Early Twentieth-Century Philosophy

This course is a study of several of the great philosophers of the early twentieth century. It focuses on Ludwig Wittgenstein and others in his circle in Cambridge, England.

Students will read a novel that introduces them to the thought of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Sigmund Freud, Bertrand Russell, Arthur Schopenhauer, David Hume, John Maynard Keynes, Virginia Woolf, G.E. Moore, and others. The novel is historical fiction, designed to provide context for the philosophical ideas of Wittgenstein.

Students will also read a guidebook of primary sources—carefully chosen selections from the authors featured in the novel. These selections delve into questions about the how language works, the ethics of war, the nature of sexuality, and more.

Live Classes: Wednesdays, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Student Expectations: Each week the students must read a section of the novel and the accompanying guidebook. They will answer a set of discussion questions and submit them to the instructor before class. In class, they will discuss their answers. In addition, they will be expected to write three essays during the course of the semester.

Student Support: The instructor is available via email.

Feedback/Assessment: The instructor will provide feedback on the students’ essays. The class as a group will create a class magazine to share their essays.

Materials/Supplies: Students will need the philosophy novel The Paradox Box and the accompanying guidebook.



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