Course Description

The purpose of this course is to introduce students the role of thought experiments in three prominent philosophical debates (one ethical, one epistemological, and one from the philosophy of mind).  As a methodology course, this class gives students tools with which to critically examine a common way of doing philosophy.  As an introductory philosophy course, this class teaches students techniques of philosophical reasoning and argumentation.

By the end of this course, students should be able to

• Understand the various ways in which philosophers use thought experiments.
• Understand various arguments for and against the use of thought experiments in philosophy.
• Understand the following arguments and responses to them

        Judith Jarvis Thompson’s "Defense of Abortion"
        Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument against physicalism
        Edmund Gettier’s counterexamples to the justified true belief theory of knowledge

• Reconstruct the arguments of others and offer well-reasoned analysis and critique
of those arguments.