PHI401 Seminar for PHI majors (Spring 2020)



Archive


Tuesday January 14

Topics to be covered: We will introduce ourselves and then the instructor will give an overview of some material that we will cover in the first few weeks of the course. We will leave the syllabus and various details of the course for next class.

Todo before class: Nothing. But you will have a substantial amount of work to do for upcoming classes and it is worth getting ahead.


Thursday January 16

Topics to be covered: There are two main goals for today: (1) Sort out the nuts & bolts of the course. To do this, we will plod through the syllabus in detail. This is your chance to sort out any details about the course. PLEASE ask any questions you have about anything on the syllabus--or any other details about the course. (2) We will talk through questions about the material that we covered in the previous class.

Todo before class: Assignment 1 needs to be handed in today.


Tuesday January 21

Topics to be covered: We will do two things: (1) We will address some questions from members of the class about the material we have covered thus far. (2) We will start going through the reading by J.S. Mill about names.

Todo before class: Assignment2 needs to be handed in today. By this point, you should have read the excerpt from Mill, answered the questions on the assignment, and hopefully have some questions and things to say about Mill's view. Make sure to download the notes on Mill.


Thursday January 23

Topics to be covered: We will continue talking about Mill, and if we have time left over the instructor will say some things to set up the discussion of Frege next week.

Todo before class: Thankfully (sigh of relief!) we got a bit behind last week and it doesn't make sense to read Frege for today. That said, the reading by Frege is going to be tough and it is a good idea to look at it, and Assignment3, well in advance.


Tuesday January 28

Topics to be covered: Frege, "Sense and reference".

Todo before class: Assignment3 needs to be handed in today.


Thursday January 30

Topics to be covered: We will keep talking about Frege, but may also move on to Russell.

Todo before class: Nothing, but if you have time you could either start the Russell reading or start looking at Kripke. The Russell reading will be tough slogging. Have a look at the instructions on the Assignment4 sheet.

Tuesday February 4

Topics to be covered: We have a lot left to cover on Frege. This will likely ocupy the entire class. If by some miracle we have time to move on, we will start on Russell. I want to go through Russell’s account of descriptions and the puzzles he address in some detail, but using a formalism that I hope is both more familiar and more accessible. We will also cover a handful of related issues. All of this might take us a while, although I may end up cutting some corners.

Todo before class: There will not be any further assignments due until I have had a chance to get you some feedback on previous work. But, it is a good idea to read Russell and have a look at the assignment. It will be a tough reading. Make sure to bring both the reading and the notes with you to class.

Thursday February 6

Topics to be covered: The agenda for this class: (1) Answer any questions about Frege and Frege’s semantic framework. (2) A very quick discussion of Neo-Fregean and Millian appeals to something in the vicinity of a psychological mode of presentation. (3) Brief discussion of use/mention issues. (4) Russell on descriptions, and related issues.

Todo before class: Assignment4 needs to be handed in today.

Tuesday February 11

Topics to be covered: Russell on descriptions, and related issues.

Todo before class: Nothing.

Thursday February 13

Topics to be covered: If we get finished with Russell on descriptions, I want to introduce a distinction between contexts of utterance and circumstances of evaluation. There are notes about this on the documents page.

Todo before class: Nothing, but it is a good idea to look ahead at what you will need to do for next week.

Tuesday February 18

Topics to be covered: We will finish off talking about contexts and circumstances, and will move onto Nathan Salmon on Direct Reference.

Todo before class: Assignment5 is due today. This means that you need to read the Salmon chapter.

Thursday February 20

Topics to be covered: This class will be devoted to the Salmon chapter, and any questions you might have about relevant material.

Todo before class: It is a good idea to start reading Kripke. You might also want to have a quick look at the short piece by David Sosa about Kripke.

Current and upcoming classes

Tuesday February 25

Topics to be covered: Details TBA, but we will start talking about Naming and Necessity today.

Todo before class: Assignment6 is due today. It is worth reading more than the bare minimum required to complete the assignment.

Thursday February 27

Topics to be covered: We will be continuing with Lecture 1 of Naming and Necessity.

Todo before class: Assignment7 is due today.

Tuesday March 3

Topics to be covered: Details TBA, but we will be continuing with Naming and Necessity.

Todo before class: TBA, but plan on a short assignment based on required reading.

Thursday March 5

Topics to be covered: Details TBA, but we will be continuing with Naming and Necessity.

Todo before class: TBA, but plan on a short assignment based on required reading.