The intended purpose of this Topics Seminar is for the participating student (1) to become familiar with positions taken in the current debates over the specific topic area of the course; (2) to appreciate the arguments for and against the positions; and (3) to develop an independent judgment about the most promising approach in this area.
This “Topics Seminar” explores in depth issues and texts in the area of metaphysics, including questions of causation, space and time, realism, disposition, modality, physicalism, reduction, determinism, and the constitutive features of life. The specific topic will be different each time, so as to tailor it to current research developments in the field.|
Topic for 2018-19: The Logic and Metaphysics of Time. We will approach this vexing topic with the help of Sebastian Rödl's Categories of the Temporal (Harvard University Press 2012), which offers not only original reflections on many of the central issues of contemporary debates on the metaphysics of time, but also a fresh look at the entire analytic philosophical tradition within which these debates are at home. The following blurb from the book makes this clear: "The publication of Frege’s Begriffsschrift in 1879 forever altered the landscape for many Western philosophers. Here, Sebastian Rödl traces how the Fregean influence, written all over the development and present state of analytic philosophy, led into an unholy alliance of an empiricist conception of sensibility with an inferentialist conception of thought. Rödl takes up the challenge by turning to Kant and Aristotle as ancestors of this tradition, and in doing so identifies its unacknowledged question: the relation of judgment and truth to time. Rödl finds in the thought of these two men the answer he urges us to consider: the temporal and the sensible, and the atemporal and the intelligible, are aspects of one reality and cannot be understood independently of one another. In demonstrating that an investigation into the categories of the temporal can be undertaken as a contribution to logic, Rödl seeks to transform simultaneously our philosophical understanding of both logic and time.
This course is for students in the RMA Philosophy programme; students from other M.A. programmes (such as History & Philosophy of Science or Applied Ethics), should check with the course coordinator or the RMA Philosophy coordinator (email@example.com), before enrolling, to ensure that they have the requisite philosophical background.
The entrance requirements for Exchange Students will be checked by International Office and the Programme coördinator. Therefore, you do not have to contact the Programme coördinator yourself.
Competencies-Entry requirementsPrerequisite knowledge
Private study materials
|Broad familiarity with undergraduate-level work in the areas covered in the course. Students from outside the RMA programme who have not completed MA or advanced undergraduate courses in this area should consult the instructor before enrolling.|
|Will be made available via Blackboard.||Required materials-Instructional formats|
Class session preparationStudents are expect to have read carefully the required reading in advance of the seminar meeting and to be prepared to participate actively in the discussion of the texts and related issues.
Contribution to group workActive participation, including taking responsibility for the discussions in groups.
AssessmentThe assignment or examination is assessed for demonstrating understanding of the texts, skills of critical argumentation, and written communication skills. The final paper is assessed for the quality of the research question, cogency of the argumentation, clarity of written expression, and demonstrated ability to relate the analysis to a clear understanding of the texts for the course.
DeadlinesA written assignment, take-home examination, or in-class examination is due half-way through the term, and a final paper is due in week 9.