Early Modern Thought

JPI 961

This course will seek to assess ‘the meaning of modernity’ by examining its founding ontological commitments, by considering how these commitments are operative in modern conceptions of nature and scientific knowledge, politics and the state, and freedom and anthropology, and by evaluating their theological significance, especially in light of developments at the Second Vatican Council and in the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI regarding the meaning of the human person. The course will center largely on primary sources which may include Machiavelli, Bacon, Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, Rousseau, Vico, and Newton.

Course Texts for Fall 2015

  • Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (Red and Black Publishers:  2008), ISBN 193494100X.
  • Francis Bacon, The New Organon (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2000). ISBN 0521564832 Cottingham, Stoothoff, and Murdoch (eds),
  • The Philosophical Writings of Descartes vols 1 and 2 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1984).
  • Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1998), ISBN 0192834983.
  • Giambattista Vico, The New Science 3rd ed. (Cornell:  Cornell University Press, 1968).
  • John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Adamant Media Corporation, 2001), ISBN 0543739376
  • John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press), ISBN 0521357306.
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (London:  Penguin, 1968), ISBN 0140442014
  • David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature (Oxford University Press, 2000),  Book 1.  ISBN-10: 0198751729 ISBN-13: 978-0198751724

*Further “suggested readings” are available in the Course Compendium or will distributed in class.


Associated Faculty

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