GREAT PHILOSOPHERS: WITTGENSTEIN
PHIL 310, Sec. 1001: MW 11:30am-12:45pm in GUA 2202
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Professor: James Woodbridge
Course Webpage: http://jwood.faculty.unlv.edu/Phil310F21.htm
Office Hours: In-person and on Zoom--T 12:30pm-2pm, W 2:30pm-4pm, and by appointment
Office: CDC 426
Dept. Phone: 895-3433
I. COURSE DESCRIPTION
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was one of the most important and original philosophers of the 20th Century. His first book, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (the only one published in his lifetime, in 1921), helped reorient philosophy to focus on language in addressing philosophical questions and offered a philosophical foundation for the new logic that Gottlob Frege (1848-1925) and Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) had introduced. It rapidly became a philosophical classic and a major inspiration to analytically minded philosophers, such as the Logical Empiricists. With the publication of the Tractatus, Wittgenstein himself quit philosophy, believing that he had resolved all of its central problems. He did not return for eight years, when, partly due to his own dissatisfaction with his earlier work, along with frustration over misinterpretations of it, he developed a radically different approach to philosophy and the understanding of language. This new perspective is most fully explored and applied in his Philosophical Investigations (published posthumously in 1953); it launched "ordinary language" philosophy and has remained a touchstone for philosophers who emphasize the importance of understanding the nature of language in addressing many philosophical issues. In this course, we will begin with a brief introduction to the philosophical and logical framework that Frege and Russell developed and then work carefully through both the Tractatus and the Investigations. Wittgenstein's work is undeniably challenging. His aphoristic style is highly compressed, and his ideas are very subtle and complex. Our aim is to work through his texts slowly and carefully in order to reach the fullest degree of understanding we can, while still exploring both periods of Wittgenstein's work.
II. REQUIRED CLASS MATERIALS
Wittgenstein, L. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 2nd Edition. London: Routledge Classics, 2001.
Wittgenstein, L. Philosophical Investigations, Revised 4th Edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.
[Recommended: Monk, R. Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. New York: Penguin, 1991.]
The books for the course are available at The UNLV Bookstore.
There will also be some initial online readings available via WebCampus.
III. CLASS REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING SCHEME
About the Requirements:
Class Participation--This requirement covers a couple of things things. First, there is your contribution during class. Class attendance is thus necessary. However, to do well you must do more than just attend. You are expected to show up having read the assignment for the day and ready to talk about it. Second, everyone must make at least six contributions to the Electronic Discussion Board (accessible through WebCampus) during the term: three before October 16th and three after.
The First Paper--There will be a 6-8 page paper due in mid October. Paper topics will be distributed 12 days before the paper is due.
The Second Paper--There will be a second 6-8 page paper due in late November. Again, topics will be distributed 12 days before the paper is due.
The Final Exam--There will be a timed (2 hour), in-class final exam given on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 10:10am in our regular classroom. The final will consist of a choice of essay questions.
Note: All course requirements must be satisfactorily completed in order to pass the course. More than 3 unexcused absences reduces your final grade by 1/3 of a letter grade, more than 5 is a full letter grade deduction, more than 8 is automatic failure of the course.
IV. CLASS FORMAT
This course involves close reading of two major philosophical texts, so while I will provide a framework for discussion of the material, our class meetings should also include a lot of student discussion, not just me lecturing. I hope that you will all have views about how to understand the readings, and I want you to express and explore those views whenever possible. Given the subtle and complex nature of the texts, it is likely that people's views on how to interpret them will differ. You are encouraged to question your classmates (and me) whenever anyone says something you disagree with, but on either side of this sort of exchange, everyone should always keep in mind that expressing disagreement is not a personal attack. Philosophical discussion thrives under this kind of interaction and often stems from disagreement. At the same time, philosophical discussion aims at reaching some sort of agreement. We probably won't reach agreement every time, but we should aspire towards it.
V. CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE
In recent years it has become necessary to make a further comment about classroom etiquette. Engaging in activities like text messaging, surfing the web, checking Facebook or TikTok, Tweeting, etc. during class is entirely inappropriate. In fact, it is extremely rude and highly disrespectful of our joint enterprise of teaching and learning. Whether you are sitting in the back and presume you are not interfering with anyone else is irrelevant. It is not a question of what you are caught doing; it is a matter of what you do, noticed or not. I expect everyone to behave appropriately during class, engaging with our cooperative project and refraining from inappropriate activities at all times.
V. READING ASSIGNMENTS
Readings from Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus are listed as 'TLP' followed by a range of aphorism numbers. Readings from Philosophical Investigations are listed as 'PI' followed by a range of aphorism (not page) numbers. Online readings are listed by author and title and labeled "online". Recommended reading from Ray Monk's biography, Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius are listed as 'Monk' with chapter numbers.
A note about the readings: As you well know, philosophical writing is often complex and difficult. This is especially true of Wittgenstein's writing, given its subtle and somewhat technical nature. All of the assignments should be read at least twice. It also helps to take notes on paper while reading.
The reading schedule for the course is as follows.
1. Philosophical/Logical Background
Aug. 25: Morris, M. "The Legacy of Frege and Russell," Ch. 2 of Routledge Philosophy
2. Early Wittgenstein: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922)
Guidebook to Wittgenstein and the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (online)
[Recommended: Monk, Ch. 1-3.]
Aug. 30: Kenny, A. "The Legacy of Frege and Russell" and "The Criticism of
Principia," Ch. 2 and 3 of Wittgenstein (online)
Sep. 1: TLP Russell's Introduction, Preface, 1-2.063
[Recommended: Monk, Ch. 4-6]
Sep. 6: Labor Day!
Sep. 8: TLP 2.1-3.144
Sep. 13: TLP 3.2-3.5
Sep. 15: TLP 4-4.0641
Sep. 20: TLP 4.1-4.4661
Sep. 22: TLP 4.5-5.143
Sep. 27: TLP 5.15-5.476
Sep. 29: TLP 5.5-5.5571
Oct. 4: TLP 5.6-6.1224 [Recommended: Monk, Ch. 7-8]
Oct. 6: TLP 6.123-6.3432 [Recommended: Monk, Ch. 9]
Oct. 11: TLP 6.35-7
3. Later Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations (1953)
Oct. 13: PI Editorial Preface, Preface, 1-27 [Recommended: Monk, Ch. 10-12]
Oct. 18: PI 28-49
Oct. 20: PI 50-88 [Recommended: Monk, Ch. 13-16]
Oct. 25: PI 89-133
Oct. 27: PI 134-184 [Recommended: Monk, Ch. 17-20]
Nov. 1: PI 185-219
Nov. 3: PI 220-315
Nov. 8: PI 316-362
Nov. 10: PI 363-411 [Recommended: Monk, Ch. 21-24]
Nov. 15: PI 412-465
Nov. 17: PI 466-546
Nov. 22: PI 547-610
Nov. 24: PI 611-693 [Recommended: Monk, Ch. 25-27]
Nov. 29: PI (PPF, Part xi, 111-224)
*The instructor of this course reserves the right to change any aspect of the syllabus, with the understanding that any such changes will be announced in class.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas Additional Information/Policies
Public Health Directives
Face coverings are mandatory for all faculty and students in the classroom. Students must follow all active UNLV public health directives while enrolled in this class. UNLV public health directives are found at https://www.unlv.edu/coronavirus/health-requirements. Students who do not comply with these directives may be asked to leave the classroom. Refusal to follow the guidelines may result in further disciplinary action according to the UNLV Student Conduct Code, https://www.unlv.edu/sites/default/files/page_files/27/StudentConduct-Code.pdf, including being administratively withdrawn from the course.
Academic integrity is a legitimate concern for every member of the University community. We all share in upholding the fundamental values of honesty, trust, respect, fairness, responsibility, and professionalism. By choosing to join the UNLV community, students accept the expectations of the Student Academic Misconduct Policy, and are encouraged to always take the ethical path whenever faced with choices. Students enrolling at UNLV assume the obligation to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with UNLV's educational mission. An example of academic misconduct is plagiarism. Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of another person, from the Internet or any other source without proper citation of the source(s). See the Student Conduct Code, https://www.unlv.edu/studentconduct/student-conduct.
Auditing a Course
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Students have a responsibility to conduct themselves in class and in the libraries in ways that do not interfere with the rights of other students to learn, or of instructors to teach. Use of devices such as cellular phones and pagers, or other potentially disruptive activities are only permitted with the prior explicit consent of the instructor. Students are specifically prohibited from recording classes without instructor authorization, including online/remote classes (either audio only, or video and audio). The instructor may rescind permission at any time during the class. If a student does not comply with established requirements or obstructs the functioning of the class, the instructor may initiate an administrative withdrawal of the student from the course.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic forced some instruction to be delivered remotely starting in Spring 2020, numerous students have asked instructors to record their synchronous classes, so that they can access them at their convenience. Instructors who agree to record their classes (audio only, or video and audio) should inform students in advance. Recorded lectures may not be broadly released to anyone, but made available exclusively to those students enrolled in the class during the particular academic term. Recorded lectures must be stored securely, and are subject to the Nevada System of Higher Educationís Records Retention Policy, meaning that the recordings can only be deleted 120 days after the end of class (i.e., after grades are posted). Once this requirement is met, the recordings should be deleted. Class recordings are protected from disclosure, as they are deemed part of an educational record under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
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Disability Resource Center (DRC)
The UNLV Disability Resource Center (Student Services Complex, SSC-A, Room 143, https://www.unlv.edu/drc, telephone 702-895-0866) provides resources for students with disabilities. Students who believe that they may need academic accommodations due to a permanent disability, temporary or permanent medical need, or academic support due to pregnancy are encouraged to contact the DRC as early as possible in the academic term. A Disabilities Specialist will discuss what options may be available to you. Students who are already registered with the DRC should request their accommodations online each semester, and make an appointment to discuss their accommodations with their instructors.
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Identity Verification in Online Courses
All UNLV students must use their Campus-issued ACE ID and password to log in to WebCampus-Canvas.
UNLV students enrolled in online or hybrid courses are expected to read and adhere to the Student Academic Misconduct Policy, https://www.unlv.edu/studentconduct/misconduct/policy, which states that "acting or attempting to act as a substitute for another, or using or attempting to use a substitute, in any academic evaluation or assignment" is a form of academic misconduct. Intentionally sharing ACE login credentials with another person may be considered an attempt to use a substitute, and could result in investigation and sanctions, as outlined in the Student Academic Misconduct Policy.
UNLV students enrolled in online courses are also expected to read and adhere to the Acceptable Use of Computing and Information Technology Resources Policy, https://www.it.unlv.edu/policies/acceptable-use-computing-and-information-technology-resources-policy, which prohibits sharing university accounts with other persons without authorization.
To the greatest extent possible, all graded assignments and assessments in UNLV online courses should be hosted in WebCampus-Canvas or another UNLV-managed platform that requires ACE login credentials for access.
The grade of "I" (Incomplete) may be granted when a student has satisfactorily completed three-fourths of course work for that semester/session, but cannot complete the last part of the course for reason(s) beyond the studentís control and acceptable to the instructor, and the instructor believes that the student can finish the course without repeating it. For undergraduate courses, the incomplete work must be made up before the end of the following regular semester. Graduate students receiving "I" grades in 500-, 600-, or 700-level courses have up to one calendar year to complete the work, at the discretion of the instructor. If course requirements are not completed within the period indicated, a grade of "F" will be recorded, and the student's GPA will be adjusted accordingly. Students who are fulfilling an Incomplete grade do not register for the course, but make individual arrangements with the instructor who assigned the "I" grade.
Librarians are available to consult with students on research needs, including developing research topics, finding information, and evaluating sources. To make an appointment with a subject expert for this class, please visit the Librariesí Research Consultation website, https://guides.library.unlv.edu/appointments/librarian. You can also ask the library staff questions via chat and text message at https://ask.library.unlv.edu/.
Any student missing class, quizzes, examinations, or any other class or laboratory work because of observance of religious holidays will be given an opportunity during that semester to make up the missed work. The make-up opportunity will apply to the religious holiday absence only. It is the responsibility of the student to notify the instructor within the first 14 calendar days of the course for Fall and Spring courses (except for modular courses), or within the first 7 calendar days of the course for Summer and modular courses, of their intention to participate in religious holidays which do not fall on state holidays or periods of class recess. For additional information, please visit the Missed Classwork policy, under Registration Policies, on the Academic Policies webpage, https://catalog.unlv.edu/content.php?catoid=32&navoid=8271&hl=.
In accordance with the policy approved by the Faculty Senate regarding missed class time and assignments, students who represent UNLV in any official extracurricular activity will also have the opportunity to make up assignments, provided that the student submits official written notification to the instructor no less than one week prior to the missed class(es).
The spirit and intent of the policy for missed classwork is to offer fair and equitable assessment opportunities to all students, including those representing the University in extracurricular activities. Instructors should consider, for example, that in courses which offer a "Drop one" option for the lowest assignment, quiz, or exam, assigning the student a grade of zero for an excused absence for extracurricular activity is both contrary to the intent of the Faculty Senate's policy, and an infringement on the student's right to complete all work for the course.
This policy will not apply in the event that completing the assignment or administering the examination at an alternate time would impose an undue hardship on the instructor or the University that could be reasonably avoided. There should be a good faith effort by both the instructor and the student to agree to a reasonable resolution. When disagreements regarding this policy arise, decisions can be appealed to the Department Chair/School Director, College/School Dean, and/or the Faculty Senate Academic Standards Committee.
For purposes of definition, extracurricular activities may include, but are not limited to academic recruitment activities, competitive intercollegiate athletics, fine arts activities, liberal arts competitions, science and engineering competitions, and any other event or activity sanctioned by a College/School Dean, and/or by the Executive Vice President and Provost.
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Tutoring and Coaching
The Academic Success Center (ASC), at the Claude I. Howard Building, provides tutoring, academic success coaching, and other academic assistance for all UNLV undergraduate students. For information regarding tutoring subjects, tutoring times, and other ASC programs and services, please visit the ASC website, https://www.unlv.edu/asc, or call 702-895-3177. The ASC is located across from the Student Services Complex (SSC). Academic success coaching is located on the second floor of SSC A, Room 254. Drop-in tutoring is located on the second floor of the Lied Library, and on the second floor of the College of Engineering building (TBE A 207).
UNLV Writing Center
One-on-one or small group assistance with writing is available free of charge to UNLV students at the Writing Center, https://writingcenter.unlv.edu/, located in the Central Desert Complex, Building 3, Room 301 (CDC 3Ė301). Walk-in consultations are sometimes available, but students with appointments receive priority assistance. Students may make appointments in person or by calling the Center, telephone 702-895-3908. Students are requested to bring to their appointments their Rebel ID Card, a copy of the instructions for their assignment, and two copies of any writing they have completed on their assignment.