Central Problems of Philosophy
Prof. Stephen Schiffer
The text for the course is the 3rd edition of J.
Perry and M.
Bratman, eds., Introduction to Philosophy (Oxford University
Press, 1998). It’s available only at Posman’s book store, Waverly and University
Pl. Readings not in Perry and Bratman may occasionally be recommended.
The course work will be two midterm exams, a final, and a short paper.
The first midterm will be Thursday, October 8.
The second midterm will be Thursday, November 12.
The paper will be due at the final, and should be about 10-12 pp. Topics
will be suggested as we go along, and you may propose your own topic (but
proposed topics must be approved).
Reading: Introduction: On the Study of Philosophy. Part IV, section
E: Campbell, Hume, Taylor, Frankfurt, and Strawson (unless otherwise specified,
all references are to the 4th edition of Perry & Bratman).
Free Will and Moral Responsibility
Part IV, sections A and B: Ryle, Armstrong, Dennett, Churchland, Putnam,
Turing, and Searle. Part IV, section C: all selections. Part IV, section
Who Are We and Why Should We Care?—Personal Identity and the Mind/Body
Part III, section A: all selections. Part III, section B: Ayer. Part
III, section C: Salmon.
Knowledge and Skepticism
Part II: all selections.
Does God Exist?—Theism, Agnosticism, and Atheism
Part V, section D: all selections.
Justice and Equality
Part VI, section B: The Paradox of the Heap; The Surprise Examination.
Part VI, section C: The Prisoner’s Dilemma; Newcomb’s Problem. Part VI,
section D: all selections.
Puzzles and Paradoxes