PHIL 410: Descartes
Prepares students for advanced work on the philosophical thought of Descartes.
PHIL 410: Classical Rationalism/ Descartes
This course will examine the thought of the seventeenth century philosopher, René Descartes. Our primary concern will be with the main metaphysical and epistemological issues (e.g., skepticism, certitude, existence and nature of God, source of error, knowledge of the external world, relation of mind and body) with which he dealt in his Meditations and Objections and Replies. However, we will also look closely at the relation of that material to his scientific work. To this end, we will read Le Monde, Discourse on Method and parts of Principles of Philosophy. Although we will try to understand Descartes’ thought on its own terms, we will place that thought in the context of some of the main intellectual currents (e.g., scholasticism, Copernicanism, mechanism, skepticism) of his day.