AP/PHIL4040 3.0 M: Seminar in Contemporary Philosophy
Calendar Description / Prerequisite / Co-Requisite
An intensive examination of problems and contemporary issues in philosophy. Topics vary from year to year. Prerequisite: At least nine credits in AP/PHIL courses.
Professor C. Verheggen
Office Location: S436 Ross Building
Phone Number: 416-736-2100 Ext. 77553
Office Hours: Tuesday 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
The focus of the course will be on the philosophy of Donald Davidson as well as that of John McDowell, who is at once one of the main defenders and one of the main critics of Davidson.
Davidson thinks that answering the question, what is it for words to mean what they do, is the best way for philosophers to approach questions, not only about meaning, but also about truth, knowledge, and reality. We will thus start by studying his views in philosophy of language and mind, focusing on his argument for the claim that only someone who has interacted with another person could have a language and thoughts. We will then examine the consequences this claim has for our knowledge of the external world and for our understanding of the relation between thought and reality. We’ll end by considering McDowell’s criticisms of Davidson’s views as well as the views he is proposing in their stead.
(available at the York bookstore):
Davidson, D., Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation
Davidson, D., Subjective, Intersubjective, Objective
McDowell, J., Mind and World
Myers, R. and C. Verheggen, Donald Davidson’s Triangulation Argument: A Philosophical Inquiry
- Class attendance and participation: 10% of final grade
- Mid-term examination: 20%
- Paper topic and annotated bibliography: 10%
- Class presentation: 10%
- Term Paper: 50%
Weekly Class (3 hours); 5 components to class assessment.
- Students will be able to engage major debates concerning specific issues in contemporary philosophy, as well as the arguments and theories underlying various positions in those debates.
- Students will be able to think critically about philosophical concepts and theories that are currently at the foreground of philosophical debates.
- Students will develop advanced analytic and communicative skills in philosophy; namely, the ability to articulate and defend a coherent thesis within an essay, as well as the ability to absorb, synthesize and reflect upon complex information gained from reading assignments or in a classroom setting.
- Academic Honesty
- Student Rights and Responsibilities
- Religious Observance
- Grading Scheme and Feedback
- 20% Rule
No examinations or tests collectively worth more than 20% of the final grade in a course will be given during the final 14 calendar days of classes in a term. The exceptions to the rule are classes which regularly meet Friday evenings or on Saturday and/or Sunday at any time, and courses offered in the compressed summer terms.
- Academic Accommodation for Students with Disabilities