This course will examine the main focus that unites existentialists, "existence." Particularly, it will examine the concrete existence of individual human beings. Major figures or study will be, Blaise Pascal, Sóren Kierkegaard, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Albert Camus.
Seminar on the creativity in art, science, and technology. Discussion of how these pursuits are jointly dependent on affective as well as cognitive elements in human nature. Feeling and imagination studied in relation to principles of idealization, consummation, and the aesthetic values that give meaning to science and technology as well as literature and the other arts. Readings in philosophy, psychology, and literature.
This course examines problems in the philosophy of film as well as literature studied in relation to their making of myths. The readings and films that are discussed in this course draw upon classic myths of the western world. Emphasis is placed on meaning and technique as the basis of creative value in both media.
Derek Turner, Professor of Philosophy, has written an introductory logic textbook that students at Connecticut College, or anywhere, can access for free. The book differs from other standard logic textbooks in its reliance on fun, low-stakes examples involving dinosaurs, a dog and his friends, etc.
The Logic Sheet
Getting Rid of Content
§1. Modus ponens
§2. Abstraction and Form
§3. Use and Mention
§4. Statements, Statement Forms, and Bivalence
§5. Statements, Propositions, and Truth
§6. Modus ponens arguments in Langerese: Syntax
§7. Modus ponens arguments in Langerese: Semantics
§8. The Bed of Procrustes
§9. The Counter-intuitiveness of the Arrow
§10. Conjunction and Material Equivalence
§11. Translating Conjunctions
§12. Non-Truth Functional Operators
§13. Negation and Disjunction
§15. Necessary vs. Sufficient Conditions
§16. Translating Conditional and Biconditional Statements
§17. Fun with Longer Statements
§18. Calculating Truth Values for Statements
§20. Two Ways of Constructing Truth Tables
§21. Human Limitations
§22. Short Truth Tables for Tautologies
§23. The Anti-Laws of Logic
§25. Testing for Logical Equivalence
§26. Quirks of Logical Equivalence
§28. Logical Consistency
§29. How Many Logical Operators Do We Need?
Validity and Soundness
§31. Validity’s Quirks
§32. Deductive Arguments
§34. Abbreviated Truth Tables for Validity
§35. Inductive Arguments
§36. Translation and Testing for Validity
§37. Logic, Rhetoric, and the Principle of Charity
How to Prove Stuff
§38. Natural Deduction
§39. Introduction Rules
§40. Other Inference Rules: HS and CD
§41. Conditional Proof
§42. Using Conditional Proof to Prove Tautologies
§43. Logical Equivalence and Replacement Rules
§44. Formalizing Philosophical Arguments
§45. Reductio Ad Absurdum
§46. Other Valid Arguments
Predicates and Quantifiers
§47. Chrysippus’s dog
§48. Subjects and Predicates
§50. Individual Constants and Variables
§51. Interpreting the Quantifiers
§52. Modus ponens with the Universal Quantifier
§53. Modus ponens with the Existential Quantifier
§54. Putting Langerese to Work
§55. Quantifiers and Negation
§56. Translation Holism
§57. Some Technicalities
§59. Form and Content: The Value of Formal Logic
Advances in cognitive science have resolved, clarified, and sometimes complicated some of the great questions of Western philosophy: what is the structure of the world and how do we come to know it; does everyone represent the world the same way; what is the best way for us to act in the world. Specific topics include color, objects, number, categories, similarity, inductive inference, space, time, causality, reasoning, decision-making, morality and consciousness. Readings and discussion include a brief philosophical history of each topic and focus on advances in cognitive and developmental psychology, computation, neuroscience, and related fields. At least one subject in cognitive science, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, or artificial intelligence is required. An additional project is required for graduate credit.
" As we read broadly from throughout the vast chronological period that is "Homer to Dante," we will pepper our readings of individual ancient and medieval texts with broader questions like: what images, themes, and philosophical questions recur through the period; are there distinctly "classical" or "medieval" ways of depicting or addressing them; and what do terms like "Antiquity" or "the Middle Ages" even mean? (What are the Middle Ages in the "middle" of, for example?) Our texts will include adventure tales of travel and self-discovery (Homer's Odyssey and Dante's Inferno); courtroom dramas of vengeance and reconciliation (Aeschylus's Oresteia and the Icelandic NjĚÁls saga); short poems of love and transformation (Ovid's Metamorphoses and the Lais of Marie de France); and epics of war, nation-construction, and empire (Homer's Iliad, Virgil's Aeneid, and the Anglo-Saxon Beowulf)."
This subject offers a broad survey of texts (both literary and philosophical) drawn from the Western tradition and selected to trace the growth of ideas about the nature of mankind's ethical and political life in the West since the renaissance It will deal with the change in perspective imposed by scientific ideas, the general loss of a supernatural or religious perspective upon human events, and the effects for good or ill of the increasing authority of an intelligence uninformed by religion as a guide to life. The readings are roughly complementary to the readings in 21L001, and classroom discussion will stress appreciation and analysis of texts that came to represent the cultural heritage of the modern world.
This course aims to introduce students to the rich diversity of human culture from antiquity to the early 17th century. In this course, we will explore human culture in its myriad expressions, focusing on the study of literary, religious and philosophical texts as ways of narrating, symbolizing, and commenting on all aspects of human social and material life. We will work comparatively, reading texts from various cultures: Mesopotamian, Greek, Judeo-Christian, Chinese, Indian, and Muslim. Throughout the semester, we will be asking questions like: How have different cultures imagined themselves? What are the rules that they draw up for human behavior? How do they represent the role of the individual in society? How do they imagine 'universal' concepts like love, family, duty? How have their writers and artists dealt with encounters with other cultures and other civilizations?
Fundamental Methods of Logic is suitable for a one-semester introduction to logic/critical reasoning course. It covers a variety of topics at an introductory level. Chapter One introduces basic notions, such as arguments and explanations, validity and soundness, deductive and inductive reasoning; it also covers basic analytical techniques, such as distinguishing premises from conclusions and diagramming arguments. Chapter Two discusses informal logical fallacies. Chapters Three and Four concern deductive logic, introducing the basics of Aristotelian and Sentential Logic, respectively. Chapter Five deals with analogical and causal reasoning, including a discussion of Mill's Methods. Chapter Six covers basic probability calculations, Bayesian inference, fundamental statistical concepts and techniques, and common statistical fallacies.
Reviews available here: https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/textbooks/fundamental-methods-of-logic
A series of lectures delivered by Peter Millican to first-year philosophy students at the University of Oxford. The lectures comprise of the 8-week General Philosophy course, delivered to first year undergraduates. These lectures aim to provide a thorough introduction to many philosophical topics and to get students and others interested in thinking about key areas of philosophy. Taking a chronological view of the history of philosophy, each lecture is split into 3 or 4 sections which outline a particular philosophical problem and how different philosophers have attempted to resolve the issue. Individuals interested in the 'big' questions about life such as how we perceive the world, who we are in the world and whether we are free to act will find this series informative, comprehensive and accessible.
A Guide to Good Reasoning has been described by reviewers as “far superior to any other critical reasoning text.” It shows with both wit and philosophical care how students can become good at everyday reasoning. It starts with attitude—with alertness to judgmental heuristics and with the cultivation of intellectual virtues. From there it develops a system for skillfully clarifying and evaluating arguments, according to four standards—whether the premises fit the world, whether the conclusion fits the premises, whether the argument fits the conversation, and whether it is possible to tell.
Table of Contents
Part One: Reasoning and Arguments
Chapter One: Good Reasoning
Chapter Two: What Makes an Argument?
Part Two: Clarifying Arguments
Chapter Three: A Framework for Clarifying
Chapter Four: Streamlining
Chapter Five: Specifying
Chapter Six: Structuring
Part Three: Evaluating Arguments
Chapter Seven: A Framework for Evaluating
Chapter Eight: Fallacies
Part Four: Evaluating the Truth of the Premises
Chapter Nine: How to Think About Truth
Part Five: Evaluating Deductive Logic
Chapter Ten: How to Think About Deductive Logic
Chapter Eleven: If–Then Arguments
Chapter Twelve: Either–Or Arguments and More
Part Six: Evaluating Inductive Logic
Chapter Thirteen: How to Think About Inductive Logic
Chapter Fourteen: Inductive Generalization
Chapter Fifteen: Arguments from Analogy
Chapter Sixteen: Explanatory Arguments
This course focuses on an in-depth reading of Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis by Isaac Newton, as well as several related commentaries and historical philosophical texts.
This course examines the history of MIT through the lens of the broader history of science and technology, and vice versa. The course covers the founding of MIT in 1861 and goes through the present, including such topics as William Barton Rogers, educational philosophy, biographies of MIT students and professors, intellectual and organizational development, the role of science, changing laboratories and practices, and MIT's relationship with Boston, the federal government, and industry. Assignments include short papers, presentations, and final paper. A number of classes are concurrent with the MIT150 Symposia.
Inferring and Explaining is a book in practical epistemology. It examines the notion of evidence and assumes that good evidence is the essence of rational thinking. Evidence is the cornerstone of the natural, social, and behavioral sciences. But it is equally central to almost all academic pursuits and, perhaps most importantly, to the basic need to live an intelligent and reflective life.
The book further assumes that a particular model of evidence— Inference to the Best Explanation—not only captures the essence of (good) evidence but suggests a very practical, and pedagogically useful, procedure for evidence evaluation. The book is intended primarily for two sorts of introductory courses. First and foremost are courses in critical thinking (or informal or practical logic). In addition, however, the book has application in more general courses (or major sections of courses) in introductory philosophy.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Valuing Truth
Chapter 2: Skepticism
Chapter 3: The Concept of Knowledge
Chapter 4: Arguments
Chapter 5: Inference to the Best Explanation
Chapter 6: New Data and Experimentation
Chapter 7: Semmelweis and Childbed Fever
Chapter 8: Darwin and Common Descent
Chapter 9: Testimony
Chapter 10: Textual Interpretation
Chapter 11: Statistics
Chapter 12: Correlations and Causes
Chapter 13: Capital Punishment and the Constitution
Chapter 14: Evidence, Explanation, and Narrative
Chapter 15: Explanatory Virtue and Truth
The Republic of Plato is one of the classic gateway texts into the study and practice of philosophy, and it is just the sort of book that has been able to arrest and redirect lives. How it has been able to do this, and whether or not it will be able to do this in your own case, is something you can only discover for yourself. The present guidebook aims to help a person get fairly deep, fairly quickly, into the project. It divides the dialogue into 96 sections and provides commentary on each section as well as questions for reflection and exploration. It is organized with a table of contents and is stitched together with a system of navigating bookmarks. Links to external sites such as the Perseus Classical Library are used throughout. This book is suitable for college courses or independent study.
forall x is an introduction to sentential logic and first-order predicate logic with identity, logical systems that significantly influenced twentieth-century analytic philosophy. After working through the material in this book, a student should be able to understand most quantified expressions that arise in their philosophical reading.
This books treats symbolization, formal semantics, and proof theory for each language. The discussion of formal semantics is more direct than in many introductory texts. Although forall x does not contain proofs of soundness and completeness, it lays the groundwork for understanding why these are things that need to be proven.
Throughout the book, I have tried to highlight the choices involved in developing sentential and predicate logic. Students should realize that these two are not the only possible formal languages. In translating to a formal language, we simplify and profit in clarity. The simplification comes at a cost, and different formal languages are suited to translating different parts of natural language.
The book is designed to provide a semester's worth of material for an introductory college course. It would be possible to use the book only for sentential logic, by skipping chapters 4-5 and parts of chapter 6.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: What is logic?
Chapter 2: Sentential logic
Chapter 3: Truth tables
Chapter 4: Quantified logic
Chapter 5: Formal semantics
Chapter 6: Proofs
This course studies what is language and what does knowledge of a language consist of. It asks how do children learn languages and is language unique to humans; why are there many languages; how do languages change; is any language or dialect superior to another; and how are speech and writing related. Context for these and similar questions is provided by basic examination of internal organization of sentences, words, and sound systems. No prior training in linguistics is assumed.
This is an introductory textbook in logic and critical thinking. The goal of the textbook is to provide the reader with a set of tools and skills that will enable them to identify and evaluate arguments. The book is intended for an introductory course that covers both formal and informal logic. As such, it is not a formal logic textbook, but is closer to what one would find marketed as a critical thinking textbook. Downloadable as a pdf file.
The goal of this text is to present philosophy to newcomers as a living discipline with historical roots. While a few early chapters are historically organized, my goal in the historical chapters is to trace a developmental progression of thought that introduces basic philosophical methods and frames issues that remain relevant today. Later chapters are topically organized. These include philosophy of science and philosophy of mind, areas where philosophy has shown dramatic recent progress. This text concludes with four chapters on ethics, broadly construed. I cover traditional theories of right action in the third of these. Students are first invited first to think about what is good for themselves and their relationships in a chapter of love and happiness. Next a few meta-ethical issues are considered; namely, whether they are moral truths and if so what makes them so. The end of the ethics sequence addresses social justice, what it is for one’s community to be good. Our sphere of concern expands progressively through these chapters. Our inquiry recapitulates the course of development into moral maturity
This course introduces students to the major topics, problems, and methods of philosophy and surveys the writings of a number of major historical figures in the field. Several of the core areas of philosophy are explored, including metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy, ethics, and the philosophy of religion. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to: Identify and describe the major areas of philosophical inquiry, explain how those areas differ from and relate to one another, and place the views and arguments of major philosophical figures within those thematic categories; Use philosophical terminology correctly and consistently; Identify and describe the views of a number of major philosophers and articulate how these views are created in response to general philosophical problems or to the views of other philosophers; Explain the broad outlines of the history of philosophy as a framework that can be applied in more advanced courses; Identify strengths and weaknesses in the arguments philosophers have put forward for their views and formulate objections and counterarguments of your own invention; Apply critical thinking and reasoning skills in a wide range of career paths and courses of study. (Philosophy 101)