151 History of Philosophy II

Summer Semester 2013 | Evening | Vancouver (Harbour Centre)


INSTRUCTOR: Simon Pollon (scp4 at


This course is concerned with offering a broad introduction to the most recent wholesale 're-orienting' of philosophical inquiry, which began during the European Renaissance in the 16th Century and continued into the 18th century. This reorientation marks the shift away from what is commonly referred to as the 'Scholastic' tradition in Western Philosophy, which took as its chief touchstones the works of Aristotle and the Holy Bible. This shift is characterized by two broad, and related attitudes. The first is a rejection of the idea that these authoritative texts provide unerring, true accounts of the world. The second is the promotion of reliance upon one's own sensory and rational capacities for coming to know about the world, and for critically evaluating these very capacities. It is unsurprising, then, that this new philosophical movement (Early Modern Philosophy) is tightly bound up with the scientific inquiry and progress of its day. Indeed, at this time Philosophy and the Sciences are not yet distinct disciplines. To acquire a firm grasp of this intellectual moment, we will examine the views of its 'Chief' thinkers; Namely, RenĂ© 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).


  • Modern Philosophy: An Anthology of Primary Sources, 2nd edition, by Roger Ariew (2009), Hackett Publishing, ISBN 978-0872209787


  • Participation: 10%
  • Midterm x 2 (20% each): 40%
  • Essay: 20%
  • Final exam: 30%

All papers must be submitted to, which is a plagiarism detection website.

Prerequisites: Philosophy 151 has no prerequisites and may be applied towards the Certificate in Liberal Arts and the Breadth/Humanities requirement.