This is the homepage for PHIL 871 — Kant & Early Modern Philosophy
This course surveys views of some key figures in early modern (17th—18th century) European philosophy, up to and including Kant. Our discussion begins with the enormously influential theories of René Descartes, specifically his theories of mind and nature, and examines subsequent reactions, criticisms, and (partial) defenses of his views in the writings of other prominent philosophers. The course culminates with an analysis of central themes in Immanuel Kant’s “critical” philosophical work. In particular, this course focuses on issues surrounding the transformation of notions of scientific explanation in the early modern period. We will start with scholastic Aristotelian conceptions of scientific explanation, see how these are critiqued and transformed by Descartes, Locke, and Leibniz, savagely criticized by Hume, and ultimately given new form by Kant.