Theories of Meaning

Course description This course will discuss four key moments twentieth century philosophy of language and logic. It will cover the Part 1b syllabus materials on Theories of Meaning for the paper in Logic. Feel free to contact me at ms2416@cam.ac.uk if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments about this course. General reading An good and comprehensive textbook is: Alexander Miller (2007), Philosophy of Language (2nd ed.), London: Routledge.

Qualities

Course description These four lectures will talk about qualities. We will discuss the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, dispositional theories of colour, response-dependence concepts, the missing explanation argument, and a more simple view of colour or secondary qualities more generally. Suggested Reading I will add some suggested reading in due course Where and when Friday 2-3pm, Lecture Block Room 2 Lecture 1: Drawing distinctions: Primary and Secondary Qualities How do we draw the distinction between primary and secondary qualities?

Causation

Course description The relation between causes and effects is typically taken to have a direction (it’s asymmetric). Whenever C is a cause of E, then E is not a cause of C. Moreover, this directionality seems aligned with both the temporal arrow and with patterns of practical deliberation. How do we explain this feature? Not all philosophical analyses of causation capture the concept of causal direction in the same way, if they capture it at all.

Realism and Anti-Realism

Course description These four lectures will discuss Michael Dummett’s and Hilary Putnam’s objections to metaphysical realism. Where and when Weeks 1-4, Friday 10-11, Lecture Block Room 7 Lecture 1: Realism This lecture introduces the discussion about realism. We can distinguish three forms realism can take: metaphysical, epistemological, and semantic. Metaphysical realism has been criticised from an epistemological angle by idealist philosophers. Semantic realism has been the target of recent discussions.

Causation

Course description These lectures will introduce the metaphysics of causation (or causality, or cause and effect). After a brief introduction to the topic, and some historical background, we will consider the concept of causal necessity and then look at David Hume’s view of causation, followed by David Lewis’s counterfactual theory, and the main objections to it. Online resources Outlines and handouts will be made available on: http://msteenhagen.github.io/teaching/2017cau1a/ Where and when Thursday 11-12.

Philosophical Logic

Course description This lecture course will introduce several key concepts in the philosophy of language and logic. It will cover the syllabus materials on Philosophical Logic (Section B of the paper in Logic). Feel free to contact me at ms2416@cam.ac.uk if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments about this course. General reading An interesting and readable introductory textbook is: Sybil Wolfram (1989), Philosophical Logic: An Introduction, Oxford: Routledge.

Leibniz

Course description Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646, Leipzig – 1716, Hanover) was one of the last Renaissance intellectuals (‘a universal mind’). He made lasting contributions to philosophy, mathematics, theology, jurisprudence, politics, technology, and architecture. This lecture course will offer an overview of some central ideas in his philosophy. Feel free to contact me at ms2416@cam.ac.uk if you have any suggestions, questions, or comments about this course. General reading Discourse on Metaphysics Monadology New Essays on Human Understanding (especially books 1-2) Online resources Handouts will be made available on: http://msteenhagen.

Perception

Course description In these lectures I will discuss different philosophical views of the nature of perceptual experience, and analyze central objections. Where and when Friday 3-4pm, Lecture Room 4 (Sidgwick Site Lecture Block) Lecture 1: Naive realism and the argument from hallucination Naive realism is the view that perceptual experience fundamentally is a presentation (to us) of familiar, mind-independent objects in our environment. It is motivated by the phenomenology of perception.

Causation

_This is the course page for a course taught in 2017. For the 2018 version, please consult: http://msteenhagen.github.io/teaching/2018cau Course description The relation between causes and effects is typically taken to be asymmetric. Whenever C is a cause of E, then E is not a cause of C. But how do we explain this feature? What kind of asymmetry is this? Not all philosophical analyses of causation capture the concept of causal asymmetry equally well.

Intentionality and Representation

Course description Can the intentionality of the mind be explained by a naturalistic conception of the world? Intentional mental states are those that are ‘about’ things in the world. This is sometimes described as their having representational content. The intentionality of mental states has been considered to be a defining characteristic of the mind and of mental life. And many of the people who think this also accept that the mind is a natural phenomenon.