117 | CCN: 46098

Language, Truth, and Dialogue

Instructor: Marianne Constable,

4 Units

“Examination of philosophical dialogues from Plato to Heidegger. Focus on the interaction within the dialogue, the participation required of the reader/listener, and the relation of such interaction and participation to thinking, speaking and knowing.”

In this twice-weekly seminar, we will read and discuss some dialogical works by great philosophers concerned with language and knowledge. The substantive focus of the dialogues will be on law or practical knowledge or on knowing what to do. In addition to reading some philosophical dialogues, we will consider some of the ways in which dialogue and exchange is constrained in contemporary law. Through close readings of quite difficult texts and hokey in-class exercises and exchanges, we will consider what makes a dialogue something other than a monologue or a monograph, what sorts of interactions occur in dialogue, and how participation and performance in dialogue relates to reading, writing, speaking, knowing and judging.

Required texts will include Plato, Cicero, Augustine, Hobbes, J.L. Austin, Quinn, and some contemporary works. At least two pages of writing will be required every other week.

Enrollment: attendance is required. Students who attend but are not enrolled will be given precedence over students who enroll but do not attend for the first two weeks.