) of the period. Although causation is the central theme of the course, it is by no means the only theme. The course will touch on many other important metaphysical and epistemological issues in the Modern period, for example, whether God, the soul, or human freedom exist, what their natures might be, and how we can know these things. All of these different issues will be tied together, however, through our discussion of causation. We will cover a wide variety of interrelated though very different views on causation in the period including those of René Descartes, Nicolas Malebranche, John Locke, Gottfried Leibniz, David Hume, and finally Immanuel Kant. This course will be taught in English. Classes will be a mixture of lecture, classroom discussion, and close reading of the primary texts.

Time: First Semester, 2010, Tuesdays, from 16:00-18:00

Why Take This Class? This class will improve your: (1) knowledge of the Modern period, (2) ability to read primary source materials, (3) spoken and written English communication skills, and (4) research writing skills.

ACEST CURS OPŢIONAL POATE FI URMAT DE STUDENTII DIN ANII  II SI III.

ÎNSCRIERILE SE FAC LA SECRETARIAT, PÂNĂ MIERCURI 6 OCT. 2010.

Syllabus

Causation in European Philosophy: the 17th and 18th Centuries
Fall 2010

Professor:     Bryan Hall, Ph.D.
E-mail:         hallbw@ius.edu
Phone:        724128441
Office Hours:

Course Content: This seminar deals with European Philosophy in the 17th-18th centuries and focuses on the nature of causation which was of particular interest to natural philosophers (the precursors of contemporary scientists) of the period. Although causation is the central theme of the course, it is by no means the only theme. The course will touch on many other important metaphysical and epistemological issues in the Modern period, for example, whether God, the soul, or human freedom exist, what their natures might be, and how we can know these things. All of these different issues will be tied together, however, through our discussion of causation. We will cover a wide variety of interrelated though very different views on causation in the period including those of René Descartes, Nicolas Malebranche, John Locke, Gottfried Leibniz, David Hume, and finally Immanuel Kant. This course will be taught in English. Classes will be a mixture of lecture, classroom discussion, and close reading of the primary texts.

Course Objectives: Students will be able to: 1) define key philosophical concepts in Modern Philosophy, 2) Reconstruct and evaluate philosophical arguments of philosophers in the Modern Era, 3) apply these concepts and arguments to the issue of causation.

Grading Policy: There will be two papers in this course. The first will be a 6-7pp. paper which will focus simply on the primary literature and will be worth 30% of your final grade. The second paper will be a 10-12pp. research paper and will be worth 40% of your final grade. You will be required to meet with me with a complete outline or rough draft of each of your papers before they are due. Worksheets are cumulatively worth 20% of your final grade. If you make an honest effort on the worksheet, you will receive full credit. We will be discussing these worksheets in small groups after I have graded them. There will be 10 pop reading quizzes in this class worth 10% of your grade. Late work, with the exception of essays, is worth half credit unless other arrangements are made with me prior to the due date. Essays will be penalized one letter grade for every day they are late. Quizzes cannot be made up.

Readings: All of the required and recommended readings will be available on reserve in the library. They are organized by week. You should complete the readings before class on the day they are assigned. If at all possible, you should photocopy the readings and bring them with you to class. The readings we are using come from: (1) Baird, F. and Kaufmann, W. (eds.), Modern Philosophy (Prentice Hall, 2008), fifth edition, (2) Clatterbaugh, K, The Causation Debate in Modern Philosophy 1637-1739 (Routledge, 1998), (3) Descartes, R., Meditations on First Philosophy: with Selections from the Objections and Replies (Cambridge, 1996), Cottingham, J. (trans.), (4) Hall, B., The Arguments of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (Lexington Books, forthcoming 2011), (5) Kant, I., The Critique of Pure Reason (Bedford Books, 1969), N.K Smith (trans.). Although all of the readings will be in English (either original or in translation), you should feel free to read translations in their original language (e.g., Kant in German) if you find this helpful. All of these are available in the library though they are not on reserve.

Plagiarism and Cheating: For this course, we will be following the Code of Student Rights, Responsibility, and Conduct for Indiana University (my home institution). When it comes to plagiarism, “A student must not adopt or reproduce ideas, words, or statements of another person without appropriate acknowledgement. A student must give credit to the originality of others and acknowledge an indebtedness whenever he or she does any of the following: a) Quotes another person’s actual words, either oral or written; b) Paraphrases another person’s words, either oral or written; c) Uses another person’s idea, opinion, or theory; d) Borrows facts, statistics, or other illustrative material, unless the information is common knowledge.” When it comes to cheating, “A student must not use or attempt to use unauthorized assistance, materials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise, including, but not limited to, the following: a. A student must not use external assistance on any ‘in-class’ or ‘take-home’ examination, unless the instructor specifically has authorized external assistance. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, the use of tutors, books, notes, and calculators.”

Course and Reading Schedule:

Overview of Course, Descartes, Letter to Sorbonne, Preface, Synopsis of Meditations,
Meditations on First Philosophy, Mediation I.
Required Reading: Baird and Kaufmann, pp. 9-22.
Recommended Reading (through Oct. 25th): Clatterbaugh, 17-66.

Descartes, Meditations, II-III.
Required Reading: Baird and Kaufmann, pp. 22-35.

Descartes, Meditations, IV-VI.
Required Reading: Baird and Kaufmann, pp. 35-52.

Descartes and his Critics, Worksheet #1 Due.
Required Reading: Baird and Kaufmann, pp. 53-57, Descartes, Objections & Replies, pp. 76-77,
80-89, 102-106, and 112-115.

Small Group Discussion, Malebranche, The Search after Truth.
Required Reading: Baird and Kaufmann, pp. 166-175.
Recommended Reading: Clatterbaugh, pp. 112-127.

Monadology, Worksheet #2 Due, First Paper Topics Handout.
Required Reading: Baird and Kaufmann, pp. 252-255, 290-298.
Recommended Reading: Clatterbaugh, pp. 142-155.

Small Group Discussion, Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, II.i-viii and IV.3.
Required Reading: Baird and Kaufmann, pp. 176-180, 184-196, and 233-234.
Recommended Reading: Clatterbaugh, pp. 183-191.

Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, I-III. First Paper Due.
Required Reading: Baird and Kaufmann, pp. 352-365.
Recommended Reading (through Dec. 6th): Clatterbaugh, pp. 194-206.

Hume, Enquiry, IV-V.
Required Reading: Baird and Kaufmann, pp. 365-380.

Hume, Enquiry, VII-VIII, Worksheet #3 Due. Second Paper Topics Handout.
Required Reading: Baird and Kaufmann, pp. 381-402.

Small Group Discussion, Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, B Preface and Introduction.
Required Reading: Baird and Kaufmann, pp. 509-530.
Recommended Reading: Hall, pp. 1-13.

Kant, Critique, Metaphysical Deduction.
Required Reading: Kant, Critique, B74-119.
Recommended Reading: Hall, pp. 65-73.

Kant, Critique, Second Analogy, Worksheet #4 due.
Required Reading: Kant, Critique, B233-256.
Recommended Reading: Hall, pp. 112-118.

Second Paper Due.


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