Studies: Puzzles and Paradoxes (600)
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PHIL600 Seminar Topic: Puzzles and Paradoxes

We will consider both certain very well-known, and certain not so well-known, philosophical puzzles and paradoxes and solutions to those puzzle and paradoxes. In addition, we will see how such puzzles and paradoxes figure into philosophy in general. Both historical and contemporary works will be studied.

Some, but probably not all, Topics: Zeno's Paradoxes, Meno's Paradox, Paradox of the Heap, The Liar Paradox, Frege's Puzzle, Russell's Paradox, The Paradox of Analysis, The Prisoner's Dilemma, Goodman's New Riddle of Induction, Newcomb's Problem, Kripke's Puzzle about Belief.

Works: A large selection of works will be available from the Moodle site for the course. There is no required textbook.

Requirements: Each student will make two presentations, each student must take at least three of the four pop-quizzes, and each student must take the final exam. In addition, you are required to turn in critiques of each presentation made on a day other than the day on which you are making a presentation.

Presentations: The presentations will be based on material in the various readings. In addition, each student's second presentation will be supplemented by at least two readings related to the content of the work selected by the presenters. Hence, the presenters are responsible not only for the material covered in the reading for which they are responsible, but are also expected to provide coverage of additional relevant material.

Presentation 1 will introduce the puzzle/paradox under consideration. This introduction will be historical in as much as it will present the puzzle/paradox in its original form--or in a form that is as close to the original as one can find. In addition, the puzzle/paradox will be presented in the form of an argument. Finally, the presentation should cover Philosophy's initial reaction to the puzzle/paradox.

Presentation 2 will examine subsequent attempts to solve the puzzle. This will also be largely historical in as much as it will present philosophical responses to the puzzle/paradox beyond those that occurred shortly after its early discovery. These presentations will also be evaluative in that they will contain careful critical evaluations of attempts to solve the puzzle/paradox.

A presentation that does not include a well-written handout, will not receive a grade higher than a D, one not containing statements of the main arguments and theses of the work(s) it covers will not receive a grade higher than a C, one not containing your own argument(s), where appropriate, will not receive a grade higher than a B.

Grading: Of the 100 possible points, 40 are from the first presentation 40 are from the second presentation, and 20 are from the pop quizzes.

 Schedule (Under construction):

 Week

Day

Topic(s)

Presenter(s)

1

Tuesday

Introduction.1

Tom Ryckman

1

Thursday

Frege's Puzzle

Ryckman1

2

Tuesday

Frege's Puzzle

Ryckman2

2

Thursday

Reading Day

3

Tuesday

 Raven Paradox, Two Envelopes, Meno

Piszkiewicz1, Gramila1, Vidaurre1

3

Thursday

 Surprise Exam, Grue?, Heap

Dunbar-Hester1, Gifford1, Breese1

4

Tuesday

 Trolley Paradox,

Wing1, Mckee1

4

Thursday

 Ship of Theseus. Paradox of the Stone

Brendt1, Specht1

5

Tuesday

 Prisoner's Dilemma

Standley1, Wright1

5

Thursday

 

Utter1

6

Tuesday

 Russellís Paradox,

Olsen1, Kane1

6

Thursday

Mid-term Break

7

Tuesday

 Two Envelopes, Meno

Gramila2, Vidaurre2

7

Thursday

 Raven Paradox, Heap

Breese2, Piszkiewicz2

8

Tuesday

 

Gifford2, Utter2

8

Thursday

 Prisoner's Dilemma

Kane2, Wright2, Standley2

9

Tuesday

 

Mckee2

9

Thursday

 Russellís Paradox, Paradox of the Stone

Olsen2, Specht2

10

Tuesday

 Surprise Exam, Trolley Paradox

Dunbar-Hester2, Wing2

10

Thursday

 Ship of Theseus

Brendt2