puzzles-paradoxes

puzzles and paradoxes


Lecturer: Brian Rabern

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

Office hours: Online by appointment


Email: brian.rabern[at]ed.ac.uk

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.

Time/Location:




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

Jan 17

Sainsbury: 1-3; Sorensen: 1-18



2

Jan 24

The liar paradox

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

Clark: 118-125;

SEP: Liar paradox

Laura & Elly

3

Jan 31

Russell's paradox

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

SEP: Russell's paradox

Joe  & Conor

4

Feb 7

Paradox of the question

Aisha

5

Feb 14

The sorites paradox

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

Clark: 86-93;

SEP: Sorites paradox

Henrik & Juliette

Flexible Learning Week





6

Feb 28

Cartwright's paradox

        Madeline and Elle 

7

Mar 6

Surprise exam

Sainsbury: 107-120 Clark: 256-258;

SEP: Epistemic paradoxes

Norman & Frances

8

Mar 13

Muddy children

Clark: 144-147;

xkcd: blue eyes

 

Charlotte & Sarah

9

Mar 20

covid-19

Newcomb's paradox

Sainsbury: 69-82;

Clark: 150-154;

SEP: Newcomb's paradox

              youtube

              handout

10

Mar 27

St. Petersburg paradox

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

SEP: St. Petersburg paradox

Hugh

11

Apr 3

The truth machines


Assessment:


Presentations: 20% of final grade

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

Guidelines


Final essay: 80% of final grade

2500 words

due: April 2020