Causation in European Philosophy: The 17th and 18th Centuries
Professor: Bryan Hall, Ph.D., Fulbright Scholar from Indiana University, Southeast
Description: This seminar deals with European Philosophy in the 17th-18th centuries and focuses on the nature of causation which was of particular interest to natural philosophers (the precursors of contemporary scientists) of the period. Although causation is the central theme of the course, it is by no means the only theme. The course will touch on many other important metaphysical and epistemological issues in the Modern period, for example, whether God, the soul, or human freedom exist, what their natures might be, and how we can know these things. All of these different issues will be tied together, however, through our discussion of causation. We will cover a wide variety of interrelated though very different views on causation in the period including those of René Descartes, Nicolas Malebranche, John Locke, Gottfried Leibniz, David Hume, and finally Immanuel Kant. This course will be taught in English. Classes will be a mixture of lecture, classroom discussion, and close reading of the primary texts.