Introduction to Philosophy of the 17th and 18th Centuries

The pages here are an attempt to introduce the interested to some of the major themes of Western philosophy in the Modern period.

They grow out of a lecture course, and suffer I'm afraid from the gauchness of presenting material designed in the first place for one medium through a very different one. This is being addressed, but it will take time. Meanwhile, maybe there is something useful in the pages in their hybrid state.

The topics addressed are a rather weird selection, concentrating, in a way that is nonetheless honoured by a substantial tradition, on the metaphysical and epistemological to the exclusion of ethics and political philosophy. The approach is to support an encounter between the student and seminal texts by five key thinkers of the early Modern period: Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant.

Some of these texts are enchanting, others hardly so, and commentary literature is leant on as necessary.

The pages emerge from a course at Lancaster, and reflect the engagement of current students.

There must be many things that are misleading and possibly just wrong in what appears here. I'm very sorry about that and will strive to correct and eliminate as appropriate.

Warm appreciation to UKLINUX for their terrific no-strings hospitality.

Vernon Pratt

Last updated 6th April 2002