PHIL 820.001 – Research Seminar in Modern Philosophy

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Instructor: Simon Blackburn. This course meets W 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. in CW 213.

This course will explore the issues that are central to the pragmatist movement in philosophy. The issues include the relation between truth and success, anti-foundationalism, rejection of a correspondence theory of truth, suspicion of the fact-value distinction, epistemological holism, rejection of the analytic-synthetic distinction, and a generalisation of expressivism.The classic American pragmatists (Peirce, James, and Dewey) had predecessors in the wider empiricist tradition of philosophy, and successors  including C. I. Lewis, Wilfrid Sellars, W. V. Quine, Richard Rorty and others down to the present time. In the United Kingdom the tradition was also visible in the work of F. P. Ramsey, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.  The course does not require particular books, but will make available readings from these writers, and contemporary discussions. Students will be asked to present their own views of the week’s readings, either singly or in pairs, and a final paper.