In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Early Modern Philosophy, 1600-1750

  • Introduction

Philosophy Early Modern Philosophy, 1600-1750
Antonia LoLordo
  • LAST REVIEWED: 14 September 2022
  • LAST MODIFIED: 30 August 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0318


In 21st century academic philosophy, “early modern philosophy” refers to the study of texts written in a specific time and place, and understood as works of philosophy in that context. The time is, roughly, the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century. This article is limited to philosophers who published or wrote most of their major works between 1600 and 1750, thus including Hume and Condillac but omitting near-contemporaries like Rousseau. The place is often described as Western Europe, but this is a bit misleading: with very few exceptions, the philosophers discussed here were from France, Holland, or what is now the United Kingdom. The traditional canon of Early Modern philosophers was very small: Locke, Berkeley, and Hume on one side of the English Channel; Descartes, Leibniz, and Spinoza on the other. In the last decades of the 20th century and first decades of the 21st century, the canon was expanded significantly. Two main factors drove the expansion of the canon. One was increased attention to works of what was then called natural philosophy, like Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. The other was increased attention to the work of women. This bibliography aims to capture some of this expansion, but still, hundreds of other works could have been included—and more will be as time goes on.

Primary Sources

This list includes standard original-language editions, when there is a standard edition, and standard English-language translations, when relevant.

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