|Bruce Umbaugh at Webster.edu|
|Philosophy on the Web|
By Bruce Umbaugh
Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Mind, Matter, and Space
PHIL 4050 Tu, Th 10:00-11:20 Pearson House 1
Dr. Bruce Umbaugh
office: Pearson House basement
phone: 961-2660 x7826 (office)
office hours: Mon 2-2:30 968-7170 (PHIL office) and by appointment
What sorts of things are in the universe? Material mechanisms? Mental concepts? Is one category expendable, or do we need both to account for what there is? This is an advanced course in modern--but not contemporary--metaphysics. We will consider conflicting views about ideas and mechanisms and the consequences of those views. In particular, we will explore what modern philosophers can teach us that might help us to understand space as we might conceive it today.
The course is designed to work as a seminar, which presumes that students and instructor share various intellectual burdens. Although the only formal prerequisite is six hours of philosophy, familiarity with modern philosophy would be advantageous. Students who succeed in the course will:
read and discuss secondary literature about the history of philosophy,
do exegesis of primary texts, defend interpretations orally and in writing, and work towards developing an adequate metaphysics of space.
- Garrett Thomson, On Descartes, Wadsworth, 2000.
- Bruce Umbaugh, On Berkeley, Wadsworth, 2000.
- Margaret Wertheim, The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet, Norton, 1999.
- Margaret Dauler Wilson, Ideas and Mechanism, Princeton, 1999.
- PastMasters databases Continental Rationalists, and Berkeley: Works, InteLex, 1997.
18: Descartes. Read Thomson, pp. 1-55.
23: Descartes. Read Thomson, pp. 55-end.
25: Descartes. "Resemblance." Read Wilson, 2.
30: Descartes. Primary qualities. Read Wilson, 3.
6: Descartes. Representation, sensation. Read Wilson 5.
Descartes. No new reading. Exegesis due.
15: No new reading.
20: Descartes. Mind-body. Read Wilson 6.
27: Locke. Mechanism. Read Wilson, 13.
1: Locke. Mechanism. Read Wilson 14.
6: First exam.
8: Mechanism to cyberspace. Read Wertheim, 1.
13: Spring recess. No class meeting.
Spring recess. No class meeting.
20: Berkeley. Read Umbaugh, pp. 1-47.
22: Berkeley. Read Umbaugh, pp. 47-end.
27: Berkeley. Primary and secondary qualities. Read Wilson, 15.
29: Berkeley. Colors. Read Wilson, 16.
3: Berkeley. Read Wilson, 17-21. Presentations.
Berkeley. No new reading. Presentations.
Space. Read Wertheim, 1-2. Exegesis due.
12: Space. Read Wertheim, 3-4. Presentations.
17: Space. Read Wertheim 5. Presentations.
19: Space. Read Wertheim 6-7. Presentations.
24: Space. Read Wertheim 8. Presentations.
26: Another possibility. Read Wilson, 26.
8: 8:30-10:00 a.m. Paper due.
- Exegesis exercises 20%
- Presentations (2) 15%
- Participation 10%
- In-class exams (2) 40%
- Paper 15%
There will be two essay examinations to be completed in class. Altogether, they account for forty percent of the grade. Written exercises will stress analytical thinking and exegesis of relevant bits of original text. A final paper will stress exegesis and the ability to criticize and defend an interpretation. These together account for thirty-five percent of the course grade. Collegial participation is expected of every student. I expect you to contribute to your colleagues' education through questions, comments, and other contributions to discussion. I will regularly ask some of you to shoulder special responsibility for particular readings. In addition to this more informal responsibility, students will make two formal presentations in class, on readings for the course. Your presentations are worth fifteen percent and your collegial participation is worth ten percent of your overall grade in the course.
Make-up exams will be given only if I am notified in advance of your absence, and only on presentation of a valid, written excuse. Late written exercises will be accepted one day late, under similar conditions. Students are encouraged to attend every class. It should go without saying that much information will be presented in class that is not to be found easily in our assigned texts.
I will hold regular office hours as listed at the top of this syllabus, and I am around Pearson House often during the week. I can also be reached via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) and by phone. Although I will make myself available to help students outside of class, students who do not attend class meetings should not expect to be rewarded with intensive assistance. Finally, note that I reserve the right to reward students who have attended class faithfully, displayed significant effort, and contributed to class discussion.
Policy on Academic Dishonesty:
You are adults, attending a university. I expect you to behave responsibly. Students in this class are expected to do their own work and not to rely on the work of others. Students are welcome to work with one another to understand the material, but any student plagiarizing, cheating on an exam, aiding another student to cheat, or committing any other act of academic dishonesty will be referred for appropriate disciplinary action. Please consult with me if you have questions in this regard, either about your own work or that of another person.