Philosophy of the 21st Century: Ten Great Contemporary Thinkers

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An introduction to the most important issues of our age through some of the best contemporary philosophers and thinkers. Ecology, genetics, religion, law, language, science and the human condition. Some of the philosophers included will be: Timothy Morton’s exciting new work on ecology from his 2016 book Dark Ecology: For Logic of Future Coexistence; Kenneth F. Schaffner’s philosophy of genetics. Schaffner is considered by many to be the most important philosopher in the field of genetics and its relation to human personality. We will examine his: Behaving: What’s Genetic, What’s Not, and Why Should we Care (2016); Brian Leiter and his provocative new book: Why Tolerate Religion (2017); Martha Nussbaum’s Anger and Forgiveness' (2016). Nussbaum is one of the most respected philosopher in the field of ethics; for the many decades she has produced work on discrimination and its relation to constitutional law; Charles Taylor: The Language Animal (2016) In his latest book Taylor sets forth research on the human animal our capacities and flaws; George Monbiot: Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis (2017). Monbiot is an activist and writer known for his books and weekly column in The Guardian.


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Timothy Morton: We will begin the course with Morton’s exciting new work on ecology from his 2016 book Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence. We will also examine his 2017 book Humankind.
  • Brian Leiter: Leiter is a philosopher of politics and law, we will consider his provocative work: Why Tolerate Religion (2017)
  • Kenneth F. Schaffner: Schaffner is considered by many to the most important philosopher in the field of genetics and its relation to human personality, he is a medical doctor specializing in the philosophy of medicine, ethics, and the conceptual issues involved in genetics. The central book will be: Behaving: What’s Genetic, What’s Not, and Why Should we Care (2016).
  • Martha Nussbaum: Nussbaum has produced many books on ethics and politics, and is particularly interested in how discrimination works in relation to constitutional law. She is one of the most respected philosophers in the field of ethics. We will examine her new book: Anger and Forgiveness' Resentment, Generosity, Justice (2016) and also From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law.
  • Simon Blackburn: Blackburn is noted for his work on mind, language and epistemology. The books will be: Passions and Projections 2015 and Practical Tortoise Raising and Other Philosophical Essays.
  • Nancy Cartwright: Cartwright works in the philosophy of science and is most noted for her work on scientific evidence and her critique of contemporary scientific methodology. Books: Philosophy of Science (2017) Rethinking Order (2016)
  • Peter Singer: Singer is best known for his work in applies ethics and contemporary utilitarianism. Because of his fame Singer is able to take his message to a broader audience on issues of global poverty and animal rights. Books: Does anything really Matter (2017) and The Most Good you can Do.
  • Charles Taylor: In his latest book Taylor sets forth decades of research on the human animal our capacities and flaws. Book: The Language Animal (2016)
  • Alasdair Macintyre: Macintyre’s early book After Virtue set the tone for much subsequent virtue ethics, in The Demise of Naturalism (2016) he reconsiders many of his ideas and extends his work in new directions.
  • George Monbiot: Monbiot is and activist and writer known for his weekly column in The Guardian. He is founder of ‘The Land is Ours’ movement: a peaceful campaign for the right of access to the countryside and resources in the United Kingdom. Books: Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding (2013) and Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis (2017).


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Understand the diverse nature of contemporary philosophy.
  2. Gain an understanding of the main issues which are of importance to contemporary thinkers.
  3. Gain an introduction to some of the most important books publishes in the last few years.
  4. Discuss the central ideas in the course.
  5. Apply some of the ideas in the course to the broader issues in the world today.