PHIL 151 History of Philosophy II

Spring Semester 2013 | Day | Burnaby


INSTRUCTOR: E. Tiffany, WMX 5652 (


This course focuses on the development of philosophy in the early modern period, roughly the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This period can be characterized by a movement away from the doctrines of Aristotle, as incorporated into the theological framework of Catholic philosophers such as Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), and toward a corpuscularian mechanism characteristic of the emerging natural sciences. While it is common to think of the main figures of this era as divided into two camps, the rationalists and the empiricists, we shall see that matters are actually much more complex. While we shall focus primarily on the epistemology and metaphysics, one cannot do justice to this period, which includes the Enlightenment, without seeing how this new way of thinking of world and one’s place in it also influenced the ethics and politics of the time. Specific topics we will consider will include the nature of physical things and the mind, the existence of God, causation, knowledge, personal identity, and human nature. Specific philosophers will include Michele de Montaigne (1533-1592), Francis Bacon (1561-1626), Thomas Hobbes (1588-1626), René Descartes (1596-1650), Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677), Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), John Locke (1632-1704), George Berkeley (1685-1753), David Hume (1711-1776), and Immanuel Kant (1724-1804).


  • William Lawhead, The Voyage of Discovery: The Modern Voyage (2nd Edition), Wadsworth Publishing.
  • Penguin Custom Text


  • Low stakes assignments - 20%
  • 2 Midterms - 15% each
  • 5-6 page paper - 20%
  • Final exam - 30%

 PHIL 151 has no prerequisites and may be applied towards the Certificate of Liberal Arts and the Breadth/Humanities requirement.