X3655 Office Hours: Mondays 10-11 (RH) Wednesdays 11-12 (All) Thursdays 3-4

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Joe Rouse Spring 2011

Offices: Russell House 202 (RH); Allbritton 209 (All)

Email:---jrouse@wesleyan.edu Phone: x3655

Office Hours: Mondays 10-11 (RH) Wednesdays 11-12 (All) Thursdays 3-4 (All) or by appt.
Texts (Broad St.): Harold Morick, ed., Challenges to Empiricism

Wilfrid Sellars, Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind

Saul Kripke, Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language

Texts (On Line):

Otto Neurath, “The Scientific Conception of the World” (Vienna Circle Manifesto)

W.v.O. Quine, "Language and Truth" (Word and Object, ch. 1)

Wilfrid Sellars, "Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man"

Donald Davidson, "Mental Events"

Daniel Dennett, "True Believers"

Donald Davidson, "Thought and Talk"

Donald Davidson, "On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme"

Hilary Putnam, "The Meaning of 'Meaning'"

Robert Brandom, "Freedom and Constraint by Norms"

Robert Brandom, "A Social Route from Reasoning to Representing"

Robert Brandom, Making It Explicit, pp. 598-601

John Haugeland, "Truth and Rule-Following" sections 1-5

John Haugeland, "Authentic Intentionality”

Course Description: This course introduces some central themes and influential arguments in late 20th Century Anglophone philosophy. Roughly the middle of the 20th C. marks a significant division within the history of Anglo-American philosophy. The first half of the century was dominated by a conception of philosophy as the logical analysis of linguistic meaning, often conjoined with empiricist epistemology. This course examines some prominent criticisms of that conception, and the associated re-thinking of how philosophy relates to the empirical sciences. The course begins with some prominent criticisms (notably by Quine and Sellars) of what had been a widely accepted conception of the relation between philosophy (as the logical analysis of conceptual meaning) and science (as empirically grounded knowledge of contingent facts). These critics brought philosophy into closer engagement with the natural sciences, in different ways. We therefore move on to consider various accounts of the place of thought and language within a broadly scientific conception of the world. With the recognition that meaningful thoughts and utterances must involve rational normative accountability, the course concludes with various attempts to understand the force and authority of semantic and epistemic norms.
Course Requirements: 1) One mid-term expository essay (on assigned topics) providing succinct exposition of key concepts and issues in Quine's and Sellars's criticisms of linguistic empiricism and their alternative constructive programs.

2) EITHER two shorter papers (~5-7 pp. each) or one final term paper (~10-15 pp.) on topics of students’ choice; sophomores are encouraged to write shorter papers, while senior Philosophy majors are expected to write the term paper (an abstract or outline of the topic for term papers is due two weeks before the paper itself).

Grading Options: This course may be taken either for a letter grade, or on a CR/U basis; however, in order to receive a grade of CRt all assigned work must be successfully completed as "satisfactory" (roughly equivalent to a C grade).
Moodle: All course assignments should be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word through the drop-boxes on the Moodle course calendar.
HONOR CODE: All course assignments are submitted under the Honor Code, as a commitment to the ethos of an academic community. Philosophical work is collaborative, but you must then take responsibility for your own contribution to that common conversation. Reference to or use of published or posted materials outside of the assigned readings must be properly cited. Please include the following pledge at the end of all graded assignments:

In accordance with the Honor Code, I affirm that this work is my own and all content taken from other sources has been properly acknowledged.
Course Expectations: The course material is conceptually challenging. Students should come to class having gone over the assigned reading carefully, to articulate for yourself the central themes and issues being addressed, and pick out central concepts and claims that need to be understood and assessed. While the instructor will sometimes lecture, much class time will be devoted to directed discussion to elicit the central issues and arguments. You should come prepared to address the instructor's questions about the material, and to pose your own questions and responses. Students are strongly encouraged to reread assigned passages after discussion in class.

Th Jan 20 Reading: Otto Neurath, “The Vienna Circle, or the Scientific World-Conception”

Topic: Introduction to the Course

PART I: Empiricism and its Critics

Tu Jan 25 Reading: Carnap, "Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology" (Morick)

Topic: Empiricism within Linguistic Frameworks

Th Jan 27 Reading: Quine, "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" (Morick) 46-60

Topic: What is Analytic Truth?

Tu Feb 1 Reading: Quine, "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" (Morick) 60-68

Topic: Epistemological Holism

Th Feb 3 Reading: *Quine, "Language and Truth"

Topic: Language as a Social Activity

Tu Feb 8 Reading: Quine, "Meaning and Translation" (Morick)

Topic: Translational Indeterminacy

Th Feb 10 Reading: Sellars, "Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man" 1-25

Topic: The Manifest and the Scientific Images

Tu Feb 15 Reading: Sellars, "Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man" 25-40

Topic: Reconciling the Images in "Stereoscopic Vision"

Th Feb 17 Reading: Sellars, "Empiricism and Philosophy of Mind" I-VII p. 13-64

Topic: Being Red and Looking Red

Tu Feb 22 Reading: Sellars, "Empiricism and Philosophy of Mind" VII-IX p. 64-85

Topic: Science Without Foundationalism

Th Feb 24 Reading: Sellars,"Empiricism and Philosophy of Mind" X-XVI p. 85-117

Topic: Mental Events as Theoretical Constructs-the Myth of Jones

Assignment: EXPOSITORY ESSAY QUESTIONS distributed

PART II: Mind and its Place in Nature

Tu Mar 1 Reading: Davidson, "Mental Events"

Topic: Mental Events as Physical Events

Th Mar 3 Reading: No new reading; reread "Mental Events"

Topic: Psychophysical Laws and Anomalous Monism



Tu Mar 22 Reading: Dennett, "True Believers"

Topic: Rationality, Belief Attribution, and Prediction

Th Mar 24 Reading: Davidson, "Thought and Talk"

Topic: Belief and Language

Tu Mar 29 Reading: Davidson, "On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme"

Topic: Scheme/Content-A Third Dogma of Empiricism?

Th Mar 31 Reading: Davidson, "On the Very Idea of a Conceptual Scheme"

Topic: Truth and Interpretation

Tu Apr 5 Reading: Putnam, "The Meaning of Meaning" (215-245)

Topic: Natural Kinds and Semantic Externalism

Th Apr 7 Reading: Putnam, "The Meaning of Meaning" (245-271)

Topic: Whither 'Meaning'?

PART III: Meaning and Normativity

Tu Apr 12 Reading: Kripke, "The Wittgensteinian Paradox," Kripke p.7-62

Topic: A Skeptical Problem about Meaning

Th Apr 14 Reading: Kripke,86-113; Brandom, "Freedom and Constraint by Norms" parts I-II Topic: Is the Natural/Normative Distinction Natural or Normative?

M Apr 18 Assignment: FIRST SHORTER PAPER DUE (for those not writing a term paper)

Tu Apr 19 Reading: Brandom, "Freedom & Constraint... " part III (and re-read earlier parts)

Topic: Normativity, Freedom, and Constraint

Th Apr 21 Reading: Brandom, "A Social Route ... " (15 7 -173)

Topic: Reasoning and Representing

Tu Apr 26 Reading: Brandom, "A Social Route ... " (173-183), Making It Explicit 598-601

Topic: The Expressive Role of de re Ascription

Th Apr 28 Reading: Haugeland, "Truth and Rule-Following" sections 1-5, and "Authentic Intentionality”

Topic: Can Meaning Be Biologically Functional or Socially Instituted?

Tu May 3 Reading: ""Authentic Intentionality" (cont.)

Topic: Objectivity and Responsibility; Course Wrapup

Thu May 5 Assignment: Abstract or outline of term paper topics due on Moodle

Exam Week FINAL PAPERS DUE on Thur, May 12, 10 p.m., on a "rolling admissions" basis

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