PHIL-515 Quine and Davidson
Spring for 2017-2018
Willard Van Orman Quine (“Van”) and Donald Davidson (“Don”) are, arguably, the best American philosophers of the 20th century. They are certainly among the most influential. Their philosophies overlap in important ways. (Apparently, Quine’s “Word and Object” awoke Davidson from his dogmatic slumber). This course will focus on (1) the overlap between their views on meaning and radical interpretation, the coherence theory of truth and holism; and (2) Quine’s views on ontological commitment, abstract objects, naturalized epistemology and ontological relativity and (3) Davidson’s views on facts, events, reasons and causes, and anomalous monism. The goal is to discuss as many of their views on these topics as is possible in 13 classes. We’ll also be watching some of the 8 Quine and 19 Davidson videos in which each discusses their philosophies with other well-known philosophers. Two ten-page papers, one major oral presentation, and a few minor ones (summarizing an article, e.g.).
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