Undergraduate Course: The rationalists: Spinoza and Leibniz (PHIL10086)
|School||School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The course will introduce students to the philosophical systems of the gigantic figures in the history of philosophy, Spinoza and Leibniz. It will explore how, while responding critically to but still working within the framework of Cartesian dualism, Spinoza and Leibniz respectively transformed the Cartesian philosophy in two radically different directions, resulting in (i) Spinoza's absolute monism and, in critical response also to Spinoza, (ii) the dynamic, pluralist philosophical system of Leibniz.
The course will introduce students to the philosophical systems of the gigantic figures in the history of philosophy, Spinoza and Leibniz. It will explore how, responding critically to but still working within the framework of Cartesian dualism, Spinoza and Leibniz respectively transformed the Cartesian philosophy in two radically different directions, resulting in (i) Spinoza's absolute monism and, in critical response also to Spinoza, (ii) the dynamic, pluralist philosophical system of Leibniz.
Common to Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz is the aim to construct a rational and internally consistent theory in which metaphysics provides foundational grounding to natural scientific empirical observations and ethical practice. Examination of the work of Spinoza and Leibniz will allow us to assess the degrees to which they succeeded in this quest, examining how, for instance, the metaphysical monism of Spinoza leads to a necessitarianism that poses difficulties for individual ethical agency and freedom and how Leibniz sought through his metaphysical pluralism to overcome these problems.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||three philosophy courses at university or college level at grade B or above.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Mid-term Essay (30%); Final Essay (65%); Participation (5%)
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Students will gain an understanding of the systematic philosophies of Spinoza and Leibniz and of the ways in which the elements of their respective systems combine to form an integrated whole.
- Students will acquire the ability to analyze and critically assess the arguments Spinoza and Leibniz used to support their philosophical views.
- Students will acquire the ability to construct their own arguments for and against the positions Spinoza and Leibniz advanced.
- Students will gain an understanding of the philosophical reasons that lead on the one hand to Spinozistic monism and, on the other, to Leibnizian pluralism.
|Indicative Bibliography: Secondary Texts: |
B. Lord, Spinoza's "Ethics"
S. Hampshire, Spinoza and Spinozism
S. Nadler, Spinoza's "Ethics": an introduction
R. Popkin, Spinoza
D. Garrett, Cambridge Companion to Spinoza
G. H. R. Parkinson, Spinoza's Theory of Knowledge
M. Della Rocca, Spinoza
Y. Melamed, Spinoza's Metaphysics: substance and thought
V. Viljanen, Spinoza's Geometry of Power
R.T. Arthur, Leibniz
A. Savile, The Routledge Guide to Leibniz
R.M. Adams, Leibniz: Determinist, Theist, Idealist
D. Garber, Leibniz: Body, Substance, Monad
P. Phemister, Leibniz and the Natural World
N. Jolley, The Cambridge Companion to Leibniz
D. Rutherford, Leibniz and the Rational Order of Nature
C. Wilson, Leibniz's Metaphysics
B. Look, The Continuum Companion to Leibniz
J. Cottingham, The Rationalists
P. Phemister, The Rationalists: Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz
|Course organiser||Prof Pauline Phemister
Tel: (0131 6)51 3747
|Course secretary||Mr Peter Cruickshank
Tel: (131 6)50 3961