Contemporary analytic philosophy began with certain discoveries in formal logic, and much of the work we shall be reading is informed in one way or another by logic: Arguments, premises, and conclusions are often stated using the concepts of formal logic. A working understanding of basic logic, such as one would acquire in Phil 0540, is thus almost essential for this course. A course in logic is not a formal prerequisite, but those who have had absolutely no exposure to logic should consult the instructor before registering.
Prior exposure to philosophy is essential: Much of the material we will be reading is difficult. As usual with 1000-level courses, then, at least one prior course in philosophy is really quite essential. Students who have not had such a course may appeal to the instructor.
There is one text for the course: Saul Kripke's Naming and Necessity. I did not order copies with the bookstore, but it should be readily available from your local internet outlet. For a lot less money. We will not need it for a few weeks yet.
We shall also be reading a number of articles by different authors. These will be available on the course web site, linked from the syllabus, and often via JSTOR and the like. Only registered students will have access to these articles.
The course will meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1pm, in Gerard House 119. Typically, there will be lectures each day, but many Fridays will be devoted to discussion. On such Fridays, students should arrive appropriately prepared with questions, comments, or criticisms. Otherwise, it will be very quiet.
There will be three short papers of about 3-5 pages, with a maximum length of 1500 words. Lists of 'topics' will be distributed on 13 February, 13 March, and 17 April; the papers will be due on 20 February, 20 March, and 24 April, respectively. The 'topics' will be short quotations from various of the papers we read, and the object of the exercise will be expository: You will be asked to explain the passage and its significance. There will also be a final examination, which is currently scheduled for Friday, 13 May, at 9am.NOTE Graduate students will be required to write a term paper, 15-20 pages, in lieu of the third short paper and the final. The term paper is due on the day of the final.
Warning: I do not accept late work, under any circumstances. On the other hand, I am extremely flexible about due dates. That is to say: If someone should need an extra day or two, she need only ask; no reason even need be given. If someone should need more time than that, then some reason does need to be given, but the request will usually be granted. Since I am so flexible, there can be no excuse for one's not asking for an extension. It's really just a matter of respect.