Course Notes: A.J. Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic

by Daniel A. Kaufman http://s-f-walker.org.uk/pubsebooks/pdfs/ayerLTL.pdf It’s finals week, which means that the semester is at a close (and that I’m grading my ass off), and I thought it a good opportunity to get another Course Notes in, before summer break begins.  I’ll be talking about the final readings for my Introduction to Philosophy course, three chapters from A.J. Ayer’s Language, […]

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Course Notes — Blaise Pascal, “The Wager”

by Daniel A. Kaufman https://www.york.ac.uk/depts/maths/histstat/pascal_wager.pdf The students in my Introduction to Philosophy course just took their second exam, which covers material from Montaigne, Pascal, and Descartes.  From Montaigne we read two essays, “Of Pedantry” and “Of the Education of Children,” and from Descartes, we read the Meditations on First Philosophy.  Both have been a regular part of my introductory syllabus […]

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Course Notes – Bernard Williams, “The Human Prejudice”

by Daniel A. Kaufman http://www.nyu.edu/classes/gmoran/WILLIAMS.pdf The last unit of my introductory level “Ethics and Contemporary Issues” course is devoted to the question of moral concern for non-human animals.  We begin with excerpts from Peter Singer’s Practical Ethics, then move on to Cora Diamond’s “Eating Meat and Eating People” (which I discussed in a This Week’s Special some time ago (1)), […]

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Course Notes – W.D. Ross, The Right and the Good, Ch. 2.

by Daniel A. Kaufman http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/readings/ross.pdf School is back in session, so it’s time, once again, for Course Notes.  This semester I am teaching two sections of Ethics and Contemporary Issues, a course that is part of the General Education curriculum, and Aesthetics, an upper-division offering that runs every Fall. I have made a significant change to the first section of […]

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Course Notes – G.E.M Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy”

by Daniel A. Kaufman http://www.pitt.edu/~mthompso/readings/mmp.pdf We are nearing the end of the semester in my Theories of Ethics course and have just completed our discussions of my favorite reading, Elizabeth Anscombe’s “Modern Moral Philosophy.” (MMP) Not only do I think it is Anscombe’s greatest philosophical accomplishment – beyond her translating, editing, and publishing of Wittgenstein, of course – but it […]

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Course Notes – H.A. Prichard, “Does Moral Philosophy Rest on a Mistake?”

by Daniel A. Kaufman http://www.hist-analytic.com/PrichardObligation.pdf We have finished with our survey of traditional ethical theories, in my Theories of Ethics course, and the students have been given a whopper of an exam on Aristotle, Hume, Kant, and Mill.  I don’t envy them.  (Though neither do I envy myself, as I will be spending a good portion of my Spring Break […]

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Course Notes – Immanuel Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals

by Daniel A. Kaufman http://www.inp.uw.edu.pl/mdsie/Political_Thought/Kant%20-%20groundwork%20for%20the%20metaphysics%20of%20morals%20with%20essays.pdf I’ve just finished two rounds of teaching Kant’s moral philosophy – once for my introductory level Ethics and Contemporary Issues course and again, for my upper-division Theories of Ethics course – so it seemed like a good time to give our favorite deontologist his time in Course Notes.  (Actually, my favorite deontologist is W.D. Ross, […]

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Course Notes — Plato, Meno

by Daniel A. Kaufman Well, school is back and session and that means that it’s time to resume publishing Course Notes!  My courses have undergone a significant transformation this year, and I am looking forward to sharing some of the more interesting developments with the Electric Agora audience. Most importantly, I have completely revamped my Introduction to Philosophy course, after […]

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