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In our everyday lives, we routinely assume that our clocks can tell us the truth about what time it is, that committing murder is wrong, and that there are people, landscapes, and works of art that are beautiful. But we are also aware that people can and often do disagree about what is true, what is good or right, and what is beautiful. Should the fact of such disagreement lead us to conclude that truth, goodness, and beauty are in some basic sense relative to human beings, perhaps as individuals, perhaps as members of societies or cultures? Some philosophers defend such conclusions, but others argue that truth, goodness, and beauty are “objective,” in some important sense, despite the fact that people disagree about them. This introductory course addresses these and related issues.
Format: seminar; Virtual
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
Attendance, participation in class discussions, comments added to essays during class discussion.
first-year students and potential Philosophy majors
meets 100-level PHIL major requirement
Students write 1-page papers on assigned topics for most classes. I will grade and comment on 18 and a teaching assistant will comment on but not grade another 13. Comments will aim to enable students to improve their writing skills.