puzzles-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.

Lecturer: Brian Rabern

Office: 4.04c, Dugald Stewart Building, University of Edinburgh

Office hours: Tues 11-12 and by appointment

 

Email: brian.rabern[at]ed.ac.uk

Time/Location:

 

Wednesdays 9:00-11:00am, S37, 7 George Square.

 

Course Texts:

 

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

 

  • Sainsbury (2009) Paradoxes, Cambridge University Press.

 

  • Clark (2012) Paradoxes from A to Z, Routledge.

 

week

date

topic

read

group

1

17-01

Sainsbury: 1-3; Sorensen: 1-18

 

 

2

24-01

The liar paradox

Sainsbury: 127-138; Sorensen: 93-96;

Clark: 118-125;

SEP: Liar paradox

Ben, Joseph, Athena

slides

3

31-01

Russell's paradox

Sainsbury: 123-127; Sorensen: 316-332; Clark: 211-216;

SEP: Russell's paradox

Calum D, Riya

slides

4

07-02

Paradox of the question

Markosian (1997);

Sider (1997);

Clark: 194-196

 

Tom, Eva, Iona

slides

5

14-02

The sorites paradox

Sainsbury: 40-68; Sorensen: 96-99;

Clark: 86-93;

SEP: Sorites paradox

Josh L, Iwona, Mark

 

 

 

 

 

6

28-02

Cartwright's paradox

Cartwright, Puzzle 4;

Kaplan, "Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice"

 

Nikka, Beth

7

07-03

Surprise exam

Sainsbury: 107-120 Clark: 256-258;

SEP: Epistemic paradoxes

Charlie, Max, Atticus

8

14-03

Preface paradox

Sorensen: 100-110;

Clark: 182-184;

SEP: Preface paradox

Helena, Blair, Franka

9

Friday: 16-03

[ S37, 7 George Sq. ]

Newcomb's paradox

Sainsbury: 69-82;

Clark: 150-154;

SEP: Newcomb's paradox

Lucy, Sam, Joshua P

10

Monday: 26-03

[ Room 5, Crystal Macmillan ]

St. Petersburg paradox

Sorensen: 232-234; Clark: 217-220;

SEP: St. Petersburg paradox

John, Callum R, Joe

11

04-04

The truth machines

Smullyan: 3-35;

[ watch this ];

Puzzle

 

Assessment:

 

Presentations: 20% of final grade

[participation (10%) + presentation (10%)]

Guidelines

 

Final essay: 80% of final grade

2500 words

due: Thursday 26th April 2018 by 12pm

 

 

MSc students: final essay only, 2500 words

due: