Courses & Units

Foundations of Modern Philosophy HPH202


This unit surveys the main Western philosophical traditions from the Renaissance up to the 19th century. At the centre stand the metaphysical and epistemological systems of the Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz) and the Empiricists (Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume), as well as the Criticism of Kant and some of his successors such as, for example, Fichte, or Schelling, and Hegel. Students are also introduced to in-depth, analytical readings and discussions of complete and/or select parts of seminal works of the period. This is done with a constant eye to contemporary discussions in epistemology and metaphysics. While the unit builds on and deepens the knowledge base from the introductory first year Philosophy units and constitutes a pathway into the third year units in philosophy, it is also an ideal unit for the generally interested student intent on rounding out and increasing overall competence and skills necessary for the effective participation in contemporary scientific, cultural, social, and political debates.


Unit name Foundations of Modern Philosophy
Unit code HPH202
Credit points 12.5
College/School College of Arts, Law and Education
School of Humanities
Discipline Philosophy and Gender Studies
Coordinator Associate Professor James Chase
Available as an elective? Yes
Delivered By University of Tasmania
Level Intermediate


Location Study period Attendance options Available to
Hobart Semester 2 On-Campus International Domestic
Launceston Semester 2 On-Campus International Domestic
Online Semester 2 Off-Campus International Domestic


International students
Domestic students

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Key Dates

Study Period Start date Census date WW date End date
Semester 2 22/7/2024 16/8/2024 9/9/2024 27/10/2024

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (refer to How do I withdraw from a unit? for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2024 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2024 will be available from the 1st October 2023. Note census date cutoff is 11.59pm AEST (AEDT during October to March).

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Learning Outcomes

  • Gain specialist understanding of the historical context and content of debates and positions within early modern philosophy.
  • Engage with social, cultural or political impact and implication of philosophical debates and positions within early modern philosophy.
  • Apply disciplinary skills of text exegesis, analysis and clear communication to interpret and critically assess texts.
  • Demonstrate a constructively critical attitude to belief formation and an appreciation of the synoptic goal of understanding and judgement.

Fee Information

Field of Education Commencing Student Contribution 1,3 Grandfathered Student Contribution 1,3 Approved Pathway Course Student Contribution 2,3 Domestic Full Fee 4
091701 $2,040.00 $957.00 not applicable $2,040.00

1 Please refer to more information on student contribution amounts.
2 Please refer to more information on eligibility and Approved Pathway courses.
3 Please refer to more information on eligibility for HECS-HELP.
4 Please refer to more information on eligibility for FEE-HELP.

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25 credit points at Introductory level or higher


Teaching Pattern

On campus 

Online lecture or equivalent (1 hour)

Weekly seminar (1 hour)

Weekly tutorial (1 hour)

Off campus 

Online lecture or equivalent (1 hour)

Weekly online discussions (equivalent 2 hours)

AssessmentShort tutorial presentation (10%)|Tutorial participation (10%)|Take-home exam (30%)|Essay (50%)
TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable



Required readings will be listed in the unit outline prior to the start of classes.

LinksBooktopia textbook finder

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