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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Philosophy

Postgraduate Course: History of Analytic Philosophy MSc (PHIL11097)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course covers the early history of analytic philosophy. The objective is to explore the development of logic at the beginning of the 20th century and its application to central philosophical problems.

Shared with undergraduate course: History of Analytic Philosophy (PHIL10116)

For courses co-taught with undergraduate students and with no remaining undergraduate spaces left, a maximum of 8 MSc students can join the course. Priority will be given to MSc students who wish to take the course for credit on a first come first served basis after matriculation.
Course description Towards the beginning of the twentieth century, a rich and influential tradition known as Analytic Philosophy emerged, which became predominate style of philosophy in the English speaking world. In this course, we will look at the early history of this movement, as reżected in the works of Frege, Russell, and Moore. This tradition emerged from two trends. One trend was a rejection of the idealism that had become popular in philosophy in the 19th century. Idealism holds that the world is somehow dependent on our conception of it. Frege, Russell, and Moore each developed frameworks according which the world is objective, and is not altered by what we think about it. The other major trend was that philosophers sought to apply developments in logic and the study of language to traditional philosophical problems. Difficulties in understanding the foundations of mathematics led Frege and Russell to develop rigorous new ways of thinking about logic and language. These tools form the foundation of many developments in contemporary logic and linguistics. But Frege and Russell went beyond the investigation of logic, mathematics, and language. We will see how these tools were put to use in understanding the structure of human thought and the world it represents, and in resolving scientific puzzles.

This course will cover the philosophical climate in which these philosophers developed, their views on traditional philosophical issues, and the distinctive debates that arose within the emerging tradition.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Better understand the work of foundational figures in analytic philosophy
  2. Explain the relevance of the foundational figures contemporary debates in metaphysics, philosophy of language, logic and epistemology
  3. Explain how the development of symbolic logic was put to work in solving philosophical problems
  4. Analyse these developments in essays
Reading List
Core Readings

Week 1:
Frege, Foundations of Arithmetic, Introduction, and §§1-28. Main focus: the introduction and §§21-28.

Week 2:
Frege, 'On Function and Concept'
Frege, Foundations of Arithmetic, §§46-48, §§55-57

Week 3:
Frege, Foundations of Arithmetic, §§55-67

Week 4:
Frege, G.: 'Sense and Reference'

Week 5:
Moore, G. E.: 'Defense of Common Sense'

Week 6:
Stebbing, Susan: Chapter 3 'The Furniture of the Earth' from Philosophy and The Physicists

Week 7:
Russell, Bertrand: The Problems of Philosophy, Chapters 1-4

Week 8:
Russell, 'On Denoting'

Week 9:
Russell, The Problems of Philosophy , Chapter 5

Week 10:
Russell, 'The Relation of Sense Data to Physics'

Week 11:
Stebbing, Susan: Chapter 6, 'Potted Thinking' from Thinking to Some Purpose and Chapters 7 and 8 from Ideals and Illusions

Additional background and advanced reading lists available on Learn.
Additional Information
Course URL Please see Learn page
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking, constructive discussion, essay writing
KeywordsFrege,Russell,Moore,20th century philosophy,logic,Stebbing
Course organiserDr Bryan Pickel
Tel: (0131 6)51 5177
Course secretaryMs Becky Verdon
Tel: (0131 6)50 3860
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