Grad Seminar Reading Schedule

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AUG 30

Course Introduction


Readings on Method
  • Jones, "Phenomenological Method"
  • Nagel, "What is it Like to Be a Bat?" (recommended if you haven't read it.)
  • Dennett, "What it is like to be a bat"
  • Haug, "Introduction: Debates about methods: from linguistic philosophy to philosophical naturalism" and first four essays, p. 1-42.
  • Haug, "Two Dimensions of methodological debates: methodological naturalism and the fate of armchair methods."
  • Timothy Williamson, "What is naturalism?"
  • Alex Rosenberg, "Why I am a naturalist"
  • Timothy Williamson, "The Unclarity of Naturalism"
  • Alex Rosenberg, "Can Naturalism Save the Humanities?"
Introduction to Philosophical Projects:
  • Alfino. See my page for this: Alfino Projects. Focus on the first project for this class. Please read the conference paper referenced there and do some browsing on the topic.

SEP 13

Readings on Method
  • Jeffrey Roland, "On naturalism in the Quinean tradition"
  • Lynne Rudder Baker, "The first-person perspective and its relation to natural science"
  • Daniel Dennett, "What is an Intuition Pump?"
  • Let's leave room in the schedule for up to three of you to present on your projects. Check with me on your plan for doing that.
Project Work
  • Annalee Ring, "The Power of Words and the Appearance of Lived Space in Navajo Culture"

SEP 20

Readings on Method
Let's continue our work on phenomenology, staying close to Husserl still.
  • David Woodruff Smith, "Phenomenological Methods in Philosophy of Mind," 335-352.
  • Matthew Ratcliffe, "Some Husserlian Reflections on the contents of experience," 353-378.
Writing & Style in Philosophy
  • Pinker, The Sense of Style, Intro and Chapter 1
Project Work
  • Ryan Thompson presenting on Paul Feyerabend, Against Method, 5-23

SEP 27

Project Work
  • Tamara Alfie, presenting on Hallich, Oliver. "Can the Paradox of Forgiveness be Dissolved?"
Readings on Method
  • Dennett, "Intuition Pumps," p. 29-38. (You should pick two of the tools to report on.)
Writing & Style in Philosophy
  • Pinker, The Sense of Style, Chapter 2


  • This week's readings were postponed due to a combination of absences and a sense that this was content everyone needed to respond to together. We'll look for a make-up opportunity later in the term.

OCT 11

Readings on Method This week we will use the naturalization of ethics as a test case for thinking about the effect of naturalism on traditional philosophical problems.
  • Haidt, "Taste Buds of the Righteous Mind," Chapter 6 of The Righteous Mind
  • Sapolsky, "Morality and Doing the Right Thing"
  • Greene, "The Secret Joke of Kant's Soul" (on internet)
  • Haidt, "The Emotional Dog and It's Rational Tail" (if you have time)
Project Work
  • Between our discussion of the method research questions and the "case study" I think we'll have a full night. Please consider putting forward project work

OCT 18

Readings on Method
  • Verbal disputes: Chalmers, 2011 - "Verbal Disputes" (Ryan)
  • Background on Heidegger's project: Jones, "Heidegger" If you have background in Heidegger, please consider stepping forward to present something related to his method. Our goal in doing this reading is to have a common level of understanding of Heidegger to approach his essay, "A Question Concerning Technology" next week. ( )
Writing & Style in Philosophy
  • Pinker, The Sense of Style, Chapter 3, "The Curse of Knowledge", p. 57-76. (sample some student writing from Happiness)
Project Work
  • Project work on myth (Danny)
  • Tenative thesis on Forgiveness (Tamara)

OCT 25

Project Work
  • Tof on humor
Reading and Work on Method
  • Exemplification of Heidegger's method: "The Question Concerning Technology" (Ryan)
  • Dennett, Intuition Pumps, p. 59-86, Chapter 3. "Tools for Thinking about Meaning or Content" 13-18 (13 AR, 14 TC, 15 DG, 16 RT, 17 TA, 18 MA)
Writing & Style in Philosophy
  • Pinker, The Sense of Style, Chapter 4, pp. 76-103. Please bring examples from your writing relevant to this section.


Reading and Work on Method
  • Primer on Gadamer
  • Approach for "baseline" understanding of Gadamer's philosophy and method: Please choose your own reading on Gadamer for your "baseline" exercise. If you are a beginner with him, you might start with the Intro and 1st chapter of the Cambridge Companion below. If you have done some work with Gadamer, please choose more advanced or specialized reading (such as many of the other Companion articles). We'll start our work with 2-4 minutes from each of you on Gadamer, starting with basics from the beginners and moving to more detailed reports from those of you with more experience with his work.
  • Cambridge Companion to Gadamer. [1]

Writing & Style in Philosophy
  • Pinker, The Sense of Style, Chapter 4, pp. 103-138 - please finish Chapter 4 and post bad sentences or bring them to show on the doc cam.
Project Work
  • Ryan on Metaphor and Speech Act Theory
  • Tof on conspriacies


Reading and Work on Method
  • Hermeneutics, Gadamer, "The Ontology of the Work of Art and Its Hermeneutical Significance," Truth and Method (AR and DG)
  • Dennett, Intuition Pumps 87-106 (19:TC 20:TA 21:DG 22:AR 23:RT)
Writing & Style in Philosophy
  • Bring your Bad Bad Sentences!
Project Work
  • Maybe a break this week?

NOV 15

Reading and Work on Method
  • Dr. Liu will be presenting on method in comparative philosophy and on a project of his in this area.
  • Dennett, Please browse the book a bit and come prepared to suggest what, if anything, we should try to squeeze in.
Project Work on Method
  • Potentially, we will hear from Quanhua on a project of his related to comparative philosophy.
  • Let's use our project work time to have a general discussion of the method topic driven by ideas you are working with in your paper on this topic.

NOV 29

  • Method in Merleau-Ponty
  • Dennett, Intuition Pumps, "Tools for Thinking about Consciousness" 279-319 (#53 RT, #54 TA, #55 AR, #56 DG, #57 TC, #58 MA)
Project Work
  • Open mic


Project Work
  • Discussion of seminar student papers on method


Readings on Method
  • Mullarkey, Intro to Post-Continental Philosophy: An outline (in Links)
  • Dennett, finish chapter on consciousness. (59:RT 60:AR 61:TC 62:DG 63:MA 64:TA)
  • Listen to Philosophy Bytes on Physicalism: Papineau
  • Lakoff and Johnson, 24: How Philosophical Theories Work (in Links)

DEC 13

  • Last week of semester.