Postgraduate Course: Puzzles & Paradoxes MSc (PHIL11150)
|School||School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Bertrand Russell advised that one should 'stock the mind with as many puzzles as possible, since these serve much the same purpose [in philosophy] as is served by experiments in physical science'. The course provides an overview of a number of famous philosophical puzzles and paradoxes, and important attempts to solve them.
Paradoxes have formed a central topic of philosophical investigation, stretching back from Zeno of Elea up to David Lewis. Paradoxes figure both in influential arguments for philosophical theses and in famous (alleged) refutations of philosophical theses. Bertrand Russell advised that one should 'stock the mind with as many puzzles as possible, since these serve much the same purpose [in philosophy] as is served by experiments in physical science'. This course provides an overview of a number of famous philosophical puzzles and paradoxes and important attempts to solve them. In so doing students will be introduced to some important issues in philosophy of language, philosophical logic, decision theory, and formal epistemology. The course will put emphasis on both methodology and philosophical content: (i) method: emphasis will be put on the deployment of logical and formal methods in the service of philosophical problems, (ii) content: the main philosophical themes will centre around the nature of reference, truth, rational belief, and knowledge.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||A 2500 word final essay [100%]
Word limit: 2500 words maximum (excluding references)
||Students have the opportunity to submit a formative essay. The essay cannot be draft of the summative essay but it can be on the same topic.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- understand some core philosophical puzzles and paradoxes, and the important attempts to solve them.
- deploy logical and formal methods in the service of philosophical problems.
- develop general analytical skills, such as the ability to analyse and evaluate a jointly inconsistent set of individually plausible problems
- have an acquaintance with a wide-range of philosophical problems, and an appreciation of overarching pattern in terms of both the structure of the problems and the methodology used to confront them
- independently research, concisely present, and write about a philosophical puzzle.
|Sorensen (2005) A Brief History of the Paradox: Philosophy and the Labyrinths of the Mind, Oxford University Press.|
Sainsbury (2009) Paradoxes, Cambridge University Press.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Development of general analytical and problem solving skills, and an ability to do independent writing and research.
|Course organiser||Dr Brian Rabern
|Course secretary||Ms Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)51 5002