(Revised after second snow day, 2/9/15.)

UMass Philosophy 321 – History of Modern Philosophy

Spring 2015 – Prof. Kevin C. Klement (Call me “Kevin”.)
Mondays and Wednesdays 2:30–3:45pm in Bartlett 206

Course description: This course offers an introductory survey to the history of 17th and 18th century Western (European) Philosophy. Topics include skepticism, the mind-body relationship, the existence of God, the problem of induction, the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, personal identity, causation, and a priori versus a posteriori knowledge. Thinkers to be discussed include Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.

Prerequisite: One course in philosophy or permission of instructor.

Contact info: My office is 358 Bartlett. My office hours are Mondays 4–5pm and Wednesdays 12:15–1:15pm and by appointment. My office phone is (413) 545-5784. My email address is klement@philos.umass.edu.

Web pages: We have a “public” site at http://courses.umass.edu/phil321-klement. However, most pertinent information is on our Moodle site, where you can download course readings, participate in discussion boards, submit your papers and check your grades. Log in at https://moodle.umass.edu.

Readings: The texts for this course are “classics” of Western philosophy (see reverse for titles); they are in the public domain and are available online for free. Preferred download links are listed on Moodle.

Requirements and grading: Your grade for this course is based on three papers (25% each), and attendance and participation (25% total).

Papers: You are to write three 6–8 page papers which aim to constitute critical and original discussion of one or more of the thinkers discussed in this course and the philosophical issues their work raises. Detailed assignments will be handed out usually 1–2 weeks prior to their due dates, which are listed tentatively on the reverse. Papers must be submitted electronically through Moodle.

As a condition of continued enrollment in this course, you agree to submit all papers to the Turnitin service for textual comparison and originality review for the detection of possible plagiarism. All submitted assignments will be included in the UMass Amherst dedicated database of assignments at Turnitin and will be used solely for the purpose of checking for possible plagiarism in the grading process during this term and in the future.

Discussion: You are expected to attend class regularly and participate by asking questions, requesting clarification, challenging arguments and premises, responding to classmates, and so on. You may also participate in discussion on our Moodle discussion boards.

Note that participation is worth a significant amount of your grade and should be taken seriously. Before class begins, make a list of topics and points you wish to discuss. Check the discussion board several times a week.

Grading criteria:

A tentative course schedule and list of reading assignments: (subject to change)

DayReading material
W Jan 21 Course introduction
M Jan 26 Background lecture 1
W Jan 28 Background lecture 2
M Feb 2 Snow day. Class cancelled.
W Feb 4 Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, I–II
M Feb 9 Snow day. Class cancelled.
W Feb 11 Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, III
M Feb 16 President's day. Class moved to Tuesday.
Tu Feb 17 Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, IV–V
W Feb 18 Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, VI
M Feb 23 Elisabeth of Bohemia and Descartes, Correspondence, 6 May 1643 – 1 July 1643
W Feb 25 Leibniz, First Truths and Discourse on Metaphysics (§13)
M Mar 2 Leibniz, Monadology
W Mar 4 Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book II, Chaps. i–viii
M Mar 9 Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Book II, Chaps. xxiii, xxvii
Paper #1 due March 9th
W Mar 11 Berkeley, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, start of first dialogue
Mar 14–22 Spring break. No class.
M Mar 23 Berkeley, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, end of first dialogue
W Mar 25 Berkeley, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, second dialogue
M Mar 30 Berkeley, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, start of third dialogue
W Apr 1 Berkeley, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, end of third dialogue
M Apr 6 Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, §§2–4
W Apr 8 Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, §§5, 7
Paper #2 due April 8th
M Apr 13 Hume, A Treatise Of Human Nature, Book I, Part iv, Chap. 6
W Apr 15 Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, Introduction, Preface, “General Problems”
M Apr 20 Patriot's day. No class.
W Apr 22 Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, Prob. 1 (§§1–13)
M Apr 27 Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, Prob. 2 (§§14–23, 32–33, 36)
W Apr 29 Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, Prob. 3 (§§40–56)
Th Apr 30 Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, “Solution of the general question”
Th May 7 Paper #3 due May 7th (end of Finals Week)