Larrys Text

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This is a series of introductory philosophy lectures Larry Sanger wrote out completely and read to his unfortunate Ohio State University students in the spring of 1998. Printed out it's about 350 pages long. Its audience is average undergraduates who have never had a philosophy class before. It covers, in a conversational yet concise fashion, all the main subdisciplines of philosophy, with a few exceptions (e.g., philosophy of science and aesthetics are omitted). This material will require radical reworking and general wikification to become appropriate for Wikipedia. I'm now in the process of wikifying this myself. --Larry Sanger

Table of contents:

1 Introduction to Philosophy
the motivation to philosophize -- introduction to philosophical method -- definition of philosophy -- philosophical subdisciplines
2 Some Rudiments of Logic
college logic -- argument -- logical fallacy -- argument form -- validity -- soundness -- cogency -- good argument -- deduction and induction -- modus ponens -- modus tollens -- disjunctive syllogism -- affirming the consequent -- definition -- extension -- intension -- ambiguity -- vagueness -- genus-differentia definition -- fallacies of definition
3 Metaphysics
introduction to metaphysics -- metaphysics -- ontology -- being -- category of being -- abstract -- concrete -- the existence of physical objects -- nonexistence -- objecthood -- substance theory -- bundle theory -- mind -- problem of universals -- universal--metaphysics -- type--metaphysics -- class (the section "classes vs. types") -- Platonic realism -- Aristotle's theory of universals -- identity and change
4 Philosophy of Religion
philosophy of religion -- what is God -- faith and rationality -- obviously bad arguments for the existence of God -- traditionally respectable arguments for the existence of God -- the ontological argument -- the cosmological argument -- the teleological argument -- the problem of evil -- the rationality of atheism -- theodicy
5 Philosophy of Mind
philosophy of mind -- mental event -- mental functions -- consciousness -- the mind-body problem -- reduction -- monism -- neutral monism -- dualism -- dualistic interactionism -- physicalism -- philosophy of perception -- free will and determinism
6 Philosophy of Language
philosophy of language -- the meaning of meaning -- proper names -- meaningfulness -- naive relativism about truth -- truth
7 Epistemology
epistemology -- theory of justification -- the regress argument in epistemology -- a priori and a posteriori knowledge -- knowledge -- skepticism -- common sense and the Diallelus
8 Ethics
ethics -- meta-ethics -- ethical naturalism -- ethical non-naturalism -- non-cognitivism -- value theory -- theory of conduct
9 Political Philosophy
political philosophy -- the justification of the state -- anarchism and natural law theory -- social contract theories -- consequentialist justifications of the state -- the purpose of government -- libertarianism -- socialism

OK, here's the deal:

  • I know a lot of this sucks. It is written to get the general concepts across to Ohio State undergrads. Yes, some of what I've written might be outright wrong, and most of it can be tightened up considerably. If you want to help me do that, don't bother replying to something I've written here. Just make the change you think is necessary, please.
  • I have taken actual stands on certain issues. I'll be de-opinionating these entries, of course.
  • I'll be rendering the prose a little more formal, less lecture-like.
  • I have (temporarily) saved the text in section-sized chunks, but as I wikify I'm saving it in even smaller chunks.
  • Since these are lectures, I refer to myself, the students, Ohio State, readings, other lectures I've given (hence, other parts of the wiki) and other stuff that shouldn't belong on the wiki. Of course, I'll be removing all that.
  • I have saved the sections on pages with titles describing their content. Ultimately, perhaps, the titles will be changed (rendered in Free Links style), and the entirety of a certain page will sometimes be split up and put on other pages.
  • Finally, you might not like my style, and you might think that I don't present the issues reliably enough, and otherwise feel that this contribution is not exactly a boon to Wikipedia. If that's the case, you can feel free to replace what I've written with your own golden prose; I'd just appreciate that you convey roughly the same information that I do (i.e., you cover the same topics and say the same (true) things I have to say about them). If these textbook entries are placeholders before better stuff comes along, that's perfectly fine by me. The lectures are long since over and they aren't my professional work--they're basic explanations for undergrads. So I won't mind, really!

I think that's it for now. Any comments or questions?

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