|Proseminar: Fact, Value, and Meaning
|234 Moses Hall
Many philosophers have thought that there is an important difference between factual and evaluative language. When we say that Jim is being cruel, or that he should not pull the cat’s tail, they hold, we are not saying how things are, but expressing our disapproval and trying to influence others. This view has major consequences for how we think about moral and aesthetic argument and disagreements. In this seminar, we will consider the motivations for thinking that evaluative language is nonfactual, and we will look at some difficulties that arise in working out the idea. Readings will be drawn mostly from twentieth century analytic philosophers.
This is a proseminar, which means that the format of the class will be different from most classes in our department. I will not lecture. Instead, we will try to come to grips with the texts by discussing them collaboratively. Participation and occasional presentations are expected. It is essential that you do the reading and think hard about it before each class.
This is an upper-level philosophy course. Students should be philosophy majors and must have taken at least two prior philosophy courses.