Postgraduate Course: The Rationalists: Spinoza and Leibniz MSc (PHIL11075)
|School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
|College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)
|SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
|Available to all students
|The course will introduce students to the philosophical systems of the gigantic figures in the history of philosophy, Spinoza and Leibniz. It will demonstrate 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. This course will compare and contrast these systems of philosophy and subject them to critical evaluation.
The course will introduce students to the philosophical systems of the gigantic figures in the history of philosophy, Spinoza and Leibniz. It will explore'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. Critical engagement with the works 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.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- understand 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.
- analyze and critically assess the arguments Spinoza and Leibniz used to support their philosophical views.
- construct their own arguments for and against the positions Spinoza and Leibniz advanced.
- understand the philosophical reasons that lead on the one hand to Spinozistic monism and, on the other, to Leibnizian pluralism.
|Indicative Bibliography: Core Texts:
Spinoza, The Ethics Leibniz, The Principles of Philosophy, or Monadology; Discourse on Metaphysics and Correspondence with Arnauld; New System of the nature and communication of Substances; Principles of Nature and of Grace, and various other short pieces.
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
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|generic analytical and critical thinking skills; working to deadlines; competently using library resources
|Prof Pauline Phemister
Tel: (0131 6)51 3747
|Miss Sabina Ali
Tel: (0131 6) 50 4400