Philosophy 39K

Fall 2004

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
39K Freshman and Sophomore Seminar Rees Tu 2-5 227 Cheit

In the early seventeenth century, RenĂ© Descartes proposed a radical new approach to enquiry: the Method of Doubt. This seminar will focus on Descartes’ Method: who is supposed to use it? How is the method meant to work? What did Descartes think it could achieve? Does it succeed? We will begin by reading, and critically evaluating, Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy and Discourse on Method. In the second part of the seminar, we will explore contemporary critiques of Descartes’ Method and its continuing influence on Western philosophy.

The structure of the seminar will encourage students to develop their abilities to read critically, analyze and evaluate arguments, and engage in constructive philosophical debate. Students should be willing to read and reread the text with care, raise questions, and think independently.