GPS 120

How do societies of Europe and those influenced by European settlement understand and interpret the world and the lived experience? What are its underpinnings? What are these frameworks that have allowed homo sapiens, which are little more than hairless apes, to make remarkable advances in science, technology, forms of governance, communications, and so on?

Europe in the seventeenth century in many ways is our point of departure. Of course, this statement does not preclude what came before, but something remarkable evolved over the course of the 1600s that provided the intellectual scaffolding of what we call the modern world. And this is what Steven Nadler explores in this graphic history Heretics.


  1. Identify your three favorite, most intriguing, and/or most controversial philosophers detailed in Heretics and answer the following questions:
    1. Who are they, when did they live, and where?
    2. Why were they controversial or heretical?
    3. Why are they relevant in the twenty-first century?

Criteria for success:

  1. Answers should range between 250 and 300 words for each philosopher (so, 250-300 words to answer all three questions collectively, not 250-300 for each question).
    • Be advised: you may go over the word limit, but you must not come in under.
    • Students who fail to meet the word minimum will receive a ‘0’ for the question.
  2. Adequate answers will include clear responses to all parts of the question.
  3. Excellent answers will be complete, with careful analysis using and citing concrete examples from the book.
    • You may simply cite the relevant page number(s) for the examples, be they summarized or quoted.

Fair warnings:

  • Do NOT choose Giordano Bruno
  • Failure to follow the instructions, including formatting, will result in a ‘0’ (zero) for the grade.
  • Failure to turn in the paper by the due date will result in a ‘0’ (zero) for the grade.
  • The use of external sources and materials not expressly permitted by Professor Hyland will result in a ‘0’ (zero) for the grade.
  • Failure to use specific, concrete examples from the book will result in a ‘0’ (zero) for the grade.
  • Failure to cite the relevant page numbers to the specific, concrete examples will result in a ‘0’ (zero) for the grade.
  • If it becomes evident that you did not read the text, you will receive a ‘0’ (zero) for the grade