Dr. Niko Strobach


The British Empiricists

C1, B1, A2, A3, EWA3

Mi 07.04.1999

Zeit: Mi 9:00 ct - 11:00

R 225

Sprechstunde: Mi 11:00-12:00

R 220


"The British Empiricists represent the central tradition in British philosophy; they are also among the most stimulating thinkers in human history" (Priest, BE p.305) - reason enough to study their central ideas by reading bits of original texts (or, as Bertrand Russell would have said: by acquiring knowledge by acquaintance about them instead of mere knowledghe by description). The course aims at establishing a working knowledge about British Empiricism which should suffice for any oral exam on the subject and enable participants to work with texts related to the empiricist tradition, as well as improve their general ability to work with philosophical texts in English during their advanced studies. The course will be based on the excellent introductory survey "The British Empiricists" by Stephen Priest, London 1990. The text will be available as copy sheets in Niko Strobach's "Semesterapparat", but the book is well worth buying (Penguin Philosophy, paperback, ISBN 0-14-012500-0 - make sure to order it well in advance, since foreign language books take long!). In addition to Priest's book we are going to read short texts taken from the following works (copy sheets will be provided in time): Hobbes, Leviathan; Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding; Locke, Two Treatises of Government; Berkeley, The Principles of Human Knowledge; Hume, Enquiry; J.S.Mill, System of Logic III,5; Utilitarianism; On Liberty; B. Russell, The Problems of Philosophy. The course will be held in English, since its last sessions will probably be held by Professor Tom Baldwin from York University as a guest docent. Students of English language and literature are encouraged to participate. No previous knowledge of philosophy is required, and the Empiricists still heavily influence political discussion in Britain, so they might be interesting in terms of "Landeskunde".


"Scheinerwerb": Credits are collected by EITHER sitting a written exam of 90 minutes at the end of the semester OR submitting an extended essay of 8 - 10 pages OR submitting a short essay of about 4 pages plus a short oral exam of about 15 minutes. Contributions may be made in English or German.