Contemporary Anglo-American Philosophy
Professor: William Sweet
Office: 518 Nicholson Hall Tower
Telephone: 867-2341 E-mail:
Office Hours: , Wednesday and Thursday; , Wednesday, and by arrangement.
This class is scheduled to meet in the 'T1/T2' time block (Tuesday and Thursday at )
Philosophy 390 Exam – Friday, April the 15th, 2 - 5, Room 24 NicholsonOffice Hours
Friday, April 8
1.30 to 3
Monday April 11
11 to 1
Tuesday April 12
12 to 2
Wednesday April 13
(priority to Phil / N 330)
11 to 1
Thursday April 14.
12 to 2
Calendar Description: Examines the work of 20th-century philosophers in the English-speaking world, notably Russell, A.J. Ayer, Wittgenstein, Searle, and Rawls. Six credits.
Prerequisites: Philosophy 100. Normally this course is taken by students in their third or fourth year.
Course format: The format will be a combination of lecture, discussion, and seminar presentation.
The object of this course is to present and identify some of the leading currents of philosophy in the English-speaking world in the 20th century.
b. William James, from Pragmatism (1907) [“What Pragmatism Means”; “Pragmatism’s Notion of Truth.”]
c. F.H. Bradley, from Appearance and Reality
2. G.E. Moore [the Origins of “Common Sense Analysis” and “Ordinary Language” Philosophy]
a. “The Refutation
of Idealism,” 1903
b. *“The Subject-matter of Ethics” from Principia Ethica
c. *“Reply to Langford”
*G. Frege “On
Sense and Reference”
*Bertrand Russell, one of : *“On Denoting”, *“On the Relation of Universals and Particulars”, *“Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description”, excerpts from The Philosophy of Logical Atomism
4. Ludwig Wittgenstein - I
- presentation of some themes from Process and Reality
a. Carnap, “The
Elimination of Metaphysics Through Logical Analysis of Language.”
b. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic, chs. 1* and 6 “Critique of Ethics and Theology.”
Term 2: Anglo-American Philosophy, 1950 – (tentative)
selections from Philosophical Investigations; Lectures and Conversations; Culture and Value
a. Gilbert Ryle,
“Descartes’ Myth,” from The Concept of
b. Peter Strawson, *“On Referring”
c. J.L. Austin, *“A Plea for Excuses”
d. H.L.A. Hart, selections from The Concept of Law
a. W.V.O. Quine, *“On
What there Is”
b. W.V.O. Quine, *“Two Dogmas of Empiricism”
c. H. P. Grice & P. F. Strawson, *"In Defence of Dogma."
a. Donald Davidson
“Truth and Meaning”
b. Hilary Putnam “Meaning and Reference”
a. Edmund Gettier,
*“Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”
b. Alvin Plantinga, e.g., Warrant and Proper Function
6. Contemporary Pragmatism
"Introduction: Pragmatism and Philosophy" from Consequences of Pragmatism;
"Pragmatism, Davidson, and Truth," from Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth.
Charles Taylor, from Sources of the Self
Method of Evaluation:
written assignments / class presentations (one per term) 20 %
• 1 page commentaries (biweekly) 10 %
• Christmas examination 20 %
• Major essay based on a class presentation (15-20 pages) 25 %
• Final examination 25 %