Department of Philosophy
The University of Houston
513 Agnes Arnold Hall
Houston, TX 77204-3004
Phone: 713-743-3010
Fax: 713-743-5162

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Past Upper-Level Undergraduate Courses

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.

Spring 2010

PHIL 3305: History of 18th-Century Philosophy (Class #31679)

Prof. G. Brown
11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. TTH, Room: AH 208

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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.

Texts (required):

  1. David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, edited by David Fate Norton and Mary J. Norton (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). ISBN: 978-0198751724. Amazon.com
  2. George Berkeley, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge and Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, edited by Roger Woolhouse (Penguin Classics,, 1988). ISBN: 978-0140432930. Amazon.com
  3. Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, edited by Gary Hatfield (New York: Cambridge University Pess, 2004). ISBN: 978-0521535359. Amazon.com

 

Texts (recommended)

  1. Cambridge Companion to Hume, edited by David Fate Norton and Jacqueline Taylor, 2nd edition (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004). ISBN: 978-0521677349. Amazon.com
  2. Cambridge Companion to Kant, edited by Paul Guyer (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992). ISBN: 978-0521367684. Amazon.com

PHIL 3335: Theory of Knowledge (Class #31685)

Prof. Johnsen
1 - 2:30 p.m. MW, Room: C 108

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3342: Philosophy of Mathematics (Class #31681)

Prof. Garson
11 a.m. - 12 p.m. MWF, Room: AH 302

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Through the ages, philosophers have thought that mathematics embodies the highest standards for knowledge. Even our best science might get things entirely wrong, but 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. However along the way some other philosophical puzzles will arise, for example, what are the numbers?, and what are mathematical statements really about?

Although the course will cover some technical topics related to logic and infinity, it will assume no special knowledge of mathematics beyond simple algebra. Some experience with introductory logic is a prerequisite. There will be two quizzes and a final, and occasional homework exercises.

PHIL 3344: Philosophy of Science (Class #31682)

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

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #30805)

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

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This course will divide roughly into two parts. The first part is concerned with “micro level” issues, issues about medical decision- making, doctor patient relationships and mutual responsibilities.

Specific issues will include truth telling, autonomy/paternalism, and the proper role of surrogate decision-makers. The second part discusses “macro” policy issues: the nature of insurance, access to health care, and possible reforms.

I hope to teach the course mostly, if not entirely, from online materials and library reserves.

PHIL 3356: Feminist Philosophy (Class #34331)

Prof. Freeland
1 - 2:30 p.m. TTH, Room: ARC 209

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This course is an advanced survey of recent developments in feminist philosophy. Topics include the definitions of gender and sex, ethical theories, feminist epistemologies, disputes about essentialism, and assessments of the position of women in the history of philosophy. We will study and compare the assumptions and aims of various types of feminism (radical, socialist, liberal, psychoanalytic, French, multicultural, "Third Wave," etc.). No philosophy background is assumed, but readings will typically be fairly long and abstract. The class will involve roughly 50% lecture and 50% class discussion (often in small groups). Grading will reflect the requirements of regular reading, writing, and group participation.

Writing assignments include informal one-page reaction papers as well as three longer (5-page) essay papers on assigned topics.

Texts: TBA

PHIL 3395: History of 19th-Century Philosophy (Class #31690)

Prof. Morrison
10 - 11 a.m. MWF, Room: L 212J

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Fall 2009

PHIL 3333: Metaphysics (Class #30655)

Prof. J. Brown
10:00-11:30 TTH, Room: AH 10

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This course will survey various classic and contemporary issues in metaphysics. Possible topics include: the natures of existence and identity, the relationship between individuals and their properties, possibility and necessity, causation, the nature of time and persistence, vagueness, and the relationship between material objects and their proper parts.

PHIL 3351: Contemporary Moral Issues (Class #30661)


Prof. Phillips
13:00 - 14:30 TTH, Room: C 107

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PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #19156)


Prof. Morrison
10:00 - 11:00 MWF, Room: C 112

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3376: Philosophy and the Scientific Revolution (Class #30658)

Prof. G Brown
11:30 - 13:00 TTH, Room: C 106

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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 re olution 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 made against it by Leibniz and Newton, among others. We will also discuss the influential work of the English scientist Robert Boyle (1627-1691), who was in Florence in 1642 when Galileo died in his nearby villa in Arcetri. Boyle quickly became a devotee of Galileo's philosophy and the new approach he advocated for studying the world through mathematics and mechanics. Boyle was a founding member of the Royal Society of London, which became the principal organ of the British scientific community. When Newton became president of the Royal Society in 1703, he used his position to bash his opponents, especially Leibniz, who had been elected a fellow to the Royal Society in 1673. Our final topics of discussion will the be 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 (Required)

  • Boyle, Robert. Selected Philosophical Papers of Robert Boyle, edited by M. A. Stewart. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1991.
  • Descartes, René. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, Vol. I, edited and translated by John Cottingham, et al. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.
  • Galileo. The Essential Galileo, edited by Maurice A. Finocchiaro. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2008.
  • Leibniz, G. W. Philosophical Essays, edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1989.
  • Newton, Isaac. Philosophical Writings, edited by Andrew Janiak. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, edited by H. G. Alexander. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1956.

Texts (Recommended)

  • The Cambridge Companion to Descartes, edited by John Cottingham. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
  • The Cambridge Companion to Galileo, edited by Peter Machamer. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  • The Cambridge Companion to Leibniz, edited by Nicholas Jolley. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
  • The Cambridge Companion to Newton, edited by I. Bernard Cohen and George E. Smith. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

PHIL 3377: Philosophy of Religion (Class #30621)

Prof. Hattab
2:30 - 4:00 MW, Room: AH 304

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This is an advanced undergraduate/graduate level philosophy course in which we will conduct an in-depth investigation of fundamental philosophical questions that have arisen with respect to religion in the Western tradition (to this end, we also will study some non-Western philosophers who influenced the Western tradition). It requires prior study of Philosophy and/or Theology. The questions we will examine can be divided into roughly three classes:

  1. Epistemological questions concerning the relationship between philosophical reasoning and religious belief.
  2. Metaphysical questions concerning the nature of the divine.
  3. Ethical and political questions concerning the proper relationship between religion, morality and society.

We will begin with the roots of philosophical reflections on these issues in the writings of ancient and medieval philosophers such as Aristotle, Anselm, Avicenna, Al-Ghazali, Maimonides, Averroes and Aquinas. We will then study some of the most devastating criticisms advanced against traditional views by early moderns such as Calvin, Spinoza and Hume. We will conclude by examining the alternative approaches taken in the 19th – 20th centuries by philosophers like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and James, as well as more recent articles. Assignments include papers, presentations and regular participation in class discussions.

PHIL 3383: History of Ancient Philosophy (Class #30651)

Prof. Freeland
Internet Course

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PHIL 3395: Punishment (Class #30653)


Prof. Sommers
4:00 - 5:30 MW, Room: 16 AH

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This course examines a wide range of philosophical theories of punishment, paying close attention to what these theories presume about human agency and responsibility. Questions to be discussed include: What right do we have punish wrongdoers? 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 (à la Minority Report)? Throughout the course we will hold the empirical assumptions in leading theories of punishment under scrutiny to see how they cohere with contemporary models of human action in the sciences.

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Spring 2009

PHIL 3304: History of 17th-Century Philosophy (Class #21680)

Prof. Hattab

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PHIL 3321: Mathematical Logic (Class #28187)

Prof. Garson

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3334: Philosophy of Mind (Class #28188)

Prof. Weisberg

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3348: Philosophy and Evolution (Class #28191)

Prof. G. Brown

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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.

Texts (Required)

  1. Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (New York: Penguin, 1982). ISBN: 978-0140432053.
  2. Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (New York: Penguin, 2004). ISBN: 978-0140436310.
  3. Charles Darwin, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (Filiquarian, 2007). ISBN: 978-1599869155.
  4. Philip Kitcher, Living with Darwin (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007). ISBN: 978-0195314441.
  5. Tim Lewens, Darwin (New York: Routledge, 2007). ISBN: 978-0415346382.

Texts (Recommended)

  1. Jonathan Hodge and Gregory Radick, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Darwin (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003). ISBN: 978-0521777308.
  2. Michael Ruse and Robert J. Richards, eds., The Cambridge Companion to the "Origin of Species" (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009). ISBN: 978-0521691291.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #28189)

Prof. Phillips

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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). 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 3375: Law, Society, and Morality (Class #28190)

Prof. Nelson

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This is an introduction to the Philosophy of Law. Roughly the first half of the course introduces classic works on the nature of law and legal systems, the idea of the rule of law, and principles of judicial decision-making. (Typical readings from Aquinas, Austin, Hart, Holmes, Frank, Lyons, etc.) The second half will focus on some illustrative problem, such as the fugitive slave decisions, freedom of religion, or the content, limits, and justification of property rights.

PHIL 3395: Kierkegaard and Nietzsche (Class #28192)

Prof. Dr. Morrison

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: Punishment (Class #28205)

Prof.Sommers

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This course examines a wide range of philosophical theories of punishment, paying close attention to what these theories presume about human agency and responsibility. Questions to discussed include: What right do we have punish wrongdoers? 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 (à la Minority Report)? Throughout the course we will hold the empirical assumptions in leading theories of punishment under scrutiny to see how they cohere with contemporary models of human action in the sciences.

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Fall 2008

PHIL 3332: Philosophy of Language (Class #35321)

Prof. J. Brown

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This course will survey the major developments in philosophical thought about language from roughly 1900 onward. Some of the questions we will explore:

  1. Is language a social artifact, a biological capacity, or something else?
  2. How does the meaning of a sentence depend on the meanings of its parts?
  3. Just what are meanings, anyways?
  4. What's the meaning of a name like 'George Bush'? A name like 'Harry Potter'? A definite description like 'the President of the United States' or 'the present king of France'?
  5. What can the study of language tell us about non-linguistic bits of the world?

Most readings will be drawn from A. P. Martinich's Philosophy of Language and from Saul Kripke's Naming and Necessity. Course requirements will be set at a future date.

PHIL 3349: Philosophy of Social Sciences (Class #32525)

Prof. Weisberg

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How well do we know our own minds? How in control of our actions are we? Are our choices really rational, or are they a product of less reasoned biases and gut feelings? A range of experimental results in social psychology, economics, and the cognitive neurosciences suggests that we know ourselves much less well than we commonly think and that we often act on cognitive autopilot. In psychologist Timothy Wilson’s words, it seems that we are “strangers to ourselves.?

In this course, we will evaluate these experimental results, in order to determine if such radical claims about who we are and how we reason are warranted. We will consider the methods of the sciences in question, the inherent difficulties in developing and confirming models of human psychology, and the challenges of extending empirical data into the philosopher’s territory of mind, reason, and self. Perhaps the data undermine some of our cherished folk-psychological notions. But even if we find that the grander claims based on these interesting results cannot be supported, our commonsense view of who we are will be clarified by the contrast. And this is a useful outcome in any event.

The course will focus on selected readings from several recent books, both popular and scholarly. Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink is a good introduction to the field. Timothy Wilson’s Strangers to Ourselves and Gerd Gigenzer’s Gut Feelings provide a more detailed overview and analysis of the social psychological experiments in question. And Joseph LeDoux’s The Emotional Brain Michael Gazzaniga’s The Ethical Brain offer a tour of relevant research in the neurosciences. We will also consider the primary source papers from the relevant researchers.

The course requirements for undergraduates include two short papers on assigned topics and a longer research paper for the final. Graduate students are required to make one class presentation on a section of the readings and write a research term paper

PHIL 3354: Medical Ethics (Class #32412)

Prof. Nelson

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This course will focus mainly (about 2/3) on "micro level" issues, and about 1/3 on public policy issues. The first part will concern doctor-patient relations, medical decision-making, issues of life and death, and possibly issues about clinical trials. (We won't cover ALL of these areas.) The second part will look at problems about medical insurance, both private and public, and access to medical care.

There will be two papers, a midterm and a final.

Main Text: Munson, Intervention and Reflection, 8th edn.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #27174)

Prof. Morrison

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3361: Aesthetics (Class #32413)

Prof. Freeland

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An examination of recent work in aesthetics. We begin with a book (Shiner) that analyzes the historical evolution of modern notions of art and aesthetic value. We then consider recent debates (in Kieran) about representation, expression, the role of imagination in art, the basis of interpretation, and interactions between ethics and aesthetics. Our final text (Wartenberg) defends the claim that artworks, and in particular films, can “do? philosophy.

Required Books

  1. The Invention of Art: A Cultural History, by Larry Shiner, Chicago: 2001. ISBN: 0-226-75343-3
  2. Contemporary Debates in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art, ed. Matthew Kieran. Blackwell: 2006. ISBN: 1-4051-0240-3
  3. Thinking on Screen: Film as Philosophy, by Thomas Wartenberg. Routledge; 1 edition (December 14, 2007). ISBN: 0415774314

Recommended Books

  • Philosophy of Art: A Contemporary Introduction (Routledge Contemporary Introductions to Philosophy) (Paperback) by Noël Carroll (Author). Routledge; 1 edition (October 20, 1999). ISBN: 0415159644

PHIL 3382: Medieval Philosophy (Class #32408)

Prof. Hattab

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In this course we will grapple with several philosophical and theological questions central to the Middle Ages such as:

  • What is the relationship between religion and philosophy, faith and reason?
  • Do humans have free will and can this be reconciled with divine foreknowledge?
  • Can the existence of God be proven and if so how?
  • What makes our actions virtuous versus sinful?
  • Where does knowledge come from and what kinds of things can we know?
  • What is the nature and source of political authority?

We will favor the in-depth reading and discussion of key texts in which medieval philosophers seek to answer these questions over an exhaustive overview of the medieval period. However, we will, for the most part, proceed in chronological order, starting with the Church Fathers and ending with William of Ockham, and we will study some of the most influential philosophers of the Middle Ages.

Our focus will be on seminal texts such as St Augustine’s Confessions and On Free Choice of the Will, St Anselm’s Proslogion and his Replies to Guanilo, selections from Peter Abelard’s famous correspondence with Heloise as well as his Ethical Writings, and from St Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Contra Gentiles and Summa Theologica. We will also spend part of the course reading equally important non-Christian philosophers of the Middle Ages, such as the Islamic philosopher Averroes (Ibn Rushd), and the Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides. We will conclude with selections from John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham whose theories anticipate the moderns.

PHIL 3388: History of 20th-Century Philosophy (Class #32410)

Prof. Garson

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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 by F. Baird and W. Kaufmann (Eds.)

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

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Spring 2008

PHIL 3304: History of 17th-Century Philosophy (Class #29968)

Prof. Brown

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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 on a topic determined in consultation with the instructor. Graduate students will be required to submit a 20-25 page term paper.

Texts (Required)

  1. Descartes, Rene. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, Vols. I, II, and III, edited and translated by John Cottingham, et al. New York: Cambridge University Press,1984-85.
  2. Spinoza, Benedict de. A Spinoza Reader, edited and translated by Edwin Curley. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.
  3. Locke, John. Essay Concerning Human Understanding, edited by John Nidditch. New York: Oxford University Press, 1975.
  4. Leibniz, G. W. Philosophical Essays, edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1989.

Texts (Recommended)

  1. The Cambridge Companion to Descartes, edited by John Cottingham. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992
  2. The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza, edited by Don Garrett. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  3. The Cambridge Companion to Locke, edited by Vere Chappell. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
  4. The Cambridge Companion to Leibniz, edited by Nicholas Jolley. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

PHIL 3335: Theory of Knowledge (Class #34503)

Prof. Johnson

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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? – 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 3344: Philosophy of Science (Class #34504)

Prof. Weisberg

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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 3355: Political Philosophy (Class #34506)

Prof. Nelson

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This course will cover basic works in the liberal political tradition. We start with Hobbes and Locke in the 17th century and some of the Federalist and Anti-federalist writings from the American revolutionary period. We will also discuss such 20th century writers as Rawls and Nozick.

PHIL 3395: History of 19th-Century Philosophy (Class #29976)

Prof. Dr. Morrison

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No information is available at this time.

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Fall 2007

PHIL 3305: History of 18th-Century Philosophy (Class #12093)

Prof. Hattab

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3321: Logic III: Modal Logic (Class #12094)

Prof. Garson

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This course will cover modal logic, the logic of necessity, and related notions such as obligation, belief, and time. We will cover the first half of my new book Modal Logic for Philosophers, Cambridge, 2006, where propositional modal logics are discussed. If there is time, we will go on to study quantifiers, and cover some of the philosophical issues surrounding the development and application of modal logics.

Students will complete weekly exercises, take two quizzes and a comprehensive final.

PHIL 3333: Metaphysics (Class #12095)

Prof. Saka

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Metaphysics is the study of existence/reality at its most general. What does it mean to say that something exists? Does reality have a beginning and end? What are space and time? Does reality have a creator? Is there a single unified order or is reality partitioned into multiple realms that never interact? What is interaction -- what are cause and effect?

One objective of this course is to introduce you to some awesome issues about existence. Another objective is to equip you with some of the vocabulary and techniques of contemporary anglophone philosophy. Exact readings have yet to be determined; grades will be based on two papers and an exam.

PHIL 3351: Contemporary Moral Issues (Class #12096)

Prof. Phillips

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3356: Feminist Philosophy (Class #12097)

Prof. Freeland

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This course is an advanced survey of recent developments in feminist philosophy. Topics include the definitions of gender and sex, ethical theories, feminist epistemologies, disputes about essentialism, and assessments of the position of women in the history of philosophy. We will study and compare the assumptions and aims of various types of feminism (radical, socialist, liberal, psychoanalytic, French, multicultural, "Third Wave," etc.). No philosophy background is assumed, but readings will typically be fairly long and abstract. The class will involve roughly 50% lecture and 50% class discussion (often in small groups). Grading will reflect the requirements of regular reading, writing, and group participation.

Writing assignments include informal one-page reaction papers as well as three longer (5-page) essay papers on assigned topics. Texts: TBA.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #12098)

Prof. Phillips

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3376: Philosophy and the Scientific Revolution (Class #12099)

Prof. Brown

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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 Scienfitic 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 look at the controversy over the Copernican system, especially the role of Galileo (1564-1642) in that controversy, as well as his role in the development of the mecahnical philosophy. In connection with the latter, we will also spend some time discussing the influential version of the mechanical philosophy that was developed by Descartes (1596-1659) and his followers, as well as the objections made against it by Leibniz and Newton, among others. We will also discuss the influential work of the English scientist Robert Boyle (1627-1691), who was in Florence when Galileo died in his nearby villa in Arcetri. Boyle quickly became a devotee of Galileo's philosophy and the new approach he advocated for studying the world through mathematics and mechanics. Boyle was a founding member of the Royal Society of London, which became the principal organ of the British scientific community. When Newton became president of the Royal Society in 1703, he used his position to bash his opponents, especially Leibniz, who had been elected a fellow to the Royal Society in 1673.

There will be a midterm and a final exam, as well as a 12-15 page term paper on a topic chosen by the student in consultation with the instructor.

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Spring 2007

PHIL 3304: History of 17th-Century Philosophy (Class #13463)

Prof. Brown

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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 on a topic determined in consultation with the instructor.

Texts (Required)

  1. Descartes, Rene. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, Vols. I, II, and III, edited and translated by John Cottingham, et al. New York: Cambridge University Press,1984-85.
  2. Spinoza, Benedict de. A Spinoza Reader, edited and translated by Edwin Curley. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994.
  3. Locke, John. Essay Concerning Human Understanding, edited by John Nidditch. New York: Oxford University Press, 1975.
  4. Leibniz, G. W. Philosophical Essays, edited and translated by Roger Ariew and Daniel Garber. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1989.

Texts (Recommended)

  1. The Cambridge Companion to Descartes, edited by John Cottingham. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992
  2. The Cambridge Companion to Spinoza, edited by Don Garrett. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  3. The Cambridge Companion to Locke, edited by Vere Chappell. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
  4. The Cambridge Companion to Leibniz, edited by Nicholas Jolley. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

PHIL 3334: Philosophy of Mind (Class #13460)

Prof. Garson

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3348: Philosophy and Evolution (Class #13462)

Prof. Austin

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We will start with Darwin, reading *The Origin of Species* and brief selections from other writings. Then we will take up a recent book, Endless Forms Most Beautiful*, by Sean Carroll, which will bring us up to date on recent developments in evolutionary theory, providing answers to questions that no one in Darwin's time knew how to answer.

In the last third of the course we will examine two recent books that try to assess the human significance of the overall picture of the history of life on earth. In *Wonderful Life* Stephen Jay Gould argues, on the bais of an analysis of some remarkable, very ancient fossils found in the Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies, that human life is a fluke, an incredibly lucky accident that was very unlikely to happen. Ironically, one of the heroes of his story is the paleontologist Simon Conway Morris, one of the leading figures in the reinterpretation of the Burgess Shale fauna. But Conway Morris disagrees vehemently with Gould. He holds that while conditions conducive to life are rare in the universe, wherever (as in our solar system) life can arise at all, something like human life is very likely to follow.

PHIL 3350: Ethics (Class #13461)

Prof. Nelson

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This is an advanced course, focusing mostly on normative ethical theory. The main texts are Scanlon's What We Owe to Each Other, and Scheffler's The Rejection of Consequentialism. (You will be glad to know we will not read either in its entirety!)

We will begin with a brief discussion of issues about the objectivity and foundations of morality (and a few observations on these issues in Scanlon), then we will turn to substantive ethics. We will look at a small number of articles in which the authors take definite stands on specific issues and then look at how Scanlon's and Scheffler's developed theories would have us reflect more deeply on these issues.

Grades will be based on a midterm, a final and one or two substantial papers.

PHIL 3395: History of 19th-Century Philosophy (Class #07470)

Prof. Morrisson

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No information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: History of Medieval Philosophy (Class #13466)

Prof. Hattab

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No information is available at this time.

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Fall 2006

PHIL 3335: Theory of Knowledge (Class #12951)

Prof. Johnsen

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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? – 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 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #07365)

Prof. Phillips

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This class focusses on three seminal writers in the modern history of ethics: Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), Joseph Butler (1692-1752), and Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900). We will read substantial portions of their most important ethical works (Hobbes' Leviathan, Butler's Sermons and Sidgwick's The Methods of Ethics). We will be especially concerned with their contrasting views about two central ethical questions: the status of egoism and the character of the true moral theory. On the first question our three writers stack up, very roughly, this way: Hobbes is a rational egoist who tries to build morality on egoist foundations; Butler is a critic of psychological egoism but thinks the principle of self-love has substantial rational authority; and Sidgwick thinks that, despite his best efforts, rational egoism is as defensible as any other method of ethics. On the second question they stack up roughly this way: Hobbes is a social contract theorist; Butler is a deontologist; and Sidgwick is a utilitarian. We will also be alert for connections between the work of our three writers and that of contemporary moral philosophers.

PHIL 3375: Law, Society, and Morality (Class #12950)

Prof. Nelson

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An introduction to the philosophy of law. We begin with historical attempts to define law, to distinguish it from other systems of social rules (like moral rules), and also to explain the relations between the two. We move on to discuss the legitimate powers of judges, possible ideas of how they should decide cases, and whether these ideas are themselves legal or moral ideas. Finally, we look at some particular area of law (probably property law), focusing both on what judges have held in interesting cases and on the moral evaluation of such decisions.

Text: Feinberg and Coleman, PHILOSOPHY OF LAW, 7th edn. (plus cases available online).

PHIL 3383: History of Ancient Philosophy (Class #12956)

Prof. Freeland

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This course is an advanced survey of ancient Greek philosophy from the presocratic period through to the Hellenistic period, examining the development of Greek views of the cosmos, the soul, and the virtuous life.

Textbooks (Required)

Text: Feinberg and Coleman, PHILOSOPHY OF LAW, 7th edn. (plus cases available online).

  1. Ancient Greek Philosophy, from Thales to Aristotle. Edited by S. Marc Cohen, Patricia Curd, and C.D.C. Reeve (Hackett, 3rd edition, 2005)
  2. Hellenistic Philosophy: Introductory Readings. Translated by Brad Inwood and L.P. Gerson (Hackett, 2nd edition, 1997)

Requirements will include a combination of short reaction paper assignments, short summary papers, two take-home essays (each 2-3 pages long), and regular in-class discussion assignments. Graduate students will be expected to participate in a two-session extra discussion group focusing on one of Plato's dialogues not covered in the class (probably the Philebus) and to write an extra paper on this dialogue.

The on-line version of this course will follow the same structure and time-table but will involve slight variations in the assignments and how they are conducted and evaluated.

PHIL 3387: History of American Philosophy (Class #12955)

Prof. Saka

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Reading-intensive survey of distinctive trends in American thought: Native American philosophy (Gayanashagowa), Puritanism (Jonathan Edwards), Enlightenment ideas (Franklin, Jefferson), transcendentalism (Thoreau, Emerson), pragmatism (Peirce, James, Dewey, Putnam), and race theory (Douglass, DuBois). Source books will be American Philosophies (edited by Leonard Harris) and Pragmatism, Old & New (edited by Susan Haack).

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