PHIL 383 - Knowledge and Reality
Section: 001
Term: WN 2013
Subject: Philosophy (PHIL)
Department: LSA Philosophy
Requirements & Distribution:
Enforced Prerequisites:
One Philosophy course completed with a grade of C- or better.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

Why is there anything at all rather than nothing at all? Why is there anything intelligent enough to ask such a question? Is it a just a coincidence that there is something (intelligent)? Could each thing be explained by something else in an endless backwards chain, or in some kind of circle? Is there anything special about how things are, that might explain it, such as being the best, or most beautiful, or most complex (or worst, or ugliest, or simplest, or most balanced) of all possible ways things could be? Or maybe at the other crazy extreme there's nothing special about how things are around us, not even existence — could multiple or even all possible 'universes' run in parallel? Would it have been impossible for there to be nothing? If there must be something, must it include intelligence — like a deity? Or must it at least be powerful enough to explain intelligence?

To answer these questions best we'll also have to answer best how to answer questions best. Which would you choose and why? Happy falsehoods or miserable truths? Lucky guesses or skillful mistakes? Bold dogma or shaky guesses? Safer but wishy-washier maybe-so's and probably-so's or braver but riskier actually-so's and necessarily-so's? Trusting potential liars (and your own potentially lyin' eyes) or laboriously trying to figure everything out for yourself from scratch?

Course Requirements:

Grades will be issued by discussion-section leaders, and requirements may vary among sections (even widely), but expect there to be strict checks for attending, for digesting the readings, for participating, and for being able to put different parts of the course to joint use.

Intended Audience:

Philosophy concentrators and minors with some introductory background; perhaps similarly daring and accomplished others, by permission.

Class Format:

Lectures (probably with a little discussion) and discussions (probably with a little lecturing).

PHIL 383 - Knowledge and Reality
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
002 (DIS)
Tu 3:00PM - 4:00PM
003 (DIS)
Tu 4:00PM - 5:00PM
004 (DIS)
Th 4:00PM - 5:00PM
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