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Fall 2019 Courses

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Find information about upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses within the Philosophy Department on this page.

Upper-Level Undergraduate Courses

PHIL 3304: History of 18Th Century Phil (Class #22478)

Prof Hattab
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: AH 302

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3333: Metaphysics (Class #25378)

Prof. Loewenstein
TuTh 2:30-4:00, Room: S 102

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This is an advanced survey course in contemporary analytic metaphysics that will focus on four main topics: ontology (and a bit of metaontology), identity, properties and objects.


PHIL 3344: Philosophy of Science (Class #25442)

Prof. Weisberg
TuTh 10:00AM-11:30AM, Room: AH 303

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #25379)

Prof. Coates
TuTh 11:30PM - 1:00PM Room: AH 108

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3356: Feminist Philosophy (Class #28831)

Dr. Luttrell
MoWeFr 10:00AM - 11:00AM, Room: H 28

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This course is advanced survey of feminist philosophy, in terms of its intellectual and political history, as well as its current debates. The goal of this course is two-fold: first, an acquaintance with the evolution and debates of historical feminist theory, and second, a critical engagement with some of the central and current concerns of the field. We approach our topics from the perspective of intersectionality, and topics covered include: the role of women in the history of philosophy, liberal and radical feminisms, transnational feminisms, feminist epistemologies, and masculinities. Students will also be able to vote on certain topics we will cover and be encouraged to connect their own research and activism interests to issues in feminist philosophy.


PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #19928)

Dr. Phillips
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 201

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In this course we will read and discuss the most important ethical works of four central figures in the modern history of ethics: John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900), G.E. Moore (1873-1958) and W.D. Ross (1877-1971). There will be two pieces of written work for the course: a take home midterm and a take home final, both consisting of two questions each requiring about 4-5 pages of writing.


PHIL 3382: Medieval Philosophy (Class #25444)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: SW 219

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3386: History of 19th Century Philosophy (Class #25445)

Prof. Morrison
MoWeFr 9:00AM - 10:00AM, Room: L 212L

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In this class we will read three 19th century thinkers – Marx, Mill, and Nietzsche—with an eye to understanding the various approaches these philosophers took to the phenomenon of nihilism. Nihilism is a distinctly 19th century idea and the political, moral, and aesthetic approaches our three thinkers took up in response to this idea (or, more specifically, to the realities that informed it) represent three perspectives that are still with us today.


PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Cognitive Science (Class #25441)

Prof. Buckner
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 302

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Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of the mind, involving the cooperation of psychology, computer science, philosophy, neuroscience, anthropology, and more.  In this course, we will review major philosophical and methodological questions that arise in cognitive science, especially regarding how findings from so many different sciences with different methods could fit together in a coherent way.  We will discuss how cognitive science began as a response to behaviorism, and cover major questions that it has to confront, including: what counts as a good cognitive explanation, could computers or robots have minds, can our minds extend beyond our brains, are psychological and neural descriptions at odds with one another, and does cognitive science need to appeal to representations?  We will review the answers to these questions provided by the major paradigms in the history of cognitive science, including classical computationalism, connectionism, dynamicism, and predictive coding approach.

No philosophical background is required, but an introductory course in Logic, Psychology, Neuroscience, Biology, or Computer Science is highly recommended.


PHIL 3395: Existentialism (Class #28162)

Prof. Zaretsky
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM, Room: AH 512

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No further information is available at this time.


Graduate Courses

PHIL 6395: Philosophy of Film (Class #25383)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
We 4:00PM - 7:00PM, Room: AH 512

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This course deals with the principal issues in contemporary analytic philosophy of film as well as how these issues intersect with a variety of disciplines outside of philosophy (e.g., film studies, art history, psychology and cognitive science), with special attention paid to puzzles of narrative-engagement (e.g., horror, painful art, and suspense). The course will also focus on defining cinema itself as well as a species of both art and philosophy. The bulk of the course will address issues surrounding how audiences engage with film, e.g., how audiences emotionally respond to film fictions (and the rational analysis of such responses). To better facilitate understanding of these issues, optional screenings of films will take place after class.


PHIL 6395: Doxastic Agency (Class #25384)

Prof. Oliveira
Th 2:30PM - 5:30PM, Room: TBA

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Typical human beings seem to have agency. In broad terms, this is to say that our actions are typically "under our control", that they are typically “ours", that we are typically “responsible" for them, and that we can be “obligated" to act in certain ways. Philosophers, of course, disagree about how to best understand each of these notions and their inter-connections. But however we choose to think about them, our question in this class will be whether they apply equally well to our beliefs: are we agents with respect to our beliefs in the same (or nearly same) way that we are agents with respect to our actions? Are we, in other words, doxastic agents? Given the broad sense of agency just outlined, we can address this question by addressing the following subquestions instead: are our beliefs typically under our control? In what sense are our beliefs typically ours?  Are we typically responsible for our beliefs? Can we have obligations to believe in certain things? After some background material, we will read the most recent work on each of these topics. Students will write weekly reading reports and a 3K-5K words final paper.


PHIL 6395: Reference and Inference (Class #25385)

Prof. Garson
Tu 2:30PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 512

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Reference and inference are two important themes in theories of meaning. One intuition has it that the meaning of an expression is what it refers to, so that meaning is a relation between word and world. Another attractive idea is that the meaning of a sentence is given by its role in inference - what entails it and what it entails. Then meanings of words in sentences can be characterized by what they contribute to the inferential roles of sentences they belong to. The seminar investigates the connections and tensions between these two conceptions of meaning.

            We set the stage with a historical introduction - contrasting Wittgenstein's views in the Tractatus (the picture theory of meaning) with those in the Investigations (meaning as use). This will be followed by a discussion of Quine on indeterminacy of reference.  Kripke's ideas about contingent identity, rigid designation, and referential vs. descriptive accounts of referring terms will be treated next, along with an account of formal semantics, including possible worlds and 2D semantics. We will then take up Putnam's indeterminacy of meaning arguments and their connections to realism. Following that there will be a discussion of the problem of explaining how brain states can have representational content. Students will play a role in determining topics of later parts of the class.

            The course sits at an intersection between the philosophy of language, logic, the philosophy of mind, cognitive science, metaphysics and epistemology. Broad questions addressed include the following.  What explains the link between an expression and what it is about? To what extent do the rules for the use of a symbol determine its meaning?  What are the relationships between conceivability, necessity, analyticity and the a priori? How is it possible for the brain to represent the world? How is communication possible between people who disagree about what is true about the world?