Spring 2019 - PHIL 150 D100
Great Works in the History of Philosophy (3)
Class Number: 5805
Delivery Method: In Person
A thematic survey of some classical texts in the history of Western philosophy, from late Antiquity to the 19th century, including by figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, de Gournay, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Spinoza, Leibniz, du Châtelet, Hume, Astell, Wollstonecraft, Kant, Mill, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, and others. Themes may include the nature of the human being, the role of God in philosophical thought, conceptions of the good life, and others. Open to all students. Students with credit for PHIL 151 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.
The aim of this course is twofold. First, we shall consider some of the enduring philosophical questions as they were posed and investigated by some of the great philosophers in the history of the western philosophical tradition (from ancient Greece to 18th-century Europe). Second, we shall aim to understand the nature of systematic philosophical thought itself as it is exemplified in a variety of formats: dialogues, treatises and meditations.
Our focus will be on classical questions concerning the fundamental nature of reality. Can we prove that God exists? If so, what can we know about God? What are the conditions under which we can know anything at all? Are we free beings, or are we determined by the laws of nature to act at every moment in just one way? Or could we be both? Are we embodied minds, or are our minds entirely distinct from our bodies? Is the way we represent the world accurate, or are there ways we see the world that are owed to the subjective nature of our minds? What is the meaning of life? And what role does philosophical thought play in our lives?
We shall begin by reading several of Plato’s dialogues. We shall then turn to Saint Thomas Aquinas’s writings on God, causality and being. And we will close by considering two of the great systematic works of philosophy from the early modern period: Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy and David Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Along the way, we shall read excerpts from works by others, likely including Saint Anselm, Aristotle, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia, John Locke and Anne Conway.
COURSE-LEVEL EDUCATIONAL GOALS:
PHIL 150 may be applied towards the Certificate in Liberal Arts and the Breadth-Humanities Requirement.
- The Levels (3 – 6 short assignments) 30%
- Term Paper (1400 – 1800 words) 35%
- Final Exam 35%
Aquinas, Selected Philosophical Writings (Oxford). ISBN: 978-0199540273
Descartes, Selected Philosophical Writings (Cambridge)). ISBN: 978-0521358125
Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Hackett). ISBN: 978-0872202290
Plato, Five Dialogues (Hackett). ISBN: 978-0872206335
Department Undergraduate Notes:
Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org More details on our website: SFU Philosophy
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