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History of Philosophy VI: Modern Empiricism

Lecturer: Jon Roffe

Originally Taught: Summer School 2007

This course is the final instalment in the Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy History of Philosophy Series, and will present the three modern philosophers most frequently drawn together under the title of empiricism, Berkeley, Locke and Hume. While the course will discuss these thinkers in terms of the famous assertion that all knowledge is derived from sensible experience, it will also be concerned to show a number of other trends within empiricist thought relative to the nature of social life, reason, morality and language. I will present the philosophy of Hume as the pinnacle of empiricist thought in this historical sense, preparing the way for both the transcendental idealism of Kant and the pragmatism that would later express itself in thinkers like William James.

Monday: Introducing modern empiricism
Tuesday: John Locke’s proto-empicism
Wendesday: George Berkeley’s empirical idealism
Thursday: David Hume on human nature, experience and knowledge
Friday: Hume on morality and religion; Conclusion