What Philosophy Can Do
About the Course
Philosophy has always struggled with itself over what, exactly, it’s purpose is. Plato investigated the fundamental nature of justice and knowledge whereas Wittgenstein thought that the purpose of philosophy was "to show the fly the way out of the fly bottle." Where are we now?
During this course Amie Thomasson traces historical views of the history of philosophy before presenting her radical new suggestion, that philosophy is all about meta-linguistic negotiation. This approach – the idea that our discussions about justice are about how we should use the word ‘justice’ – manages to unite the advantages of previous models whilst avoiding the problems. Philosophy has purpose once more, helping us in our everyday life as well as with the biggest issues.
During this course you will learn about:
- How philosophy developed alongside other disciplines like the natural sciences.
- Two models of philosophy – of discovering and of conceptual order.
- How to argue for and against the existence of entities with ease.
- A new model of philosophy which breathes new life into the oldest subject.
Through video lectures, questions and suggested reading discover why atheism is perhaps the most important moral issue of our time. Share your ideas and support your learning through our discussion boards and test your knowledge through an end of course assessment.
About the Instructor
Professor of philosophy at Dartmouth. She has published more than 50 book chapters and articles on topics ranging from metaphysics, to philosophy of art to social ontology. Her book Ontology Made Easy, won the 2017 Sanders Book Prize for shedding new light on the question of being and the very purpose of philosophy.
Part One: Philosophy: A Path to Truth?Thomasson explores the concept of discovery in philosophy, and argues that it leads to trouble.
Part Two: Philosophy to Change the WorldThomasson lays out her vision of intellectual inquiry as a tool for transforming how we think and speak.
Suggested Further Readings
Tim Button. (2016) Deflationary Metaphysics and Ordinary Language, Synthese, 1-25,
Eli Hirsch. (2002) 'Against Revisionary Ontology', Philosophical Topics, (30), 103-27.
Eli Hirsch. (2009) ‘Ontology and Alternative Languages’ In Chalmers, D. Manley, D. & Wasserman, R. (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. (Oxford: OUP), p. 231--58
Huw Price. (2009) 'Metaphysics after Carnap: the Ghost who Walks?' in Chalmers, D. Manley, D. & Wasserman, R. (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. (Oxford: OUP)
Theodore Sider. (2011). Writing the Book of the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Amie L. Thomasson. (2015) Ontology Made Easy (New York: Oxford University Press)