Colloquium for Philosophy Majors (PHIL 397.001)

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Instructor: Keith Simmons. This class meets on Wednesdays from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. in Caldwell 208.

This is a seminar-style course for Philosophy majors. We will read and discuss Saul Kripke’s seminal work Naming and Necessity. The book covers a variety of topics in the philosophy of language, epistemology and metaphysics. Some of the topics we will be discussing are: proper names and definite descriptions, causal theories of reference, aprioricity and necessity, possible worlds, modality de re and modality de dicto, the metaphysics of modality, essentialism, statements of identity, theoretical identities, the mind-body problem, dualism, identity theory, functionalism, qualia and property dualism, subjectivity. It’s a remarkable feature of Kripke’s book that this wide variety of topics is thematically linked. We will also read and discuss a number of closely related papers by other authors, including Mill, Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Quine, Lewis, Jackson, Nagel, Evans, Soames.

Keith Simmons’s webpage