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

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Sep 28—Dec 7
Time: 7:00—9:05 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 30
Units: 2
Tuition: $555
Instructor(s): Josef Chytry
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on November 2 and November 23
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—9:05 pm (PT)
Sep 28—Dec 7
9 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 30
2 Units
Josef Chytry
Please Note: No class on November 2 and November 23
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
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 follow, philosophy developed a distinctive body of themes and conjectures that transformed the landscape of speculative inquiry—among others, the mind/body problem, deductive vs. 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 people 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.

Some knowledge of modern European history would be helpful but is not required.

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

Josef Chytry is a senior adjunct professor in critical studies at the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, and the founding director of its Centre for Aesthetics and Politics (CAP). He is also the founding managing editor of the Oxford University Press journal Industrial and Corporate Change at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley. He is the author of Cosmotheism: Cytherean Sitings Between Heraclitus and Kittler; The Cytherean Cycle: Rhea Silvia, Paris Alexandros, Nausikaa; and The Aesthetic State: A Quest in Modern German Thought. Chytry was an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow in philosophy at the University of Tübingen. He received a DPhil in politics and the history of ideas from Oxford and a master's in international affairs (MIA) from Columbia.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Roger Scruton, A Short History of Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Wittgenstein (ISBN 978-0415267632)