Spring 2018 - PHIL 151 D100

History of Philosophy II (3)

Class Number: 10106

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    AQ 5018, Burnaby



A survey of philosophic thought from the Renaissance to the 20th Century. Special attention will be given to the works of Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel and Mill. The views of these great thinkers have helped to shape the ways in which we see the world. This course is therefore recommended to everyone with an interest in our intellectual heritage. Open to all students. Breadth-Humanities.


This course is an introduction to the philosophy of the Early Modern Period, roughly the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. During this period, there was a conscious shift away from Aristotelian doctrines regarding the natural world toward a mechanistic conception of the natural world. This shift, in turn, generated inquiry into identifying the proper scientific method for discovering and acquiring knowledge of the natural world, as well as clarifying the limits of human knowledge. In this class, we will consider how philosophers of this period addressed these two key issues. Other topics we will consider include the existence of God, the nature of physical objects and the mind, causation, and personal identity. Some of the philosophers we will discuss include Rene Descartes, Benedict Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz, John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume.


This course aims to develop the skills that are necessary for success in university and beyond, namely the ability to think critically, to read with a careful eye, to listen to others, and to write clearly.

PHIL 151 may be applied towards the Certificate in Liberal Arts and the Breadth-Humanities Requirement.


  • Low stakes assignments 15%
  • Two in-class exams – each worth 30% 60%
  • One paper 25%


No final exam. 


All assignments written outside of the classroom must be submitted to turnitin.com, a third party service licensed for use by SFU. Turnitin is used for originality checking to help detect plagiarism. Students will be required to create an account with Turnitin, and to submit their work via that account, on the terms stipulated in the agreement between the student and Turnitin. This agreement includes the retention of your submitted work as part of the Turnitin database. Any student with a concern about using the Turnitin service may opt to use an anonymous identity in their interactions with Turnitin. Students who do not intend to use Turnitin in the standard manner must notify the instructor at least two weeks in advance of any submission deadline. In particular, it is the responsibility of any student using the anonymous option (i.e. false name and temporary e-mail address created for the purpose) to inform the instructor such that the instructor can match up the anonymous identity with the student.



There is no required textbook. All readings are available online.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html