Modern Epistemology: the Problem of Knowledge in the Enlightened Age

This course covers the period from Descartes through Kant and is structured around a study of themes in science, epistemology, and metaphysics as they evolved in this period. Although the themes to be covered may vary somewhat, on the philosophical side the main ones will be a selection from the following: theories of representation, theories of perception, theories of concepts and abstract ideas, theories of knowledge and the issue of skepticism (proofs of God and of the external world), metaphysics and ontology, causality, and doctrines of logic and method. What makes the early modern period so intellectually fascinating is that philosophy and science, empirical studies and a priori studies, are interwoven. We shall look at some parts of the tapestries that resulted, especially in the area of cognitive science, especially in Descartes, but also including physics and mathematics, and the contributions of other philosophers of the period.