Spring 2018: Leibniz and Spinoza

Alexander R. Pruss

E-mail: alexander_pruss@baylor.edu

Course web page: http://AlexanderPruss.com/classes/ls/

Class times: M 2:30-5:15 in MH 107

Office hours: MW 10:00-11:10 am or by appointment or just catch me



Š         N. Rescher, G.W. Leibniz's Monadology: An Edition for Students, paperback.

Š         G. W. Leibniz, Philosophical Essays, ed. Ariew and Garber, Hackett. Online in library.nlx.com (“Continental Rationalists”).

Š         B. Spinoza, Ethics; Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect; and Selected Letters, Hackett, paperback.


Grading and requirements:

Š         One 12-15 page paper on Leibniz (due April 2) and one 9-12 page paper on Spinoza (due April 30).

Š         Class participation is required and counts towards the grade.  Prepare for each class by reading the assigned reading.


Tentative reading assignments:

May change: check a week ahead.

Always read the additional selections included with each Monadology paragraph.

Š         Jan 8: Parmenides, fragments

Š         Jan 22: Monadology 1-6; Principles of Nature and Grace 1-2; Discourse on Metaphysics 1; Letters to Burnet, Ariew-Garber 285-290; Bailey

Š         Jan 29: Correspondence with de Bosses, Ariew-Garber 197-206; Principles of Nature and Grace 3-6; Monadology 7-8; Pruss; Smith; Garber (to be put in box)

Š         Feb 5: Monadology 9-22; “On the Method of Distinguishing Real From Imaginary Phenomena” (Loemker, 602-607, to be put in box); Letters to Clarke, II.1, III.5-8, IV.1-24; "On Copernicanism..." (Ariew-Garber, 90-94); Black; Hacking

Š         Feb 12: Monadology 22-39; Discourse on Metaphysics 13-15; “The Ultimate Origin of Things”; “Contingency”; “Freedom and Possibility”; “On What is Independent of Sense and Matter” (Ariew-Garber, 186-192); Leftow, “God and the Problem of Universals” (in box); “Two Studies in the Logical Calculus” (in box)

Š         Feb 19: Letter to Countess Elizabeth (Ariew-Garber, 235-240); Descartes’ Meditation 5; Monadology 40-55; St Anselm’s Proslogium I-IV; Pruss, “Goedelian Argument Improved”; Pruss, “Goedelian Ontological Arguments Improved Even More”

Š         Feb 26: Theme: Leibniz’s physics. “A Specimen of Dynamics” (Ariew-Garber, 117-138); various pieces (Ariew-Garber, 307-320); Letters to Clarke II.4-II.12; Rescher, “What Einstein Wanted” (in box); Monadology 56-81 (sorry, that’s a lot of text!); John Roberts on Leibniz; Kenneth Pearce (in box)

Š         Mar 5: Theme: space. Finish Monadology (including Myth of Er); Sayre-McCord; Garber and Rauzy; Levin; Arthur

Š         Mar 19: Theme: overall assessment. Adams, Chapters 9-11; recall Garber (in box); “Reflections on the Common Concept of Justice” (Loemker, in box)

Š         Mar 26: Spinoza, Ethics, part I and Letters 2-12

Š         Apr 2: Spinoza, Ethics, part II up to proposition 17 and Letter 56

Š         Apr 9: Spinoza, Ethics, rest of part II and Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect, and Letter 32

Š         Apr 16: Spinoza, Ethics, Part III; LeBuffe; Friedman

Š         Apr 23: Spinoza, Ethics, Parts IV-V; Savan; Bennett, Chapters 10-11; optional: Koistinen


Miscellaneous lecture notes (often from previous times I taught the class, and I may no longer agree with them; use at your own risk):

Š         Life of Leibniz

Š         Remarks on artifacts

Š         Some ontological arguments