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Philosophy 1 (2017)

Term  1: Disagreement (Richard Flockemann)

The guiding question of this course is the question of how we ought to conduct ourselves in a protracted disagreement with a person with a profoundly different world view from ours. Should we insist that they are wrong, or should we instead concede that we are both right from our own points of view? Can one side ever be right in an ultimate sense? If not, is there anything that can be said in favour of our own point of view? If so, can we ever be certain that our side is the right side? And if we cannot be certain, how do we live with that uncertainty? Should we be tolerant of points of view we profoundly disagree with? Or is disagreement itself a form of intolerance? Over the course of this term, we will attempt to come to grips with such questions via careful philosophical analysis of the various arguments put forward in Timothy Williamson’s recent book Tetralogue: I’m Right, You’re Wrong

Required text: Williamson, Timothy 2015: Tetralogue: I’m Right, You’re Wrong. OUP, Oxford.

Term 2: Social Justice (Ward Jones)

My Philosophy 1 and Philosophy 2 courses are complementary, and you will get only part of the story should you take 1 without 2. In Philosophy 1, we look at Social Justice, the norm(s) governing how we are to treat each other. In Philosophy 2, we look at Social Injustice, the ways in which we do not meet up to the kinds of commitments discussed in Philosophy 1 – and in fact suffer from the general failure of meeting up to them. The philosophical commitment behind my P1 course is that one must understand how we should behave toward each other before we understand how we have not behaved properly toward each other. In Philosophy 1, we look at a handful of influential ideal theories: Christian, Kantian, Utilitarian, Rawlsian. We then start to interrogate the ideal theory, both from the feminist view and from African philosophy. 

Term 3: Philosophical Problems (Uchenna Okeja)

Details to be announced

Term 4:  Wisdom (Larry Bloom) 

The theme of this course is Socratic wisdom.  The character of Socrates, the central character in most of Plato’s dialogues, is said to be the wisest man in the world because he knows that he does not know.  In this course we will examine the following questions:  What does it mean to know that one does not know?  What is the content of such wisdom?  How do we know that we don’t know?  And why is it valuable to know that one does not know?  In wrestling with these questions we will be attempting to answer a fundamental philosophical question: what is wisdom and what distinguishes it from knowledge?



Monday        Period 5 Zoo Major


Wednesday Period 2 Zoo Major


Thursday      Period 3 Zoo Major


Friday           Period 4 Zoo Major




Monday          Tut Groups, Times and Venues TBA.



Course work (tutorial assignments, essays, class tests) 40%


Examinations (Paper 1 in June; Paper 2 in November) 60%

Last Modified :Tue, 30 May 2017 15:53:42 SAST