Fall 2012

Philosophy at the Extremes

Listed in: Philosophy, as PHIL-368


Jonathan M. Vogel (Section 01)


A traditional view distinguishes two overarching approaches to philosophy, rationalism and empiricism.  Rationalists hold that reality is known primarily through reason; empiricists hold that reality is known primarily through sense perception.  Perhaps the most rigorous, unflinching, radical and profound exponents of these opposed positions were Baruch Spinoza and David Hume.  Both Spinoza and Hume are led by powerful arguments to staggering conclusions (e.g., there is only one thing, God, and you and I are ideas in the divine mind–Spinoza; there is no causality in the usual sense, there are no ordinary material objects, and in the end there is no self–Hume).  In this course, we will read carefully Spinoza’s Ethics and Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature (Book One), two of the greatest philosophical works ever written. Satisfies the “major figure or movement” requirement of the Philosophy Major.

Requisite: PHIL 218 or consent of the instructor.  Fall semester.  Professor Vogel.

Cost: 55.00 ?


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012