Fall 2019 - PHIL 451W D100
Advanced Topics in the History of Philosophy (4)
Class Number: 4770
Delivery Method: In Person
May be repeated for credit. Writing.
Selected Topics: 19th Century Roots of Analytic Philosophy
[Note: this course is to be taught concurrently with PHIL 855.]
Bertrand Russell’s “On Denoting” (1905) is universally regarded as one of the seminal papers in the philosophy of language and, without any doubt, the subsequent history of philosophy treats it as such. But anyone reading the paper will be struck by the fact that the topics Russell actually addresses and the problems he wants to solve are much more far-ranging than the proper understanding of definite descriptions, or as Russell puts it, of the definite article in English. Russell’s epistemological and metaphysical interests are clearly what is motivating his work.
There is good reason, then, to regard “On Denoting” not just as a pivotal article in the theory of reference, but as an introduction to a new way of doing philosophy, as introducing the method of linguistic analysis to solve a philosophical problem, thus ushering in the new era. It has been argued, with some justification, that the “On Denoting” marks the beginning of analytic philosophy.
We will examine what led Russell to write the paper, reaching back into the 19th century to locate the philosophical problems and techniques that motivated him.
COURSE-LEVEL EDUCATIONAL GOALS:
This course may be applied towards the Writing Requirement (and the upper division Writing Requirement for Philosophy majors).
- Assigned reading and participation 10%
- Choice of: short paper (1000-1200 words) or a presentation on one of the readings 25%
- Term paper proposal 5%
- Term paper: draft 20%, final version 40% 60%
Students will be expected to come to class having done the assigned reading for each week and a participation grade of 10% will be based on how well prepared they are to participate in the class.
All reading materials will be available on Canvas.
Department Undergraduate Notes:
Thinking of a Philosophy Major or Minor? The Concentration in Law and Philosophy? The Certificate in Ethics? The Philosophy and Methodology of Science Certificate?
Contact the PHIL Advisor at firstname.lastname@example.org More details on our website: SFU Philosophy
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ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: YOUR WORK, YOUR SUCCESS