Philosophy 202
Great Traditions of Western Thought
The Modern Period

 Great Traditions in Western Thought: The Modern Period

The modern period in Western philosophy can be characterized as a reaction to the development of the modern scientific worldview. Modern scientific theories challenged the traditional understanding that many in the West had about the nature of human beings and their relation to the world within which they found themselves. A central issue that philosophers in the 17th and 18th centuries wrestled with was how to accommodate their traditional beliefs about human life and divine existence to the results of the new scientific methodology. In this course, we will focus upon seven major philosopher who undertook the task of assessing the importance of modern science for the worldview of human beings. We will explore the extent to which a common understanding of the world united these philosophers despite the many ways in which they differed from one another.

While we attempt to follow the development of philosophy in the 17th and 18th centuries, we will also be learning how to interpret philosophic texts, how to defend a philosophic position verbally, and how to write coherent philosophic essays. A centerpiece of the course will be the series of four debates we have on central issues in modern philosophy.

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