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Topics in Metaphysics
PHIL 390
Spring 2020
Section: 01  
This course may be repeated for credit.

This is a research seminar on the metaphysical conceptions of logic, mathematics, and the world in early analytic philosophy. In the first half of the seminar, we focus on Frege and Russell's critique of Kant's philosophy of mathematics, which is the foundation of his transcendental idealism. Kant took mathematics to be knowable a priori, independent of experience, but not by logic and definitions alone. We will examine in detail how Frege and Russell's discoveries of higher-order quantificational logic support their attempts to demonstrate that at least arithmetic is knowable on the basis of logic alone. In the second half, we focus on Wittgenstein's critiques of Russell's theory of judgment, and of Frege's and Russell's conception of logic. We will investigate how these criticisms led to conceptions of logic and mathematics that underlie some of the most enigmatic aspects of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: the distinction between what can be said and what can only be shown, the view that there is truth in solipsism and mysticism, and finally the apparent astonishing "conclusion" of the Tractatus that this book is made up of nonsense, and has itself to be overcome, to see the world right.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA PHIL
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: (PHIL201 OR PHIL202) AND (PHIL231 OR PHIL286 OR PHIL289 OR PHIL292)
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (PHIL)(PHIL-Philosophy)(PHIL-Social Jus)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on OCT-04-2023
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