Lynn Hankinson Nelson
Examination of the metaphysical and epistemological views of Locke and Berkeley, with perhaps some attention also to Hume. Prerequisite: either PHIL 322 or PHIL 350.
We will study the understandings of and arguments for empiricism as represented in the main works of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. We will be concerned with the questions of what epistemological and metaphysical commitments demarcate empiricist theories of knowledge/science", what philosophical motivations underlie the adoption of an empiricist perspective, and what philosophical problems does empiricism yield. Other relevant topics include the nature of mind and of personal identity, and the distinctions between appearance and reality, and primary and secondary qualities.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Reading questions are provided for many readings to organize our approach to them and to facilitate class discussions. When appropriate, I begin a class meeting with a brief lecture and identify questions for us to consider as a group. Students are strongly encouraged to ask questions, pose challenges to the arguments encountered in the readings or offered by me or other students, and to do so in the form of arguments.
Class assignments and grading
Reading assignments are often supplemented with reading questions, and every other week students are required to turn in a 2 page response to one set of such questions. Review questions and review sessions are provided for essay exams. Graduate students and interested undergraduates are encouraged to write a formal paper rather than take the final essay exam. will be
Formal written work constitues 80% of the grade; participation in discussions constitutes 20% of the grade.