The Philosophy of George Berkeley
Thurs 6:10-9:50 E&T A126
A 423 E&T
Philosophy Dept. Telephone
Tues: 2:00-4:00, Thurs 2:00-4:00
In this course we will explore the central doctrines of Berkeley’s philosophy – the thesis that there is no such thing as matter and the thesis that sensible things (such as trees, tables, and the like) are dependent for their existence upon the mind. We will pay particular attention to Berkeley's religiously motivated agenda of undermining atheism and skepticism, as well as his stunning project of restoring philosophers to “common sense.”
With a passing grade in the class, students should have acquired greater:
(1) knowledge of Berkeley’s basic philosophical views (and his arguments in
favor of those views).
(2) knowledge of some of the major philosophical texts, philosophical problems, and themes of the 17th and 18th centuries;
(3) ability to understand, analyze, critically evaluate, and compare complex arguments and theories of the great modern philosophers;
(4) ability to interpret and explicate texts from different a different intellectual context; and
(5) ability to explain, both orally and in writing, difficult ideas in a clear, informed, effective, and coherent manner.
(1) Principles of Human Knowledge [PHK]
(2) Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous; [DHP]
(3) Alciphron: Or, the Minute Philosopher [ALC]
For PHK and DHP see http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/search/
Selections from ALC will be provided as needed. Click here
Possibly Selections from:
John Locke: Essay concerning Human Understanding; excerpts from Locke’s Stillingfleet Correspondence [See http://oll.libertyfund.org/]
David Hume: Treatise of Human Nature [http://www.davidhume.org/]
You may wish to visit http://www.earlymoderntexts.com/. While this is useful, it is no substitute for the original text.
I: Attendance and Participation: It is essential that you attend class regularly and that you participate actively in small group/large group discussion. This requirement is ungraded. Instead, I will use this requirement in assessing borderline cases. Additionally, excellent completion of this requirement may boost your grade by a ‘+’ and a serious failure to complete this requirement may result in your grade being decreased by a ‘+’.
II: Midterm Take-Home Exam: 40% Click here
III: Final Take-Home Exam: 60% Click here
Grading: All written assignments will be assigned a traditional letter grade, and a letter grade will be assigned for the course. For an explanation of traditional grades and their relation to attainment of course objectives, see the University Catalog.
Written Assignments: The take-home written assignments must be typed, double-spaced, and proofread. Proofreading minimally involves using a spell check program and correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Papers with frequent errors in spelling, punctuation, or grammar will not receive higher than a C.
Late Policy: Assignments not submitted will receive a failing grade. I accept late papers up to one week past the due date. After that, papers are graded as fails. I deduct 1/3 of a grade for every day the paper is late (including weekend days, vacation days, etc.). Lateness will be excused ONLY in the case of documented emergency (health, family, etc.).
Plagiarism and Cheating: “At Cal State L.A., plagiarism is defined as the act of using ideas, words, or work of another person or persons as if they were one’s own, without giving proper credit to the original sources” (CSULA University Catalog). In this course, any cheating or plagiarism will be penalized with a failing grade for the assignment. Administrative sanctions may also follow (some sanctions include expulsion, suspension, probation). For further information please see the University Catalog.
Reasonable Accommodation: Reasonable accommodation will be provided to any student who is registered with the Office of Students with Disabilities and requests needed accommodation.
University Nondiscrimination Policy: Cal State LA “affirms its commitment to equality of opportunity for all individuals. This commitment requires that no discrimination shall occur in any program or activity of the University on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identification, ancestry, physical disability (including HIV and AIDS), mental disability, medical condition, pregnancy, age (over 40), marital status, political affiliation, sexual orientation, disabled veteran, recently separated veteran, armed forces service medal veteran and other protected veteran, or any other classification that precludes a person from consideration as an individual…” For information contact the Office for Equity and Diversity at 323-343-3040 or see www.calstatela.edu/univ/hrm/equity_diversity.php
Topics, Readings, and Assignment Schedule
Week One (9/20): Overview, Life of Berkeley, Introduction to Berkeley’s Philosophy
Week Two (9/27): Berkeley’s Project
Readings: PHK Title Page, PHK Preface, Intro (1-5) & PHK 155-6, DHP: Title Page, Preface
Week Three (10/4): Idealism in the Dialogues
Readings: DHP I (up to page 405).
Week Four (10/11): Immaterialism in the Dialogues
Readings: DHP I (until 411). DHP III 469-470. PHK 49
Week Five (10/18): Philosophy of Language in the Principles and Alciphron
Readings: PHK Intro; Alciphron Dialogue VII (Sections 1-15) Click here for Alciphron
Week Six (10/25): No Class.
Week Seven (11/1): Philosophy of Mind
Readings: PHK 1-7, PHK 24-29, PHK 135-144, DHP III 447-451
Week Eight (11/8): Spiritualism in the Principles
Readings: PHK 1-24; DHP I: 414-end.
Week Nine (11/15): Divine Governance in the Principles and Alciphron
Readings: PHK I 25-33; § 145-49, 3D II (complete), ALC IV 1-15
MIDTERM DUE: Monday November 15th (11:59 pm)
No Class Thanksgiving (11/22)
Week Ten (11/29): Divine Perception in the Dialogues
Readings: DHP II 420-428, DHP II (complete), ALC IV 16-end, PHK 97-98
Week Eleven (12/6 - 7:30-10:00): The Retrenchment of the Sciences and the Return to Common Sense
Readings: PHK 85-156. TBA
FINAL DUE: December 10th (11:59pm)