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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?
Not only is philosophy one of the most interesting and challenging subjects, it teaches skills that employers want: thinking outside the box, logic, ethics, and excellent writing and communication skills. At UC you can do either a BA or a BSc in Philosophy, or combine a Philosophy major with the LLB, BCom, or another degree.BA or BSc students who major in philosophy must normally take at least two 100-level PHIL courses, plus at least three 200-level PHIL courses (including PHIL233), plus at least 60-points from 300-level PHIL courses (including at least one course from this list: PHIL305; PHIL310; PHIL311; and PHIL317). For more information see the BA regulations and/or the BSc regulations.
In this course you will learn:Understand and evaluate central ideas in early modern philosophy.Engage with the writings of Descartes and Hume in a detailed and systematic way.Develop critical and interpretative skills of value in the academy and the workplace.Communicate cogent summaries and analyses in oral and written form.
Any 30 points at 200 level from PHIL, orany 60 points at 200 level from the Schedule V of the BA.
Contact Michael-John for further information.
Philosophy Essay Writing Guide (available to all enrolled Philosophy students)
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.