Language, Truth, and Dialogue
117 | CCN: 77902
Instructor: Marianne Constable
Date / Time: TuTh 5-630P, 242 DWINELLE
“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 dialogical works by great philosophers concerned with language and knowledge. 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 and participations occur in dialogue, and how these sorts of interactions and participations relate – and may have related differently in different times – to reading, writing, speaking, thinking and knowing. The substantive focus of the dialogues this semester is on what (and how) humans take the world to be.
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.
REQUIRED TEXTS will include the following, as well as some supplementary readings:
Plato, Euthyphro (any edition with line #’s indicated)
Plato, Timaeus and Critias (Johansen, ed; Lee, trans) Penguin
(Loeb edition also ok)
Murdoch, Acastos (Penguin)
Galileo, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Modern Library)
Heidegger, Conversations along a Country Path (Davis, trans) Indiana U Press
Because this is a seminar, on dialogue, it is very important that you attend class, having prepared in advance, and that you participate each week. Please bring a copy of the relevant reading for each class and some paper that you can write on to hand in any in-class assignments. You should save these and other returned assignments and hand everything in as a (hard-copy) packet along with your final exam to the instructor’s mailbox in the Rhetoric Department by 10:00 am on the day of the final exam.
In-class assignments will vary: some will be oral, some written, some individual, some group. They are designed to have you think substantively about the reading, engage in various practices relating to the readings, and prepare for the longer written assignments.
There will be 3 longer written assignments, one following each of the three units (on Plato; on the vast middle period represented by Galileo; and on the moderns). Several writing options will be offered as the final exam, which will involve presentations and take-home writing.
The SYLLABUS will be distributed on the first day and is subject to amendment, depending on the needs and pacing of the class.