Modern philosophy: Descartes, Locke, Berkeley and Hume PY1065

Modern philosophy: Descartes, Locke, Berkeley and Hume is a study of the main works of Descartes, Locke, Berkeley and Hume.

Topics covered

It studies the epistemological and metaphysical views of these philosophers. The philosophers Locke, Berkeley and Hume are generally reckoned to be the main representatives of the empiricist tradition, whereas Descartes is seen as one of the forerunners of the rationalist school. However, the work of the empiricists can be seen as a reaction – in part – to Descartes and rationalism generally, so this first subject in modern philosophy begins with Descartes. The label ‘modern’ is intended as a contrast to ‘ancient’, (i.e. Plato, the Pre-Socratics and Aristotle, among others). It is generally understood as covering the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries – a period in which there was a decisive break with ancient philosophy.


One two- hour unseen written examination.

Taster study material