125 | Fall 2003 | UCB | Philosophy)
- 12/11/03: The final exam will be in 251 Hearst Gym today, NOT in 159 Mulford (at 12:30 – no change in the time). We will also post a sign at 159 Mulford indicating this. Extra time will be given to make up for the last-minute change. Very sorry for this. This is my fault, and we will make sure that this does not adversely affect anyone's grade in the course.
- 12/08/03: Vanessa's Review Session: W 1–3/4 @ 100 Wheeler. Josh's: W 4–6 @ 100 Wheeler (note room change!).
- 12/05/03: I have sent out an email, which summarizes the (new) remarks I made about "impure properties" in class Thursday. Good luck studying for the final, and if I don't see you before then, have a great break!
- 12/04/04: Vanessa will hold a review session next Wednesday, December 10, from 1–3/4 in 100 Wheeler, and Josh will hold his Wednesday, December 10, from from 4–6/7 (room to be announced). Branden's office hours next week: T (2–4), W (4–6). Josh's office hours next week: Monday 3–5 in 301 Moses.
- 12/03/03: The GSI Strike has been averted, so we're on schedule, as planned.
- 12/02/03: Link added to a nice paper by Peter Vranas on some "ability paradoxes" of time travel. I have also added a link to a comprehensive paper by Hall and Paul on the various preemption-related counterexamples to the various theories of causation.
- 12/01/03: The Final Exam Questions have been announced (via this email message). I plan to hold a review session in class this Thursday (12/04/03). Please come armed with questions about the final exam question and/or the second assignment questions. I will not come prepared with any new material Thursday. So, when questions are exhausted (or time runs out), we'll go home.
- 11/26/03: The UAW Local 2865 has called a GSI Strike, beginning sometime next week. As of now, we are planning to stay on schedule with the course, but this may change in the coming days. Stay tuned to this website for updates on the strike's impact.
- 11/25/03: Branden will not hold office hours on Wednesday (11/27/03). Branden's office hours next week: M (2–4), W (2–4), and F (2:30–4:30). Vanessa's Office Hours Next Week: T 11:30-1:30 & Th 11:15-1:15. Josh's Office Hours Next Week: F 3–5. See lecture 25 (slide #2) for hints on study questions #2 and #3 from assignment #2. Stay tuned for final exam questions, which will appear here by Monday, December 1, 2003. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
- 11/19/03: I've added a link to John Norton's paper "Causation as Folk Science". This paper argues that "causation" (as metaphysicians know and love it) is not a part of science proper, but really just a folk concept that has no home in physical theory.
- 11/18/03: Branden's Office Hours this week: 4–6 T, 1–3 W, and 2–3 F.
- 11/12/03: The second set of paper topics and study questions has been announced (via this email message). And, Vanessa's realism about propositions handout has been posted. I found this handout very useful. I have compiled a list of all handouts for the course. This list now appears on the lecture notes page.
- 11/11/03: I have created a handout on "De Re Modality". This handout discusses five alternative theories of de re modality in some detail, with special attention paid to the central problem of reconciling the indiscernibility of identicals with the naive possible world semantics account of de re modality. I will go over this handout in detail on Thursday. That will be the end of the unit on modality. We will then move on to causation. I will be announcing the second set of study questions and paper topics on Thursday. NOTE: I will not be having office hours this week. I will make up for this with extra hours next week.
- 11/05/03: I have created a handout on "Accessibility and Modality". This handout fleshes out the role of the "accessibility relation", both in the formal semantics and logic of modality, and in applications of possible worlds semantics to problems in metaphysics (and epistemology). This serves as a useful supplement to my lectures on modality (in which I did not have enough time to really get into the details of accessibility between possible worlds, and the role it plays both formally and in applications).
- 11/03/03: Links added to papers [here and here] by van Fraassen and Rosen on non-realist accounts of modality and possible worlds. Link to Vanessa's handout on realism about propositions to be posted soon (stay tuned).
- 10/30/03: I have added two useful links [here and here] to discussions about Kim and Davidson (and Quine) on events. I have also added a link to a paper by Quine which critiques Davidson's account of events (and which led ultimately to Davidson's abandonment of his causal individuation criterion).
- 10/22/03: I have created a handout
on two versions of the slingshot argument.
This is far more detailed than my lecture notes, and it also discusses a
stronger version of the argument due to Gödel. I have also added a link
nice paper by John Perry on an alternative way to evade the slingshot
- 10/21/03: I have added a link
to our reading
list (in the section on propositions & their neighbors) to
a paper by Stephen
Neale on Davidson's slingshot
argument (scroll down to see a nice
discussion of this important argument, also, see the REP's
entry on the slingshot). Neale's recent book Facing
Facts is a terrific source on this argument, and on facts
- 10/16/03: I have created a handout on Realism, Propositions,
and the Liar Paradox. This handout explains (1) why Russell's theory
of descriptions cannot save the realist from either version
of the liar paradox, and (2) how the
of descriptions can save the realist from one version
(the "strong" one!) of the liar, but not from the other
version (ironically, the so-called "weak" one!). This is a rather
subtle handout, but it should be useful.
- 10/15/03: I have added a few new links to our reading
list (in the section
on propositions). These links pertain to the Sea Battle puzzle, and the
of future contingents (which I discussed briefly in lecture). I particularly
paper (and Prior's
paper, for those who are interested in the "many-valued logic" approaches).
- 10/14/03: Josh's Office Hours
on Wednesday 10/15/03 will be from 2:30–4
- 10/08/03: Office Hours
Next Week. Branden: T 4–6, W 2–4:30; Vanessa: T 11–1:30, W 10–11
& 2–3, Th. cancelled;
Josh: M 4–6:30, F 3–5.
- 10/06/03: I have posted a paper by
Ian Hacking on
of Indiscernibles (II), which relates the problem to the
(early) modern debate about space and time. I have also posted a handout on "Aristotle's Division of the World" (from
a course I taught on Aristotle some years ago), which may be useful for
thinking about Aristotelian substance (compare Aristotle's
- 10/04/03: I have created a handout on
rigidity, abstract reference, and predication, which explains how trope
austere nominalism can manage
to get abstract claims to be necessarily true (without saying anything
crazy). I have also added to our
list of readings a neat paper by Dean
Zimmerman on the identity
of indiscernibles (to be read in conjunction with Black's paper).
- 09/30/03: Here is
an email message (sent to the graduate students for their section, but
potentially useful for all) that explains some of the stuff we discussed
in lecture today about modality,
Thanks to all for the great questions and comments!
- 09/24/03: I will be in Oklahoma tomorrow, but we are very fortunate
to have Ed
Zalta filling-in with a guest
- 09/17/03: The first set of graded study
questions and paper
been announced. See class email #2 for
details. Josh has created his own handout on regress arguments. It's rather
detailed, and should be useful for the study questions and paper topics.
I have created a discography
the course (for logging my pre-class musical selections).
- 09/13/03: All section
locations are known. I have written a blog on
regresses (I promise, this will be the last thing I say about them – probably!).
Also, graduate students should read Quine's "On What There Is" (in
Loux's collection) and Russell's "On Denoting" for Wednesday's
section (this constitutes a change in plan).
- 09/11/03: I
have posted a handout entitled "Notes
on the Predication Regresses of Parmenides, Bradley, and Loux".
Reminder: you need to make sure that you are on
the waitlist for the course, if you intend to take the class, and are on
of sections, but are not yet officially enrolled in the course.
If this applies to you, please make sure you are in the system
- 09/09/03: Due dates for study
questions and papers are announced (and late policy is clarified).
See the syllabus, questions,
and topics pages. In a nutshell, both the graded
study questions and the short paper topics will be announced by the 4th &
11th weeks, and they will be due in the 8th & 15th weeks. This will
give you at least 4 weeks to complete each pair of assignments. I advise
think about (and even sketch answers to!) all of the study questions as
we go along.
In this way, you won't have much work to do for those, which will allow
you to focus on the papers during the (at least) 4 week "work period" for
each pair of assignments.
- 09/04/03: If you do not have
the textbook yet,
you can download chapter 1 (in PDF format) here.
This requires the
latest version of Adobe Reader. More of the textbooks should
be available at Ned's Friday
or Monday. Meanwhile, you can always order
- 09/02/03: Final (we hope!) rosters have been posted on the sections
page (please check for accuracy, etc.). My apologies to those not
on the lists (who are not enrolled). There were overwhelming numbers this
term, and priority must be given to majors in this course. Branden will
not be holding office hours
Wednesday, 9/3 (I'm moving!).
- 08/27/03: Note Branden's new
Wednesday Office Hours (2–3:30). Josh's hours are Friday, 3–5. Section rosters have been determined. Sections
begin next week (except the graduate section,
which starts on 9/10). All undergraduate sections meet in 301 Moses
for the first week only (permanent locations and final rosters
to be announced soon).
- 08/20/03: Class