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PH243 - The Rationalists

  • Module code: PH243
  • Module name: The Rationalists
  • Department: Philosophy
  • Credit: 15

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

This module will concentrate on the two greatest early modern rationalists, Spinoza and Leibniz. We will devote approximately half the term to studying Spinoza's major work, the Ethics, and then look at a variety of Leibniz's works shorter work and letters. Among the topics we will cover are: the nature of substance, and the relations between God and the world, between body and mind, and between ideas and their objects.

Principal learning outcomes

At the end of the course students are expected to have understood the two principal successors to Descartes who continue the “rationalist” tradition in philosophy: Spinoza and Leibniz. The course is designed as a complement to HMP

Timetabled teaching activities

There will normally be one lecture and one seminar each weekduring the course of one term taught as one large group

Departmental link

Other essential notes

Please note that attendance at both lectures and seminars and completion of any unasssessed or required work is a requirement of this module

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
15 CATS (Module code: PH243-15)
A1 (Assessed work only) Assessed Course Work 15%
Assessed Course Work 85%
Assessed Course Work 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Intercalated Year (GV18) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics (V7ML) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics (V7MP) - Year 2