Philosophy 2K tutorials 2013

This page is to keep my tutees updated on tutorial topics.  The main 2K page is on Moodle.

My two 2K groups will meet at 2 and 3, respectively, on Tuesdays, weeks 2-11 except week 7, in the Hutcheson Room, 67 Oakfield Avenue.

Attendance.    Tutorial attendance is taken and required (on pain of failing the course; see course handbook on Moodle).  If you're late, it is your responsibility to ensure I've marked you present.

Tutorial schedule.  See the table below.  Since this is flexible, I'll leave topics struck through until confirmed.  The course has three strands: (i) Russell and Ayer, (ii) logic, and (iii) paradoxes. The essay question is on Russell.  In the exam, you must answer one question on logic, and then two from three remaining sections (two sections on Russell/Ayer, one on Paradoxes).  Our rough tutorial pattern will be to alternate between Russell/Ayer and logic for the first few weeks and to touch on paradoxes towards the end of the semester.

REQUIRED reading.  You must each week do the reading assigned below.  NOTE that I reserve the right to ask you to leave tutorials for which you're not prepared.

REQUIRED forum contributions.  In weeks when the topic is not logic, you must by 10 a.m. on the day of the tutorial (Tuesday) post on the forum for your tutorial group a comment on the reading.  Your comment can be a reply to one of the tutorial questions below or a comment on someone else's forum reply.  If a question has received so many replies that you would prefer to answer one of the other questions, or to comment on someone else's reply, feel free.  Replies on that forum are visible only to members of your group.  I require only something short, but feel free to contribute more if you wish.  Part of the point, after all, is to encourage you to use the forum for discussion and debate.  The other point is to ensure you're well prepared for tutorial, which is extremely important.

Topic menu.  We won't have time to cover them all, but it might help you (e.g. for revision) to have in view the menu of tutorial topics suggested on Moodle.  On Russell:  1. Sense data. 2. Existence of matter. 3. Knowledge of things and of truths. 4. Induction. 5. A priori knowledge. 6. Universals. 7. Truth.  On Ayer:  8. Verificationism and phenomenalism.  9.  Elimination of metaphysics. On Logic, core themes are: 1. Arguments, validity, and truth functors.  2.  Truth tables.  3.  The tableau method.  4.  Predicate logic translation.  5. Tableau method in predicate logic.  6. Relations.

NOTE: My summary of the first half of the logic course, which I disseminated in tutorial, is here:  Bain's Bare Bones of 2K Logic 2012-13

For now, I propose we do the following:


References are to Russell's Problems of Philosophy, Ayer's Language, Truth, and Logic, Weir's Logic Notes, Rieger's 2k Logic, and Martin's There are Two Errors in ...
 1Russell I
Sense data
Week 2
24 Jan
Russell ch. 1
Searle. "Perception", on
- What are sense data?
- What are Russell's reasons for supposing that they're what we directly perceive?
- How are they related to the perceiver and to physical objects?
- Explain and critically assess the argument from science and the argument from illusion.
 2Logic I
Arguments, validity, truth functors
Week 3
22 Jan
Rieger's 2k Logic, pp. 1-24. 
- IMPORTANT: also try some of Adam's exercises, some of which we'll also do in class.
 3Russell II
Knowledge & existence of matter
Week 4
29 Jan
NB.  Gareth Young will be taking this tutorial for me, since I can't be in Glasgow.  Same place, same time.

Russell chs. 2-5
(we might also touch on acquaintance/description)
- How do we know matter exists?
- Why might one be an idealist? Why does Russell reject idealism?
- What is the difference between coherentism and foundationalism?
- What do you think of the idea that if something lacks practical importance it's not real?

Also think about:
- What's the difference between knowledge of things and of truths?
- What is acquaintance?  What kinds of acquaintance are there? With what are we acquainted?
- What is knowledge by description?
- Why does knowledge of things by description presuppose knowledge of truths?
- "Every proposition which we can understand must be composed wholly of constituents with which we are acquainted."  What does Russell mean by this and why does he say it?
 4Logic II
Truth tables and symbolization
Week 55 5 Feb
We'll pick up where we left off ...
-- 2k Logic, pp. 11-23.  NB.  You might well have read this far for tutorial 2 (Logic I) already.
Try some exercises (x6-x10 in 2K Logic).
 5Russell III
Week 6
12 Feb
 Russell, ch. 6.  Ayer, preface to 1st edition & ch. 2 (pp. 30-36)
- What is the principle of induction?
- Why, according to Russell, is it important?
- Why, according to Russell, is there a problem in justifying it?
- Does Russell succeed in justifying it?
- How much of our knowledge assumes the principle of induction?  How?
- Do we know that the sun is going to rise tomorrow?  Can we give good reasons for expecting this?
19 Feb
 6Logic III
Tableaux (& predicate symbolization)
Week 8
26 Feb
We'll pick up where we left off.
2k Logic, pp. 23-41 (It's unlikely we'll make it as far as p. 41, exercise 16, but we might!)
Verificationism, phemomenalism
Week 9
5 Mar
Ayer, preface to 1st edition & chs.1 and 6
- What kind of statements are cognitively meaningful according to Ayer?
- What's the difference between strong and weak verifiability?
- What is Ayer’s Principle of Verification?
- Is the proposition that physical objects exist verifiable according to Ayer? Why or why not? 
- What does Ayer mean when he says that every meaningful statement about physical objects is equivalent to some logical construction of observation statements?
- What is the difference between Russell’s Principle of Acquaintance and Ayer’s Principle of Verification? 
More Questions:
- Why does Ayer think that statements of metaphysics are meaningless? What are some examples? 
- What is Ayer’s solution for sentences of ethics/morality? Are there any problems with his solution? 
- Why does Ayer think that we cannot demonstrate the existence of God? Does this make us atheists or agnostics? 

 8Logic IV
Final bit of logic
Week 10
12 March

We'll pick up where we left off and try to get to the end of the book but focussing on predicate logical symbolizations (i.e. translations from English) and predicate logic tableaux.
2k Logic, pp. 41 - end (you should already be up to p. 41)
Try some of the exercises.
NB.  Before the exam, ensure you've done all the exercises.
 9Logic VWeek 11
19 March
A final logic tutorial, completing logic tutorial IV, i.e. predicate logic.  Might also talk about "the new riddle of induction" (grue and all that stuff) if time allows.