PHIL 323 - The Scientific Revolution
Fall 2023, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
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Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


This course focuses on the “Scientific Revolution”, a crucial period in intellectual history. The first part of the course concerns the introduction of Copernican astronomy and the subsequent controversy over this heliocentric view that culminated in the trial and condemnation of Galileo in 1633. This part of the course will include the role-playing game, The Trial of Galileo: Aristotelianism, the ‘New Cosmology’, and the Catholic Church, 1616-1633, which is part of the “Reacting to the Past” series. Students will play the role of historical individuals involved in the so-called “Galileo Affair", thereby coming to appreciate “from the inside” the various philosophical, theological, and political factors involved in this pivotal historical event. The second part of the course concerns the development after Galileo of a new physics that came to be known as the “mechanical philosophy”. The focus here will be on Descartes, Leibniz, and Newton (along with Newton’s defender, Clarke). We end with a consideration of the original synthesis of the views of Leibniz and Newton in the work of Émilie du Châtelet. Our goal throughout is to understand the transition during this important period from a cosmology and physics based on the views of the ancients to a more “modern” outlook in these disciplines.


PHIL 323 - The Scientific Revolution
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
 In Person
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

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