dartmouth-paradoxes

puzzles and paradoxes


Course description. Paradoxes have formed a central topic of philosophical investigation, stretching back from Zeno of Elea up to David Lewis. Paradoxes figure both in influential arguments for philosophical theses and in famous (alleged) refutations of philosophical theses. This course provides an overview of a number of famous philosophical puzzles and paradoxes and important attempts to solve them. In so doing students will be introduced to some important issues in philosophy of language, philosophical logic, decision theory, and formal epistemology. The course will put emphasis on both methodology and philosophical content.

Professor: Brian Rabern

Office: 205 Thornton

Office hours: by appointment


Email: brian.rabern[at]gmail.com

Time/Location:


Dartmouth College

Tue/Thurs 10:10-12:00pm, 60 Carson Hall


Course Texts:


  • Sorensen (2005) A Brief History of the Paradox: Philosophy and the Labyrinths of the Mind.


  • Sainsbury (2009) Paradoxes.


  • Clark (2012) Paradoxes from A to Z.


  • Smullyan, What is the name of this book?


date

topic

read

present


Sainsbury: 1-3;

Sorensen: 1-18




6/27

The liar paradox

Sainsbury: 127-138;

Sorensen: 93-96;

Clark: 118-125;

SEP: Liar paradox

Allen

6/29

The liar paradox

Sainsbury: 127-138;

Sorensen: 93-96;

Clark: 118-125;

SEP: Liar paradox


7/4

NO CLASS





7/6

Russell's paradox

Sainsbury: 123-127; Sorensen: 316-332;

Clark: 211-216;

SEP: Russell's paradox

Emy

7/11

Russell's paradox

Sainsbury: 123-127;

Sorensen: 316-332;

Clark: 211-216;

SEP: Russell's paradox


7/13

Paradox of the question

Grant

7/18

The sorites paradox

Sainsbury: 40-68;

Sorensen: 96-99;

Clark: 86-93;

SEP: Sorites paradox

Kevin

7/20


The puzzle of future contingents


Sam & Geoffrey

7/25

Cartwright's paradox

Jesssica

7/27

Use/mention


 no reading



8/1

Surprise exam

Sainsbury: 107-120

Clark: 256-258;

SEP: Epistemic paradoxes

Brad

8/3

Muddy Children Puzzle


Clark: 144-147;

xkcd: blue eyes


Ayanda

8/8

Preface paradox

Sorensen: 100-110

Clark: 182-184

SEP: Preface paradox

Danny

8/10

Newcomb's paradox

Sainsbury: 69-82

Clark: 150-154

SEP: Newcomb's paradox

Luke

8/15

St. Petersburg paradox

Sorensen: 232-234;

Clark: 217-220;

SEP: St. Petersburg paradox

Joe

8/17

Knights and knaves


8/22

The truth machines


watch this



Brian






Assessment:


Presentations: 20%

Guidelines


Creative project: 20%

Guidelines


Final essay: 60%

2000-3000 words