DIRECTED STUDIES: PHILOSOPHY

Section 4: TTh 11:30am-12:45pm in B-02 Whitney Humanities Center (WHC)
Yale University
Spring 2006


Instructor: James Woodbridge
email address: j.woodbridge@yale.edu
Course Webpage: http://pantheon.yale.edu/~jw556/yale/DS4.htm
Office Hours: TTh 4pm-5:30pm, and by appointment
Office: 406B Connecticut Hall
Office Phone: 432-1683
Dept. Phone: 432-1686

I. COURSE DESCRIPTION

The Spring Term Directed Studies course in philosophy is devoted mostly to an examination of what is usually called Modern Philosophy. This label designates a historical period that begins in the 17th Century and extends into the 19th Century. During this time, Epistemology, or theory of knowledge, took center stage in philosophy and questions about the possibility of and criteria for knowledge became topics of fundamental concern. We will read and discuss what various major thinkers from the modern period had to say about these and related metaphysical and ethical issues.


II. REQUIRED CLASS MATERIALS

Books:

Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: With Selections from the Objections and Replies,
       Cottingham, ed. (Cambridge)
Leibniz, Philosophical Essays, Garber and Ariew, eds. (Hackett)
Berkeley, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous, Dancy, ed. (Oxford)
Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Beauchamp, ed. (Oxford)
Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Selby-Bigge and Nidditch, eds. (Clarendon, 2nd. Ed)
Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Guyer and Wood, trans. (Cambridge)
Kant, Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Ellington, trans. (Hackett)
Mill, Utilitarianism, Sher, ed. (Hackett)
Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, Lowrie, trans. (EverymanŐs Library)
Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals, Ansell-Pearson, ed. (Cambridge)
Wittgenstein, On Certainty, Anscombe, ed. (Perennial)

The books for the course are available at Labyrinth Books located at 290 York Street.


III. CLASS REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING SCHEME

Requirements.............................................Percent of Final Grade

Class Participation......................................................10%
First Paper...................................................................20%
Second Paper...............................................................25%
Third Paper..................................................................25%
Final Exam...................................................................20%

About the Requirements:

Class Participation--One thing this requirement covers is your class attendance. However, while attendance is necessary for participation, it is not sufficient. To do well on this front you must do more than just show up; you have to contribute to class discussion. You are expected to arrive having read the assignment for the week and ready to talk about it. Another aspect of class participation concerns the Electronic Discussion Board available on the course's Classes*v2 site. Everyone must make six postings on the EDB during the course of the term: three before Spring Break and three after the break.

The First Paper--There will be a 5 page paper due on January 27th. Topics will be distributed via our section's Website one week before the paper is due. Papers are due in my mailbox in the Philosophy Dept. office by 11am on the due date. Late papers are subject to a substantial grade reduction as described on the Papers Requirements and Policies handout.

The Second Paper--There will be a second 5 page paper due on February 24th. Again, topics will be posted one week before the paper is due, and all papers are due by 11am.

The Third Paper--There will be a third 5 page paper due on April 14th. Topics will be posted a week before due date, and all papers are due by 11am.

The Final Exam--There will be a final exam given during the scheduled time for the class. The exam will cover the whole course and will consist of several short answer questions and two long essays based on the readings and lectures.


IV. CLASS FORMAT

Our class is specifically a discussion section, so your active participation is crucial. I will, on occasion, give a brief lecture on certain material, but even then I want to encourage discussion. I expect you all to show up having read the week's assignment and thought about the lecture on it, being ready to use it as a point of departure for our discussion. It is the nature of the issues we will be considering that people's views will differ. You are encouraged to question your classmates (and me) when anyone says something you disagree with, but everyone should always keep in mind that disagreement is not a personal attack. Philosophical discussion thrives under this kind of interaction and often stems from disagreement. At the same time, philosophical discussion aims at reaching some sort of agreement. We probably won't reach agreement every time, but we should aspire toward it.


V. READINGS AND SCHEDULE

Week 1 Discussion: January 10 & 12

Reading: Descartes, Meditations, 1-3
Lecture: James Woodbridge

Week 2 Discussions: January 17 & 19

Reading: Descartes, Meditations, 4-6
Lecture: Mary Litch

Week 3 Discussions: January 24 & 26

Reading: Leibniz, “Primary Truths” (pp. 30-34); “Discourse on Metaphysics” sections 1-16, 30-37 (pp. 35-49, 60-68); and the entire “Monadology” (pp. 213-225)
Lecture: Michael Della Rocca
Paper due, Friday, January 27th

Week 4 Discussions: January 31 & February 2

Reading: Berkeley, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous
Lecture: Troy Cross

Week 5 Discussions: February 7 & 9

Reading: Hume, Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding, 1-5, 7, 12
Lecture: James Woodbridge

Week 6 Discussions: February 14 & 16

Reading: Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Book II, Part 1, sec. 1 (275-277); Book II, Part 3, sec. 3-4 (413-422); Book III, Part 1 (455-476); Book III, Part 2, sec.1-2 (477-501)
Lecture: Troy Cross

Week 7 Discussions: February 21 & 23

Reading: Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, B-Pref.,
B-Intro., A-Aesthetic (106-20, 136-52, 155-71)
Lecture: Gregory Ganssle
Paper due, Friday, February 24th

Week 8 Discussions: February 28 & March 2

Reading: Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, Transcendental Deduction, 2nd Analogy, Refutation of Idealism: 204-206; 210-214; 219-226; 245-252; 295-296; 299-300; 304-307; 326-329
Lecture: James Kreines


Week 9 Discussions: March 21 & 23

Reading: Kant, Grounding for the
Metaphysics of Morals

Lecture: Shelly Kagan

Week 10 Discussions: March 28 & 30

Reading: Mill, Utilitarianism
Lecture: Norma Thompson

Week 11 Discussions: April 4 & 6

Reading: Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling
Lecture: Jonathan Gilmore

Week 12 Discussions: April 11 & 13

Reading: Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals
Lecture: Norma Thompson
Paper due, Friday, April 14th

Week 13 Discussions: April 18 & 20

Reading: Wittgenstein On Certainty
Lecture: Anthony Kronman