Contemporary British and American Philosophy (PHIL*3130) | College of Arts

Contemporary British and American Philosophy (PHIL*3130)

Term: Fall 2016


Contemporary British and American philosophy was shaped by the formation of autonomous scientific disciplines 100 years ago. Once mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, the social sciences and even psychology are pursued independently from philosophy, what is left? What is philosophy to become?

The main answer for contemporary British and American philosophers has been one or another form of empiricism. This course examines this answer through selections from four short books. A.J. Ayer's _Language, Truth and Logic_ (1936) is an influential statement of logical empiricism, the foundation of much contemporary British and American philosophy. Carl Hempel's _Philosophy of Natural Science_ (1966) applies an empiricist approach to the natural sciences. Nelson Goodman's _Fact, Fiction and Forecast_ (1954) presents a devastating critique of the foundations of empiricism. Bas van Fraassen's _The Empirical Stance_ (2002) formulates a new empiricism for the 21st century.


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