Modern European Philosophy Syllabus & Schedule

Modern European Philosophy Syllabus

PHIL 20B – SPRING 2019 – Class Code: 20344

Instructor: Eric Gerlach –

Thursdays 6:30 – 9:20 PM – BCC Room 424

Office Hours: Fridays 12-2 PM @ K’s Coffee, next to BCC

Course Description: This course introduces students to the history of European philosophy from Rationalism to Postmodernism, focusing on core influential ideas and their place in our lives.

Texts: Readings are posted at the top of each lecture on the course website.

Assignments: Two 4 page essays (2 x 25%) & a final 8 page paper (50%) emailed to


Jan 24 – The Origins of Modern Philosophy

Jan 31 – Descartes

Feb 7 – Spinoza

Feb 14 – Locke

Feb 21 – Hume

Feb 28 – Berkeley (First Paper Due March 6th)

Mar 7 – Kant

Mar 14 – Hegel


Mar 28 – Schopenhauer


Apr 11 – Nietzsche

Apr 18 – Heidegger (Second Paper Due Apr 24nd)

Apr 25 – Positivism

May 2 – Pragmatism

May 9 – Wittgenstein

May 16 – Foucault

May 23 – Postmodernism (Third Paper Due May 26th)

This class is acceptable for credit at UC and CSU. It counts towards GE AA/AS area 3; CSU area C2; and IGETC area 3. It can be used as an elective for the Liberal Arts with an Emphasis in Arts and Humanities, Associate in Arts Degree Program and the Liberal Arts: Intersegmental General Education Transfer (IGETC) Certificate of Achievement and the Global Studies AA Degree.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this class, students will be able to do the following:

  1. Describe the main philosophical views of major modern European philosophers.
  2. Analyze and evaluate a philosophical argument based on a careful reading of the original text.

General Student Requirements: Students are expected to come to class prepared to ask questions and participate in discussions. All readings and assignments should be completed by the beginning of class on the day they are discussed. This class is run as a lecture/discussion course.  Students are responsible for all class material, even if they miss class. It is your responsibility to ask if you missed something; it is not the instructor’s responsibility to remind you. If a student has any extenuating circumstances which may affect full participation in the class, the student must speak to the instructor as far ahead of any due date as possible. All assignments must be completed and all requirements must be met in order to pass the class. You must turn in all assignments (even if they are late) in order to be eligible to receive a “C” grade or higher.  There are no exceptions, under any circumstance.

Plagiarism—“[t]o use another person’s ideas or expressions in your writing without acknowledging the source” (MLA Handbook,  5th ed., §1.8)—will not be tolerated. Plagiarists, intentional or inadvertent, will receive a zero on the assignment in question; repeat offenders will get an F for the course and will be subject to college disciplinary action. Students are encouraged to review plagiarism policies in the current Vista College catalog.

Disabled Student Program and Services (DSPS) services are provided for any enrolled student who has a verified disability that creates an educational limitation that prevents the student from fully benefiting from classes without additional support services or instruction. Please let the instructor know if you require any support services or would like more information about DSPS.

The syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor. Any changes will be announced in class. Additional handouts of required readings may also be added.

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