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Early Modern Texts

When reading early modern philosophical texts, many undergraduate students struggle to understand their content, in part because these texts were written (or translated) into now-antiquated English. To address this obstacle, Jonathan Bennett, a former philosophy lecturer at the University of Cambridge and Syracuse University (among other schools), adapted a number of early modern texts to make them more comprehensible to contemporary students. At Early Modern Texts, philosophy students and instructors can download and read a number of key texts written between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. These texts include major works by Niccolo Machiavelli, Rene Descartes, Baruch Spinoza, and Immanuel Kant. To prepare these texts, Bennett "translated" obsolete language, edited individual sentences into simpler syntax, and organized certain passages by adding paragraph indentations, numbers, and bullets. Instructors and students can read more about Bennett's process in Frequently Asked Questions. By providing these translated versions, Early Modern Texts aims to enable philosophy students to engage with the major ideas behind crucial texts without being encumbered by antiquated language, lengthy sentences, or page-long paragraphs.
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