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Course Description:

We will look at a variety of debates in Metaphysics and Epistemology, concerning what sorts of entities we are and how we relate to the material world we inhabit. What does it mean to be a person, and what does it take for people to persist?  Can we ever act freely, if everything that happens is causally determined by earlier events?  What can we even know about the material world, given that our knowledge seems to be mediated by our senses, and our senses can deceive us?  What does knowledge require?  And:  what sorts of material entities are there?  Are things like symphonies, novels, and other repeatable artworks material?  What about things like shadows and holes, that in some sense seem to exist but in another sense seem to just be modifications of other material things?  And how might we deal with puzzles for material entities, such as puzzles involving constitution and individuation?

You will also learn (if you haven't already) how to formulate and explain claims, and how to extract, explain, and evaluate arguments. And you will learn some basic logic, such as what it means for an argument to be valid and sound, and how to symbolize sentences using propositional logic.

 

Instructor Information:

Shieva Kleinschmidt

Office: Stonier Hall 226