Monday, May 2, 2011

Hegel: The Phenomenology of Spirit

Read the whole preface
text available at:
Journals due on May 8.

Guidance questions
1. What's the commonness and difference between Hegel and Kant regarding scientific knowledge?
2. How do you understand the statement: "subject is pure and simple negativity" (Φ 18)?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason

Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason
a. Preface to the second edition 1787;
b. the whole Introduction:
namely from “I. Of the difference between Pure and Empirical Knowledge” to “VII. Idea and Division of a Particular Science, under the Name of a Critique of Pure Reason”)
text available at
Journals due on April 3.

Guidance questions:
1. Which problem does Kant see in Mathematics, Natural Science (Physics) and Metaphysics (philosophy)? What does he aim to achieve?
2. How is judgment important for science? What means a priori synthetic judgment?
3. What means Copernican Turn in Kant's view of knowledge?

Empiricism & Rationalism

In order to understand Kant, we have to know the philosophers before him. Therefore please do research on these two terms: "Empiricism" and "Rationalism".
Key question: their different accounts of knowledge, regarding the relationship between thinking beings (subjects) and existing things (objects). Do you agree with their explanation of knowledge?
Major philosophers: Hume for Empiricism and Leibniz for Rationalism
Methodology: Research on internet or in library

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Descartes: Discourse on Method

Descartes: Discourse on Method,(Part I-IV)
Text available at:
Journals due on Mar 27.
Questions for reading guidance:
What’s Descartes’ criterion for truth and knowledge?
What’s Descartes’ method to get such knowledge?
Do you think his method can guarantee the truth?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Augustine: Confessions

Augustine: Confessions
Read Book XI
text available at
Focus on
1. How can we perceive past, present and future?
2. Why is it difficult to describe time?
3. What's the relationship between God and time?
Journals due on March 13.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

Read Book I and X
text available at:
journals due on Mar. 6.
Guidance questions:
1. what are people pursuing in the end?
2. what are the criteria of happiness?
3. What is the function of man?
4. Why contemplation is the best life?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Plato: Republic Book II

read the whole Book II and the allegory of cave in Book VII
text available at
Journals due on February 27

guidance questions:
1. Glaukon mentioned three kinds of good, to which does justice belong?
2. Which problem did Adeimantos find in poems and religion? What does he want Socrates to prove?
3. What's the requirement of guardians in the proposed city?