Continental Rationalism (PHIL413/513)
Dr. Marie Jayasekera
Mondays & Wednesdays · 2:00pm–3:15pm · LA5–149
This course aims to illuminate not only the commonalities but also the significant differences in the approaches and doctrines of some of the representatives of the tradition labeled ‘Continental Rationalism’, which includes René Descartes, Nicolas Malebranche, Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Leibniz, and other less well-known thinkers. We will investigate how members of this tradition understand the view that reason is sufficient in some sense for knowledge, and, along the way, explore their methods for achieving knowledge as well as their views on innate ideas and a priori principles. We will also seek to make clear the similarities and differences in their positions on metaphysical issues central to the tradition—for example, the nature of substance, God and God’s relation to the world, and human agency and the possibility of free will.