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Philo 213

Modern Philosophy

Bro. Romualdo Abulad, S.V.D., Ph.D.

Modern philosophy (1500-1900) is the crucial period of transition between what Martin Heidegger refers to as the first and second beginnings. It took the Renaissance to start the paradigm shift, culminating in the birth of modernity on the foundation of the philosophy of Rene Descartes (1596-1650), regarded as the father of modern thought. From him grew two opposite philosophies, the Rationalism of Leibniz and Spinoza, on the one hand, and the Empiricism of Locke, Berkeley and Hume, on the other hand. The former ends in dogmatism while the latter leads to skepticism, none of which satisfies the modern mind’s quest for apodictic certitude. This justifies the culmination of this epistemological search for a method in the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). After Kant, the “all-destroyer,” none of classical Western philosophy is left standing, and the reconstruction of philosophy begins at the end of the modern age with G.W.F. Hegel, the greatest of all systematizers. Thus, the course tells the story of the crucial transition from modernity to the early gropings of postmodernity, covering Descartes, the rationalists and empiricists, Kant and Hegel. Primary sources will be used to guide the study.

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