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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Fall 2003

T C PHL • PHL 610QA: Problems of Knowledge and Valuation

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39865 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
PAR 1
SOSA

Course Description

“Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions…but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation…” (Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy, 1912). In this first semester of a yearlong investigation of basic philosophical issues, we will focus on problems in metaphysics and epistemology (broadly construed). Among our questions: How is it possible to know things? What do we know? What is there, really? What are persons like? What is our place in the natural order? Our aims will include learning to read actively, to engage philosophical problems with sophistication, to reason creatively and with precision, and to write thoughtfully—ultimately, to appreciate philosophy.

About the Professor David Sosa taught previously at Dartmouth College and was Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley before coming to Texas. With interests ranging widely over epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics, he is author of “Rigidity in the Scope of Russell’s Theory” (Noûs, 2001), “The Import of the Puzzle About Belief” (Philosophical Review, 1996), and “Consequences of Consequentialism” (Mind, 1993), among many other publications. He is co-editor (with A. P. Martinich) of A Companion to Analytic Philosophy and Analytic Philosophy: An Anthology. But he’s all about squash racquets and wine.

Grading Policy

Two in-class exams (each counts 15% of final grade) Midterm paper (20%) Final exam (30%) Participation in discussions (in section and in class), and completion of weekly précis, will represent 20% of final grade.

Texts

Plato, Theaetetus Descartes, Meditations Berkeley, Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonus Hume, Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding Kant, Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics Russell, The Problems of Philosophy

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