Class 13 - Kant Against Ontotheology


Today we’ll discuss Kant’s criticisms of traditional rational theology, including his famous argument that existence is not a predicate.

Readings

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Class 10 - Kant’s Thinking Subject


Today we’ll look at Kant’s conception of the thinking subject and how his views contrast with those of Hume. We’ll discuss both his positive conception of the thinking subject as put forward in the section of the Critique of Pure Reason entitled the “Transcendental Deduction”, and his ...

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Class 7 - Hume’s Mind


This week we look at Hume’s theory of mental content and set up his critique of causation for next week. We’ll also look at Hume’s skeptical view regarding personal identity. We’ll revisit this when we examine Kant’s views on such matters.

Readings

  • Hume
    • Sections 1-3 ...
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Class 6 - Locke & Leibniz on Relations


We conclude our discussion of Locke with an examination of his views regarding the relationship between a substance and its properties. Specifically, we’ll look at how Locke thinks the powers of a substance are or are not rooted in its essence or nature. We’ll also look at how ...

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Class 5 - Locke on Essence


Today we’ll continue our look at Locke on our knowledge of nature. We’ll finish up our discussion of the primary/secondary quality distinction and move on to examine his distinction between real and nominal essence. We’ll look at his arguments for this distinction, for skepticism concerning our ...

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Class 3 – The Fifth and Sixth Meditations


Today we’ll finish our discussion of the previous Meditations and look at the Fifth and Sixth Meditations. The key issues we’ll focus on are the conception of essence and the ontological argument in the Fifth Meditation and the real distinction argument, proof of the external world, and overall ...

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Paper Topics

Date

For students taking PHIL 471, two papers are required. Papers should range between 4-6 double spaced pages (1200-2000 words). Some latitude is allowed here, but less than three pages is unlikely to be enough to answer any of questions raised below. Similarly, you shouldn’t need much more than six ...

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Class 1 - Scholasticism & Descartes’s Project


Today we look at the medieval scholastic background against which much of the philosophical work we’ll be examining is written. I’ll also introduce the basic aims of Descartes’s work the Meditations on First Philosophy, and we’ll discuss in some detail the argument of the First Meditation ...

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