Dogmas of Empiricism

New School for Social Research: Philosophy

Liberal Arts

Graduate Course

Degree Students (with Restrictions)

Dogmas of Empiricism

Fall 2019

Taught By: Zed Adams

Section: A

CRN: 7009

Credits: 3

This seminar is a focused survey of the last half-century of analytic philosophy. It is structured around the emergence of a distinctive genre of critique within analytic philosophy, one with recognizably Kantian and Hegelian origins. This genre is made up out of a series of moments in which analytic philosophers have critiqued their contemporaries for being committed to problematic tenets of traditional empiricism. The moments that make up this genre include Quine's criticisms of the analytic/synthetic distinction and reductionism; Geach's criticism of abstractionism; Chomsky’s criticism of empiricist accounts of language learning; Strawson's and Evans's criticism of empiricist accounts of the objective purport of thought; Austin's criticism of sense data; Sellars's criticisms of foundationalism and (what he calls) the Myth of the Given; Davidson's criticism of scheme/content dualism; Putnam's criticism of individualism; Evans's criticism of the idea that causation suffices for reference; and Rorty's criticism of the very idea of epistemology. With these criticisms in view, we will be well-positioned to consider the larger question that they raise: namely, whether they show that empiricism, as such, should be rejected (as Davidson, Rorty, and Brandom argue), or whether the rejection of these dogmas is precisely what shows us how to articulate a defensible form of empiricism (as Quine, Evans, and McDowell argue).

College: New School for Social Research (GF)

Department: Philosophy (GPHI)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 15

Enrollment Status: Open*

*Enrollment status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 12:20pm 5/20/2019

Meeting Info:

Days: Tuesday

Times: 1:55pm - 3:45pm

Building: TBD

Room: TBD

Date Range: 8/27/2019 - 12/10/2019