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Past Undergraduate Courses

(For current undergrad courses, click here.)  

Fall 2017 Undergraduate Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #22941)

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

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In this class I will ask the broad philosophical question: Who is Enlightenment man? More specifically, how do we understand the 18th century vision of humans in their social, political, ethical, and epistemological relations with the world? We will read essays from Hume, Rousseau, and Kant in an effort to answer this question. Three different visions emerge which have relevance to how we understand ourselves now 250 years later.


PHIL 3321: Logic III (Class #22937)

Prof. Garson
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM, Room: AH 302

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Modal logics are systems designed to handle concepts of necessity and possibility. They are close cousins to logics of obligation, belief, knowledge and time, which are often included in the modal logic family. The course will develop a variety of these logics, illustrating their applications and some of the related philosophical issues. A main concern will be the development of possible worlds semantics and the demonstration of soundness and completeness for the logics studied. There will be weekly exercises, completion of which is crucial for success in the course. There will be a midterm, two short unannounced “pop” quizzes, one before and one after the midterm, and a final.


PHIL 3333: Metaphysics (Class #26727)

Staff
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: AH 202

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3349: Philosophy of Social Sciences (Class #22940)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM Room: AH 9

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #22620)

Staff
MoWe 2:30PM - 4:00PM, Room: TBA

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3355: Political Philosophy (Class #22945)

Prof. Sommers
MoWe 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Room: H 32

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This course examines a wide range of political thought since Plato, with a special focus on questions concerning the “open society.”  Open societies and liberal democracies are celebrated for its protection of the dignity and liberty of the individual.  But can societies have an excess of freedom, as Plato argued in The Republic?   Can some degree of social control be justified if it leads to greater harmony and happiness among the populace?  Are citizens in democracies sufficiently well-informed and well-educated to govern their lives and their country?   Does the individualist ethic promoted in a free market democracy lead to stark inequalities, alienation, or demoralization?  Is there a single best form of government for all human beings, or are some political systems suitable for some cultures but not others?   This course will explore these questions and others from a variety of historical, cultural, and literary perspectives.  

 Readings include Huxley’s Brave New World, Plato’s Republic, Marx’s “Communist Manifesto,” Popper’s The Open Society and Its Enemies, Berlin’s “Two Concepts of Liberty,” and Fukuyama’s “The End of History.”.


PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #18934)

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

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No further information is available at this time.

Spring 2017 Courses

Upper-Level Undergraduate Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #15359)

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

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Enlightenment philosophers developed complex philosophical systems to address the tensions that the scientific revolution had produced between: 1) the world as we experience it through the senses 2) the world as described by science, and 3) traditional metaphysical notions of substance, cause, the self and freedom of the will.  Much of this course will therefore be devoted to getting clear on the different ways in which these tensions get resolved in George Berkeley’s idealism, David Hume’s radical empiricism, Immanuel Kant’s transcendental idealism, and Thomas Reid’s common sense philosophy.  Our primary goal is to understand the theoretical foundations of enlightenment thought through careful study of Berkeley’s Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature and Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, and Thomas Reid’s Inquiry and Essays.  A second and related goal of this course is to improve your reading, reasoning and writing skills.  To that end, we will pay careful attention to the forms of reasoning employed in the assigned texts, and you will complete a series of writing assignments teaching you how to interpret historical texts, break down an argument, evaluate it and formulate objections to it.  

PHIL 3344: Philosophy of Science (Class #22456)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: C 108

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #22446)

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

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3361: Aesthetics (Class #22457)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM Room: AH 201

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3376: Philosophy and the Scientific Revolution (Class #22445)

Prof. Brown
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 7

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In this course we will examine the interaction between philosophy, science, and religion during the 17th and early 18th centuries, the century of the Scientific Revolution. In particular, we will discuss the debates that arose concerning the nature of explanation, scientific methodology, the status of natural laws and their relation to miracles, and the status of so-called "occult qualities." All of these issues were joined in the protracted conflict that arose between Continental philosophers and scientists, most prominently Leibniz (1646-1716), and the English Newtonians (Newton: 1643-1727) over the status of gravitational force. This conflict involved a central methodological, debate, pitting the Newtonian "experimental philosophy" against the "mechanical philosophy" favored on the Continent. This conflict, in its many and varied forms, will be discussed in detail, as will the equally vexed debate about the "force of a body's motion" — the so-called vis viva controversy.

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Film (Class #22444)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
We 5:30PM - 8:30PM, Room: AH 302

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: Open and Closed Societies (Class #22443)

Prof. Sommers
MoWe 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Room: L 212L

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Open societies and liberal democracies are celebrated for its protection of the dignity and liberty of the individual.  But can societies have an excess of freedom, as Plato argued in The Republic?  Can some degree of social control be justified if it leads to greater harmony and happiness among the populace?  Are citizens in democracies sufficiently well-informed and well-educated to govern their lives and their country?   Does the individualist ethic promoted in a free market democracy lead to stark inequalities, alienation, or demoralization?  Is there a single best form of government for all human beings, or are some political systems suitable for some cultures but not others?   This course will explore these questions and others from a variety of historical, cultural, and literary perspectives.

PHIL 3395: War& Peace (Class #24659)

Dr. Luttrell
MoWeFr 10:00AM - 11:00AM, Room: AH 201

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The class is a philosophical introduction to just war theory, the changing nature of war, and movements for peace.  Topics covered include: nationalism, pacifism, gender and war, humanitarianism, and human rights.

Fall 2016 Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #15359)

Prof. Brown
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM, Room: SW 219

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An examination of the central metaphysical and epistemological issues in 17th-century philosophy. The works of some of the major philosophical figures of the century will be systematically discussed. These figures include Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, and Leibniz.

 There will be two essay examinations: a midterm and a final. Students will also be required to submit a 12-15 page term paper (20-25 pages for graduate students) on a topic determined in consultation with the instructor.

PHIL 3332: Philosophy of Language (Class #23961)

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

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This course is an introduction to the philosophy of language. This is a large area that encompasses many topics, including meaning, truth, the relationship between logic and language, and the distinctions between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. In the first half of the course, we will review some classics in this area by Frege, Russell, Tarski, Quine, Wittgenstein, Austin, Grice, Kripke, Putnam, Davidson, and Evans. We will consider how these issues intersect in some of the central "problems" of philosophy of language, such as vagueness and language learning. In the final section of the course, we will explore more recent interdisciplinary work on the way that language evolved from the protolinguistic communication systems of non-human animals, including views such as that of Dorit Bar-On, Joëlle Proust, and Tecumseh Fitch.

PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #23966)

Jacob Mills
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM Room: CV N106

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #20817)

Prof. Phillips
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 7

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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 three 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, and a 7-8 page paper.

PHIL 3383: Ancient Philosophy (Class #19943)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: MH 129

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In this course we will study the origins of Western Philosophy, beginning with the earliest surviving fragments of Ancient Greek philosophical texts by the Presocratic philosophers, dating back to the early sixth century BC.  The Presocratics were mostly concerned with explaining the origins and nature of the universe, and its parts.  Through our study of their theories you will become familiar with the branches of philosophy known as Metaphysics and Epistemology.  Metaphysical questions concern the nature of reality, which can include the nature of divine beings and the soul as well as physical beings. Epistemological questions concern the possibility, nature and extent of our knowledge of these beings.  In the second part of the course we will not only encounter a different kind of philosophical answer to these questions, but we will also encounter a different kind of philosophical question.  Socrates (469-399BC), and his student Plato (c.427-347BC), were not just interested in figuring out where things came from and what their ultimate natures were.  It is fair to say that they were more interested in figuring out what human beings should do in order to successfully live.  This involved posing and attempting to answer questions such as:  “What kind of life is a good life?”  “What is the good?”  “What is justice?” and “What kind of a state best promotes the good and just life?”  The first three questions fall under the branch of philosophy called Ethics, and the last two come under Political Philosophy.  In the third part of the course we will study the philosophy of Plato’s student, Aristotle (384-322BC).  Aristotle, who was arguably the most influential philosopher in the history of Western thought, addressed all these questions in a systematic manner and developed new areas of philosophical study such as Logic, History of Philosophy and Philosophy of Science.  Finally, we will conclude the course with one post-Aristotelian school of Philosophy.  Through Epictetus’ Handbook we will learn about the Stoic approach to the good life.

PHIL 3388: History of 20th Century Philosophy (Class #22354)

Prof. Morrison
MoWeFr 9:00AM - 10:00AM, Room: AH 302

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In this class we will explore the 20th century response to the diagnosis of nihilism that Nietzsche levels at Western Civilization at the end of the 19th century. We will read three thinkers – Camus, Adorno and Murdoch – who are very different in their concerns but who can be read in terms of their response to the challenge of nihilism. What are the possible solutions each offers and how do these solutions relate to each other? 

PHIL 3395: The Good Life (Class #24463)

Prof. Coates
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM, Room: TBA

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No further information is available at this time.

Spring 2016 Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #16244)

Prof. Brown
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM, Room: AH 202

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A detailed introduction to the epistemological and metaphysical theories of three major figures in 18th-century philosophy: Hume, Berkeley, and Kant. There will be two exams (midterm and final). Students will also be required to submit a 10-12 page term paper (20-25 pages for graduate students) on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor.

PHIL 3334: Philosophy of Mind (Class #23304)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: SW 219

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3351: Contemporary Moral Issues (Class #23307)

Prof. Phillips
MoWe 2:30PM - 4:00PM Room: AH 202

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Topics: Morality and Non-Human Animals; Abortion; Euthanasia; Famine and Moral Obligations; Affirmative Action; War and Terrorism. Reading normally one philosophical article (or equivalent) per class. Written work will consist of a take-home midterm and a take-home final, each consisting of 2 papers, each paper being about 5 pages in length (typed, double-spaced).

PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #26039)

Jacob Mills
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM , Room: C 102

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No further information is available at this time

PHIL 3356: Feminist Philosophy (Class #23436)

Dr. Luttrell
MoWeFr 11:00AM - 12:00PM, Room: AH 202

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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; accounts of the body and problems of essentialism; women, war and peace; transnational feminisms; masculinities. Students will be encouraged to connect their own research and activism interests to issues in feminist philosophy. Given that this is an advanced-level class in philosophy, the pace will be quick and the reading will be plenty. You are expected to read the material assigned for the day and to actively participate in all of the discussions, and, in the end, produce a well-formed research paper.

PHIL 3357: Punishment (Class #23306)

Prof. Sommers
MoWe 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 202

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3382: Medieval philosophy (Class #23434)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 512

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This course delves into the writings of influential Christian, Jewish and Islamic medieval philosophers on philosophical issues like the problem of evil, God’s existence, free will and moral responsibility, the nature and source of virtue, the basis of knowledge and the foundations of political authority. We will begin with St Augustine’s Confessions, and then read select works by St Anselm, St Thomas Aquinas, Ibn Tufayl, Al Ghazali, Averroes (Ibn Rushd), Moses Maimonides, John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. Assignments include three philosophical essays, at least one group presentation and a debate.

PHIL 3386: History of 19th Century Philosophy (Class #20689)

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

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In this class we will look at the religious, political, and moral thought of the 19th century through three very different windows: Kierkegaard's The Present Age, Mill's On Liberty, and Nietzsche's The Gay Science. How are the diverse perspectives presented in these books related? Is each thinker responding in his own way to a shared set of intellectual problems or do they even hold a sense of what the problems are in common?

PHIL 3387: History of American Philosophy (Class #23305)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 11:30AM-1:00, Room: H 34

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Cognitive Science (Class #23301)

Prof. Buckner
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: Room TBA

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  • Can robots have minds? Could my mind be downloaded to a computer?
  • Is my behavior caused by my beliefs and desires, or is it all just neural activity in my brain?
  • Do animals have thoughts? What kinds of experiments could we perform to find out?
  • Must cognitive science appeal to representations? How can we accurately map or represent the world around us?
  • How did intelligence evolve? What distinguishes rational life forms from non-rational ones?
  • What counts as a good explanation in cognitive science? Is the mind governed by general laws (like physical particles), chemical mechanisms (like biological life forms), or is intelligence something that inexplicably emerges out of the chaotic firing of billions of neurons?

Cognitive science attempts to answer these questions through the cooperation of psychology, computer science, philosophy, linguistics, neuroscience, biology, and anthropology. In this course, we will review the philosophical and methodological foundations of 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 in psychology, and cover its attempts to answer these daunting questions with scientific rigor. In particular, we will see what the major paradigms in the history of cognitive science would say about these issues, including classical computationalism, connectionism, dynamicism, and the predictive coding approach. No philosophical background is required, but an introductory course in Logic, Psychology, or Computer Science is highly recommended.

Required Reading: Andy Clark, Mindware - An Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science, 2nd edition

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Film (Class #23302)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
We 1:00PM - 4:00PM, Room: Room TBA

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No further information is available at this time.

Fall 2015 Courses

PHIL 3304: History of 17th Century Phil (Class #10080)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 202

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3335: Theory of Knowledge (Class #25033)

Prof. Johnsen
MoWe 5:30-7:00PM, Room: AH 201

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(i) “The earth orbits the sun” is a meaningful statement, and so is “The sun orbits the earth,” even though it’s false.  But “The Absolute is lazy” is pretty clearly meaningless.  Can we draw a clear line between meaningful and meaningless statements?  (ii) If you know something, doesn’t that just mean that it’s true, and that you have first-rate reasons for believing it?  It turns out (as of 1963) that it doesn’t, because it could just be by accident that your belief is true.  So what is knowledge? Should we care?  (iii) Could the world be as different from the way you think it is, as it is from the ways some of the people in “The Matrix” think it is?  Why not?  (iv) The history of science shows that huge numbers of strongly supported, and widely believed, theories have been false.  Should we conclude that any new theories are pretty likely to be false?  Then what’s the point of trying to come up with new theories?  (v) Are
 there better and worse ways of coming up with new theories?  If so, how do we tell which ones are the better ones?
These are some of the deeply puzzling questions to be considered in this course.

PHIL 3344: Philosophy of Science (Class #25017)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 11

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #20571)

Prof. Phillips
TuTh 11:30AM-1:00PM Room: AH 302

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In this course we will read much of the most important ethical work of three central figures in the modern history of ethics: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), and Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900). We will focus on our three philosophers’ approaches to two central issues in moral theory: (i) the nature of morality: just what are moral rules, where do they come from, and why should we follow them?; (ii) the content of morality: just what does morality tell us to do? We will also attend to their views on the status of egoism.

There will be a take home midterm and a take home final, both consisting of two questions each requiring about 4-5 pages of writing, and a 7-8 page paper. The midterm and final will each be worth 35%, the paper 30%.

PHIL 3377: Philosophy of Religion (Class #25030)

Prof. Coates
TuTh 8:30AM-10:00AM, Room: AH 201

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3383: History of Ancient Philosophy (Class #19498)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: AH 208

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3388: History of Twentieth Century Philosophy (Class #25034)

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

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In this class we will explore the fate of Humanism in the 20th century thought. I will open with an account of modern Humanism and explain the relevance of asking after its fate in the thought of some of the great 20th century thinkers. We will read Freud’s Future of an Illusion, Sartre’s Existentialism is a Humanism and Foucault’s Discipline and Punish by way deepening our understanding of 20th century thought on Humanism.

Spring 2015 Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Phil (Class #16527)

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

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Enlightenment philosophers developed complex philosophical systems to address the tensions that the scientific revolution had produced between: 1) the world as we experience it through the senses 2) the world as described by science, and 3) traditional metaphysical notions of substance, cause, the self and freedom of the will.  Much of this course will therefore be devoted to getting clear on the different ways in which these tensions get resolved in George Berkeley’s idealism, David Hume’s radical empiricism, Immanuel Kant’s transcendental idealism, and Thomas Reid’s common sense philosophy.  Our primary goal is to understand the theoretical foundations of enlightenment thought through careful study of Berkeley’s Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature and Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, and Thomas Reid’s Inquiry and Essays.  A second and related goal of this course is to improve your reading, reasoning and writing skills.  To that end, we will pay careful attention to the forms of reasoning employed in the assigned texts, and you will complete a series of writing assignments teaching you how to interpret historical texts, break down an argument, evaluate it and formulate objections to it.  

PHIL 3332: Philosophy of Language (Class #23242)

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

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This course is an introduction to the philosophy of language. This is a large area that encompasses many topics, including meaning, truth, the relationship between logic and language, and the distinctions between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. In the first half of the course, we will review some classics in this area by Frege, Russell, Tarski, Quine, Wittgenstein, Austin, Grice, Kripke, Putnam, Davidson, and Evans. We will consider how these issues intersect in some of the central "problems" of philosophy of language, such as vagueness and language learning. In the final section of the course, we will explore more recent interdisciplinary work on the way that language evolved from the protolinguistic communication systems of non-human animals, including views such as that of Dorit Bar-On, Joëlle Proust, and Tecumseh Fitch.

PHIL 3342: What's So Great about Math? (Philosophy of Math) (Class #23243)

Prof. Garson
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: C 106

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Through the ages, philosophers have thought that mathematics embodies the highest standards for knowledge. Even if our best science gets things entirely wrong, we will never have to worry that 2+2 isn't 4. However, events such as the invention of non-Euclidean geometry, the discovery of paradoxes related to infinity, and Godel's demonstration that arithmetic is incomplete have raised deep worries about the foundations of mathematics. This course will present these and other challenges to confidence in mathematics, and then discuss a number of philosophical theories about how our confidence can be restored. A main concern will be to understand what accounts for the truth of the claims of mathematics. Although the course will cover some technical topics related to logic and infinity, it will assume no special knowledge of mathematics beyond simple algebra. There will be two quizzes and a final, and occasional homework exercises.

PHIL 3355: Global Justice and the Ethics of Immigration (Political Philosophy) (Class #23244)

Prof. Coates
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM Room: AH 11

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In this course we'll discuss a number of issues related to the ethics of immigration and the rights of minority cultures. The main text for the course will be Joseph Carens's recent (and award winning) book The Ethics of Immigration. We'll also read and discuss Chandran Kukathas's The Liberal Archipelago, selections from Will Kymlicka's The Rights of Minority Cultures, and the work of other authors concerned with issues related to global justice (e.g., Martha Nussbaum, Elizabeth Anderson, John Rawls, etc.).

PHIL 3376: Philosophy and the Scientific Revolution (Class #23245)

Prof. Brown
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM, Room: AH 108

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In this course we will examine the interaction between philosophy, science, and religion during the 17th century, the century of the Scientific Revolution. In particular, we will discuss the debates that arose over the nature of explanation, scientific methodology, the status of natural laws and their relation to miracles, and the status of so-called "occult qualities." All of these issues were joined in the protracted conflict that arose between Continental philosophers and scientists, most prominently Leibniz (1646-1716), and the English Newtonians (Newton: 1643-1727) over the status of gravitational force. This conflict involved a central methodological, debate, pitting the Newtonian "experimental philosophy" against the "mechanical philosophy" favored on the Continent. This conflict, in its many and varied forms, will be discussed in detail, as will the equally vexed debate about the "force of a body's motion" — the so-called vis viva controversy. We will begin with a brief discussion of the Copernican revolution and the work of Galileo (1564-1642). We will then turn to an extensive examination of the influential version of the mechanical philosophy that was developed by Descartes (1596-1659) and his followers, as well as the objections raised against it by Leibniz and Newton, among others. Our final topics of discussion will be the dispute, mentioned earlier, between Leibniz and the Newtonians over the status of gravitational force and the vis viva controversy concerning the "force of a body's motion." There will be a midterm and a final exam, as well as a 10-12 page term paper on a topic chosen by the student in consultation with the instructor. Graduate students will be required to submit a 20-25 page term paper. Texts: 1. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, Volume 1. Cambridge UP, 1985. 2. G. W. Leibniz: Philosophical Essays, edited by Ariew and Garber. Hackett, 1989. 3. The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, edited by H. G. Alexander. Manchester UP, 1998. 4. Isaac Newton: Philosophical Writings, edited by Andrew Janiak. Cambridge UP, 2009.

PHIL 3386: History of 19th Century Philosophy (Class #23246)

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

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We will read Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche in this class. These three great figures will stand in as representatives of three of the great philosophical movements of the 19th century: Idealism, Materialism and Naturalism. What are these movements about? What does their rise (and fall?) signify in the post-Enlightenment world?

PHIL 3393: Open and Closed Societies (Class #20773)

Prof. Sommers
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Location: L 212D

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Open societies and liberal democracies are celebrated for its protection of the dignity and liberty of the individual. But can societies have an excess of freedom, as Plato argued in The Republic? Can some degree of social control be justified if it leads to greater harmony and happiness among the populace? Are citizens in democracies sufficiently well-informed and well-educated to govern their lives and their country? Does the individualist ethic promoted in a free market democracy lead to stark inequalities, alienation, or demoralization? Is there a single best form of government for all human beings, or might a political order that emphasizes individual freedom be suitable for some cultures but not others? This course will explore these questions and others from a variety of historical, cultural, and literary perspectives. Required Texts. (a) Huxley, A. Brave New World. HarperPerenial. (b) Plato. Republic. Hackett. (c) Popper, K. The Open Society and its Enemies. 1 Plato. Princeton. (d) Wells, H.G. The Time Machine.

PHIL 3395: Ideas of Justice (Class #23250)

Dr. Luttrell
MoWe 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 201

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What is justice? How have historical ideas of justice been shaped by experiences freedom and bondage? This class will interrogate the history of political Philosophy in light of current movements for racial and gender justice. We will read classics in political thought (Plato, Locke, Marx, and Rawls, among others) alongside current voices (Angela Davis, Amartya Sen, and Cornel West, among others). For more information, contact Dr. Luttrell at jluttre2@central.uh.edu

Fall 2014 Courses

PHIL 3304: History of 17th Century Phil (Class #10200)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: D3 E323

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3321: Modal Logic (Logic III) (Class #22563)

Prof. Garson
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: M 113

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Modal logics are systems designed to handle concepts of necessity and possibility. They are close cousins to logics of obligation, belief, knowledge and time, which are often included in the modal logic family. The course will develop a variety of these logics, illustrating their applications and some of the related philosophical issues. A main concern will be the development of possible worlds semantics and the demonstration of soundness and completeness for the logics studied. The course is based on my book Modal Logic for Philosophers, 2nd Edition. Completion of exercises is the centerpiece of learning the material, so exercises will be assigned for almost every class meeting. There will also be a midterm, two short “pop” quizzes, one before and one after the midterm, and a final..

PHIL 3349: Philosophy of Social Sciences (Class #22568)

Prof. Weisberg
02:30 - 04:00 MW, Room: AH 10

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No further information is available at this time..

PHIL 3350: Ethics (Class #21185)

Prof. Coates
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM, Room: M 111

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3358: Contemporary Moral Issues (Class #22573)

Prof. Phillips
TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Room: M 102

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Philosophical analysis of contemporary issues such as abortion, affirmative action, the treatment of animals, capital punishment, euthanasia, and famine relief.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #22566)

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

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3383: History of Ancient Philosophy (Class #20773)

Prof. Freeland
online

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Film (Class #22571)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
Mo 4:00PM - 7:00PM, Room: AH 302

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The aim of this course is to provide a solid understanding of 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). The course will begin by focusing on defining cinema itself as well as its relation to other visually depictive media. The remainder of the course will address issues surrounding the puzzles of narrative-engagement. To best facilitate student understanding of these issues, the following films will be screened in class: October (1927), Un Chien Andalou (1929), La Jetée (1962), Scorpio Rising (1964), Wavelength (1967), Suspiria(1977), The Thin Blue Line (1988), Spoorloos (1988), & Irreversible (2004).

Spring 2014 Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #17128)

Prof. Brown
11:30 - 01:00 TTH, Room: AH 201

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A detailed introduction to the epistemological and metaphysical theories of three major figures in 18th-century philosophy: Hume, Berkeley, and Kant.  There will be two exams (midterm and final). Students will also be required to submit a 10-12 page term paper (20-25 pages for graduate students) on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor.

PHIL 3333: Metaphysics (Class #24553)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
04:00 - 07:00 M, Room: AH 202

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This course will focus on the nature of time with special attention paid to the following topics: the nature of space and space-time, spatial and temporal relations, the reality of time and time's passage, causality and causal loops, logical paradoxes of time travel, as well as how these issues might bear upon other philosophical areas such as free will, agency, and personal identity.

PHIL 3334: Philosophy of Mind (Class #23336)

Prof. Weisberg
02:30 - 04:00 MW, Room: AH 303

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Philosophy of Mind investigates philosophical questions about the nature of mind.  A key issue is whether the mind fits into the scientific worldview or if it falls outside of our scientific understanding altogether.  Indeed, it may be that the mind is made of fundamentally different stuff than everything else in our world—a view known as “mind-body dualism.”  We’ll also consider how it could be that mental states come to represent the world around us and even represent things that do not exist.  We’ll even consider views holding that, despite our ordinary ways of talking, there is really no such thing as mind at all.  And throughout the course, we will address relevant empirical work in psychology, linguistics, artificial intelligence and neuroscience.

PHIL 3335: Theory of Knowledge (Class #23337)

Prof. Johnsen
01:00 - 02:30 MW, Room: AH 201

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The distinguished philosopher David Lewis once wrote, “We know a lot. To doubt that would be absurd,” but he would not have bothered to say so had others not disagreed.  In this course we will consider both why some philosophers have doubted that we know much at all, and why others consider such doubts absurd.
            Doing so will require us to take up a number of important matters.  Is knowledge just rationally justified true belief? No, says Gettier, in the past century’s most famous short essay in epistemology.  Well, then, what is it?  And should we care about it?   
Is it possible that I’m totally deceived, by a being with godlike powers, about the existence of any world at all?  If it is possible, does that mean I don’t have any good reason to believe there is one?  Even if such wild possibilities aren’t all that significant, is there any good reason to believe that the sun will rise tomorrow?  David Hume thought that there is, but that no one understood what it is.  In the 20th century, two great philosophers – Nelson Goodman and W. V. Quine - finally came along who “got” Hume’s argument, and forcefully developed it. 
In a nutshell, we will be considering central questions that arise in the long-standing mainstream of epistemology, and the radical Hume/Goodman/Quine revolution in that discipline.  (An intriguing aside: Albert Einstein considered David Hume to be the single greatest influence on his thinking.) 

PHIL 3356: Feminist Philosophy (Class #23339)

Prof. Luttrell
12:00 - 01:00 MWF, Room: AH201

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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 feminist theory, and second, a critical engagement with some of the central concerns of the field. Topics covered include: the role of women in the history of philosophy; liberal vs. radical feminism; accounts of the body and problems of essentialism; women and war; global feminisms. As an upper-level seminar, this class is heavy on student participation, and students will be encouraged to connect their own research interests to issues in feminist philosophy.

PHIL 3357: Punishment (Class #23340)

Prof. Sommers
02:30 - 04:00 T/H, Room: AH206

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This course examines a range of philosophical theories of punishment, paying close attention to what these theories presume about human agency and responsibility.  Questions to discussed include: What is connection between revenge and criminal punishment?  Should our justification of punishment focus on the benefits it provides for society, or on giving criminals their “just-deserts”? To what extent should we take the background and/or the genetic predispositions of criminals into account?   Is it morally wrong to punish likely criminals before they commit their crimes?    Throughout the semester, we will hold the empirical assumptions in leading theories of punishment under scrutiny to see how they cohere with contemporary models of human agency in the sciences.

PHIL 3358: Classics in History of Ethics (Class #18721)

Prof. Phillips
04:00 - 05:30 T/H, Room: AH202

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 In this course we will read 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).

PHIL 3382: Medieval Philosophy (Class #25855)

Prof. Hattab
10:00 - 11:30 T/H, Room: TBA

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This course will delve into the writings of influential Christian, Jewish and Islamic medieval philosophers on issues like the problem of evil, free will, God’s existence, morality, the basis of knowledge and the source of political authority.

PHIL 3387: History of American Philosophy (Class #23341)

Prof. Freeland
01:00 - 02:30 T/H, Room: Charles F. McElhinney Hall 108

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This class will examine the distinctly American philosophical movement known as Pragmatism, focusing on its three main contributors: Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, and John Dewey. The primary topics will be pragmatism’s distinctive theory of truth and its moral and social theory. We will also look, in less detail, at some key predecessors to this movement (such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau) as well as some philosophers influenced by it (including Nelson Goodman, Hilary Putnam, and Richard Rorty). Assigned work will include a combination of take-home essays and short reaction papers. Graduate students are expected to write a term paper using secondary sources. Required Text: Susan Haack, ed., Pragmatism, Old & New (Prometheus Books, 2006). ISBN 978-1591023593 Recommended Text: Russell B. Goodman, ed., Pragmatism: A Contemporary Reader (Routledge, 1995). ISBN 415909104

PHIL 3388: History of 20th Century Philosophy (Class #25062)

Prof. Morrison
10:00 - 11:00 MWF, Room: AH 009

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No further information is available at this time.

Fall 2013 Courses

PHIL 3304: History of 17th Century Philosophy (Class #10015)

Prof. Brown
1-2:30 TTH, Room: AH 304

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An examination of the central metaphysical and epistemological issues in 17th-century philosophy. The works of some of the major philosophical figures of the century will be systematically discussed. These figures include Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Malebranche, and Leibniz.  

There will be two essay examinations: a midterm and a final. Students will also be required to submit a 12-15 page term paper (20-25 pages for graduate students) on a topic determined in consultation with the instructor.

PHIL 3332: Philosophy of Language (Class #22913)

Prof. Buckner
2:30-4:00 TTH, Room: C 113

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This course is an introduction to the philosophy of language. This is a large area that encompasses many topics, including meaning, truth, content, reference, the relationship between logic and language, and the distinctions between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. In the first half of the course, we will review some classics in this area by Frege, Russell, Tarski, Quine, Wittengenstein, Austin, Grice, Kripke, Putnam, Davidson, and Evans. We will consider how these issues intersect in some of the central "problems" of philosophy of language, such as vagueness and language learning.

In the final section of the course, we will explore more recent interdisciplinary work on the evolution of language from the protolinguistic communication systems of non-human animals, including views such as that of Dorit Bar-On, Joëlle Proust, and Tecumseh Fitch.

PHIL 3383: History of Ancient Philosophy (Class #22912)

Prof. Freeland
10:00-11:30 TTH, Room: AH 2

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This course is an advanced survey of ancient Greek philosophy from the presocratic period through to the Hellenistic period, focusing on the development of Greek views of the cosmos, the soul, and the virtuous life. There will be four units in the course, covering the presocratics, Plato, Aristotle, and Hellenistic thought. Units II and III are long units, while I and IV are short. There are two textbooks:  Ancient Greek Philosophy, from Thales to Aristotle (Fourth Edition, Edited by S. Marc Cohen, Patricia Curd, and C.D.C. Reeve (Hackett 2011); ISBN# ISBN-10: 1603844627 or ISBN-13: 978-1603844628); and Hellenistic Philosophy: Introductory Readings (Second Edition; Translated by Brad Inwood and L.P. Gerson (Hackett 1997)ISBN# 0-87220-378-6 (pbk.) Grades are based on a possible total score of 100 points, derived from these three requirements:

  • 60 points Papers (four unit papers, length varies according to unit length)
  • 30 points Short assignments
  • 10 points Class Participation

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Biology (Class #22911)

Prof Weisberg
4:00-5:30 MW, Room: AH 2

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3386: History of 19th Century Philosophy (Class #21298)

Prof. Morrison
10:00-11:00 MWF, Room: L212L

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No further information is available at this time.

Spring 2013 Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #17772)

Prof. Hattab
2:30-4:00 TTH, Room: AH 110

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3344: Philosophy of Science (Class #30531)

Prof. Weisberg
1:00-2:30 p.m. TTH, Room: Roy G. Cullen 113

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This course investigates the philosophical foundations of science. It begins with a survey of the historical development of science, and then critically evaluates the major philosophical models of the scientific enterprise. We will consider what makes science different from other methods of gaining knowledge, the nature of scientific explanation and scientific law, the ontological status of the posits of scientific theory, and the nature of theory change and scientific revolutions. The course will employ historical and current case studies of scientific practice to illuminate the philosophical issues. The course concludes with reflections on the role of science in modern society.

PHIL 3348: Philosophy and Evolution (Class #36132)

Prof. Brown
11:30-1:00 TTH, Room: AH 15

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An examination of the evidence for Darwinian evolutionary theory and the significance of that theory for philosophy, religion, and society. There will be a midterm and a final, and students shall be required to submit a 10-12 page (20-25 page for graduate students) term paper on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor.

PHIL 3321: Logic III (Class #36123)

Prof Garson
12:00-1:00 MWF, Room: AH 202

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One goal of this course is to prove the three most important theorems in logic and the foundations of mathematics. These are Turing's Theorem (There is no method to determine whether a computer program will halt), Church's Theorem (Predicate Logic has no decision procedure), and Goedel's Theorem (Arithmetic is Incomplete). We will also show the adequacy (soundness and completeness) of Predicate Logic. The course will begin with a thorough hands on exploration of Turing machines, and then apply lessons learned here to predicate logic and then arithmetic. There will be numerous exercises. After each theorem has been proven, we will explore its implications for issues in the philosophy of mathematics.

PHIL 3333: Metaphysics (Class #36124)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
1:00-2:30 TTH, Room: Roy G. Cullen 102

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This course will survey the principle issues in contemporary metaphysics. Topics include universals, persistence, particulars, realism & anti-realism, causation, possible worlds, as well as certain methodological and meta-philosophical issues regarding metaphysical enquiry itself.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #10016)

Prof. Morrison
10:00-11:00 MWF, Room: TBA

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395 - Open and Closed Societies (Class #10020)

Prof. Sommers
4:00-5:30 TTH, Room: AH 304

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Open societies and liberal democracies are celebrated for its protection of the dignity and liberty of the individual.  But can societies have an excess of freedom, as Plato argued in The Republic?   Can some degree of social control be justified if it leads to greater harmony and happiness among the populace?  Are citizens in democracies sufficiently well-informed and well-educated to govern their lives and their country?   Does the individualist ethic promoted in a free market democracy lead to stark inequalities, alienation, or demoralization?  Is there a single best form of government for all human beings, or might a political order that emphasizes individual freedom be suitable for some cultures but not others?   This course will explore these questions and others from a variety of historical, cultural, and literary perspectives.    Texts include Plato’s Republic, Huxley’s Brave New World,  Popper’s Open Society and Its Enemies, Mill’s On Liberty, Berlin¹s Four Essays on Liberty, Fukuyama’s “The End of History,” and selections from Marx, Durkheim, and De Tocqueville.

Fall 2012 Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 17th Century Philosophy (Class #10019)

Prof. Hattab
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. TTH, Room: AH 201

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The goal of this course is to understand and critically examine the philosophical origins of modern Western thought. We will begin with key texts by Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei and René Descartes that spearheaded the scientific and philosophical revolution of the early seventeenth century. After familiarizing ourselves with these scientific methods and mechanistic/atomistic worldviews, we will study the new theories of knowledge and metaphysical principles that Descartes, Spinoza, Hobbes, Locke and Leibniz developed in the wake of the new science. Finally, we will trace how some of these new philosophies (most notably Hobbes’ materialism and Spinoza’s monism) changed the conception of human nature and foundations of ethics and political philosophy.

PHIL 3334: Philosophy of Mind (Class #10021)

Prof. Weisberg
4:00-5:30 p.m. TTH, Room: AH 304

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Philosophy of Mind focuses on philosophical questions surrounding the nature of mind.  Among these questions are:  What is the mind?  Is it a physical thing, or is it something more?  How do we know about the mind?  Are there things about the mind that we can only know from our own unique first-person perspective?  What are the different sorts of mental states?  What is consciousness?  What is the self?  Can psychology and neuroscience help to answer these questions, or are there limits to what science can tell us about the mind?  Did the mind evolve?  Do other creatures have minds?  How do know that other people have minds?

PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #10018)

Prof. Nelson
10-11:30 TTH, Room: PGH 343

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An introduction to issues in medical ethics. The course will divide into two main parts, with more emphasis on the first than on the second. 

 The first part focuses on "micro level" questions. These include the roles of patients and medical professionals in making treatment decisions:  decisions about continuing or discontinuing treatment, issues of patient autonomy, euthanasia and assisted suicide, problems with severely compromised newborns and problems of aging. We may also touch on other topics about the patient physician relation, such as truth telling and confidentiality. 

 The second part will focus on public policy regarding access to health care, health care reform, and perhaps some public health issues.

PHIL 3356: Feminist Philosophy (Class #10015)

Prof. Freeland
1:00-2:30, Room: AH 9

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #10016)

Prof. Phillips
2:30 - 04:00 p.m. MW, Room: AH 104

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In this course we will read 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 three pieces of written work: a take home midterm and a take home final, both consisting of two questions each requiring about 4-5 pages of writing, and a 7-8 page paper.

PHIL 3371 - Depiction, Narration, and Critical Theory (Class#10020)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
05:30 - 08:30 P.M. Th, Room: AH 302

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This course will be topically split into three sections: Depiction, Narration, & Art Criticism. The issues to be covered within each section are as follows:

I. DEPICTION

• The nature and definition of pictorial depiction with specific attention paid to the notions of resemblance, intentionality, perspective, color, objective occlusion shapes, and relative occlusion sizes

• The notion of pictorial realism, its relation to depictive convention and the epistemic scope and limits of depiction itself

• The nature of visual representation within specific media (e.g., painting, photography, portraiture) and the implications thereof

II. NARRATION

• The nature of narrative itself as well as robust and deflationary accounts of its structural, referential, and value based features

• Specific issues in narrative fiction such as the necessity and ubiquity of implicit fictional narrators therein and the coherence of ethical criticisms thereof

• The notion and function of narrativity across various media (e.g., literature, cinema, photography, comics, painting, music)

III. ART CRITICISM

• The nature of art criticism itself and as an enterprise both related to and distinct from other related domains of enquiry such as art history and philosophy of art

• Art Criticism & its essential aims: evaluating artworks, uncovering their artistic value, supporting its evaluations with reasons, and facilitating audience appreciation of those works

• Art Criticism & its essential methods: the objective categorizing of artworks into types, classifying artwork types according to artistic purposes, and evaluating the extent to which artists successfully fulfill such purposes.

PHIL 3395: Hist of 19th Century Philosophy (Class #10013)

Prof. Morrison
10:00-11:00 AM MWF, Room: TBA

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No information is available at this time.

Spring 2012 Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #18635)

Prof. G. Brown
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. TTH, Room: AH 303

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A detailed introduction to the epistemological and metaphysical theories of three major figures in 18th-century philosophy: Hume, Berkeley, and Kant. There will be two exams (midterm and final). Students will also be required to submit a 10-12 page term paper (20-25 pages for graduate students) on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor.

PHIL 3335: Theory of Knowledge (Class #18636)

Prof. Johnson
1-2:30 p.m. MW, Room: AH 9

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3333: Philosophy of Science (Class #22453)

Prof. J. Brown
2:30PM - 4:00PM p.m. MW, Room: AH 304

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3344: Philosophy of Social Sciences (Class #22455)

Prof. Weisberg
1:00-2:30 PM TTH, Room: M 122

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Recent work in social psychology presents a range of surprising results concerning what it means to be a person.  We know ourselves much less well than we might have thought, and much of what drives our behavior is hidden below the surface of our conscious minds.  We are, it seems, “strangers to ourselves.”  This course considers the scope and implications of these unexpected results.  What are the results and what do they imply?  How accurate is our introspective access to our own minds?  What do these results mean for our ordinary or philosophical views of the self?  How should we adjust our self-concepts and behaviors in light of these studies?  And why are these results surprising—just who did we think we were?  Perhaps by mapping out the nature of this new, surprising self-image, we can get a grip who we thought we were and who we really are.  

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #22456)

Prof. Morrison
10:00-11:00 AM MWF, Room: L 212L

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3375: Law, Society, & Morality (Class #22518)

Prof. Nelson
10-11:30 TTH, Room: C 108

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3383: History of Ancient Philosophy (Class #22501)

Prof. Freeland
Time TBA, Room: TBA

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This course is an advanced survey of ancient Greek philosophy from the Presocratic period through to the Hellenistic period, focusing on the development of Greek views of the cosmos, the soul, and the virtuous life.  The course will be conducted entirely online using Blackboard. There will be discussion assignments and chat room opportunities to further intellectual dialogue and interaction.

Fall 2011 Courses

PHIL 3304: History of 17th Century Philosophy (Class #20759)

Prof. G. Brown
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. TTH, Room: TBA

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3321: Logic III (Class #23653)

Prof. Garson
1-2:30 p.m. MW, Room: TBA

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3333: Metaphysics (Class #23577)

Prof. J. Brown
10-11:30 a.m. TTH, Room: TBA

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3334: Philosophy of Mind (Class #24382)

Prof. Buckner
10-11 a.m. MWF, Room: AH 015

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #14817)

Prof. Phillips
1-2:30 p.m. TTH, Room: TBA

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3382: Medieval Philosophy (Class #23088)

Prof. Hattab
12-1 p.m. MWF, Room: TBA

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: Selected Topics in Philosophy: History of 19th Century Philosophy (Class #23651)

Prof. Morrison
10-11 a.m. MWF, Room: TBA

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: Selected Topics in Philosophy: Philosophy of Film (Class #23994)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
5:30-8:30 p.m. W, Room: TBA

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No information is available at this time.

Spring 2011

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #19457)

Prof. Morrison
10-11 a.m. MWF, Room: AH 322

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3334: Philosophy of Mind (Class #21635)

Prof. Weisberg
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. TTH, Room: Science & Engineering 206

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3335: Theory of Knowledge (Class #19461)

Prof. Johnsen
1-2 p.m. MW, Room: AH 208

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The distinguished philosopher David Lewis once wrote, "We know a lot. To doubt that would be absurd," but he would not have bothered to say so had others not disagreed. In this course we will try to understand both why some philosophers have doubted that we know much at all, and why others consider such doubts absurd.

Doing so will require us to examine a number of important matters: the concepts of knowledge and of rationally justified belief; radical skepticism — think The Matrix; inductive skepticism — even if Matrix scenarios can be ruled out, and the world has been pretty much the way we think it has during our lifetimes, is there any good reason to expect the sun to rise tomorrow? is it reasonable to believe that it rose on June 1, 1755? Wittgenstein-inspired contextualism — if someone hanging out in Lou's bar says Jones knew his daughter was guilty, and someone else, testifying in court, says he didn't, is there some difference between bars and courts that might allow them both to be right? W. V. Quine's alleged proposal to "naturalize epistemology" — that rather than ask whether there is any rational connection between our evidence and our theories, we should just try to understand how we arrive at our theories from our evidence; the Gettier problem, raised in the best-known three-page epistemological essay of the 20th century — if knowledge is not justified true belief, then what is it? and, possibly, Richard Rorty's contention that the classical problems of epistemology — including most of those mentioned — are bogus, and that we should stop trying to sucker our students into taking them seriously.

PHIL 3351: Contemporary Moral Issues (Class #23399)

Prof. Phillips
1-2:30 p.m. TTH, Room: TBA

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Philosophical analysis of contemporary issues such as abortion, affirmative action, the treatment of animals, capital punishment, euthanasia, and famine relief. Written work: a take-home midterm and a take-home final, each consisting of 2 papers of about 5 pages in length, and an 8-page paper.

PHIL 3355: Political Philosophy (Class #21636)

Prof. Nelson
11 a.m.-12 p.m. MWF, Room: AH 322

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Classic and contemporary readings in liberal political thought: Hobbes, Locke, Mill, Rawls and Nozick. In spring 2011, I am likely to emphasize questions about freedom, consent and property. Main text: Arthur and Shaw, eds., Social and Political Philosophy. Additional material available on e-reserve.

PHIL 3388: History of 20th Century Philosophy (Class #21637)

Prof. Garson
12-1 p.m. MWF, Room: AH 204

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The course will introduce the student to some of the most prominent philosophers of the Twentieth Century. It will include such figures as: Russell, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Quine, Putnam and Rorty. Some choices as to which figures to cover will be left to the class. The course will be centered around two themes that appear and reappear in this work. One is the search for the foundations of knowledge, and another the search for values. Philosophy in the twentieth century is thought be divided into two very different camps: the Analytic and the Continental schools. However one purpose of the class will be to show parallels rather than differences in thinking between the two traditions.

There will be weekly reading assignments drawn from the text, Twentieth-Century Philosophy 3rd ed. by F. Baird and W. Kaufmann (Eds.)

There will be a midterm and a final and 3 short papers (about 300 words each).

PHIL 3395: Moral Diversity (Class #21633)

Prof. Sommers
10-11:30 a.m. TTH, Room: TBA

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People everywhere are passionate about their moral attitudes and beliefs, and we all seem to think the values of our own culture are the right ones. Yet no one denies the existence of widespread disagreement about justice, human rights, and the best way to live. This course will explore the issue of moral diversity and how it bears on familiar debates in ethical theory. First, we'll survey research in anthropology and cultural psychology that document the nature of differences in moral values. We'll then examine the religious, biological, and cultural sources of this diversity. Finally, we will give detailed consideration to the philosophical implications of moral diversity for ethical discourse. Should the existence of diversity lead to greater tolerance of the standards and norms of other cultures? Can members of one culture justifiably criticize the values of another? What happens when the conflict arises within a particular society? Throughout the course we will examine a series of case studies, such as the burka ban in France and Belgium, the issue of female circumcision, and honor killings in some Muslim and Indian societies.

Fall 2010

PHIL 3304: History of 17th-Century Philosophy (Class #31746)

Prof. Morrison
10 - 11 a.m. MWF, Room: M 106

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3332: Philosophy of Language (Class #31745)

Prof. J. Brown
2:30 - 4 p.m. MW, Room: C 106

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What does the sentence "The President believes Hobbes is a tiger" mean? Every normal speaker of English understands this sentence, and they do so effortlessly, without having to consciously reflect on it. But it turns out to be very hard to answer our question. (The obvious answer—that it means that the President believes Hobbes is a tiger—doesn't seem terribly illuminating.) And, of course, there is nothing special (nor especially interesting) about this particular sentence of English—the problem is a general one, for all sentences, in all languages.

What do our words and sentences mean? How do we know what they mean? How do they get the meanings they have? We will address these central questions in the philosophy of language. Along the way, we'll read many of the classic works in philosophy of language, as well as several recent papers tackling the same issues.

PHIL 3350: Ethics (Class #31748)

Prof. Nelson
10 - 11:30 a.m. TTH, Room: AH 202

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Phil 3350, sec 31748
Phil 6350, sec 31862

This is an introduction to contemporary moral theory, focusing on normative ethics, rather than metaethics. The main readings will be from Darwall's anthology on Consequentialism and from Scanlon's contractualist theory in What we Owe to Each Other. We will also look briefly at contemporary examples in the deontological tradition. The main focus (if this isn't obvious) is on accounts of moral rightness and wrongness.

The main requirements are a midterm, a comprehensive final, and 2 or 3 short to medium length papers. (Requirements in 6350 will be different.)

PHIL 3358: Classics in History of Ethics (Class #18296)

Prof. Phillips
1 - 2:30 p.m. TTH, Room: AH 322

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Philosophy 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics

In this course we will read much of the most important ethical work of three central figures in the modern history of ethics: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), and Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900). Kant and Mill would very often be taken to be the two most important moral philosophers of the modern era: the most important representatives of, respectively, the deontological and the utilitarian traditions. It is less standard (though far from unprecedented) to give such prominence to Sidgwick; one of the aims of the course is to explore the idea that Sidgwick merits a place as prominent as the other two.

We will focus on our three philosophers' approaches to two central issues in moral theory: (i) the nature of morality: just what are moral rules, where do they come from, and why should we follow them?; (ii) the content of morality: just what does morality tell us to do? We will also attend to their views on the status of egoism.

There will be a take home midterm and a take home final, both consisting of two questions each requiring about 4-5 pages of writing, and a 7-8 page paper. The midterm and final will each be worth 35%, the paper 30%.

PHIL 3361: Aesthetics (Class #32285)

Prof. Freeland
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. TTH, Room: AH 201

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Biology (Class #31841)

Prof. Weisberg
1 - 2:30 p.m. MW, Room: H 32

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Selected Topics in Philosophy: Philosophy of Biology
Prof. Josh Weisberg
Fall 2010

Our scientific understanding of the biological world is increasing at an amazing rate. New breakthroughs occur constantly, challenging our previously-held views of the natural world and our place in it. How does this science work and what are the implications of its research? This class addresses the philosophical issues arising from the science of biology. We will consider the nature of explanation in biological science; metaphysical questions concerning the nature of key biological entities and processes; issues arising from the theory evolution; the relationship between biology and other scientific domains; and the controversies generated by biological science in psychology, ethics, and religion. The goal of the course is to provide an introduction to this exciting sub-field of philosophy, and to provide students with the chance to explore some of the deep philosophical issues surrounding modern biological theory.

The course readings will be taken from the new anthology Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology, edited by Francisco Ayala and Robert Arp, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.