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PHIL401 Advanced History of Philosophy

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.

Paper title Advanced History of Philosophy
Paper code PHIL401
Subject Philosophy
EFTS 0.1667
Points 20 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,206.91
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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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

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system