Syllabus for PHH 3402  British Empiricism

Spring 2015  Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11:00-11:50 in PC 431

Copyright © 2015 Bruce W. Hauptli

Course Description and Objectives:

This course introduces students to the philosophical problems, positions, and methodologies which were of central concern to the 17th and 18th philosophers of the British Isles.  Locke, Berkeley, and Hume will be studied, and both the historical and contemporary importance of their views will be highlighted.  This course is a part of the Department's sequence of courses in the history of philosophy (courses with the PHH prefix including: Ancient Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, 16th and 17th Century Philosophy, Late Modern Philosophy, and Twentieth Century Philosophy).  All of these courses are intended to provide students with an introduction to philosophy via a study of representative major figures in the different historical periods of the Western philosophical tradition.  These courses are designed so that students may take them in any order (the study of the later periods is not dependent upon prior study of the earlier ones).  In this course (as in the others), students should become familiar with the problems, positions, and methodologies of the philosophers studied.  These courses deal with the interpretation of texts; the balanced exposition and examination of philosophical problems, positions, and methodologies; and the philosophical criticism of doctrines and things commonly taken for granted.  In addition to introducing students to the representative thinkers mentioned above, then, this course (and the other courses in the Department's history of philosophy sequence) is intended to enhance the student's critical reading, writing, and speaking skills. 

The course focuses the students’ attention on inquiry and analysis; seeks to extend their abilities to adopt critical perspectives; and endeavors to connect the philosophical problems, positions and methodologies studied with the concerns and methodologies of other disciplines, as well as of our culture generally.  The lectures, readings, papers, and exams are integrated in a manner intended to promote these objectives.  In all of these activities students will be encouraged to interact analytically with, and respond critically to, the primary and secondary texts studied.  Students will also be encouraged to endeavor to assimilate the ideas studied with those they have previously studied. 

Required Texts: there are many editions of the core works we are going to be reading and studying.  I am completely comfortable with students using other editions.  The editions listed below are the best compromise between quality and cost that I have been able to find, and for this reason I have selected them. 

John Locke: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (Selections) [1689], abridged and ed. Kenneth Winkler (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996), ISBN: 9780872202160
George Berkeley: A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge [1710], ed. Kenneth Winkler (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1982), ISBN: 9780915145393
David Hume: A Treatise of Human Nature [1739], ed. L.A. Shelby-Bigge [1888], second edition revised by P.H. Nidditch [1978] (Oxford: Oxford U.P., 1978), ISBN: .9780198245889

Recommended Text:

Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period, ed. Margaret Atherton (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1994), ISBN: 9780872202597


John Locke, selections from his Essay:

Book I: total selection;
Book II: Chapters i-xii; xxi 1, 5, 13 31, 33, 47; xx; xxiii-xxix, xxxi-xxxiii;
Book III: Chapters i-vii;
Book IV: Chapters i-vi, ix-xv; and xviii; and Chapter xix which are available online (about 225 pages total). 

George Berkeley, Introduction and Part I Sections 1-33, 89, and 139-149 of his Principles (about 34 pages total). 

David Hume, from his Treatise:

Book I:

Part I:

Sections 1-7. pp. 1-26. 

Part II:

Section II p. 32 (third to last paragraph of section). 
Section 5 (last four paragraphs)
Section 6.  pp. 64-68. 

Part III:

Sections 1-8. pp. 69-106. 
Section 10 (first four paragraphs).  pp. 118-120. 
Section 12. pp. 130-142. 
Section 14. pp. 155-172, and pp. 632-633. 

Part IV:

Sections 1-2.  pp. 180-218. 
Section 5 (first six paragraphs).  pp. 232-234. 
Section 5 (first six paragraphs).  pp. 232-234. 
Sections 6-7.  pp. 251-274. 
and pp. 633-636. 

Book II:

Part I:

Section 1. pp. 275-277. 
Section 2, pp. 277-279. 
Section 3, pp. 280-282. 
Section 5, pp. 285-290. 
Section 11 (first five paragraphs).  pp. 316-318. 

Part III:

Section 1 (first five paragraphs), pp. 399-401. 
Section 2 (first five paragraphs), pp. 407-410. 
Section 3, pp. 413-418. 

Book III:

Part I:

Sections 1-2, pp. 455-476. 

Part II:

Section 2, pp. 484-501. 

Part III:

Section 1 (first twelve paragraphs), pp. 574-580.  
Section 6, pp. 618-621.  [Total: about 257 pps.] 

Requirements and Policies:

The following requirements and policies will apply for this course, and students should read them carefully as I adhere rather strictly to them.  I do not accept claims to ignorance in their regard.  I apologize in advance for the length, tone, and specificity of this discussion, but irksome experiences over time have shown that it is wise to clearly specify these items. 

1. Regular class attendance is required: after the first three class meetings attendance will be taken via a roll sheet and students who arrive later than ten minutes into the class period will need to explain (immediately after class) their lateness to have their attendance count that day.  Students must attend for the whole class period, and those who leave before the class period is over will be counted as absent.  Students who miss no more than one class will have their course grade raised by one third of a letter grade (B to B+, etc.).  Students who miss three classes will have their course grade lowered by one third of a letter grade (C+ to C, etc.), students who miss five classes will have their course grade lowered by two thirds of a letter grade (C+ to C-, etc.), students who miss seven classes will have their course grade lowered by one letter grade (C to D, etc.), additional absences will be treated according to this progression. 

Acceptable excuses for the first absence are jury duty, or absence because of university sponsored events which the student must attend.  Only verifiable excuses will be accepted for the second and subsequent absences, and multiple excuses for any individual are viewed with ever-increasing skepticism.  Such excuses must be presented to me in person—messages on my voice mail do not count as excuses.  Excuses should be presented as soon after the absence as possible (students who wait till the end of the semester to offer excuses for early absences need to meet a high burden of verification for the absence to be excused).  Please note that I check with Doctors' offices, hospitals and funeral homes; and I will only rarely accept work-related excuses (which should be offered before the absence). 

2. Appropriate conduct is expected in class: I expect students to silence cell phones or laptop generated noises (including opening greetings and message announcements).  Courteous consideration others is essential in the classroom, and disruptive behavior will not be tolerated.  I expect students to refrain from engaging in private conversations, derogatory side-comments, and noisy snacking; and students should avoid leaving the classroom while class is in session as this is actually disruptive to the class.  In short, students are expected to comport themselves in a manner which does not interfere with instruction and learning. 

3. Regular reading is assumed: students who do not do their readings will have difficulty with the requirements and students who do not attend class will have difficulty with their readings.  I strongly recommend that students do the readings several times—at least once before the class in which they will be discussed and once after the class.  Extensive lecture supplements are available on-line through this web-site (see Lecture Supplements below), and I am available in my office to discuss readings, paper topics, etc. 

4. Papers, examinations, and deadlines: because writing as a form of critical inquiry is conducive to facilitating critical reflection on central topics both in philosophy and generally in all areas, students in this course will be required to write two critical, analytical or expository philosophy papers each of which should be approximately 2,000 words long (equivalent to eight double-spaced typewritten pages of 250 words per page).  This indication of length is meant as a guide to the student—papers much shorter than the indicated length are unlikely to have adequately addressed one of the assigned topics.  Papers may, of course, be longer than the indicated length.  The papers should

address an assigned topic in a manner that clearly displays its purpose, thesis, or controlling idea,
clarify the relevant elements of the philosopher’s theory so that they can be understood by other students taking such philosophy courses,
support the thesis with adequate reasons and evidence,
show sustained analysis and critical thought,
be organized clearly and logically, and
show knowledge of conventions of standard written English. 

The papers should be typed and are due in my office by 4:15 P.M. on the following dates: Monday, March 2 and Monday, April 13

The supplement on the course web-site entitled Writing Philosophy Papers should be consulted.  It describes in detail what my expectations are as well as clarifying what critical, analytical or expository philosophy papers are like.  This supplement also provides a list of "grader's marks" which I employ in grading papers and exams.  I provide detailed comments regarding the compositional, expository, and the critical elements of such papers, and I review the comments from earlier papers prior to reading later ones so that I can assess continuing progress and problems.  Paper topics will be distributed so that students have at least two weekends to work on their papers, and the topics will be directly related to the readings, lectures, and discussions in the course prior to the assignments. 

There will also be two closed book and closed notes in-class essay exams: a midterm on Friday, February 27 and a final exam on Wednesday, April 29 from 10:15-11:15 during the scheduled period for this course.  The examinations will be in-class objective essay exams.  They will be designed to assess the students’ understanding of the philosophical theories, positions, topics, and methodologies studied.  Sample study questions will be distributed in advance of the exams so that students have an opportunity to organize their thoughts and integrate the readings and lectures around sample questions designed to indicate what they are expected to have mastered.  A supplement entitled “Writing Essay Exams for Professor Hauptli” is available on the course web-site. 

Together the papers are worth 60% of the grade (30% each) and the exams are worth 40% (20% each).  Students must submit all papers and take the exams to pass the course—that is, failure to complete any of the course requirements will result in a grade of F for the course.  Therefore, students who do not turn in a paper or take an exam on time must nonetheless submit that paper or take a make-up exam if they wish to pass the course (grades higher than an F are given only for performance and accomplishment; and late papers and make-up exams may demonstrate these, while unfulfilled requirements demonstrate neither).  An incomplete will not be assigned simply because work is late—after the designated final exam day, if a student has not been granted an extension and any required work has not been turned in, the student will receive a grade of F for the course. 

5. Grading Scale: in grading papers and exams, and in calculating the course grade, I use the following scale:

4.00    C+  2.33 
A-  3.67    C/C+  2.16 
B+/A-  3.49    2.00 
B+  3.33    C-/C  1.83 
B/B+  3.16    C-  1.67
3.00    D+  1.33 
B-/B  2.83    1.00 
B-  2.67    D-  0.67 
C+/B-  2.49       

The "split" grades (B+/A-, for example) are assigned when the work is between the indicated grades.  Of course, these split grades can not be used for the ultimate course grade, and thus the grades for the various individual papers and exams are calculated using the percentages indicated above (and adding or subtracting the appropriate fractional consideration in accordance with the attendance policy).  For the overall course grade the above point equivalents constitute the minimum necessary to receive the indicated grade (thus students must earn at least a 3.67 to receive an A-).  Given the possibility of a significant boost to the grade because of attendance, I am rarely inclined to “round up” in determining the final grade for the course.

6. Extensions and late work: I indicate the due dates for the papers and the exam dates above.  Moreover, I hand out paper topics so that students have two weekends to work on their papers.  I also hand out sample exam questions in advance of the examinations and conduct an in-class review for each exam.  There should, then, be little call for extensions.  Before the due date I will generally grant reasonable requests for extensions.  Note, however, that excuses do not guarantee extensions, and excuses offered after due dates are far, far less successful than those offered before due dates.  If I grant an extension to a student, that extension establishes a new due date--which must be met (only in extraordinary circumstances will an additional extension be allowed).  Please note that requests for extensions must be made directly to me—neither my secretary nor your doctor may grant extensions for this course, and last minute calls to my voice-mail provide no assurance of extensions. 

Papers are due in my office by 4:15 P.M. on the due date—papers turned in after 4:15 will be treated as if they were turned in the next day.  Papers submitted after 4:15 but before 4:15 P.M. the ensuing day will receive a one-third decrease in their grade (example: a B+ changes to a B); papers turned in two days late will receive a two-thirds grade decrease and additional days will be treated according to this progression.  Papers turned in between 4:15 on Fridays and 9:00 on Mondays will be counted as turned in on Monday morning, and will be assessed a "double penalty" for each weekend day.  Thus a paper turned in one week late receives a three grade reduction (an A paper would receive a D).  Clearly, students have a strong incentive to contact me if they are going to be unable to turn their papers in on time—failure to do so may have serious consequences in terms of the course grade.  If your paper is late, it makes sense to speak with me (after class, in my office, or on the phone)—when I am provided with a good reason, I will stop the penalties from continuing to pile on to those already assessed for the lateness. 

Note that unless I have explicitly granted you an incomplete, all late papers must be turned in by the last class of the semester (Friday, April 24)—assignments which are not turned in as of that time will be considered undone, and the penalty for having not done any of the requirements for the course is a course grade of “F.”  Note, also, that I will not accept any but the most extraordinary of excuses for missing late for the exams. 

7. "Pass/Fail" grading: in the absence of a University-wide policy, students in my courses must earn a grade of C- or better to receive a "Pass" if they have selected the Pass/Fail grading option. 

8. Plagiarism and academic misconduct: when you engage in plagiarism you present as your work the opinions or arguments of someone else.  Plagiarism is dishonest since the plagiarist offers for credit what is not her or his own.  It is also counter-productive because it defeats a purpose of education—the improvement of the student's own powers of thinking, reasoning, and expression.  Plagiarism may even occur when one expresses another's sequence of ideas, arrangement of material, or pattern of thought in one's own words.  We have a case of plagiarism when a sequence of ideas is transferred from a source to a paper without a process of digestion, integration, criticism, and inquiry in the writer's mind and without acknowledgment (I have borrowed this statement, to a large extent, with permission, from the FIU English and Sociology/Anthropology Departments' descriptions of plagiarism).  Academic misconduct occurs when the norms of inquiry are violated.  Examples include students who present false doctors' notes, who pretend that they have a family or medical emergency, or who seriously hinder other students' scholarly activities.  I assign a course grade of F when I confront such cases, and use either the "Informal" or "Formal"" resolution processes specified in the University's Policies.  The minim penalty I will generally assess in addition to the failing course grade, is the inapplicability of the "Forgiveness Policy," and the maintenance of a record in Undergraduate Studies so that if another misconduct case arises during the student's undergraduate career at FIU, the new incident proceeds automatically on the more serious "Formal" level.  Students should be aware that I take this very seriously, for example in the Spring semester of 2014 two students in my courses received such penalties.  

     Select the following site to view The University’s policies on Academic Misconduct and Code of Academic Integrity.

Penalties for such actions range from not being able to use the forgiveness policy to over-ride the failing grade, to dismissal from the University!  Students should not live under the illusion that it is difficult to prove plagiarism or misconduct.  Contemporary web-based search engines make it easier than it was ever before to detect such activities, and I routinely filter passages I am suspicious of through one or more such filters.

Office Hours [DM 341 D]:

Mondays and Fridays: 2:30-4:00, and by appointment. 

Phone/Voice Mail: 305-348-3350

Mailbox Location: DM 340 A (room open 9:00-5:00).   

The Philosophy Department's Senior Secretary is Ms. Ivonne Carrasco, and she can be reached at 305-348-2185. 

Suggested Readings:

Historical Background and Overview:

Excellent background readings are available in both The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Paul Edwards (N.Y.: Macmillan, 1967) and from The Interned Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. James Feiser (—each has lengthy sections on each of the philosophers we will study.  Another excellent source is Frederick Copleston, History of Philosophy: Hobbes to Hume v. 5 (N.Y.: Image, 1994) has chapters on each of the major thinkers we will study.  His introductory chapter to History of Philosophy: Descartes to Leibniz v. 4 [1960] (Garden City: Image, 1963) (pp. 13-73) provides an excellent overview to the historical period covered by this course as well as that covered by the preceding and subsequent "historical periods" (Continental Rationalism , and Kant's "critical" philosophy).  Copleston's "Concluding Review" to his History of Philosophy: From the French Enlightenment to Kant v. 6 [1960] (N.Y.: Image, 1994], pp. 393-439 has an excellent summary of these three historical periods. 


Kenneth Winkler, "Editor's Introduction" to our Locke text. 

Locke on Human Understanding, ed. I. Tipton (Oxford: Oxford, 1977) which is on Reserve in the University Park Library, for G. Wall's "Locke's Attack on Innate Knowledge;" P. Alexander's "Boyle and Locke on Primary and Secondary Qualities;" and J. Harris' "Leibniz and Locke on Innate Ideas." 


Kenneth Winkler, "Editor's Introduction” to our Berkeley text. 

Locke and Berkeley: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. C. Martin and D. Armstrong, (Notre Dame: Univ. of Notre Dame, 1964 which is on Reserve in the University Park Library,  for C.D. Broad's "Berkeley's Denial of Material Substance" and J. Bennett's "Berkeley and God." 

New Studies in Berkeley, ed. Warren E. Steinkraus (N.Y.: Holt Rinehart, 1966) which is on Reserve in the University Park Library,  for McConnell's "Berkeley and Skepticism," and for Braken's "Substance in Berkeley." 


"On The Observability of the Self" by Roderick Chisholm in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research v. 30 (1969), pp. 2-21. 

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Last revised on 03/02/2015