Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton First semester 2012 (Off-campus)
Clayton Second semester 2012 (Off-campus)
Clayton Summer semester A 2012 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Monima Chadha


Previously coded PHL3880


The subject will examine some major themes in the debate between rationalist and empiricist outlooks, as exemplified in the works of Leibniz and Hume. Hume's Treatise of Human Nature was the culmination of the empiricist tradition in the 18th century. Among the topics Hume discussed were causation, induction, the existence of the material objects and their relation to the mind, and the rationality of belief in God. Most of these topics had also been discussed by Leibniz, who approached them from a very different perspective. So it is instructive to look at the work of these two great thinkers in relation to one another.
For further information, please see: http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/philosophy/ugrad/units/ATS3884.php


On Completion of the subject students will have gained an understanding of the debates between Rationalist and Empiricist schools in the 17th and 18th centuries, and its influences on the development of philosophical theories in epistemology, metaphysics and philosophy of religion since then. They will have an enhanced capacity for critical and rigorous reading of a philosophical text, and skills in the evaluation of philosophical positions in the context of an integrated system. They will have reflected on contemporary discussions of causation, induction and scepticism and belief in God arising out of the work of Leibniz and Hume. Students completing the subject will develop skills in writing and argument in ways that are responsive to a developing discussion in seminars.


Written work: 70% (3500 words)
Test: 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Monima Chadha

Contact hours

2 hours (one 2-hour seminar) per week. OCL mode: workshops optional

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Religion and theology


A first year sequence in Philosophy and one second year unit, preferably ATS2863.

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: