This course is concerned with the emergence
of analytic philosophy from 1879 to roughly 1925, and primarily
on the works of Frege, Russell and the early Wittgenstein. The
primary focus is on their theories in the areas of logic, metaphysics
and the philosophy of language. Themes include the modern revolution
in logic, the ontology of abstract objects, logical paradoxes,
the nature of truth, the analysis of meaning and the increasing
philosophical focus on language.
My office is 353 Bartlett Hall. My office
phone is 545-5784. My office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays
from 2:30-3:30 and by appointment. Im often in my office
many other times. Feel free to drop by any time. You may also
e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call me at home at 259-1154.
The required texts for this course are The
Frege Reader, by Gottlob Frege (edited by Beaney), The
Principles of Mathematics and The Philosophy of Logical
Atomism, by Bertrand Russell, and Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,
by Ludwig Wittgenstein, which are available at Atticus Bookshop
in downtown Amherst (and many places online), as well as a course packet available at Campus
Design and Copy, in room 403 (2nd floor) of the Student Union.
Your final grade will be based on the following
requirements, (1) in-class participation (15%), (2) one in-class
presentation (20%), (3) weekly assignments (20%), and (4) a final
term paper (45%).
Weekly Assignments: You are expected
to carefully read the selected texts for each session before
the seminar meeting and come prepared to discuss them. To help
facilitate this, each week you are expected to write a 1-3 page
essay in which you (1) briefly summarize the reading, (2) critically
discuss the reading, highlighting views you found to be unclear,
difficult to understand, or simply philosophically lacking, and/or
discussing the views in the light of ongoing philosophical debates.
These essays are due at the start of class on the day on which
we will be discussing the relevant readings. You will be graded
on 1-5 scale, with 1 representing a barely acceptable essay,
2 representing a deeply problematic essay, that misrepresents
the views of the philosopher or philosophers in question or commits
other abuses of philosophical method, 3 representing an essay
that is slightly lacking in some area, but generally acceptable,
4 representing a good essay that performs the desired tasks as
expected, and 5 representing an essay with substantial and original
insight. (You should never expect to receive anything above 4.
A student receiving a 4 on every assignment should still expect
a good grade for this portion. I will only award a 5 to an essay
that surpasses my expectations.) In determining your grade,
I will take into account only your 10 highest scores of 12 possible
essays. This means you may either drop your two lowest scores,
or simply not write two essays (or combine the two options).
You need not prepare an assignment for the week you will be presenting.
Presentation: Early in the semester,
each student will choose (or be assigned) one week in which he
or she is expected to give a (roughly) 15 minute presentation
on the readings for that week, to be presented at the beginning
of the seminar meeting. The presentation should (1) summarize
the main points of the readings, though at his or her discretion
the presenter may focus on certain issues he or she finds most
interesting, (2) identify any questions or concerns the presenter
has with understanding or interpreting the material, which he
or she would like to discuss in class, (3) critically discuss
one or more philosophical issues raised in the readings, as a
starting point for seminar discussion.
Term Paper: Each student is prepared
to write a 15-25 page term paper that aims to contribute something
original to the discussion of any of the texts, philosophers
or philosophical issues discussed in the course. The paper may
be concerned either with the exegesis and interpretation of one
or more of the philosophers studied, or with critical and original
discussion of the philosophical issues raised by their works,
or with some combination of the two. The amount of outside research
done for the paper is left to your discretion. A careful look
at the secondary material rarely hurts, but the your mastery
of the secondary material will not loom large in my evaluation
of the paper. The paper is due at the end of finals week.
See also the Reading
Schedule and Course Pack Contents.
Return to the Course