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This course introduces you to the philosophy of the early modern period. We shall pay particular attention to the epistemological and metaphysical questions addressed by Descartes in his Meditations and by Hume in Book 1 of his A Treatise of Human Nature. We also study Hume’s moral theory in Bk. III of the Treatise, Locke’s epistemology and Berkeley’s metaphysics. Topics covered include rationalism and empiricism, dreaming, scepticism, proofs of the existence of God, mind-body dualism, idealism, the nature of self, personal identity, causation, reason and the passions. Is knowledge based on reason or experience? Can I be sure that I’m not dreaming? Can I be sure of anything? What, in any case, is this ‘I’? What is the relationship between mind and body? What is it to remain the same person over time? Does the external world exist and, if so, what is its nature? Can ‘ought’ be derived from ‘is’? Is morality based on reason or the passions?
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Employable, innovative and enterprising
Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
Any 30 points at 200 level from PHIL, orany 60 points at 200 level from the Schedule V of the BA.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Domestic fee $1,570.00
International fee $7,000.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
Humanities and Creative Arts