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    A detailed study of a major 17th, 18th, or 19th century philosopher.

    This paper in the history of philosophy has as its primary focus the study of Thomas Hobbes. The focus of the paper will be Hobbes's masterpiece Leviathan. We will study Hobbes in comparison to other social contract theorists of the 17th century, including Spinoza and Locke. We will also be interested in the evaluation of Locke's psychology, ethics, politics and philosophy of religion against contemporary alternatives.

    About this paper

    Paper title Advanced History of Philosophy
    Subject Philosophy
    EFTS 0.1667
    Points 20 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024, expected to be offered in 2025 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,240.75
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    36 PHIL points at 200-level or above
    Teaching staff

    Professor Michael LeBuffe

    Paper Structure

    Essential reading each week will be a chapter or more of Leviathan.

    Supplementary readings will vary week to week. They will include other works of Hobbes, other 17th-century primary sources, and secondary sources.

    Class will include student presentations, lecture and debate.


    Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan. Edited by Edwin Curley. Indianapolis, Hackett.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Research.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to:

    • Present, criticise and defend the positions and central arguments of Leviathan
    • Demonstrate understanding and correct use of philosophical concepts involved in the paper
    • Explain different accounts of the social contract in Hobbes, Spinoza and Locke
    • Explain central issues in early modern ethics and moral psychology
    • Demonstrate familiarity with and understanding of central course texts
    • Use texts effectively in written interpretative argument


    Not offered in 2024, expected to be offered in 2025

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
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