Lawrence Dallman

Dusty Dallman
Research Interests: 19th- and 20th-century continental philosophy, epistemology, and metaphilosophy; as well as general philosophy of science, history and philosophy of social science, history of analytic philosophy, and Kant

Previous Education

MA, Philosophy, University of Chicago

BA, Philosophy, Montana State University

BA, English, Montana State University

Interests

19th- and 20th-century continental philosophy, epistemology, and metaphilosophy; as well as Kant, history of analytic philosophy, philosophy of social science, and philosophy of literature

Dissertation

Title: Marx's Naturalism: A Study in Philosophical Methodology

Committee: Brian Leiter (co-chair), Robert Richards (co-chair), Michael Forster, Matthias Haase

Abstract: In my dissertation, I develop a detailed reconstruction of Karl Marx’s views in epistemology and metaphilosophy. I argue that Marx’s method undergoes definite, well-reasoned changes over the course of his career. He begins by criticizing a sophisticated non-naturalist method in philosophy — a version of conceptual explication — and comes in time to defend his own alternative: a naturalistic method on which philosophical progress is made when more adequate successor theories explain (etiologically, in scientific style) how their less adequate predecessors acquire the illusory appearance of plausibility. I argue that, though the methods Marx criticizes are no longer popular today, his arguments draw attention to theoretical vices common to many non-naturalist methods. Moreover, through my reconstruction of Marx’s mature method for philosophy, I sketch the outlines of an independently defensible, non-moralistic, thoroughgoingly naturalistic alternative to available options in the contemporary methodology debate.

Recent Courses

PHIL 28710 Introduction to Nietzsche

In this course, we will examine the philosophical writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, with the aim of arriving at a cursory overview of his thought. We will take as our guiding thread a paradox concerning the value of truth that arises in the course of Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality: when, as in scientific inquiry, we take it as a rule that we should always seek the truth, we presuppose that we are the kind of creatures to whom rules can apply (i.e. morally responsible persons); but scientific inquiry, in its tendency to disenchant the world and subvert our traditional self-understanding, threatens to undermine this idea. What if truth-seeking drives us to the conclusion that we are not, in fact, morally responsible persons? What then of truth? All texts will be read in English translation.

 

2021-2022 Winter

PHIL 22002 Introduction to Philosophy

Topic: What is the human being?

The philosopher Immanuel Kant claims (famously) that philosophy boils down to three questions: What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope? He also suggests, however, that these three questions reduce, at bottom, to a fourth: What is the human being? Philosophy, then, is the study of what it is to be a human being. In this general introduction to philosophy, we will examine a variety of efforts made by philosophers, both contemporary and historical, to answer Kant’s three questions: What can I know? What ought I to do? What may I hope? We will do this always with an eye to how these efforts contribute to answering Kant’s broader question: What is the human being? Possible topics of discussion include the nature of knowledge, the limits of science, whether there are objective moral truths, whether we are free, the nature of artistic beauty, whether we should trust our gut instincts, and whether there is progress in culture.

2021-2022 Autumn

PHIL 22503 Truth and Ideology

There has been significant concern, in recent years, about the threat of "fake news" and "disinformation." Most of this discussion has concerned deliberate lies told for political reasons. Those who spread fake news, however, rarely do so deliberately; many believe what they say, however obvious the falsehood of their claims may seem to outsiders. Beliefs of this sort are ideological in nature. Philosophers have studied the social phenomenon of ideology for hundreds of years. In this course, we will examine a number of historical (e.g. Marx, Engels, Lenin, Adorno, Gramsci, Althusser) and contemporary (e.g. Haslanger, Stanley, Honneth, Jaeggi, Railton, Leiter) accounts of ideology. In doing so, we will try to come to terms with the reality of ideology: What is it? How does it relate to truth? Can it be avoided? If so, how? All texts will be read in English translation. (A)

2021-2022 Autumn

PHIL 29200-02 Junior Tutorial

Topic: Marx and Philosophy.  Karl Marx is at once an incisive philosophical thinker, and a powerful critic of the whole enterprise of philosophy. In this course, we will investigate Marx's critique of philosophy. In particular, we will do so with an eye to the implications such a critique may have for philosophy as it exists today. That is, we will ask what conclusions can be drawn within philosophy, and about philosophy, from Marxian premises. This will require careful examination of key works by Marx, as well as by Hegel, Feuerbach, and Engels. It will also involve reflection on central disputes in contemporary theoretical philosophy, including the mind-body problem, the problem of knowledge, and the naturalism/anti-naturalism dispute.

Meets with Jr/Sr section. Prerequisite: Open only to intensive-track majors. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements.

2018-2019 Winter

PHIL 29300-02 Senior Tutorial

Topic: Marx and Philosophy. Karl Marx is at once an incisive philosophical thinker, and a powerful critic of the whole enterprise of philosophy. In this course, we will investigate Marx's critique of philosophy. In particular, we will do so with an eye to the implications such a critique may have for philosophy as it exists today. That is, we will ask what conclusions can be drawn within philosophy, and about philosophy, from Marxian premises. This will require careful examination of key works by Marx, as well as by Hegel, Feuerbach, and Engels. It will also involve reflection on central disputes in contemporary theoretical philosophy, including the mind-body problem, the problem of knowledge, and the naturalism/anti-naturalism dispute.

Meets with Jr/Sr section. Prerequisite: Open only to intensive-track majors. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements.

2018-2019 Winter