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e-book Seminar: Introduction to Politicial Philosophy [1965]

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Leo Strauss

We will study the work of W. Quine, Donald Davidson and Daniel Dennett, among others. We will study these proposals in detail and assess their plausibility. We will also consider the consequences of these ideas for related philosophical issues. This course considers the philosophy of arithmetic. Our starting question is: Do numbers exist? If numbers exist, they are presumably abstract entities, but then how can we know anything about them? We will consider several reactions to these questions, including constructivism, formalism, logicism, structuralism, nominalism and fictionalism.

The course presupposes no particular knowledge of mathematics, but introductory logic would be helpful. This is an intermediate-level module designed to introduce students to the burgeoning field of Applied Epistemology. We will use philosophical theories about knowledge, justification and belief-formation to explore pressing societal issues. Topics will vary from year to year, but may include:. Shared with Graduate Students.

We can characterise TARR as involving three main components. Everyday propositions represent the world by being truth functions of elementary propositions.


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The second component of TARR is an account of the nature of elementary propositions and of how they represent the world. On this account, an elementary proposition is a combination of items known as names. Names are referential expressions. An elementary proposition represents the referents of its names as combined with one another in the same way in which the names are combined in the proposition.

The proposition is true if the referents are so combined; false if they are not.

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The referents of names are simple items known as objects. The combinations of objects that elementary propositions represent as obtaining are known as states of affairs Sachverhalte. The third component of TARR is an account of the structure of reality, according to which a possible state of the world is constituted by the states of affairs that obtain in it. Two states of the world differ from one another only if there are states of affairs that obtain in one and not in the other.


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And for every set of states of affairs there is a possible state of the world in which the states of affairs that obtain are precisely the elements of the set. Thus, according to TARR, elementary propositions and states of affairs provide the interface between language and the world. Propositions represent the world by their truth-functional dependence on elementary propositions. These, in turn, represent states of affairs. This enables propositions to represent the whole of reality, since everything that is the case, and everything that can be the case, consists in the obtaining and non-obtaining of states of affairs—what truth functions of elementary propositions represent.

Taken as an intuitive model, TARR is fairly easy to understand—we can form a conception of what things would have to be like in order for TARR to be correct. A precise, literal understanding of the view is much harder to achieve. And it is even harder to grasp why anyone would think that this is how things are in actuality—that language and reality have the structure that TARR attributes to them and that the former represents the latter as TARR says it does. Specifically, it is hard to understand why Wittgenstein thought this. Addressing these questions is the main goal of this course. There are two main English translations of the Tractatus, one by by C.

I tend to use the Pears and McGuinness, but although they differ in important respects, either would be fine. I have prepared a hypertext version of the Pears and McGuinness translation. It doesn't work on some browsers. If you know any German, there is a very useful edition by Joachim Schulte and Brian McGuinness Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, , collating sections of the Tractatus with relevant passages from preliminary manuscripts.

Another important primary source is Wittgenstein's Notebooks, Oxford: Blackwell, 2nd ed.


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This volume contains the main extant manuscripts from the period when Wittgenstein was working on the Tractatus. We will be paying close attention to the origin of Wittgenstein's ideas in the work of Russell and Frege.

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We will be looking mainly at the following texts:. Geach, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, Chapter 4 of The Principles of Mathematics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, London: Longmans, Green, Chapter 12 of The Problems of Philosophy. The fourth lecture of The Philosophy of Logical Atomism. LaSalle, Ill.

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There are many book-length expositions and commentaries of the Tractatus. Many of them make some good points but they all differ in important respects from the interpretation that I'll be presenting. The following might be particularly useful:. Max Black. A Companion to Wittgenstein's Tractatus. Ithaca, N.

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James Griffin. Wittgenstein's Logical Atomism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, David Pears. Volume I. Oxford: Clarendon Press, I will recommend readings on particular topics in the lectures, but here is an unsystematic selection of interesting articles on the issues that we will be discussing:. Candlish, Stewart. Bristol: Thoemmes Press, Conant, James. London: Routledge, Carnap and Early Wittgenstein.

Stidd, Oxford: Clarendon, Geach, Peter T. Griffin, Nicholas. Hylton, Peter. Schneewind and Quentin Skinner, Russell, Idealism, and the Emergence of Analytic Philosophy. Kremer, Michael. Linsky, Leonard. Palmer, Anthony.

Chapter 4. Pears, David. Proops, Ian. Sluga, Hans. Sommerville, Stephen. Vienna: Holder-Pichler-Tempsky, The module focuses on Aristotle's philosophy of mind and moral psychology. After a brief introduction in the first week to the central tenets of his metaphysics and epistemology, the module will cover topics including Aristotle's views human nature and human flourishing, the kinds of cognitive capacities attributable to humans and non-human animals, the emotions, virtue ethics, the doctrine of the mean and learning to be good, weakness of the will, and the role of contemplation in the good life.

The central primary texts will be de Anima and the Nicomachean Ethics, although other texts will be consulted. They will develop the ability to evaluate the arguments proposed in the sources and to propose and assess different possible interpretations. They will be encouraged to reflect critically on the significance of the material. A sample syllabi, with the relevant primary texts, is as follows:. Primary Text: Nicomachean Ethics, book I especially chapters , , Primary Text: Nicomachean Ethics, I.

Broad offers a comparative phenomenology of vision, audition, and touch highlighting the important differences between them. The class will be conducted as a seminar with student presentations. For relatively recent analytic discussion of these issues, the student might consult the optional reading Perception and Its Modalities edited by Dustin Stokes, Mohan Matthen, and Stephen Biggs. Oxford University Press, This module will focus on philosophy of emotion.

Responding to the Challenge of Positivism and Historicism

We will critically examine the leading theories of emotion found in contemporary philosophy of mind. According to "feeling" theories, emotions are a distinctive kind of felt sensation. According to "judgment" theories, they are a kind of evaluative belief. According "perceptualist" theories, emotions are a kind of perception, akin to visual experience. According to "non-reductivist" theories, the emotions cannot fruitfully be understood in terms of other pre-existing categories in the philosophy of mind, but must be understood in their own right.

To what extent can each of these the capture the nature of emotions and the role they play in our mental lives? We will also discuss further issues: do the emotions form a natural kind? What representational content do emotions have? How do emotions relate to values? How do they relate to the body? This optional course will be taught in seminar format, with one weekly two-hour meeting. It is designed to introduce students to some central questions in political and moral philosophy.

4. Philosophers and Kings: Plato's Republic, I-II

The topic of the course is the politics of sex. It focuses on general ethical concerns raised by state regulation of intimate relations e. Should some things not be for sale? Is consent the key to legitimate interaction?