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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, 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? When, in any case, is the '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 it by nature? Can 'ought' be derived from 'is'? Is morality based on reason of the passions?
To take 400-level courses in Philosophy you don’t need to have majored in Philosophy, and you don’t even need to have done your undergraduate degree at UC. If you complete 120 points in 400-level Philosophy, you will get a BA Honours degree in Philosophy—but you can also take a smaller number of 400-level Philosophy courses and credit these towards your BA or BSc Honours degree in another subject, e.g. Psychology or Political Science or Mathematics. We offer 400-level courses in diverse areas. You can also write a 30-point Research Essay on a topic of your choice. For a list of 400-level Philosophy courses, click here.Honours is about developing your own research interests and engaging with cutting-edge research. UC’s Philosophy Department has a very strong research profile. We have world-class experts on Turing, Wittgenstein, philosophy of mind, ethics and bioethics, logic, and philosophy of computing. UC philosophers are regularly invited to lecture on their research at universities in Australasia, Europe and the United States. For further information about Philosophy courses, including additional 400-level independent study courses, contact Diane Proudfoot. For information about Honours degrees, see the BA Honours regulations and BSc Honours regulations.
Subject to approval of the Head of Department.
Contact Michael-John for further information.
Domestic fee $1,775.00
International Postgraduate fees
* 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