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PHI 110 — The Origins and Evolution of Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Heidegger and Wittgenstein

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 25—Dec 4
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 8
Units: 2
Tuition: $460
Instructor(s): Josef Chytry
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 20
On-campus course
7:00—8:50 pm
Sep 25—Dec 4
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 8
2 Units
Josef Chytry
Please Note: No class on November 20
Modern European philosophy is generally seen as starting in the 17th century, when a number of thinkers began to radically reinterpret the philosophical project. During the centuries to come, philosophy developed a distinctive body of themes and conjectures that transformed the landscape of speculative inquiry: among others, the mind/body problem, deductive versus inductive reasoning, thought and emotion, faith and science, and the foundations of logic and mathematics. Also during this time, the natural and social sciences emerged and started to question whether philosophers still had a reason for being—a challenge that came to a head in the 20th century.

This course traces the evolution of modern philosophy from its bold period beginning with the great systematizers Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, through the challenges faced by the British empiricists Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, before confronting the powerful works of the German Idealists from Kant to Hegel. It examines the 19th-century breakdown of that synthesis through the radical alternatives posed by Marx, Schopenhauer, and Nietzsche, and concludes with the inquiries of Heidegger and Wittgenstein in the 20th century. The course will close with a brief evaluation of the status of philosophy in the 21st century.

Josef Chytry, Senior Adjunct Professor in Critical Studies, California College of the Arts

Josef Chytry is the author of Mountain of Paradise: Reflections on the Emergence of Greater California as a World Civilization and The Aesthetic State: A Quest in Modern German Thought. He has taught and published extensively on the European Enlightenment. He received a DPhil in politics and the history of ideas from the University of Oxford and was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in philosophy at the University of Tübingen, Germany.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Roger Scruton, A Short History of Modern Philosophy, 2nd Edition (ISBN 978-0415267632)