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PHIL 419

Major Philosophers

One or two philosophers, usually chosen from Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Leibniz, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Wittgenstein and Frege. Prerequisite: two courses in philosophy or permission of instructor. May be repeated for credit with different topics. Counts toward European Studies Minor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Two courses in philosophy or permission of instructor 1 course

Spring Semester information

Claudia Mills

419A: Tps:Rousseau


Of all the great philosophers, none is more contradictory, infuriating, or exhilarating than the "Citizen of Geneva": Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau wrote the first truly modern autobiography, resisted Enlightenment confidence in intellectual and scientific progress, influenced the development of Romanticism, pioneered child-centered theories of education that remain influential today, and served as the patron saint of the French Revolution. We'll be reading widely in Rousseau's political philosophy (the two Discourses, On the Social Contract, and Considerations on the Government of Poland) and his philosophy of education and religion (Emile), as well as his stunningly revelatory Confessions, epistolary novel Julie, or the Nouvelle Heloise (the best-selling novel of the 18th century), and his poignant Reveries of the Solitary Walker. We will even listen to the opera for which he wrote both libretto and score. This will be organized as a seminar-style class. Students will write two 8-10 page papers, and one longer final paper, revised and expanded from one of the two shorter papers. Requirements also include active class participation in student-led discussions.