Academic year
Esa Díaz León
Department of Philosophy
Universitat de Barcelona
Master courses
Module 2. Research Methods in Analytic Philosophy
2018-10-03 - 2018-12-12
Wednesdays: 16:00 -19:00
UB, Philosophy Faculty, room 403


This course will provide an introduction to the methods, tools and skills that are necessary to engage in discussions in contemporary analytic philosophy.




We will have 10 sessions, where we will discuss recent papers on methodological issues in philosophy. We will cover issues such as: the methodology of metaphysics, whether metaphysical debates are verbal disputes and whether there can be significant verbal disputes, whether metaphysics should focus on the fundamental, and whether the philosophical study of issues of practical significance such as sex, gender, race, and love, should require a different methodological approach.


Students will have to prepare questions and comments in advance: all students should email a substantive question or comment for discussion to the instructor the day before each session. On the last session of the term, students will have to give a presentation based on the material for their final essays. The presentation should be about 20 minutes long.


The final grade for the course will be obtained on the basis of class participation (including questions by email and questions in class) (20%), a presentation in class (30%), and a final essay (50%).


Topics for essays: Each student can choose a topic based on the issues discussed in class. They are welcome to apply methodological questions to their own philosophical interests. It is strongly recommended that students consult with the instructor in advance regarding the topic.


Deadlines: Paper abstracts are due December 17th. A first draft in order to receive feedback (optional) is due January 14th. Final versions are due January 25th


Intended Learning Outcomes:

Basic Competences:

CB8: Students should be able to integrate information and form complex judgements on the basis of limited or partial information, including reflections on the ethical and social implications related to their area of research in analytic philosophy.

CB9: Students should be able to communicate effectively their arguments and conclusions to a specialized audience in a clear and rigorous manner.

CB10: Students should be able to acquire learning skills that allow them to pursue their studies in an autonomous manner.


General Competences:

CG1: Students should be able to analyze, assess and construct valid arguments, and to identify formal and informal fallacies.

CG2: Students should be able to design, create and develop original research projects in their chosen areas of study in analytic philosophy.

CG4: Students should be able to work both autonomously and as part of a team, in order to provide arguments for and against different positions in analytic philosophy, and provide examples.


Specific Competences:

CE1: Students should be able to critically engage with the concepts and methods of contemporary analytic philosophy.

CE4. Students should be able to assess the writings of leading contemporary philosophers in the field of analytic philosophy.

CE5. Students should be able to identify and critically engage with the current state of a particular philosophical debate, and form a reasoned view, even if provisional, about it.

CE7. Students should be able to critically use specialized terminology in the field of analytic philosophy.



 Course Readings:


October 3: Introduction (no assigned readings)


October 10: Amie Thomasson (2016) "What can we do, when we do Metaphysics?", in Giuseppina d'Oro and Soren Overgaard (eds.) Cambridge Companion to Philosophical Methodology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 


October 17: David Plunkett (2015) “Which Concepts Should We Use?: Metalinguistic Negotiations and The Methodology of Philosophy”, Inquiry, 58(7-8), pp. 828-74.


October 24: Joshua Glasgow (2008) “On the methodology of the race debate: Conceptual analysis and racial discourse”, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 76/2 (2008): 333-58.


October 31: David Chalmers (2011) “Verbal Disputes”, Philosophical Review, 120(4), pp. 515-66.


November 7: Amie Thomasson, "A Pragmatic Method for Conceptual Ethics", forthcoming in Herman Cappelen, David Plunkett, and Alexis Burgess, eds. Conceptual Engineering and Conceptual Ethics. Oxford University Press.


November 14: Sally Haslanger (2016) “Theorizing with a Purpose: The Many Kinds of Sex”, in Natural Kinds and Classification in Scientific Practice, edited by Catherine Kendig, New York: Routledge.


November 21: Shaun Nichols, N. Ángel Pinillos & Ron Mallon (2016) “Ambiguous Reference”, Mind 125 (497): 145-175.


November 28: Elizabeth Barnes (2014) “Going Beyond the Fundamental: Feminism in Contemporary Metaphysics”, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 114/3: 335-51.


December 4: Carrie Jenkins (2015)What is Love? An Incomplete Map of the Metaphysics”, Journal of The American Philosophical Association 1 (2), pp. 349-64


December 12: Essay Workshop