Major Texts in Philosophy (PHIL*4420) | College of Arts

Major Texts in Philosophy (PHIL*4420)

Code and section: PHIL*4420*01

Term: Winter 2019

Instructor: Patricia Sheridan


This course is cross listed with PHIL*6710

This course will look at the rise of early modern conceptions of the relationship between individuals and society. Locke, Rousseau, and Wollstonecraft are all central voices in this period, who grappled with questions of human nature, equality, moral responsibility and the relationship of individuals to the state.

We will look, especially, at the responsibility individuals to self-perfect in the interests of social welfare and political stability. These ideas, as developed in the three thinkers we will be reading, capture an important emerging conception of the moral agent, and their social responsibilities, that marks the early modern period. These thinkers captured a zeitgeist, if you will, such that reading them offers an important insight into the moral and political issues that motivated many thinkers in this period.


Course Outline

The University of Guelph resides on the land of the Between the Lakes Treaty No. 3, the territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. This land is part of the Dish with One Spoon, a covenant between Indigenous nations to live peaceably on the territories of the Great Lakes region. We recognize that today this gathering place is home to many First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and acknowledging them reminds us of our collective responsibility to the land where we learn, live and work.