A wide-ranging lecture-and-discussion course on the nature and prospects of metaphysics as the investigation of the necessary conditions of the possibility of thought and experience. Can some such conditions be discovered, and can metaphysical conclusions about reality be drawn from them? Particular topics to be explored in this way include: the problem of metaphysics; the project of Kantian or “transcendental” metaphysics; the independent reality of the colors of objects; the independent reality of causation; agency and the independent reality of values; the prospects of metaphysical satisfaction. Familiarity with the history of modern philosophy, especially the philosophy of Hume and of Kant, is strongly recommended. Required course work includes extensive reading of sometimes difficult abstract material and careful, accurate writing of focussed critical papers.
Not for beginners in philosophy.
Reading: Philosophy 125 Reader (available at Copy Central) B. Stroud, The Quest for Reality: Subjectivism and the Metaphysics of Colour (Oxford University Press)
Course requirements: Required reading Participation in one 1-hour discussion section each week Three 5-page papers written at regular intervals during the semester on specific suggested topics One final 10-page paper
Course grades will be determined by the instructors on the basis of all information available at the end of the semester about the student’s performance in the course.