Descartes and his evil demons
WEEK 1: General Features of the World
"The Elimination of Metaphysics," by A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic.
"Why is there Something Rather than Nothing?," by E. Sober.
WEEK 2: God
"Did God Create the Universe?" by Stephen Hawking.
"Arguments for the Existence of God," by Alvin Plantinga.
WEEK 3: Fate, Free Will and Determinism
"Free Will is as Real as Baseball," by Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine. Skip the video with Columbia philosopher David Albert, and skip the replies from readers.
"Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility," by Harry Frankfurt, Journal of Philosophy, 1969, pp. 829-839.
WEEKS 4-5: Mind and Consciousness
"Robot Achieves Self Awareness," Kurzweil Report on Artificial Intelligence, August 24, 2012.
“The Hard Problem of Consciousness,” in Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
"The Chinese Room Argument,"
by The Open University.
“Artificial Intelligence and the Chinese Room: An Exchange,"
by Elhanan Motzkin with a reply by John Searle, The New York Review of Books.
"The Mystery of Consciousness: An Exchange," by Daniel C. Dennett, reply by John R. Searle, The New York Review of Books.
"Reduction, Qualia, and the Direct Introspection of Brain States," by Paul Churchland, The Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 82, No. 1 (Jan., 1985), pp. 8-28.
WEEK 6: Change, Identity and Personal Identity
"Stepping into Heraclitus' River, the Ship of Theseus, and Max Black's Spheres" (handout).
"Understanding the Problem of Personal Identity," Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, section 1.
"To Be," a film about personal identity.
"Persons," by N. Swartz, Beyond Experience: Metaphysical Theories and Philosophical Constraints, Second Edition, chapter 12.
WEEK 7: Existence
"Fallacy of Reification," Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
"Nominalist Things," by H. Fitzgerald.
"Nonexistent Objects," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, sections 1, 2 and 3.1 only.
"On What There Is," by W. V. Quine, Review of Metaphysics, 1948, pp. 21-38.
WEEK 8: Universals and Particulars
"Universals," The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
“Universals,” by Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy, 1912. Optional.
WEEKS 9-10: Space and Time
"Paradoxes of Time Travel," by Frank Arntzenius and Tim Maudlin.
"Introduction to Space and Time" by Bradley Dowden.
"Ten Things Everyone Should Know about Time" by Sean Carroll. Skip all the responses.
"What are the Differences among the Past, Present and Future? by Bradley Dowden. Section 9 only.
"Incongruent Counterparts and Higher Dimensions," by James Van Cleve.
First ten pages.
“What is Space-Time?,” by Kip Thorne. Optional viewing, but very entertaining.
WEEKS 11-12: The Infinite
"Zeno's Paradoxes," by B. Dowden.
"The Infinite in Metaphysics, Science, and Mathematics," by B. Dowden.
"To Infinity and Beyond," by Jim Holt.
"How to Count Infinities,” by George Gamow.
"Hilbert's Hotel in 60 Seconds,” by The Open University.
"Hilbert's Hotel,” by B. David Stacy.
“Indispensability Arguments in the Philosophy of Mathematics," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Read the opening summary and section 1; the rest of the article is optional reading.
WEEKS 13-14: Antirealism
"Our Lives, Controlled From Some Guy’s Couch."
"Pragmatism's Conception of Truth," by William James (optional).
"Realism and Antirealism," by Edward Craig.
"Pre-Theoretic Realism and Realism in Philosophy," by Penelope Maddy.
WEEK 15: Review
The above schedule is approximate because the extent of coverage of some topic may be slightly shrunk or expanded, but this will not affect the due dates of assignments.
OF ARTS AND LETTERS
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updated: November 8, 2012