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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Postgraduate Course: Mind and Body in Early Modern Philosophy (PHIL11113)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryEver since Descartes argued that the mind and body are distinct, separable substances whose essential natures are diametrically opposed to one another, understanding the union of the mind and body came to be regarded as problematic: how could the immaterial mind or soul bring about changes in the physical body and vice versa? A variety of solutions, and their associated scientific and theological implications, dominated philosophical speculation for the rest of the century. Through an examination of core texts, this course will explore the principal accounts offered in the mid- to late-seventeenth century: the Cartesian doctrine of interaction, Spinoza¿s theory of mind-body identity, Malebranche¿s occasionalism, and Leibniz¿s pre-established harmony. Each will be subjected to critical evaluation by examining arguments advanced in their favour and objections against, particularly those raised by contemporaries, such as Pierre Gassendi, Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia, Pierre Bayle, Simon Foucher and François Lamy.

Formative feedback available;
- the opportunity to submit a formative essay by the week 6 closing deadline
- the course organiser will be available to discuss drafts and or plans of essays individually with students before submission (face-to face and via email)
- general advice in class
- students will also present their work in class ahead of submission, set up as a debate between two students, each adopting the persona of one of the early modern philosophy studied in the course
Course description Provisional outline that may be subject to change;

Week 1: Introduction and substance.

Week 2: Descartes - Real distinction between the mind and body

Week 3: Descartes - Mind-body union

Week 4: Spinoza - Monism, determinism and degrees of knowledge

Week 5: Spinoza - Mind and body

Week 6: Malebranche - Vision in God

Week 7: Malebranche - Occasionalism

Week 8: Leibniz - Leibniz's 'New System'

Week 9: Leibniz - Leibniz's critics: Bayle, Foucher, Leibniz

Week 10: Role plays - Descartes and Spinoza

Week 11: Role plays - Malebranche and Leibniz

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One 2500 word essay comparing the views on the relation of mind and body of at least two of the philosophers studied on the course.

Assignment deadline: Monday 15th December 2014 by 12 noon
Word limit: 3000 words maximum
Return deadline: Monday 19th January 2015
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
Students will:
- gain an understanding of the history of the enduring mind-body problem
- come to appreciate the complex web of issues, metaphysical, scientific, moral and theological, raised by attempts to understand the relation of the mind and body
- develop the critical skills required to assess the various theories proposed and to evaluate the contemporary responses
Reading List
Primary Texts (in translation)

Descartes, The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, trans. & edited by John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff and Dugald Murdoch, vols. 1 & 2 and vol. 3 (with Anthony Kenny) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984-85). Referred to as 'CSM' followed by volume number.
Available online via University Library Databases, 'Past Masters' ('Continental Rationalists')

Spinoza, The Collected Works of Spinoza, tr. and ed. by E. M. , vol. 1 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988)
Available online via University Library Databases, 'Past Masters' ('Continental Rationalists')
Spinoza, Ethics, tr. & ed., G. H. R. Parkinson (London: Dent, 1989)

Malebranche, Nicolas, Search After Truth, ed. & trans. by Thomas M. Lennon and Paul J. Olscamp (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997). Referred to as 'LO'.

Malebranche, Nicolas, Dialogues on Metaphysics and on Religion, ed. by Nicholas Jolley, trans. by David Scott (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

Leibniz, Leibniz's 'New System' and Associated Texts, ed. & tr. R. S. Woolhouse & Richard Francks (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997). Referred to as 'WF'

Leibniz, Philosophical Essays, tr. and ed. by D. Garber and R. Ariew (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1989). Referred to as 'AG'
Available online via University Library Databases, 'Past Masters' ('Continental Rationalists')

The full reading list can be found on Learn.
Additional Information
Course URL Please see Learn page
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information The course is taught by Dr Pauline Phemister.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Pauline Phemister
Tel: (0131 6)51 3747
Course secretaryMiss Lynsey Buchanan
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002
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