Skepticism and Rationality

Description: Lecture, four hours; discussion, one hour. Can we know anything with certainty? How can we justify any of our beliefs? Introduction to study of these and related questions through works of some great philosophers of modern period, such as Descartes, Hume, Leibniz, or Berkeley. P/NP or letter grading.

Units: 5.0
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Overall Rating 4.0
Easiness 2.0/ 5
Clarity 4.2/ 5
Workload 1.0/ 5
Helpfulness 4.0/ 5
Most Helpful Review
As a senior philosophy major, I took 21 for fun (yeah, I'm a bit of a loser) this past quarter with Lottenbach. It's a relatively easy class if you already know your stuff as a philosophy major (finding/formulating/analyzing arguments, writing philosophy papers and exams, philosophers, etc.), but it is a difficult class for those with little philosophy background because Lottenbach is a rather poor lecturer. Don't get me wrong, the man is a genius, but he says "uh" "right" and "so" about 237 times each per lecture which can get distracting, and, more importantly, he takes the most roundabout ways to answer the simplest of question (which my non-major friends found confusing), making it difficult to understand some of the material. I guess it also depends on your TA, go for James or Mandel, those guys rock. In addition, Lottenbach assigns rather obscure authors (Descartes was the only commonly known one we read), so if you're looking for a good introductory course so you can sound smart and talk about those philosophers all your friends know only by name, this isn't it. Lottenbach's expectations are certainly not high, but his lectures are rather boring, his answers to questions obtuse, his speech distracting, and his assignments obscure. All in all, not the most difficult class on paper, but rather hard given Lottenbach's style, especially if you aren't a major. Like I said though, he's a genius, so if you want to put up with his downsides to learn from someone who's read all the material in French, Latin, Greek, German, Italian, or English and basically seems to literally know everything, then take him, but be warned, Lottenbach's speech and way of answering questions makes things hard.
Overall Rating N/A
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