Saint John the Evangelist Seminary

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Saint John the Evangelist Seminary


ISC 503:  Introduction to Modern Philosophy            3 Credit Hours

Course Syllabus 


Bishop James Wilkowski

Course Description:

A study of the major themes and figures of the classical modern period - the 17th and 18th Centuries.

Required Textbook:

The Longman Standard History of Modern Philosophy by Daniel Kolak and Garrett Thomson (Pearson Longman, 2006). Check out either Amazon or Half for purchase prices.

Class Reading Assignments:

 1. Introduction: Copernicus, Newton, Bacon

 1-37, 180-203



 2.  Descartes: Meditations I & II


 Questions on Descartes: Meditations I & II


 3.  Descartes: Meditations III & IV


 Questions on Descartes: Meditations III & IV


 4.  Descartes: Meditations V & VI

 61-71, 99-101

 Questions on Descartes: Meditations V & VI


 5.  Descartes: Objections and Replies


 Questions on Descartes: Objections & Replies


 6.  Hobbes: metaphysics/epistemology

 203-10, 221

 Questions on Hobbes: Metaphysics/epistemology


 7.  Hobbes & Locke: political philosophy

 210-220, 269-78

 Questions on Hobbes & Locke: political philosophy


 8. Spinoza: God


 Questions on Spinoza: God


 9. Spinoza: mind-body


 Questions on Spinoza: mind-body


 10. Spinoza: emotions/freedom


 Questions on Spinoza: emotions/freedom


 11. Leibniz: Letters, Truths


 Questions on Leibniz: Letters, Truths


 12. Leibniz: Discourse on Metaphysics


 Questions on Leibniz: Discourse on Metaphysics


 13. Leibniz: Monadology, Letters


 Questions on Leibniz: Monadology, Letters




 14. Locke: ideas


 Questions on Locke: ideas


 15. Locke: cause, substance


 Questions on Locke: cause, substance


 16. Locke: language, knowledge


 Questions on Locke: language, knowledge


 17. Berkeley: abstract ideas, existence

 278-94 (sec. 21)

 Questions on Berkeley: abstract ideas, existence


 18. Berkeley: matter, spirit

 294 (sec. 22)-305

 Questions on Berkeley: matter, spirit


 19. Berkeley: nature

 305 (sec. 97)-320

 Questions on Berkeley: nature


 20. Hume: association of ideas


 Questions on Hume: association of ideas


 21. Hume: natural belief


 Questions on Hume: natural belief


 22. Hume: liberty, self

 350-57, 361-71

 Questions on Hume: liberty, self


 23.Voltaire & Rousseau


 Questions on Voltaire & Rousseau


 24. Kant: space, time, & categories


 Questions on Kant: space, time, & categories


 25. Kant: Ideas of Reason


 Questions on Kant: ideas of reason


 26. Kant: metaphysics

 440-63, 487-89

 Questions on Kant: metaphysics






1.      Complete readings, summaries and papers.

2.      Interact with me via Skype or Google Chat as we progress with this course.

3.      Participate Actively

4.      Ask questions whenever something is confusing or unclear.

5.      Have fun.




  1. A healthy and functioning PC or Laptop with Internet Connection and Skype or Google Chat up and running.
  2. Be familiar with PowerPoint.
  3. Completion of three (3) papers.  Topics for papers TBA.




Saint John the Evangelist Seminary
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