History of Western Philosophy II:
Modern and Contemporary

PHIL 303-001 (CRN 24062)
Spring 2004
Instructor: Dr. Jan Garrett
Time: 9:05-9:55 MWF
Location: Cherry Hall 304
Professor's Office: C. H. 306
Phone: 745-5740 (If on campus, call 55740.)
Course Home Page: http://www.wku.edu/~jan.garrett/303/
E-Mail: jan.garrett@wku.edu

Last revision: January 6, 2004.
The version distributed in class may supersede this version.

Catalog Description

Survey of philosophy's history from Renaissance through twentieth century, emphasizing main currents and figures including empiricism, existentialism, phenomenology, as well as Descartes, Kant, and Wittgenstein.

Spring 2004 Clarification of Course Description

There will be a slight modification of the course's emphasis as described above to include more emphasis on rationalism and pragmatism than the catalog description suggests.

Required Texts

Roger Ariew and Eric Watkins, eds., Modern Philosophy: An Anthology of Primary Sources (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1998) Henceforth "MP". Purchase.

Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto, available online.

John Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy (Boston: Beacon Press, 1985). Purchase.

Jean-Paul Sartre, "Existentialism is a Humanism," available online.

Assigned articles on modern and contemporary philosophers from the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP).

Additional (relatively short) handouts will be assigned as well as material available on the Internet.

Note for Students with Disabilities. Students with disabilities who require accommodations (academic adjustments and/or auxiliary aids or services) for this course must contact the Office for Student Disability Services, Room 445, Potter Hall. The OFSDS telephone number is (270) 745?5004 V/TDD. Please DO NOT request accommodations directly from the professor or instructor without a letter of accommodation from the Office for Student Disability Services.

Projected Means of Determining Grade, with Tentative Weighting

A. Two exams.

1. Midterm - 22 percent.

2. Final exam - 22-24 percent.

The final exam will take place during the scheduled exam period. It will have a comprehensive aspect.
B. Argument Analysis and Two Papers: I shall supply details, suggestions, and due dates later.
Argument Analysis: Apply the methods described and illustrated on the web pages relating to argument analysis and reconstruction to one of the assigned passages from a modern philosophical text to isolate the key question, the conclusion, any intermediate conclusions, and the premises (including definitions, particular and general factual claims, etc.) the author uses to make his case. (10 per cent)

Paper I: Discuss a topic debated in modern Western philosophy prior to Kant or philosopher's view on this topic, including how the philosopher builds a case (argues) for this view. Evaluate the case, indicating questionable assumptions, potential weakness in reasoning, counter-arguments that were or could have been raised by opponents. (18 per cent)

Paper II: Similar to Paper I, but focused upon a representative of a position, distinct from that discussed in Paper I, that emerged after 1780. (18 per cent)

3. Other (8-10 percent maximum)
  • 5-10 minute solo paper presentation or debate presentation in conjunction with a contrary presentation by another student (2-6 points).
  • Adequate verbal response to study questions.
  • Constructive participation in other aspects of class discussion (Up to 4 points.)
  • Attendance alone will count up to four points. (I will not necessarily take attendance every session. I cannot overemphasize the importance of attendance and good note-taking for learning in this course.)
  • Instructor's Office Hours

    10:00-11:00 MW and by appointment. I am often in my office between 8 am and 3 pm when not in class or meetings. Feel free to call me at ext. 55740 or contact me by email at jan.garrett@wku.edu to make an appointment.

    Tentative Schedule of Sessions and Main Topics,
    with Probable Assigned Readings

    MP refers to material in the Modern Philosophy anthology; SEP refers to articles in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (online; see course website for links). "S" stands for Session.

    Where the schedule below says "excerpts," consult the Study Questions or Study Guides on the website or ask the instructor for information about the most relevant pages.

    S1. Introduction to the Course.

    S2. Late Medieval Aristotelian Science and the Copernican/Galilean challenge of Modern Science

    S3. Descartes, Discourse and Meditation I (MP) ; "Descartes-Life and Works" (SEP)

    S4. Meditation II (MP)

    S5. Meditations III and V. (MP)

    S6. Meditation VI. (MP)

    S7-9. Spinoza, Ethics (excerpts) (MP) and "Baruch Spinoza" (SEP article)

    S10. John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, book I. (MP) "John Locke," sections 1-2 (SEP)

    S11-12. Locke, Essay II (excerpts) (MP)

    S13-14. Locke Essay IV (excerpts) (MP)

    S15-17. George Berkeley, Principles Concerning Human Knowledge (excerpts) (MP)

    S16-18. David Hume, Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding (excerpts) (MP); "David Hume" (SEP)

    S19. Midterm

    S20-24. Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics (MP)

    S25. Lecture on Hegel's dialectic and philosophy of spirit. "G. W. F. Hegel," Sections 1, 3-3.1 (SEP)

    S26-27. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Communist Manifesto (online)

    S28-32. Dewey's Pragmatism. Reading: Reconstruction in Philosophy (selected chapters).

    S33-34. Lectures on Husserl and Heidegger.

    S35-39. Jean Paul Sartre, "Existentialism" (online)

    S40-41. Ludwig Wittgenstein. "Ludwig Wittgenstein" (SEP)