Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: FRRMV16010
Topics in Early Modern Philosophy
Course info
Course codeFRRMV16010
Course goals
The intended purpose of this Topics Seminar is for the participating student  (1) to become familiar with positions taken in the current debates over the specific topic area of the course; (2) to appreciate the arguments for and against the positions; and (3) to develop an independent judgment about the most promising approach in this area.  Specifically the course aims to provide:
* a general overview over key thinkers and themes from the early modern period (16th – 18th centuries);
* an advanced understanding of the topic as developed and discussed by philosophers from this period; and
* a contextualization of the philosophical discussions of this period.
This “Topics Seminar” explores in depth various texts related to a topic in the philosophy of the early modern period that includes such philosophers as Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume as well as their underappreciated contemporaries. 
The specific topic and instructor(s) for the coming year will be announced in the spring.

Previous topic (2016-17): “Perception”
What is it to perceive something? How is taste different from touch? Can instruments such as sticks or microscopes extend our senses? Issues about perception are at the heart of many early modern philosophical debates. They structure puzzles about what we can know, how we experience, what exists, as well as moral considerations about how we relate to others. In this course we will study early modern philosophical debates about perception. In the first part of the course we will lay the foundations by focusing on the work of three scholars with radically different views about perception: René Descartes (1596–1650), Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) and Margaret Cavendish (1614–1687). In the second part, we will build on this foundation by zooming in on three special topics related to perception: perceptual pleasure, errors in perception (and associated ideas about hallucination and ‘madness’ in the period), and status of perceptual instruments such as microscopes, telescopes and other media.

This course is for students in the RMA Philosophy programme; students from other M.A. programmes (such as History & Philosophy of Science or Applied Ethics),  should check with the course coordinator or the RMA Philosophy coordinator (, before enrolling, to ensure that they have the requisite philosophical background.
The entrance requirements for Exchange Students will be checked by International Office and the Programme coördinator. Therefore, you do not have to contact the Programme coördinator yourself.
Kies de Nederlandse taal