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Early Modern Thought and The Rise of Scientism

PHIL 339

Early Modern Thought and The Rise of Scientism

  • Course ID:PHIL 339
  • Semesters:1
  • Department:Philosophy
  • Teachers:Michael Hude

Description and Objectives

An introduction to early modern philosophy by an examination of the works of Bacon, Descartes, Locke, Hume, and Kant.

The primary goals of this course are for students to:

  1. become familiar with some of the major themes and figures in early modern philosophy
  2. recognize with facility the questions with which modern philosophers are concerned
  3. continue to cultivate the ability to read carefully and thoughtfully
  4. become more proficient at writing and speaking philosophically


Open-source handouts

Course Requirements

Students should expect daily readings assignments, weekly writing assignments, and occasional examinations.

  • The final grade each quarter will be based on a point system.  The points will consist of the following:
    • Exams (typically at least 100 points each)
    • Quizzes (if necessary and of varying point values, between 10-50 points each)
    • Writing Assignments (typically 100 points each)
    • Participation (points awarded at teacher’s discretion, determined by the effectiveness of the participation)
  • Exams will require knowledge of objective facts, but they will mainly evaluate the student’s ability to think and to synthesize material critically.  There will be a comprehensive final examination.
  • Essays and reading will make up a majority of the work in the course.
  • If quizzes are necessary, they will take place and may be announced or unannounced.
  • Class participation is required whether it takes the form of effective insights or the asking of probing questions.  Comportment, attention to detail, and sustained improvement over time in the student’s work will also factor into class participation.  The teacher will keep an account of how well students are participating, and students can approach the teacher at any time to ask about how well they are performing in this respect.  At the end of each grading period, class participation may play a substantial role in improving, maintaining, or decreasing the student’s grade for the quarter.

Successful Students

  • The successful student must maintain daily reading and writing schedules and avoid waiting for deadlines to complete work.  Reading and writing, which is spaced out over a proper amount of time, allows for adequate mental digestion, more effective intellectual nourishment, and more advanced writing instruction.
  • Successful students will consult with the instructor frequently to discuss the texts, as well as rough drafts. I am available outside of class and will make myself available for extra help whenever an appointment is needed.  I encourage parents to contact me with any questions or concerns either by email or phone.