PHIL 389(F) Being and Structure

Many of the most prominent "continental" philosophers of the past two centuries, including Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Heidegger, have attempted to develop defensible "big-picture" (comprehensive or systematic) accounts of what there is (including, broadly, both thinking and being, subject and object, etc.). The "analytic" counterparts of these thinkers have generally focused on particular areas or problems rather than on the whole, but have worked hard to treat those areas and problems with clarity and precision-features often scarcely detectable in the "continental" accounts. Currently, however, co-authors Lorenz Puntel of Munich and Alan White of Williams--the instructor for this course--are completing a book Being and Structure: Framework for a Systematic Philosophy that attempts to retain the virtues of each of these modes of philosophizing: the scope of the continental with the intelligibility of the analytic. In addition to developing a novel ontology, the book attempts to establish that scientism is philosophically untenable, that human beings are free, and that a being not indefensibly termed "God" exists. The texts for this course will be drawn from the English version of this work, whose publication is planned to coincide with that of a German counterpart. Students in the course will have the opportunity not only of examining what the authors view as an ambitious new contribution to philosophical literature, but of helping to fine-tune the work as it progresses. Co-author Puntel will be accessible to the seminar via e-mail, and will meet with the seminar in late October. Requirements: attendance, preparation, participation; regular short writing assignments and/or class presentations; a term paper (10-15 pages) Prerequisite: Philosophy 102 or permission of instructor. Enrollment limit: 19. (expected: 5-10). Preference to Philosophy majors.