Course: PHI 338
Instructor: Kelly
F 2018

Description of Course Goals and Curriculum

The beginning of the 20th century marks a notable shift in philosophical thought. With the dominance of the idealist and the rationalist schools of thought in the 19th century, the 20th century introduces the analytic tradition. With a much greater emphasis on empiricism, logic, and language, the analytic tradition rose to become one of the dominant movements in philosophy today. Figures such as G.E. Moore, Gottlob Frege, and the early Bertrand Russell and Ludwig Wittgenstein set the stage for this new school, which redefined how we saw science, metaphysics, and truth.

Learning From Classroom Instruction

Lectures: Handouts are prepared at the beginning of every lecture, giving a rough outline of what the topics of the day are going to be. However, it is necessary to attend lecture in order to get a full understanding of the ideas presented. If Professor Kelly does not cover a topic on the outline during lecture, he does not include it on the final exam. Luckily, Professor Kelly’s lectures are known to be quite clear and engaging, and while doing the readings will certainly help, the lectures are easy enough to understand on a surface level. Precepts: Precepts usually involve a discussion of the material, and the preceptor will clarify any questions that students have. Since the material can be rather abstract and difficult to comprehend (especially without any prior experience in metaphysics or epistemology), going to office hours is highly recommended.

Learning For and From Assignments

Papers: There are two papers during the semester: one due around midterms time, and another due near the end of the semester. About three prompts are given, but there is always a final option to make your own prompt. However, you must confirm with your preceptor if you choose this final option. Papers are about 5 pages. Final exam: There is a short answer section, which consists of briefly defining key terms in the course. After the short answers, there are about four longer prompts that expand more into specific subjects in the course. It should be noted though that the purpose of the final exam is to test the knowledge gained throughout the course, not to test the ability to create an original argument; that would be the purpose of the papers.

External Resources

Everything on the final exam is covered in lecture (including readings), so no external resources are really necessary. For creating original arguments for the papers though, other philosophers’ works would be helpful, and to get a quick grasp on concepts, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is useful for any philosophy course.

What Students Should Know About This Course For Purposes Of Course Selection

Highly recommended to any philosophy major, because it covers the beginning of the analytic tradition (which Princeton’s philosophy department has strong professors in analytic philosophy). I would also recommend to anyone in STEM, because analytic philosophy is heavily based off of scientific methodology. Beware that the material is quite dense, so be prepared to sit down with the readings for a while, but if metaphysics, epistemology, or philosophy of language sound interesting, Kelly is one of the best lecturers you’ll hear at Princeton.
Philosophical Analysis from 1900 to 1950

Add a Strategy or Tip