Philosophy 145
Metaphysics and Epistemology of Witchcraft

Instructor:  Dr. Sean Mulligan, UWO Philosophy Department

(519) 661-2111 ex. 81338

Last Updated:  Sunday 20th April, 2008.


This course is an introduction to the history of philosophy that considers the philosophical, sociological, theological, and psychological origins of the 17th Century Witch Craze in Western Europe that sent thousands of women and men to be burned at the stake on the charge of heresy.  Particular interest will be paid to the intellectual traditions of the West, including treatments of classical mythology, biblical scholarship, medieval theology, and the origins and impact of the scientific revolution.  Contemporary treatments of this topic will be encountered through the study of economic, social, feminist, and political history.  No background knowledge is presupposed in this course, and there are no pre-requisites.  Note:  this course deals with politically and religiously charged themes, and there is graphic content.

CURRENT  NOTICES:  2007-2008 Academic Year

NOTICE: 20apr07
Re: Final Exam

***A drop in time is scheduled for Tuesday, 1-4pm, in Talbot College 310.

Be reminded that the final exam will be held this Thursday.  Notes have been posted.  Contact the Philosophy Department or the Registrar's Website for confirmation of time and location for this exam.

It's been real.  Also, I may ask the department if I can teach this course again next year.


Previous Notices

NOTICE: 12feb08
Re: midterm exam

Be reminded that the unit test is being held this Thursday in class.  Notes have been posted.



NOTICE: 04dec07
Re: midyear exam

Be reminded that the midyear test is scheduled for Monday, 10dec07 from 9-11am in SSC 3028.
The course website has been updated to include this year's course notes for the relevant readings.
The revised review sheet can be found on the current course notes page.

Due to an acute personal establishment shortfall, i.e. we lost three of our four secretaries in the space of two weeks, grades will not be available on WEBCT for some time.  To lose one secretary is a grave lose two just looks like carelessness. Losing three is ghastly.


NOTICE: 16oct07
Re: first test

Be reminded the first test is 18oct07, 1:30-2:20, TC 348
The course website has been updated to include this year's course notes for the relevant readings.
The review sheet for the first test can be found on the current course notes page.


NOTICE: 25sept07
Re: course website and first test

This website will be periodically updated over the academic year.  Coursenotes will be posted in .rtf format for download and printing at my convenience only.  Notices concerning the scheduling of tests and other administrative matters will be made first and foremost in class.

As announced in the updated syllabus distributed in class, the first test is scheduled for Thursday, 18th October, 2007.  It will be held at the normal class time.  It will not be held in the normal class location.  The test will be held in Talbot College 348.  Students are responsible for finding the test room and presenting themselves at that location, at that time.  Students writing under special circumstances should consult the SSD office for confirmation of their test location.  Anyone unable to find the test room should consult a map of the campus.





NOTICES for 2006-2007:  20apr07 (Exam, Review, Notes, Requirements)

Be reminded that the final EXAM is scheduled to take place:
Tuesday, 24 April 07, 9am-11am, WSC 55.

Be advised that the REVIEW session for your class is scheduled for:
Monday, 23 April 07, 11am-1pm, TC 323.

If you do not know the location of these buildings, consult a MAP.
I will not give any more directions to my office or the exam room.

Be reminded that the LECTURE NOTES are not intended as a substitute for class attendance.
They are in substance exactly the same as the notes from LAST YEAR.
They have been available on the class website all year.
Find the lecture notes that match your requirements by looking for the AUTHORís name.

For confirmation of the information I have provided for the exam time/location:

Material to be covered on this exam matches the material delivered in lectures.

Klaits, Ch. 7 (only pages 159-172)
Spee, A Jesuit Criticizes the Persecution
Descartes Discourse I, II, III
Descartes, Meditation I, II
Laws and Punishments, English Legal Acts,
Hobbes, Demonology as Unsound Philosophy
Cyrano, A Letter Against Witches

    Msg. Ends.

NOTICES:  09feb07

Reminder that the midterm will be held next Thursday, 15feb07, at the normal class time, but in a different room.

The room is Talbot College 348.  Find this room before the test time so you know where you are going.

A review class will be held on Tuesday.

A one page review for this test is unnecessary, since the relevant information can be relayed here.

Students must prepare:

        - all of the Montaigne readings

        - all of Klaits, Chapter 5

        - all of the coursepack material relating to the Devils of Loudun (Surin, in Aubin, etc.)

        - all of Klaits, Chapter 6

This test will not require material taken from Spee, or the documents concerning English Legal Reform.  This material will be covered on the final exam in the April examination period.  Since the quantity of reading is thus reduced, students must be prepared to answer more questions on each of the sources listed.  Very specific details can be expected in questions.  That's the trade-off.


NOTICES:  23jan07

The midterm exam will be held on Thursday, February 15th, 2007.

It will be held from 1:30-2:20pm (the normal class time)

It will be held in Talbot College Rm 348 (not the normal classroom)

If you do not know where Talbot College is located, or where that room is, please check a map.


NOTICES:  22dec06

I am told that the WEBCT feature for this course is now online.  Students can login to webct to retrieve their grades from the December midyear exam.  Best wishes to all for the holiday, see you in January when we will begin reading Montaigne.


NOTICES:  -6dec06

Reminder that the midyear exam is scheduled for Monday, 11th December 2006 from 9-11am.
The exam will be held in WSC 55.

Reminder that there will be a drop-in centre on Thursday 07dec06 from 9-noon in TC 340.

Reminder that an email blackout goes into effect 24 hours before the beginning of the examination.  I will be out of town for a few days prior to the exam, and will only have occasional access to email.  Please direct questions to me at the drop-in hours provided.

Good luck on this, and all of your exams this month, and best wishes to all for a great holiday and more food than you know what to do with.


NOTICES: 14oct06

Reminder that the first test will be held this coming Thursday in class - same room and same time as the lectures.

You can <click here> for a review sheet detailing specific requirements for the midterm exam.  It is alwo available on the Coursenotes page under the appropriate lecture date. 

Reminder that an email blackout goes into effect 24 hours before the test.  Emailed questions about the first test may not be considered after that point.

Students with emergencies or conditions which prevent them from writing the test are directed to notify me of their absence, and to speak with the academic advisor/s in their home faculties to obtain suitable documentation to arrange a rewrite date.

Office hours for the Tuesday preceding the first test will be extended.  I will be available from 2:30-4:30 for this week only.

Coursenotes have now been updated for lectures 1-11.  Note the new link to Coursenotes 2006-2007.

Due to the high volume of email asking questions that are covered on this website, and in the course information provided in class, I am forced to institute a provisional policy.  Emails asking questions that can be answered by the student by either accessing the resources on this website, or by checking the information provided in class, will not be answered.  Anyone requiring clarification on lecture material is directed to make an appointment to see me during office hours.


NOTICES: 02oct06

Lecture notes will be updated only periodically, but will in any event be substantially similar to the course notes from last year.  Updated versions, with additions, will be posted over the course of the year in preparation for the tests.