Philosophy 290-8

Fall 2007

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-8 Graduate Seminar Ayers Tu 2-4 234 Moses Hall

The intention is to consider three closely related philosophical topics :

1, the identity and individuation of material objects; 2, the content and objects of perception and perceptual knowledge;
3, the nature and content of self-knowledge and self-awareness.

Argument will be advanced, from a realist point of view, in supportive explanation of ordinary ways of thinking and talking about people, things, and perception. A sceptical view will be taken of attempts by analytic philosophers to improve on these basic ways of thinking, for example by proposing surprising ‘analyses’ of natural language, or radically alternative ontologies and logics. The idea that intentionality and content are primarily properties of linguistic items of some kind will also be subjected to criticism. We are animals, and language has evolved on the back of animal experience of the world, including experience of ourselves in the world. To understand how this is so (it will be suggested) is to begin to understand the structure of natural language.