Mind And World
What is the nature of reality? Does reality exist independently of the mind (realism), or is it dependent on the minds that know it (idealism)? This seminar will consider various responses to the debate between realism and idealism in recent Anglo-American philosophy. Beginning with Bertrand Russell, twentieth century Anglo-American philosophy focused in particular on the issue of whether, and how, language "constructs" the world. We will examine the views of seminal thinkers such as Russell, James, and Wittgenstein, and then consider the shape of the contemporary debate in thinkers such as Davidson, Rorty, and McDowell. An important theme of the course will be recent efforts, stemming from Wittgenstein, to move beyond the traditional realism/idealism dichotomy by developing a new form of realism in which reality itself has subjective characteristics, and subjects are immediately in touch with reality. (Designed for junior and senior majors; open to others by waiver.) 3 hrs. lect.