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Descartes & Mill (PH128-12 & PH138-15)

Programme content

This module aims to introduce students to some central problems in two key areas of Philosophy - Epistemology & Metaphysics, and Moral & Political Philosophy - by helping them understand, and engage critically with, the arguments of two key figures in the history of these two areas: Rene Descartes and John Stuart Mill.

Module Director:

Kirk Surgener

Sample reading list (PDF Document)

Topics covered

The following is a list of topics for this module in the 2015/16 academic year; precise seminar content may change from year to year.

  • Descartes’ Life and the Philosophical Context
  • The Attack on the Senses
  • Dreaming and the Evil Demon
  • Cogito Ergo Sum
  • Mind and Body
  • The Trademark Argument for the Existence of God
  • The Cartesian Circle
  • The Ontological Argument and Descartes’ Legacy
Timing and CATS

This module runs in the Autumn term and is worth 12 CATS (module code: PH128-12).

If you are a student from outside the Department, you can study the 15 CAT version of this module (module code: PH138-15). The examination paper for PH138-15 will be longer than that for PH128-12, but there is no difference in the lectures, seminars or unassessed work between the 12 and 15 CAT versions.