MODERN WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: RENAISSANCE TO THE 20TH CENTURY
(Also for BCT unit H52062)
1) People will acquire a fair idea of what happened in philosophy from the close of the Middle Ages to the early years of the 20th Century.
2) People will have the opportunity of reading some important texts in modern philosophy.
3) People will be able to concentrate for themselves on philosopher(s) or text(s) of particular interest or of particular importance for them in their endeavours.
Note carefully that this is a History of Philosophy unit, and that it is confined to only so-called Western philosophy. It will, however, provide some opportunity for philosophizing on our own.
Overview lectures plus probably one seminar reading per session after the first week, enabling a concentration on primary texts at least in the first ten or eleven weeks. There are also some videos to be shown, if there are fewer than 13 participants.
2nd Semester, Banyo Campus
Late Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy and the transition to Modern Philosophy
· William of Ockham and the Via Moderna
· the Medieval Origins of Modern Science
· the transition from Medieval to Modern
· overview/names and dates and trends
· Giodano Bruno and Nicholas of Cusa
· the Renascence, Erasmus and Thomas More
Weeks 2-4: Philosophy in the 17th Century:
The Philosophy of Rene Descartes
· life and times
· Discourse on the Method
· an introduction to The Meditations
Leibniz: some key features of his philosophy
- life and writings
- intro. to Spinoza's 'Ethics'
Weeks 5-7: Philosophy in the 18th Century until Kant.
Overview: the development from Locke through
· Some notes on the Political Philosophy of Locke
· What Hume did to British Empiricism
· David Hume: life and writings and the nature of his philosophical project
· Hume's Treatise of Human Nature, Book 1.
· Hume's ethical and political writings
· Hume's work on religion.
Weeks 8-11: Kant, Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche
· life and writings
· Critique of Pure Reason
· Critique of Practical Reason and Fundamentals of the Metaphysics of Morals.
the Way to Idealism: from Kant through Fichte and Schilling
G.W.F. Hegel: life and writings
- the Dialectical Method
- the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences
- life and writings
- the 'early Marx': Marx's philosophy as a critique of human alienations
- Historical Materialism, the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital.
Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche: brief notes
There may be opportunity for a guest lecturer on Kierkegaard.
Week 12: Concluding Comments: setting up the 20th and 21st Centuries.
· Edmund Husserl and the early Phenomenological Movement: background in Husserl’s philosophy of logic and mathematics.
· the notion of 'Intentionality' in Brentano and in Husserl.
· 'horizon' and the constructive character of human consciousness: 'constitution'
· later phenomenology (inc. Karol Wojtyla)
Reading Husserl in the light of Descartes Hume and Kant.
· what is existentialism and who are the existentialists?? The heritage of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.
· the Hegelian prelude
· Background in Frege’s philosophy of logic and mathematics
· Russell, Moore and Wittgenstein
· A.J. Ayer, Logical Positivism, and the heritage of Hume.
· A. N. Whitehead.
The links above are links to my own web site, and represent lecture notes for the unit, available off www.mpx.com.au/~gjmoses . These however are not replacements for the lectures: it is only in the live lectures and tutorials that real thought or any real semblance of philosophy will be achieved. This is an internet assisted unit rather than an internet based unit, and attendance requirements are as in university policy documents for normal daytime courses.
PHIL215/H 52062: MODERN WESTERN PHILOSOPHY
(A) ESSAYS (see below for possibilities): EITHER STUDENT TASK I (THREE SHORT ESSAYS) OR STUDENT TASK II (ONE LONG ESSAY). 70%
Due date: Friday of second last week of semester.
(B) PRESENTATION PLUS WRITE-UP: each participant is asked to prepare and present one seminar reading. This is to be written up in the form of a short essay of about 1500 words summarizing and responding to that reading. For presentation and write-up: 30%.
Due date: three weeks after class presentation, or Friday of second last week of semester, whichever is earlier. Please indicate if feedback required.
ALTERNATIVE POSSIBILITY: do Student Task 2 (one long essay; 70%), plus one essay from Student Task 1 (30%) instead of seminar paper. I don’t mind running all the so-called tutorials.
In the second track, one piece of work may be submitted to lecturer for perusal and response provided it is received two weeks prior to the due date.
NOTE: if presentation coincides with part or all of topic or topics chosen for essay or essays under (A) above, you need to write another short essay on something different.
Final, Ultimate Due date for all work: the Friday of first exam week.
(A) ESSAYS: EITHER I OR II, BELOW (NOT BOTH!)
Student Task I: please answer three questions. Answers should be based on lectures complemented by personal reading during the course of the semester. They are not meant to require deep research, but you should try to do at least some reading beyond lectures, including some of the work of the philosopher him/herself.
Number of words: about 1000 - 1200 words each. Total for three essays: 70%.
What were the main factors involved in the origins of experimental science in
(b) Why does Descartes think he will be able to make a new start in philosophy? What kind of method does he intend to use? What is Descartes' aim in the Meditations on First Philosophy? What are the main steps by which this is accomplished? Would you regard his ideas as correct or as fundamentally misguided?
(c) Why does Spinoza call his main work Ethics? What is substance for Spinoza, and how many of them are there? What about everything else in the universe? Does God have to create? Why (or why not)? Is God free? What is it for human beings to be free? How can I/you attain true freedom, given that everything in the universe is determined? What am I (what are you!)? and how are mind and body related to each other? Do they interact? Finally, do you think Spinoza is a Pantheist? If so, why and what do you mean by calling him a pantheist? If not why not, and what then is he?
(d) Who was Leibniz? What are the "two great principles" on which his reasonings are based? What follows from the second of these principles in respect of the kind of world God has to create? Leibniz versus the Newtonians on space and time. What according to Leibniz does everything consist it? What are these like? Do they really interact? How then can each express from its own viewpoint the whole of the universe? Does Leibniz allow the possibility of merely numerical difference? Influence on 20th Century philosophy and 20th Century life.
Who were the 17th Century 'Rationalists'?
What may the term be taken as indicating about these people? Who on the other hand were the 'British
Empiricists'? What does the description
indicate in this case? On what key
issues does John Locke differ from the Rationalists? What however does he still retain?
(f) What is the ambition motivating the David Hume of A Treatise of Human Nature (as outlined, for example, in the introduction to the same)? What does the Science in which Hume is initially involved consist? Indicate some of the importance of this initial project?
What else is philosophy for Hume? Indicate briefly the extent of Hume's scepticism, including his scepticism on what is commonly called 'induction'. In what does extreme scepticism actually consist? Do we still do science/philosophy afterward? How come? Of what kind?
(g) On Kant, mentioning the following: Kant's philosophizing as intending to be 'critical'; his major critical works, and the concern which gives the unity of his philosophizing as expressed in the famous three (or four) questions; the particular problem he saw himself faced with in his historical situation and how in general terms he set out to solve it; the concern of the Critique of Pure Reason and how the argument develops in broad terms; some main ideas from the Critique of Practical Reason.
(h) Trace the steps which led from Kant to Hegel: the development Kant-Fichte, the contribution of Schelling, the Hegelian system in outline, Hegel’s dialectic of master and slave.
(i) On Marx: Marx's own philosophy as distinct from Engels and Lenin; the central notion of Marx's early philosophy, which he takes from Hegel, and some of the changes and improvements he makes to it; the new notion of truth and of the function of philosophy and how Marx intends to do this;
Marx's Historical Materialism -- the theory in general terms (diagram and brief explanation of or note on each of the terms will be sufficient) and how come history moves in a dialectical way, by tensions building up and eventual resolution of tension, only to be followed by new tensions and contradictions etc., implications in respect of practical action. Write a few words also on Marx's critique of religion.
(j) Write a few notes on the philosophy of Nietzsche: Nietzsche as the philosopher of the Death of God; Nietzsche as Philologist; Nietzsche as the philosopher of the Will to Power.
(k) Write a few notes on how so-called ‘Modern’ philosophy serves to set up the philosophy of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Note that all questions are based immediately on the content of the lectures. Typically, I've taken proposed lecture headings and turned them into questions. They are not meant to be restrictive but rather stimulative - but I'll be perfectly happy if you manage to have some kind of answer to everything. You may even use my questions as headings, if you find this helpful.
Alternatively, start answering the questions and stop when you get above 1200 words.
Student Task II :
A major essay (3000 words minimum) on the major philosophical perspectives or a major philosophical writing of one or more of the philosophers covered in the unit.
Exact title of essay is at choice of the student. The task is meant as a "getting to know someone and their philosophical work” exercise, not original or extensive research, though one would be expected to go beyond just what was introduced in class. Use histories, dictionaries, encyclopaedias and other literature about the person to orient yourself regarding the person or people chosen, and then have a go at reading some of the relevant texts: try to achieve and to show familiarity with at least one major writing by the person in question. Material from lectures may be used, provided this is complemented by a reasonable amount of reading.
Bibliography: see general bibliography.
Further help as to how to go about the task and what to read in respect of a particular philosopher may be given on request.
Length of essay expected: 3000 – 3500 words.
Due date: Friday of second last week (first exam week) of second semester.
A Book of Readings will be supplied. Most primary texts are available in various editions and languages already on line and in the public domain: even the Book of Readings is largely for convenience and so that we all use the same editions.
There will be a Bibliographical Essay on primary sources included with the first two lectures.
KEY secondary sources include:
Routledge History of Philosophy series (on CD).
Palmer, Donald. Looking
at Philosophy: The Unbearable Heaviness of Philosophy Made Lighter. Mayfield Publishing Co.,
Richard Osborne, Illustrated by Ralph Edney. Philosophy for Beginners. Writers and Readers Publishing, Incorporated, N.Y., 1992. (Again for beginners.)
Copleston, F. A History of Philosophy, Vols. IV-IX, Doubleday, 1960-.
David E. World Philosophies: An
Historical Introduction. Blackwell,
Plus the following specialist studies:
Gay, P. The Enlightenment: An Interpretation, Vols 1 & 2, Wildwood House, 1966 & 1969.
Cassirer, Ernst. The Philosophy of the Enlightenment. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1979.
Cottingham, John. The Rationalists. A History of Western Philosophy: 4. O.U.P., 1988.
Woolhouse, R. S. The Empiricists. A History of Western Philosophy: 5. O.U.P., 1988.
Solomon, Robert C. Continental Philosophy Since 1750. A History of Western Philosophy:7. O.U.P., 1988.
Taylor, Charles. Hegel. C.U.P., 1975.
Lowith, Karl. From
Hegel to Nietzsche: The Revolution in
19th Century Thought. Constable,
Carver, Terrell, editor. The
White, Morton. The Age of Analysis: 20th Century Philosophers. The New American Library, N.Y., 1955.
Macquarrie, John. Existentialism (Penguin, 1972)
Warnock, Mary. Existentialism, OUP, 1970.
Warnock, Geoffrey L. English Philosophy Since 1900, OUP, 1969.
Copleston, F. Contemporary Philosophy, Search Press, 1972.
Spiegelberg, H. The Phenomenological Movement, Martinus Nijhoff, 1982.
Some virtues and values in Philosophy major essays:
The following are some virtues and values to strive for in major essays in philosophy. For people worried about assessment, they double as criteria for assessment for such essays.
The philosophy of assessment involved is that the way to mitigate power-knowledge is to have a very clear relationship between criteria for assessment and the virtues and values implicated in the task itself. Among other things, criteria deployed in philosophy essays should thus be closely related to what philosophy is all about, as exposed in the various units. In addition, at least in the ideal, criteria should be clear enough for one to be able to self-assess with some degree of confidence. This also means that the following text is itself open to philosophical discussion and critique.
Quality of Content in its Relevance as an Answer to the Question Asked
· This is the most basic criterion of all.
· We can distinguish, if we like, between: 1) is this paper an answer to the question posed/ an implementation of the task set or chosen? And 2) how well does it rate as an answer to the question posed/ an implementation of the task set or chosen?
· The parameters of the task should be clearly set forth on the part of the instructor or professor. Is heavy research required? Or just a step or two beyond class input? This will be relative to the level of the unit, will differ a lot from introduction to advanced undergraduate to graduate, and will be related also to the expected length/number of words. If you are in doubt as to what is expected, don’t be afraid to ask.
· In philosophy unlike in mathematics or the natural sciences it is often not easy to define answers in terms of right and wrong. It is more a question of poorly argued and referenced and poorly thought through versus well argued and solidly referenced and thought through: see the following, also content-based, generally relevant criteria.
Clarity of Structure and Organization:
· In a philosophy essay, one needs to be particularly careful of logical order and clarity of structure in ones argument. This should be reflected in the formal rhetorical aspects of your essay.
· A person writing a philosophy essay should therefore make it impossible for the lecturer or instructor (or any other reader) to get lost. There is nothing quite so upsetting as to read a paper where the text seems to have no point or direction, where it just goes on and on without apparent rhyme or reason, where a paragraph could be taken from one place and put into another place without any loss (or gain!) of sense. Nor is this very philosophical.
· Don’t be afraid, therefore, to have an introduction, in which you say what you are going to do and in what order. Do not be afraid of breaking up the essay into parts. Feel free to have sub-headings, if you think your paper needs them. And when you move from one part to another, do put in a few sentences to try to achieve a sense of continuity.
· For this particular reader, this one is a key value and criterion. Lots of good material showing intensive and wide reading can easily be ruined by not attending to it.
· Philosophy was introduced as “thinking things through more deeply beyond the taken for granted together”. This is part of the ‘together’ bit, that you’ve taken account of other people’s views, for your own inspiration, for the sake of delving more deeply into the topic and to enhance the element of critical reflection.
· Do however be prepared to be critical of what you read. Nothing said in philosophy is ‘gospel’. It is no better than the argument and experience on which it is based.
· Essays in the History of Philosophy should show some awareness of hermeneutic considerations.
· Lecture material may be referred to freely, as yet another entry into the dialogue, with no particular authority. It is yours to use as you want, it is what you have paid for after all. As long it is not the only text you depend on. Once again, it should be critically appropriated, not just accepted as gospel.
· Material on the ‘Net’ or www may also prove very useful. It is an asset to an essay if an attempt has been made to see what is available, ranging from on-line encyclopedia to on-line journal articles. However, given the fact that web access is still a luxury for some, a person can hardly be penalized for not doing so. Also, there is a very great variation in quality.
· This is a criterion fairly important in philosophy as defined above. Thoughtfulness, or an indication that you are striving to go deeper, to ask the next question, to get beyond the taken for granted, is a high virtue in philosophy. To actually achieve some depth of thinking is even better.
· This does not necessarily mean that you have thoughts never before thought (except perhaps by God). The point of the requirement is that you take up a position of your own, albeit ever so tentatively, and try to justify it. You need to think for yourself, not just say what others say. This position of course could be that none of the theories or ‘solutions’ you have come across in class or in your reading really do solve the problem. But then you would have to justify this position also, by pointing out the difficulties you see in each of them.
· The most important point here is that there has to be argument in the first place. In philosophy, it is not good enough just to state a position or an opinion. You should try to figure out why you hold it, and then put that into words – that is, make an argument for it, in case other people might want to hold it too. Even a sentence or two is better than nothing.
· Arguments in introduction to philosophy do not have to be probative, just enough to make the position seem a bit reasonable. Do what you can. Even in specialist units, this may be all you can manage, philosophical issues being what they are. Often the very best you can hope for is: this is a position such as might be held by an attentive, intelligent and reasonable person.
· Try to avoid the more obvious of the ‘fallacies’ mentioned in the logic part of the Introduction to Philosophy unit (and at greater length in the Logic unit!). For a list of fallacies to avoid, see the latest edition of Copi, Introduction to Logic, or other logic textbook.
· This last content-relevant criterion depends a bit on the topic you have chosen. For some topics, e.g. freedom, death and life after death, God, religious experience, how we know right from wrong, personal identity, mind and body, or within much of Continental Philosophy, it could be quite important. While insufficient by itself, your own experience is what you know best and if used critically in full awareness of its ‘situated-ness’, a primary source both for inspiration and ideas and for testing out inspirations and ideas.
· Given ethical considerations respecting privacy etc., this is a criterion not at all obligatory, entirely voluntary, as far as deployment in your handed-in text is concerned. Just remember that, in this ‘conversation of human kind’ in which philosophy consists, you also are a player; if the topic has to do with human beings, you are, in addition, one of those human beings about which statements are being made. (References in the above to Rorty and to Hume.)
· Unlike journal entries, for example, essays are written to be read by other people. So write it up as well and as clearly as you can. An essay that looks good and reads well is a pleasure to the reader. More than that, it means you are doing your best by the ideas and arguments which you have to put forward.
· Word processors can make for very fine format. Quality of expression is something else entirely, and may take a bit more work.
· While you will not lose marks in this unit merely for exceeding the word limit, still conciseness is a kindness to the reader and probably conducive to his or her appropriation of your argument. Try not to make the paper any more long-winded than is demanded by its content.
· This is part of the ethics of scholarship, i.e. doing the right thing by people whom you quote or paraphrase or who have inspired your thinking. It also helps to add to the strength of your argument, if you can find other people who agree with you.
· Some footnotes/endnotes should be in the text rather than in the footnotes or endnotes. Ask yourself, would the reader still get my argument if they didn’t have time (or were too lazy!) to read this note? If no, then it belongs up above.
· On the other hand, footnotes may help you better to achieve clarity of structure and organization, as well as contributing to ease of reading, by removing bits of text which are tangential to the main line of your essay. However, they are not at all compulsory, particularly if a person is into bracketed entries for reference purposes.
· As a matter of policy, this lecturer allows anything you have read in preparation for your essay to go into your bibliography. You should put in everything you quote or paraphrase or refer to in the notes or via references in brackets in the text. You should also note in the Bibliography anything which, in your judgment, has strongly inspired you in respect of the content of your essay, even if there was no occasion to mention them in notes or inside brackets.
· Sites accessed via the Internet, or in CD based resources, are subject to similar ethics and policies as printed material. See style manuals on the formalities of handling this, both for notes and bibliography. Essentially, you will need to note web address and date accessed.
In summary: strive to come up with a piece of work which, in Habermas’ terms, is subjectively, objectively and inter-subjectively valid, as well as written in such a way as is likely to be comprehensible to the reader. In other words, a deed which does the right thing by yourself in your search for wisdom in the role of philosopher, by the ideas and arguments and issues you are striving to explore and by your readers and sources/dialogue partners.
Evaluation in terms of Published Assessment Criteria for Philosophy Major Essays
Quality of Content in its Relevance as an Answer to the Question Asked
1) Does it answer the question asked/is it an implementation of the task set?
2) How well does it rate as an answer to the question asked/an implementation of the task set? E.g. on a scale of 1 to 10.
Clarity of Structure and Organization:
Quality of Critical Argument
Relation to the Life-Experience of the Participant
Format, Quality of Expression, Conciseness
Bibliography and Bracketed Entries, Footnotes/Endnotes: the Critical Apparatus
Overall Validity of Paper
PHIL215/H5262 FOR SECOND SEMESTER 2005
CONTENTS OF BOOK OF
Transition from Medieval to Modern: from
[Erasmus: The Praise of Folly, (Yale Univ. Press, New Haven, 1979), pp. 78-96; In Praise of Folly (George Allen and Unwin, London, 1915) pp. 160-181. For pleasure of reading.]
Descartes, Discourse 1 and 2 , from Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations, (Penguin, 1968), pp. 26-44; Meditations I, II and III From Great Books of the Western World, No. 31, William Benton, Chicago, 1952, pp. 75-89.
Spinoza: The Ethics, Part I, Concerning God - for your information. (Dover Publications, N.Y., 1955) pp. 45-81.
De Dijn, Herman. “Wisdom and Theoretical Knowledge in Spinoza”. From Spinoza, Issues and Directions. Brill, 1990, pp. 147-157.
Hume, Treatise, Introduction, and I, IV, VII. Selby Bigge/Nidditch, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1978, pp. xii-xix, and 263-273. (Hume's Treatise Science and Skepticism)
Hume on self-love, from 2nd Enquiry appendices (Selby-Bigge/Nidditch, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1975 pp. 295-302); and "Of the Dignity or Meanness of Human Nature" from Of the Standard of Taste and Other Essays (Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, 1965), pp. 140-145.
Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Preface to the 2nd Edition. Everyman's Library edition, pp. 8-24.
Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, Ch. 2. From Great Books of the Western World, No. 42 (William Benton, Chicago, 1952), pp. 262-279.
Hegel and Marx
Hegel: "Master and Slave" ("Lordship and Bondsman") from Phenomenology of Spirit. Baillie Translation, Allen and Unwin, 1949, pp. 228-240.
Manifesto of the Communist Party (Marx and Engels). From Basic Writings on Politics and Philosophy (Anchor Books, Doubleday and Co., 1959), pp. 1-41.
Marx: from Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844. From Karl Marx, Early Writings (Penguin, 1969), pp. 244-5, 322-359. Plus Erich Fromm, Marx's Concept of Man (F. Ungar, N.Y., 1966), pp. 162-169.
Nietzsche: excerpts from The Portable Nietzsche, by Walter Kaufman (The Viking Press, N.Y., 1954), pp. 20-23, 166-169, 275-281.
Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil, Part One “The Prejudices of Philosophers”.