What? Philosophy 3027F: Berkeley, an in-depth investigation and assessment of Berkeley's notorious philosophical idealism.
When? Fall 2015 W 11:30-12:30 and F 11:30-1:30
Why? According to idealism, only two things exist, minds and ideas. Bodies and material things are impossible objects, fictions created by hare-brained philosophers. What makes this doctrine so interesting and philosophically significant isn’t the thesis itself, but Berkeley’s defense of it. About Berkeley’s arguments for idealism, David Hume once profoundly quipped that “they admit of no answer and produce no conviction; their only effect is to cause momentary amazement and irresolution and confusion.” But if they admit of no answer, then why do they produce no conviction in rational beings? This course will analyze and assess these arguments and consider whether they do in fact admit of no answer.
What? Phil 2021F: Oppositions and Paradoxes, a course exploring opposed concepts and paradoxes in philosophy, mathematics, and science.
When? Fall 2015, MWF 11.30-12.30.
Why? From the moment in the remote past when human beings first began to think conceptually, it became inevitable that they would come to see that concepts could be in opposition to one another. The True and the False, The One and the Many, The Finite and the Infinite, The Absolute and the Relative, The Whole and the Part, The Continuous and the Discrete, The Constant and the Changing, The Straight and the Curved, Chance and Necessity – each is a pair of opposed concepts, and each has played a major role in the development of conceptual thinking. Opposed concepts have given rise to perplexities and paradoxes that continue to haunt and stimulate thought to this day. These are the topics of this course.
Who? Professor John Bell