The course will focus on a cluster of issues concerning the individuation, unity, composition, and persistence of material substances in the works of seventeenth-century philosophers. Among the philosophers we will read and discuss are Suarez, Descartes, Hobbes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Boyle, and Locke, as well as some lesser-known figures such as Kenelm Digby, Walter Charleton, Thomas Beconsall, Humphrey Hody. We will also look at some of the recent secondary literature on our topics.
(1) Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Oxford UP.
(2) Leibniz, Philosophical Essays. Hackett.
(3) Descartes, Philosophical Writings of Descartes, 3 vols. Cambridge UP.
(4) Boyle, Selected Philosophical Writings of Robert Boyle. Hackett.
All other readings will be available electronically.