PHIL-501 Metaphysics Proseminar
Spring for 2017-2018
Philosophers from an enormously wide variety of backgrounds have thought carefully and critically about issues in metaphysics. My aim is to provide you with some tools to think carefully and critically about metaphysical issues – and to do so in a way that moves beyond common assumptions about what the philosophical cannon should look like. We will begin by looking at an amazing piece of philosophy, written from within the tradition of late-20th Century Analytic Philosophy: David Lewis's On the Plurality of Worlds. We will also read a few related articles, and we will try to make sense of the type of worldview that this yields. Next, we will attempt to see how people from different backgrounds, relying on different assumptions, approach metaphysical questions. We will read a book outlining the metaphysical position of the Nahuatl speaking people of Central Mexico, who are commonly called the Aztecs; and we will read a few pieces from Classical Indian traditions (Indian Buddhists and their critics). Finally, we will turn to recent and ongoing disputes regarding the metaphysics of race and gender. You will write brief reading responses before each class (Max 1 page), a short conference-style paper (3000 word), and you will take a comprehensive exam. (Prof. Huebner for Spring 2016)
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Graduate standing in Philosophy or permission of the instructor
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