Current Teaching



During FALL 2020, I am teaching the following course (with description):

PHIL 323.001: The Scientific Revolution (TuTh 10:00 – 11:30 AM; 2346 SEB)

This course focuses on the “Scientific Revolution”, a crucial period in intellectual history. This period is bounded by the publication of Copernicus’s De revolutionibus orbium in 1543, on one end, and the publication of the final edition of Newton’s Principia mathematica in 1726, on the other. The first part of the course concerns the introduction of Copernican astronomy and the subsequent dispute over this heliocentric view that culminated in the trial and condemnation of Galileo in 1633. [If this is an in-person class, the first part will include the role-playing game, “The Trial of Galileo: Aristotelianism, the ‘New Cosmology’, and the Catholic Church, 1616-1633”, which is from the “Reacting to the Past” series. Students will play the role of historical individuals involved in the so-called “Galileo Affair”, thereby coming to appreciate “from the inside” the various philosophical, theological and political factors involved in this pivotal historical event.] The second part of the course concerns the development after Galileo of a new physics that came to be known as the “mechanical philosophy”. The focus here will be on Descartes, Leibniz and Newton (along with Newton’s defender, Clarke). The goal is to understand the transition during this important period from a cosmology and physics based on the views of the ancients to a more “modern” outlook in these disciplines.

Teaching for WINTER 2020 is TBD.


Courses Taught

University of Michigan (From 2010)

Problems of Philosophy (232)
Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (262)
Second Year Seminar in Philosophy: Skepticism, A History (286)
Honors Introduction to Philosophy (297)
Methods of Science (322)
Science and Objectivity (381)
History of Philosophy: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (389)
Topics in Philosophy: Early Modern Female Philosophers (397)
Medieval Philosophy (460)
Topics in the History of Philosophy: Early Modern Theories of Causation (463)
Topics in the History of Philosophy: Descartes (463)
The Scientific Revolution (464)
Continental Rationalism: The Early Modern Concept of Substance (508)                                 Seminar in the History of Philosophy: Early Modern Theorles of Causation (610)                    Seminar in the History of Philosophy: Spinoza’s Ethics (610)


École Normale Supérieure, Paris (March 2017)

La métaphysique de la matière au début de l’époque moderne: Suárez, Descartes, Spinoza, taught as professeur invité at ENS


Duke University (1989–2010)

Introduction to Philosophy
Introduction to Logic
Development of the Concept of Mind
History of Modern Philosophy
Medieval Philosophy
Philosophy of Religion
Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy
Locke’s Essay concerning Human Understanding
Leibniz’s Middle and Late Metaphysics
Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature
Hume’s Enquiry concerning Human Understanding and Dialogues concerning Natural Religion
Malebranche, Arnauld and Leibniz
Post-Positivistic Theories of Science
Early Modern and Contemporary Approaches to the Metaphysics of Mind (co-taught)
Early Modern Physics and Metaphysics (co-taught)
Newtonianism and British Empiricism (co-taught)
The Scientific Revolution (co-taught)