Philosophy 83104: Proseminar
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Date Topic Reading Assignments
Tuesday, August 23 Introduction to the course none
A brief history of the 20th century
Thursday, August 25 Frege's theories of reference and sense
Frege, "On sense and reference"
optional readings
Tuesday, August 30 Frege on propositions
Frege, "The thought: a logical inquiry"
optional readings
Thursday, September 1 class canceled
Tuesday, September 6 Classical descriptivism and its motivations
Russell, "Descriptions"
optional readings
Thursday, September 8 Acquaintance and the logical construction of physical things
Russell, "Knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description"
optional readings
Tuesday, September 13 Moore's refutation of skepticism
Moore, "Proof of an external world"
Thursday, September 15 The open question argument
Moore, Principia Ethica (selection)
optional readings
Tuesday, September 20 Emotivism & its critics
Stevenson, "The emotive meaning of ethical terms"
Geach, "Ascriptivism"
optional readings
Thursday, September 22 The verificationist criterion of meaning
Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic Ch. 1: "The elimination of metaphysics
optional readings
Tuesday, September 27 Linguistic conventions & the a priori
Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic Ch. 4: "The a priori"
Quine, "Truth by convention"
optional readings
Thursday, September 29 Quine on essentialism
Quine, "Reference and modality"
optional readings
Tuesday, October 4 Quine on the analytic/synthetic distinction
Quine, "Two dogmas of empiricism"
optional readings
Thursday, October 6 Kripke on necessity, rigid designation, & the a priori
Naming and Necessity, Lecture 1
Tuesday, October 11 Kripke's criticism of descriptivism
Naming and Necessity, Lecture 2
Thursday, October 13 Kripke on the necessary a posteriori & the mind/body problem
Naming and Necessity, Lecture 3 First short paper due
Fall break
Tuesday, October 25

Thursday, October 27

Tuesday, November 1
Wrapping up Naming and Necessity and the first half of the course none
Recent work on the analytic/synthetic distinction and the a priori
Thursday, November 3 Analyticity: for & against
Boghossian, "Analyticity reconsidered"
Harman, "Analyticity regained?"
optional readings
Tuesday, November 8 Skepticism about knowledge in virtue of meaning alone

Williamson, The Philosophy of Philosophy, ch. 4: "Epistemological Conceptions of Analyticity"

Thursday, November 10 Analyticity and reference determination
Russell, Truth in Virtue of Meaning (selections)
Student presentations of term paper work
Tuesday, November 15 Student presentations
[David, Jeff]
Thursday, November 17 Student presentations
[Nevin, Meg]
Tuesday, November 22 Student presentations
[Ben, Sun]
Second short paper due
Thanksgiving break
Tuesday, November 29 Student presentations
[Kathryn, Justin]
Thursday, December 1 Student presentations
[Andrew, Peter]
Tuesday, December 6 Student presentations
[Will, Callie]
Thursday, December 8 Student presentations
[Mousa, Babak]
Wednesday, December 14 Term paper due