Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: FRRMV16010
Topics in Early Modern Philosophy
Course infoSchedule
Course codeFRRMV16010
ECTS Credits5
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Humanities; Utrecht Graduate School of Humanities; Domein Filosofie en Religiewetenschap RMA;
Contact personprof. dr. T.L. Tieleman
Telephone+31 30 2535583
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. T.L. Tieleman
Other courses by this lecturer
prof. dr. T.L. Tieleman
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
1  (05/09/2018 to 02/11/2018)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slotA: MON-morning, TUE-afternoon, WED-morning
Study mode
RemarkCounts towards the fulfillment of the “Topics Seminar” requirement for RMA Philosophy students.
Enrolment periodfrom 20/08/2018 09:00 up to and including 21/08/2018 23:59
Course application processOsiris
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesYes
Waiting listNo
Course placement process(Sub)school
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.
Entry requirements
Prerequisite knowledge
Broad familiarity with undergraduate-level work in the areas covered in the course. Students from outside the RMA programme who have not completed MA or advanced undergraduate courses in this area should consult the instructor before enrolling.
Private study materials
Will be made available via Blackboard.
Required materials
Instructional formats

General remarks
Seminars are may be 3 hours in length, even when they are scheduled in a 4-hour timeslot.

Active participation
Test weight0
Minimum grade-

Test weight30
Minimum grade-

The assignment or examination is assessed for demonstrating understanding of the texts, skills of critical argumentation, and written
communication skills. The final paper is assessed for the quality of the research question, cogency of the argumentation, clarity of written expression, and demonstrated ability to relate the analysis to a clear understanding of the texts for the course.

A written assignment is due half-way through the term.

Test weight70
Minimum grade-

Presentations: Organization of the material, understanding of the text, form of the presentation. Paper: research question, argumentation, embedding in the relevant literature

Deadline paper: in week 9 of the term

Kies de Nederlandse taal