All Ratings and Reviews for Tyler Burge
Took this class for my philosophy minor.
First off, Tyler Burge is an absolutely superb professor. There's a reason he's widely known (read: famous) in the field—he knows his stuff and teaches it well. All the ideas presented are put into the context of their time period, so instead of merely deconstructing individual arguments, you come to learn their broader evolution and subsequently their historical importance. It's a real treat.
That being said, this class focused less on the 'fun' stuff I was hoping to learn more about (think Searle's Chinese Room, the 'hard problem' of consciousness, mind-body distinction and dualism). It was much more language heavy. The class was split into three units: descriptivist theories of reference, works of Hilary Putnam, and works of Tyler Burge. Poke around a bit online and you'll likely get a sense of what this entails.
The course, in sum, was more technical and academic than most philosophy classes at UCLA. If you're looking for a 'mind-blowing' philosophy course, I don't think this is it. On the other hand, if you're seeking rigorous training with a first-rate analytic philosopher, this course is definitely worth it. I'm personally in the camp of the former, so I admittedly lost motivation towards the end.
- 2 Papers
- Final (you're given 15 practice questions, and the entire exam is 3 asked verbatim)
This is my second class with professor Burge, and I loved it. Granted, I took Kant with Burge the quarter before and it did take me a little time to get used to his teaching style. Taking him before definitely gave me some generally useful philosophical knowledge that gave me a bit of an advantage in understanding the material, mostly knowing the concept of representation beforehand helped.
I also knew that in order to do well in his class, you should attend lectures which are super interesting for this class, listen and maybe even record the lectures, write down everything on the board but also write down some key points he discusses when lecturing that he might not put on the black board. The material may seem intimidating, but if you just pay attention and keep track of it, it all pieces together. I did the papers in only 1-3 days and got a B+/A- . I personally just found it interesting so it was easy for me to pay attention and when it came time to write papers, I remember going over everything in lecture. There were two (roughly short, 4-5 page) papers and a final in-person exam.
The material is interesting/exciting stuff, the terminology is a bit meticulous but not hard to grasp after a while.
He also assigns/uploads a lot of his own work online which helps immensely. I really like that there is never any ambiguity about where to find more clarification on a topic if I need it, he always gives the resources and is willing to answer all questions with patience. Yes, the material is not fed to you on a spoon and there aren't middle school power points but you're learning pertinent, advanced theories in philosophy of science so it does take some effort. Just read some of his material/relevant chapters in his book, it is worth it because all of your answers are in there.
Professor Burge is very knowledgeable and interested in this material. He's an intelligent, accomplished professor with a wikipedia page that still manages to be so relatable, funny and insightful! If you ever need clarification, he is very helpful after class and during office hours. I did not find the class to be as difficult as the reviews are saying and I definitely procrastinated on some of the assignments - but I eventually found time to just read over lecture notes, read some of his work and ask him a couple questions after class, and I got an A.
I truly enjoyed being taught by professor Burge and will definitely try and take one more class with him before I graduate. You should too, he's insightful as hell. I definitely recommend taking this course!
Do not take this class if you are not invested in Philosophy. Kant is incredibly difficult to learn and a lot of the material taught requires hours of studying to fully understand. Although Burge is a good professor the class IS hard, plus his writing can be fairly illegible considering how he writes his lecture notes in any open space he finds on the board even if it overlaps other ideas. No papers assigned but there is an in class midterm and final (study guide was provided). Not an easy A
Burge is an absolute legend. His material is literally taught at other universities around the country. Take him, although be cautioned that you should really only be taking Kant if you're quite invested in philosophy. Throughout the quarter I felt engaged, interested in what was going on and always felt like coming to class was worth my while.
Burge is a very smart man. He knows and understands Kant in a way that most professors in this country do not. Seriously. Google him. And he can teach Kant very well. The only problem is that Kant is really, really, really hard. It's not that he's so hard to study for an exam, it's that to actually truly understand him and to have a real philosophical dialogue out of studying him, you need to know Descartes, Hume, Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, and whoever else came before him. So, if you're going to take the 115 class, and you really want to get a lot out of it, then your philosophy better be rock solid. That being said, 115 is not at all a class that is difficult to get a decent grade in. But as far as real knowledge goes, if you want to maximize that and do justice to Kant, then listen to Burge when he says that you shouldn't take this class without at least 2 upper and 2 lower phil classes beforehand. Even with that, you'll still probably not get as much out of the class as you could if you were about to graduate with a phil major and this was your last class in the department. The problem with the class is that the vast majority of people really does not know what Kant or Burge are talking about the vast majority of the time. Yes, that does mean an easy B, because that just means being just like everybody else. If you dont want this class to be about just a grade, then be very, VERY devoted to the subject of philosophy and know a lot of it before going into the course. Something I personally didn't do at all and wish I did.
Final word on Burge as professor- he is kind of dry, and he does repeat himself a lot and the lectures are really long and they are a drag. The biggest reason for that is because he really wants people to actually get what he's talking about, even though that's hopelessly wishful thinking at most times. Go to his office hours or just talk to him out of class if you want to really get an edge on the material without trying to stay awake all the time.
Professor Burge is one of the most important living philosophers. If you are \354rating\356 him, then you don\355t know anything about philosophy \326 and his contributions to it. The man is brilliant.
The Kant class is not as hard as advertised; when I took it, you didn't even need to do the reading to do well on the exams. You just needed to know what he said in class. The pace was slower than he'd initially planned, which was due to his repetetiveness. Overall, he's a good and interesting teacher, he deosn't merely state the contents of the readings in class but gives his own ideas on Kant and Philosophy in general; in fact, what you needed to do well on the exams was to know Burge's own theoretical and conceptual framework of interpretation of Kant. I recommend this class, and Burge as a teacher.
Professor Burge is a very clear, fair instructor. He teaches difficult material yet somehow makes it manageable for students. His Kant class is outstanding.
I'd recommend professor Burge in a heartbeat. He obviously knows what he is talking about and it comes through during his lectures. The subject matter is an extremely difficult one so it would be easy to attempt to correlate his "difficulty" with that of the subject he teaches. However, He's kind and amiable and the class is a one of a kind challenge and DEFINITELY not for faint hearted. The only drawback to Burge is his availability. You're better off getting help from a TA because he's quite a busy person. Enjoy the transcendental while you still can...
If you are a Phil. major do not leave UCLA without taking the Kant class w/ Burge. If you are a non-major you should avoid it like the plague... This is one of those classes in which you are rewarded more w/ what you learn and the confidence you get from working w/ difficult material than with a good grade. My particular class was filled w/ grad students which made it a little intimidating but I agree that Burge is and EXCELLENT prof. He is very passionate about what he teaches and his lectures, although covering some pretty difficult stuff, are outstanding. He is actually a pretty famous philosopher in his own right which, at least for me, made this class that much more enticing. The class is challenging and stimulating- I think the phil. dept. has the right man teaching it and even though I only got a B I was impressed w/ Burge and his approach.
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