PHIL 109 -- History of Analytic Philosophy
Fall 2013

Professor:    Clinton Tolley
   office:   HSS 8018
   hours:   Mon, 12:30-2pm
   email:   ctolley [at]

Teaching Assistant:   Matt Braich
   office:   ---
   hours:   ---
   email:   ---


Time:        Mon / Weds / Fri 11:00am--11:50am
Location:  Warren Lecture Hall (WLH) 2115 [map]

Required textbooks

{first three available at UCSD Bookstore (in the Price Center)}

Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy (1912)
  Hackett reprint

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921)
 Pears/McGuinness, tr., Routledge, 2001

A.J. Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic (1936/46)
 2nd ed., Dover, 1956

*Elizabeth Anscombe, Intention (1957/63)
  [selections will be made available electronically]

Course description

The main questions we will address include:

* What would it mean for 'analysis' to be the proper method of philosophy?  What are the prospects for such a proposal?  What are the tools (logical? conceptual? linguistic? psychological?) to be used in distinctively philosophical analysis? 
* Can a philosophy grounded in, and limited to, analysis claim to provide the foundations for knowledge in general, if it has to presuppose that there is something 'there' to be analyzed?  Can analysis demonstrate the validity of its own method to provide knowledge? 
* Among all that is 'there' already prior to analysis, what is to be the primary focus of analysis? (the world? our minds? language? science?) 
* How can analysis ever lead to new knowledge (tell us something we don't already implicitly know)?  Is it ultimately and essentially conservative? 
* Should analysis be the only valid method for all forms of philosophical inquiry (even, say, in ethics and aesthetics)? 
* If we cannot conceive of certain traditional philosophical questions and projects (in, say, metaphysics) as ones that can be resolved through analysis, what should we say about them?  Would this mean that the questions themselves are invalid or meaningless?  But then why would we have been tempted to ask them in the first place, and so frequently throughout the history of philosophy?

We will try to answer these questions (and more!) by working through proposals made by the central figures in the historical development of the tradition which has come to be known as 'analytic' philosophy: Bertrand RUSSELL (1872–1970), Ludwig WITTGENSTEIN (1889-1951), A.J. AYER (1910–89), and Elizabeth ANSCOMBE (1919-2001).

Prerequisite: upper-division standing or consent of instructor.  Despite what the catalog and the registrar may think, Phil 120 is *not* a prerequisite for this course (though having taken 120 might help you get more out of the course).  If you are having problems registering for the class because of this, please send me an email so that I can give you permission to enroll.

Course requirements

* writing assignments {tbd}
* attendance
* participation

Schedule of readings

Weeks 1-3: Russell
Weeks 3-5: Wittgenstein
Weeks 6-8: Ayer
Weeks 8-10: Anscombe

Reference links

Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries (requires campus sign-in)

Overview of 'analytical philosophy'
Gottlob Frege
G.E. Moore
Bertrand Russell
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Rudolf Carnap
A.J. Ayer
The Vienna Circle
W.V. Quine
Elizabeth Anscombe

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entries

Analysis in the history of philosophy
Analysis in analytic philosophy
John Stuart Mill
Gottlob Frege
G.E. Moore
Bertrand Russell
Ludwig Wittgenstein
A.J. Ayer
The Vienna Circle
Logical Empiricism
W.V. Quine
Elizabeth Anscombe

Course URL