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Semester 1

The Rationalists: Spinoza and Leibniz (PHIL10086)

Course Website

http://www.philosophy.ed.ac.uk/ug_study/ug_honours/ug_hons_index.html

Subject

Philosophy

College

CAHSS

Credits

20

Normal Year Taken

3

Delivery Session Year

2022/2023

Pre-requisites

**Spaces on Philosophy Honours courses are extremely limited, and so priority is given to visiting students coming through a direct exchange with the Philosophy department (including Erasmus students on a Philosophy Exchange). Exchange students outside of Philosophy and independent study abroad students cannot be guaranteed enrolment in ANY 3rd/4th year Philosophy courses** Please note that 3rd year Philosophy courses are high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces. If there is sufficient space for other visiting students to enrol at the start of the semester, visiting students must have completed at least 3 Philosophy courses at grade B or above to qualify for this course; we will only consider University/College level courses.

Course Summary

The course will introduce students to the philosophical systems of the gigantic figures in the history of philosophy, Spinoza and Leibniz. It will explore how, while responding critically to but still working within the framework of Cartesian dualism, Spinoza and Leibniz respectively transformed the Cartesian philosophy in two radically different directions, resulting in (i) Spinoza's absolute monism and, in critical response also to Spinoza, (ii) the dynamic, pluralist philosophical system of Leibniz.

Course Description

The course will introduce students to the philosophical systems of the gigantic figures in the history of philosophy, Spinoza and Leibniz. It will explore how, responding critically to but still working within the framework of Cartesian dualism, Spinoza and Leibniz respectively transformed the Cartesian philosophy in two radically different directions, resulting in (i) Spinoza's absolute monism and, in critical response also to Spinoza, (ii) the dynamic, pluralist philosophical system of Leibniz. Common to Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz is the aim to construct a rational and internally consistent theory in which metaphysics provides foundational grounding to natural scientific empirical observations and ethical practice. Examination of the work of Spinoza and Leibniz will allow us to assess the degrees to which they succeeded in this quest, examining how, for instance, the metaphysical monism of Spinoza leads to a necessitarianism that poses difficulties for individual ethical agency and freedom and how Leibniz sought through his metaphysical pluralism to overcome these problems.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 100%, Practical Exam 0%

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Disclaimer

All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

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