PHI 5320, Spring 2016

History of Analytic Philosophy

This course will begin with the reaction of G.E. Moore to the dominant idealism of the 19th century, together with the Fregean-Russellian advances in formal approaches.  It will engage in the rise of ordinary language philosophy through the later work of Wittgenstein, as well as the important influence of the Vienna Circle and the rise and fall of Logical Positivism/Empiricism, culminating in the resurgence of metaphysics with the work of Kripke.

Policies & Procedures

  1. The major assignment for the course is a term paper. A rough draft of the paper will be due by November 15. Comments will be given both by me and 2 classmates, with a final draft due by the last day of class for the semester.

    I will also ask that summaries of every reading for the course be entered in the discussion section of Canvas prior to the class meeting in which the readings will be discussed.

    Finally, since the class is a seminar, each session will have a designated student responsible for leading the discussion. We will decide the first day of class which sections each of you will be responsible for leading.

Background Materials

Tentative Course Schedule

  1. Introductory lecture
  2. Absolute Idealism and realist reaction:
    F.H. Bradley, “Reality and Thought”

    Josiah Royce, "Reality and Idealism" (online here)
    G.E. Moore, "The Refutation of Idealism,” “Proof of an External World,” " A Defense of Common Sense" (online here)

  3. Logic, mathematics and language:
    Gottlob Frege, “On Sense and Reference,” “On Concept and Object,” “Function and Concept,” “Thought”

  4. Analysis and atomism:
    Bertrand Russell, “On Denoting,” "Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description"
    Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Instead of reading the Tractatus, we’ll read about it: SEP entry, section 2 and SEP entry on Wittgenstein’s Logical Atomism

  5. Logical Positivism:
    SEP entry on the Vienna Circle
    A.J. Ayer, “The Elimination of Metaphysics”

  6. Ordinary Language Philosophy:
    SEP entry, section on the later Wittgenstein
    Gilbert Ryle, “Systematically Misleading Expressions”
    P. F. Strawson, “On Referring”
    J. L. Austin, “A Plea for Excuses”

  7. The Downfall of Logical Empiricism, Part I:
    W.V.O. Quine, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”
    Rudolf Carnap, “Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology”
    Wilfrid Sellars, “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind”
    Roderick Chisholm, “The Problem of Empiricism”

  8. The Downfall, Part II:
    Ruth Barcan Marcus, “Modalities and Intensional Languages”
    Saul Kripke, “Identity and Necessity”

  9. Post-Positivist Directions:
    Elizabeth Anscombe, “Modern Moral Philosophy”
    Paul Grice, “Meaning”, “Logic and Conversation”
    Philippa Foot, “Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives”
    Donald Davidson, “Mental Events,” “Actions, Reasons, and Causes”
    Hilary Putnam, “Meaning and Reference”
    David Lewis, “Mad Pain and Martian Pain”