PHIL 2000 Tools for Philosophers 2016

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PHIL 2000: Philosophical Tools
University of Hong Kong
1st Term 2016

Course Instructor: Dr. Michael Johnson
Email: michael dot dracula dot johnson at gmail dot com
Office: 10.11
Office Phone: TBA
Office Hours: Tuesday 2:00pm-4:00pm

Course Website: you’re here!
Meeting Times: Thursdays, 1:30-3:20
Location: MBG 07

Course Description

This course will cover several methods in formal philosophy (philosophy that’s often done with logic and symbols) that are in wide circulation. It is a literacy course, in the sense that the goal is for you to learn how to approach and understand texts that use these tools.

This course is not a lecture course. You are expected to learn the material by reading the required textbook for the course, David Papineau’s Philosophical Devices. In-class time will be devoted to exercises and discussion.

Course Textbook

Required: Papineau, D. 2012. Philosophical Devices. Oxford: Oxford University Press

This book is in the university store and is available as an e-book in HKU’s e-Library. Go here, type in “philosophical devices” and press “submit”. Click on the title when it appears and then click “Click to view the book via Ebook library”.

Course Schedule

1 Sept: Introduction
Today’s slides

8 Sept: Naïve Set Theory: The Basics (slides
Distributed: In-Class Exercise #1
Read: Chapter 1 “Naïve Sets and Russell’s Paradox” of Philosophical Devices

15 Sept: Infinite Sets
Today’s powerpoint
Distributed: In-Class Exercise #2
Read: Chapter 2 “Infinite Sets” of Philosophical Devices

22 Sept: Kinds of Truths
Today’s slides
Assigned: Take-Home Assignment #1
Read: Chapter 4 “Kinds of Truths” of Philosophical Devices

29 Sept: Possible Worlds
Today’s slides
Due: Take-Home Assignment #1
Distributed: In-Class Exercise #3
Read: Chapter 5 “Possible Worlds” of Philosophical Devices

6 Oct: Naming and Necessity
Today’s slides
Read: Chapter 6 “Naming and Necessity” of Philosophical Devices
Distributed: Short Essay

13 Oct: Bonus Lecture: How to Write a Philosophy Paper
Today’s slides
Distributed: Rubric


27 Oct: Kinds of Probability
Today’s slides
Due: Short Essay
Distributed: In-Class Exercise #4
Read: Chapter 7 “Kinds of Probability” of Philosophical Devices

3 Nov: Constraints on Credence
Today’s slides
Read: Chapter 8 “Constraints on Credence” of Philosophical Devices

10 Nov: Syntax and Semantics
Today’s slides
Read: Chapter 10 “Syntax and Semantics” of Philosophical Devices

17 Nov: Soundness and Completeness
Today’s slides
Read: Chapter 11 “Soundness and Completeness” of Philosophical Devices

24 Nov: Last Day of Class
Distributed: Cumulative Assessment