Philosophy 1890d: Theories of Truth
The course will meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1pm, in Rocekfeller Library, Room A9. Typically, there will be lectures each day, but some days (usually Fridays) will be devoted to discussion. On such days, students should arrive appropriately prepared with questions, comments, or criticisms. Otherwise, it will be very quiet.
We are going to be reading advanced, difficult material (some of it legendarily difficult). This is not a course for beginners.
We shall also be reading and discussing a good deal of formal (mathematical) work on truth. Phil 0540, or something equivalent, is an essential prerequisite. Even more of a prerequisite, however, is that students should be comfortable with mathematical argumentation, that is, with proofs. If you have doubts about your preparation in this respect, please speak to the instructor before deciding to take the course for credit.
- Reading Responses: 20%
For each assigned reading, students are required to submit, to the courses's Canvas site, a response to that reading no later than 10am the day we will be discussing it. I encourage all of us to read and, if we wish, comment upon, the submissions of the others. The response does not have to address the associated questions on the syllabus; those are intended merely to provide some kind of initial guidance.
The responses will be graded mostly on a "did" or "didn't" scale, but officially on a scale from 0-5 points. The main criterion here is the amount of thought that emerges in the response.
- Short Papers: 20%
There will be two short papers of about 3-5 pages, with a maximum length of 1500 words. Lists of 'topics' will be distributed on 8 February and 19 April; the papers will be due on 15 February and 26 April. 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.
- Problem Sets: 20%
There will be two sets of problems related to the formal material we will study. These are due on 8 March and 5 April.
- Term Paper: 40%
The final requirement for the course is a shortish term paper, which will be due on the day of the final exam, 9 May. The paper should be a maximum of 4500 words (roughly 15 pages), but can be as short as 3000 words (roughly 9 pages), and should in the style of a submission to the journal Thought, of which I am one of the Associate Editors. Articles published in Thought are brief, direct discussions of tightly specified issues. The topic of the paper is up to the student but must relate directly to at least two of the papers we have read. It also must be cleared with the instructor no later than 29 April. Students are encouraged to work together, if they wish, on this assignment. That is, joint papers are acceptable. But no more than two authors on a given paper, please, unless we have a problem with numbers.
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 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.