Philosophy 208
Seminar on History of Analytic Philosophy

Spring 2006

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Where: Philosophy seminar room (H&SS 7077)
When: Wednesday 1-3:50

Instructor: Jonathan Cohen
joncohen AT aardvark DOT ucsd DOT edu
office: (858) 534 6812

Office hours: Thursdays 10:30-12 in H&SS 8072 (and by appointment; please feel free to call)

This graduate seminar in philosophy will be devoted to the history of analytic philosophy. We'll organize discussion around Scott Soames's relatively recent, two volume collection Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century. Because we only have one quarter, there's no way we can cover everything in these works. In particular, we'll be ignoring the chapters devoted largely to ethical topics from volume 1, and the chapters about Kripke and about ordinary language from volume 2. (Rationale: at least some of these topics are covered in greater depth by existing graduate course offerings.)


The main readings for each week will be taken from Scott Soames's (two volume) Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century. Both of these volumes have been ordered from the book store, and are required. Additional readings will be made available in a tray in the department library; they have also been placed on electronic reserve at the (university) library.

In addition to the assigned readings, I highly recommend you look at some of the recent (as of this writing, many still forthcoming) reviews of Soames's volumes so you'll get a sense for what in them is controversial. I'd particularly recommend the review by Michael Kremer (NDPR), and a cluster coming out in a forthcoming symposium on the books in Phil Studies, with contributions from Daniel Stoljar, John Burgess, Ian Proops, Mark Sainsbury, Brian Weatherson, Alex Byrne , and Stephen Yablo. Soames's web site also contains several replies to his critics.


The seminar requirements are of two main kinds: presentations, and a medium length (15 page) final paper.

Presentation: All attendees (including auditors) will be required to lead a seminar discussion (or maybe more than one, depending on our numbers). A presentation should be a critical discussion rather than a summary or book report (the presenter can assume that other participants have done the reading, and the other participants will make it the case that such an assumption is correct!), and should contain a thesis and arguments for that thesis. It can concern any topic connected with the week's reading that is of interest to the presenter. You must discuss your presentation with me sometime before the session in which you present, just to make sure we're on the same page. Seminar presentations may be given using notes or overheads, but they may not be read aloud from a pre-written paper.

Final Paper: Students taking the course for credit will pass in a single 15 page paper by the end of the quarter (extensions will be granted only in cases of extreme emergency), on a topic of their own choosing that relates to the subject matter of the course. All such papers must be pre-approved in conversation with me. I mean it. Really.


I will determine your grade based on the following breakdown:
25% seminar presentations and participation
75% final paper

Tentative Schedule

Readings marked with an asterisk are optional.
1Introduction, planningnone Jonathan Cohen
2Moore's EpistemologySoames v1, ch 1-2; Moore, "A Defense of Common Sense"; Moore, "Proof of an External World"Matt Brown
3Russell on Descriptions, Russell's Logicism Soames v1, ch5-6; Russell, "On Denoting"; Russell, "Knowledge by Aquaintance, Knowledge by Description"; Hempel, "On the Nature of Mathematical Truth"Andre Niemeyer, Tarun Menon
4Russell on Logic and The World Soames v1, ch7-8; *Russell, The Philosophy of Logical Atomism. Adam Streed, Andy Beck
5Wittgenstein's Tractatus Soames v1, ch9-10; *Fogelin, Wittgenstein (2nd ed). John Jacobson, Tim Jankowiak
6Logical Empiricism Soames v1, ch12-13; Ayer Language, Truth, and Logic, ch1-4; *Hempel, "The Empiricist Criterion of Meaning". Eric Campbell, Erin Frykholm
7 Quine and Logical Empiricism Soames v1, ch16-17; Quine, "Two Dogmas of Empiricism"; *Grice and Strawson, "In Defense of A Dogma" Jens Ziska, Justin Knoepfler
8 Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations Soames v2, ch1-2; Boghossian, "The Rule-Following Considerations"; *Kripke Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language;Wright, "Kripke's Account of the Argument against Private Language". Charlie Kurth, Tarun Menon
9 Quine's Semantic Program Soames v2, ch10-11, *Quine, "Ontological Relativity"; Word and Object chII; "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" . Justin Knoepfler, Eric Campbell
10 Davidson on Truth and Meaning Soames v2, ch12-13; Davidson, "Theories of Meaning and Learnable Languages"; "Truth and Meaning"; "The Logical Form of Action Sentences"; "Radical Interpretation". Andy Beck, Adam Streed