Gillian Russell

Philosophy Professor at UNC Chapel Hill

Phil 502 : Proseminar: History of Analytic Philosophy (Fall 2013)

Course website: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~grussell/Phil502-F13.html
Ares: http://ares.wustl.edu/ares/
Class Times: Tuesdays 2.30-5pm
Class Location: Wilson Hall, Fireplace room (212)


Instructor: Gillian Russell
Email: grussell – at – artsci – dot – wustl – dot – edu
Office Hours: Thursday 2-3pm or by appointment, Wilson Hall 209


Course Description:

This course will be a broad introduction to some of the central themes and theories of analytic philosophy in the 20th century. It is open to all and only first year graduate students in philosophy and PNP. It will offer many opportunities to develop skills in writing and presenting philosophy.

Books

The two main books for the course will be:

  • Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century: volume 1 : The Dawn of Analysis – Scott Soames (Princeton University Press, 2003)

  • Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century: volume 2: The Age of Meaning – Scott Soames (Princeton University Press, 2003)

Assigned reading each week will include 1-3 chapters from these books, plus some original writings from the subjects of those chapters.
Many of these items are on the ares site for the course, which you can find here:

http://library.wustl.edu/units/reserve/reservesinfo.html.

An exception is Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which we’ll read in full. I’ve put it on 2 hour physical reserve at Olin Library, but you might find it more convenient to buy your own.


Readings and Topics

Week 1 – Introduction

Tuesday 27th August: No pre-assigned reading.

Week 2 – Moore and Common Sense

Tuesday 3rd September: “A Defence of Common Sense" – G.E. Moore
(on ares)
Soames v.1, Ch1 & 2 "Common Sense and Philosophical Analysis"

Week 3 – Russell and Logical Form

Tuesday 10th September: “Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description” – Bertrand Russell http://www.jstor.org/stable/4543805
Soames v.1 Ch 5 "Logical Form, Grammatical Form and the Theory of Descriptions"

(I’m inclined to think there is a good chance that you’ve all read Russell’s “On Denoting” before, but if you somehow missed it, it would be a good idea to look at that for this week: http://www.jstor.org/pss/2248381)

Week 4 – Russell and the External World

Tuesday 17th September: Pages 35-123 of The Philosophy of Logical Atomism – Bertrand Russell
Soames v1 Ch7 & 8 “Logical Constructions and the External World” and “Russell’s Logical Atomism”

Week 5: Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Tuesday 24th September: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus – Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Soames v.1 Chs 9, 10 & 11. "The Metaphysics of the Tractatus," "Meaning, Truth and Logic in the Tractatus" and "The Tractarian Test of Inteligability and its Consequences"

Week 6: Logical Positivism

Tuesday 1st October:
“Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology” – Rudolf Carnap
Soames v.1 Chs 12 & 13 "The Logical Positivists on Necessity and A priori Knowledge" and "The Rise and Fall of the Empiricist Criterion of Meaning"

Week 7: Quine’s “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”

Tuesday 8th October: “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” – Willard Van Orman Quine http://www.jstor.org/stable/2181906
Soames v.1 Chs 16 & 17 "The analytic and the synthetic, the necessary and the possible, the apriori and the aposteriori," "Meaning and Holistic Verificationism"

Week 8: Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations

Tuesday 15th October: Sections 1-133, 143-155, 179-202 and 243-315 from the Philosophical Investigations – Ludwig Wittgenstein.
S2 Chs 1 and 2 "Rejection of the Tractarian Conception of Language and Analysis" and "Rule following and the Private Language Argument"

Week 9: Ordinary Language Philosophy (1)

Tuesday 22nd October:
"Truth" – Peter F. Strawson http://www.jstor.org/stable/3327019
Soames v.2 chapter 5. "Strawson’s Performative Theory of Truth"

Week 10: Ordinary Language Philosophy (2)

Tuesday 29th October: "Moore and Ordinary Language" – Norman Malcolm,
Soames v.2 Ch 7 “Malcom’s Paradigm Case Argument”

Week 11: The End of Ordinary Language Philosophy

Tuesday 5th November: “The Logic and Conversation" – Paul Grice http://www.ifbl.tu-dresden.de/die_tu_dresden/fakultaeten/philosophische_fakultaet/iph/thph/braeuer/lehre/grice_ss_2009/LogicAndConversation.pdf
Soames v.2 Ch 9 "Language Use and the Logic of Conversation"

Week 12: Quine and the Indeterminacy of Translation

Tuesday 12th November: S2, Ch 10. "The Indeterminacy of Translation"
“Translation and Meaning” from Word and Object – W.V.O. Quine.

Week 13: Davidson’s Theory of Meaning

Tuesday 19th November: "Truth and Meaning" – Donald Davidson http://www.springerlink.com/content/m2608j4157278l66/
Soames v.2 ch 12 “Theories of Truth as Theories of Meaning”

Week 14: Kripke’s Naming and Necessity

Tuesday 26th November: Lectures I and II of Naming and Necessity – Saul Kripke
Soames v.2 chs 14 & 15 "Names, Essence and Possibility" and "The Necessary A priori."

Week 15: Wrap-up Session

Tuesday 3rd December: Reading: "Must do better" from The Philosophy of Philosophy – Timothy Williamson
“Epilogue – The Era of Specialisation” in Soames v2.


Assessment

A major goal of the proseminar is to give you many opportunities to hone your philosophical skills in a friendly environment. We will focus on three: i) giving 10-15 minute presentations, ii) presenting someone else’s position clearly in 1000 words and iii) outlining a philosophy paper in which you argue for a thesis of your own (a series of bullet points covering at most two sides.) Each week, up to and including November 6th, you will have to do one of these, based on the reading for that week. We will set up a rotating schedule. (That’s 8 weeks, and we’ll have 2 presentations each week, so you will end up doing a total of 4 presentations, 2 expository papers and 2 outlines.) In the final weeks of the course you will write a short philosophy paper of 3-4000 words, due on the last day of classes, Friday December 6th.

40% of the grade for the course will come from the final term paper. The other 60% will come from averaging your best three presentations (20%), your best expository paper (20%) and best outline (20%) i.e. your worst grade for each type of assignment will be dropped.

Plagiarism

Any cases of suspected plagiarism, or other problems with academic integrity, will be reported to the Dean in his role as head of the academic integrity committee.

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