At the start of the 17th-century, medieval scholasticism was in disrepute. What new philosophy would grow up to accommodate the insights arising from the cataclysmic changes in geography, religion and science? In this course, we will examine Descartes’ attempt to found a new philosophy, some responses to his attempt, and Hume’s reassertion of scepticism. We will then look at Kant’s attempt to reconcile Humean scepticism with the certainty of Newtonian physics.
The primary focus of this course will be the metaphysical and epistemological problems raised by the Scientific Revolution; but we will also spend some time considering the reception of these ideas by other philosophers and by society at large.