Proseminar in Philosophy - Fall 2011


Richard Holton;; 3-2618; 32-D818.

Agustin Rayo;; 3-2559; 32-D932.

Place and Time:

32-D831; TF 10-1.

Course description:

An intensive seminar on the foundations of analytic philosophy for first-year graduate students.

Assignments and course format:

Each session will consist in a discussion of previously assigned questions on the reading. The discussion will start off with a presentation by two of the seminar participants. Everyone should come prepared to discuss the questions. Each presentation should be accompanied by a handout (1-2 pages).

At least one presentation should be in Power- point. Two papers are required: one 8 page paper, due October 178h; one 12 page paper, due at the end of term (December 14th).


[All of these should be available at the MIT COOP, with the exception of Carnap’s Aufbau. Articles will be circulated in pdf]

  1. Frege, The Foundations of Arithmetic, trans. Austin, 2nd edition (Northwestern University Press, 1980)

  1. Beaney, ed., The Frege Reader, (Blackwell, 1997)
  2.  Russell, Problems of Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 1912)

  1. Wittgenstein, Tractatus, trans. Pears and McGuiness (Routledge, 1961)

  1. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. Anscombe, (Blackwells, 1958)
  2. Moore, Principia Ethica, ed. Baldwin, Revised edition (Cambridge University Press, 1993).
  3. Carnap, The Logical Structure of the World (= The Aufbau) trans. George (University of California Press, 1969; reprinted Open Court, 2003)
  4. Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics, 7th edition (Hackett,1981)
  5. Austin, Sense and Sensibilia, (Oxford University Press, 1962)
  6. Austin, How to Do Things with Words, 2nd edition (Harvard University Press,1975)

Also Recommended:

  1. Soames, Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century (vol 1) (Princeton University Press, 2005)
  2. Soames, Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century (vol 2), Princeton University Press, 2005)

Class Schedule:

Session 1 - Introduction

Friday Sep 9

Session 2 - Frege, Foundations of Arithmetic

Tuesday Sep 13

Session 3 - Frege, Foundations of Arithmetic

Friday Sep 16

Session 4 - Frege, Foundations of Arithmetic

Tuesday Sep 20

Session 5 (RH) - Sidgwick, Methods of Ethics

Friday Sep 23

[Agustin away]

Session 6 (RH) - Sidgwick, Methods of Ethics

Tuesday Sep 27

Session 7 - Frege, ‘Function and Concept’; Frege, ‘On Concept and Object’’

Friday Sep 30

[Cartwright Conference -- may need to finish a little early]

Session 8 - Frege, ‘On Sense and Reference’; Frege, ‘The Thought’

Tuesday Oct 4

Session 9 - Russell, ‘On Denoting’

Friday Oct 7

Session 10 - Russell, Problems of Philosophy

Friday Oct 14

[Richard away]

Session 11 - Russell, Philosophy of Logical Atomism

Tuesday Oct 18

[Richard away]

Session 12 - (RH) Moore, Principia Ethica

Friday Oct 21

[Agustin away]

Session 13 - (RH) Moore, Principia Ethica

Tuesday Oct 25

Session 14 - Moore, ‘The Refutation of Idealism’, ‘A Defence of Common Sense’

Friday Oct 28

Session 15 - Moore, ‘Proof of an External World’

Tuesday Nov 1

Session 16 - Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus 

Friday Nov 4

[Richard away]

Session 17 - Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Tuesday Nov 8

Session 18 - Carnap, Aufbau

Tuesday Nov 15

Session 19 - Carnap, Aufbau

Friday Nov 18

Session 20 - Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

Tuesday Nov 22

Session 21 - Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

Tuesday Nov 29

Session 22 - Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

Friday Dec 2

[Agustin away]

Session 23 - Stevenson, ‘The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms’; Ethics and Language Ch. 3

Tuesday Dec 6

Session 24 - Austin, Sense and Sensibilia

Friday Dec 9

Session 25 - Austin, How to Do Things with Words

Tuesday Dec 13