100 Problems of Philosophy - Dustin Tune email@example.com
course explores some of the big questions in philosophy. Does God exist?
Does it matter? What is the meaning of life? Is there
room for morality in a physical universe? Where do our minds fit in?
How can we know anything? Can we doubt everything? We will dig
into such issues by critically examining arguments, both from the history of
philosophy and from contemporary theorists.
101 Contemporary Moral Issues – Prof. G. Bradford firstname.lastname@example.org
should we live our lives? What we eat, what we buy and how we choose to
live our lives are all moral choices – from eating our vegetables to sex,
drugs, and rock and roll: Should we consider the lives of the animals we
eat? Is abortion morally permissible? Should drugs be
legalized? What’s wrong with downloading pirated MP3s? This class
examines the ethics of consumption, and life choices as they affect others,
ourselves, and the world around us. We learn about various moral theories, and
discuss how they handle these pressing issues that confront us every day.
Historical Introduction to Philosophy
- Anthony Carreras email@example.com
offers a broad survey of some of the great figures of western philosophy, including
(but not limited to) Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Anselm,
Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Many of the great questions
of philosophy will be raised by the texts we will read, questions such as:
What is the nature of reality? Does God exist? What is knowledge?
Can we have knowledge at all, and if so, how? How ought we live and
why? Through the figures we will study, we shall examine these
questions and the possible answers to them. In addition, we shall
try to gain an appreciation of the value of studying the history of
philosophy, for not only are the views of these figures fascinating in their
own right, but they have shaped contemporary philosophical debates and continue
to contribute to them.
106 Logic - Prof. C. O'Callaghan firstname.lastname@example.org
covers material related to what makes for good or successful reasoning. The
primary concern of this course is deductive logic. Deductive logic is the study
of the principles of implication, or what follows from what. Deductive logic
deals with the purely formal properties of, and relations among, statements and
arguments. These formal aspects of propositions and arguments are independent
from specific subject matter or content and determine whether an argument is
successful in one fundamental sense: the argument's conclusion must be true
given the assumption that its premises are all true. That is, the premises of
the argument (deductively) logically entail its conclusion. For instance, the
propositions `If someone is from Houston, then he or she is a Texan' and `Peter
is from Houston' logically entail (imply) the proposition `Peter is a Texan'.
`If something is made of cheddar, then it's made of cheese' and `the moon is
made of cheddar' logically entail (imply) `the moon is made of cheese'.
Deductive logic is thus to be distinguished from inductive reasoning. A strong
bit of inductive reasoning is one whose premises, if true, make it more likely
- but not logically certain - that the conclusion is true. So, `The sun rose
yesterday' and `the sun rose the day before yesterday', and so on..., make it
likely on inductive grounds, but not logically certain, that `the sun will rise
tomorrow' is true. Given our concern with the principles of deductive
reasoning, we'll develop a formal system or language in which we can paraphrase
ordinary English statements in a way that makes obvious their logical
structure. Then, we'll introduce some techniques through which we can prove
that certain logical relations, such as implication, entailment, or
equivalence, hold between statements, or that a given statement has a certain
logical property, such as being tautological or satisfiable. We'll begin with
very simple language and statement forms and move toward more nuanced forms in
order to increase the expressive capacity of the formal language at least in
the direction of the rich expressiveness of natural language. This course
should thus be of interest to philosophers, linguists, mathematicians,
debaters, scientists, and anyone intrigued by the characteristics of languages
and various forms of reasoning. Given its concern with formal reasoning and
systems, this course satisfies a Group III distribution requirement.
202 History of Philosophy II - Prof. M. Kulstad
This course is a
survey of some of the great philosophical ideas and arguments of western
civilization from the seventeenth century to the twentieth. Although PHIL 202
is a continuation of PHIL 201 (History of Philosophy I, covering ancient and
medieval philosophy), it is not required that one take PHIL 201 (or any other
philosophy course) before taking PHIL 202. Many non-majors take PHIL 202,
often as their first and sometimes as their only philosophy course, serving as
a historical introduction to philosophy, as well as a central course for
philosophy majors. Given the importance of PHIL 202's philosophers—such as
Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, and Nietzsche—, and their importance for work in
other disciplines, e.g., literature, intellectual history, political theory,
religious studies, and the history of science, PHIL 202 also fits well in
a program of general education with an emphasis on interdisciplinary.
Phil 301 -
Ancient & Medieval Philosophy - Prof. D. Morrison email@example.com
This year's topic will
be "Aristotle's practical philosophy." Aristotle held that ethical
and political theory belong together, as parts of a single "science".
This course will cover all of the major topics in Aristotle's Ethics and Politics. These include: the nature of human happiness or
well-being; virtue and the various virtues; practical reasoning; the nature and
limits of ethical and political theory; the proper goal of politics;
citizenship; and the ideal state/society.
303 Theory of Knowledge - Prof. M. Fagan firstname.lastname@example.org
knowledge, and how is it possible that we have it? This course examines
important contemporary theories of knowledge, including foundationalism,
coherentism, contextualism, and reliabilism. We will use contemporary
classics in the epistemological literature to exemplify these positions, and to
examine their strengths and weaknesses. We will also examine two different
challenges to the major theories: naturalism and radical skepticism.
PHIL 306 Ethics
– Prof. H. Sheinman email@example.com
Ethics is the study of how we should live. We will focus on normative ethics: on stating and defending the most basic
substantive moral principles. For
the most part, we will not be concerned with meta-ethics, namely questions about the nature or
possibility of moral theory itself.
At the same time, the discussion will be somewhat more abstract than in applied
ethics courses (such as our PHIL 101 Contemporary
Moral Issues), which typically deal with
the application of moral principles to particular problems (abortion, animal
rights, etc.). We shall take a
thematic, largely non-historical approach to the subject. Thus, for example, will not read the
seminal works of the “usual suspects” (Aristotle, Hume, Kant). Instead, we will follow a systematic
textbook, and supplement it with largely contemporary work.
This is an upper-level course in philosophy. Having previously taken some other
course in philosophy is likely to prove an advantage.
310 Philosophy of Biology - Prof. M. Fagan firstname.lastname@example.org
The course deals with
philosophical issues that arise in the life sciences. Classic topics in
philosophy of science include theory change, scientific laws, explanation,
evidence and experiment. We will examine these and related topics, as
they arise in life sciences: evolution, genetics, biomedicine, and systems
biology. We will examine what it means to call evolution “a theory,”
whether genes can explain behavior, how ‘systems thinking’ changes our concepts
of causation and knowledge, and where science and ethics meet in stem cell
biology. Readings will include classic texts by Darwin and Mendel as well
as contemporary philosophers of biology.
311 Philosophy of Religion - Prof. B. Brody email@example.com
examination of God's nature, of arguments for and against his
existence, of the relation between religion and science, and of religious
versus secular morality.
Phil 312 Philosophy of Mind – Prof. C. Siewert firstname.lastname@example.org
How should we conceive of the relation between mind and
brain? What is consciousness? Does its “subjective” character make it especially
difficult to explain scientifically? What would it take to make an artificial
mind, and how would we know we had succeeded? Are our minds literally in our
heads, or is whole bodily activity, or our environment just as much a part of
mind as what happens in our skulls? These are some of the main questions we
will address in this course, through a critical analysis of classic and
314 Philosophy of Medicine - Prof. H.T. Engelhardt email@example.com
biomedical sciences, the practice of medicine, and health care policy employ
concepts of health, disease, disability, and defect in explanatory accounts,
intermixing factual claims with moral and other evaluations. This course explores the interplay of
evaluation and explanation in medicine’s models of disease and health.
– Ethics and Existence — Prof. Steven Crowell firstname.lastname@example.org
a philosophy of pure thought is for an existing individual a chimera, if the
truth that is sought is something to exist in” (Soren
Existentialism – the
philosophical movement concerned with the question of the meaning of things –
began when the concept of human existence became a special theme for
philosophical reflection against the background of the so-called “crisis of
reason” in the late 19th and early 20th century. This
course traces one part of the heritage of existentialism by questioning the
relation between reason and the evaluation
of human life, a question traditionally seen as the concern of ethics. The tensions
that emerge between ethical and existential points of view will serve to
highlight the cognitive, political, religious, and aesthetic dimensions of the
search for what it means to be. Readings include selections from
Soren Kierkegaard, Fear
Edmund Husserl, “Philosophy as Rigorous Science”
Husserl, “Philosophy and the Crisis of European Man”
Heidegger, “Introduction” to Being and Time
Heidegger, “What is Metaphysics?”
Heidegger, “Letter on Humanism”
Sartre, “The Origin of Negation” from Being and Nothingness
Sartre, “The Look” from Being and Nothingness
Sartre, What is Literature?
Levinas, Totality and Infinity
Derrida, “The Ends of Man”
Karl-Otto Apel, “The Apriori of the Communication Community
and the Foundation of Ethics”
336 Medical Ethics - Prof. Jennifer Swindell email@example.com
In this course we
will examine ethical and philosophical issues that arise in health care.
We will examine questions such as: If I let someone die when I could have
aided him, am I as morally responsible for his death as I would have been had I
actively killed him, by (say) injecting him with a poison? Should parents
be permitted to refuse treatment for their children for religious reasons?
How do we determine when someone is rational enough to make decisions
about their health care? What makes us “persons”? If there is a
point when one ceases to be a “person”, are we obligated to keep him alive?
Should alcoholics receive liver transplants? May we sell human
organs on a free market?
these questions, students will learn to think critically about difficult
issues, learn to articulate and justify your position on these issues, learn to
take seriously and assess the arguments of those who disagree with you, and
learn to respectfully debate about such topics. Students will also learn how
to approach difficult ethical cases that arise in their careers as health care
354 Philosophy of Perception - Prof. C. O'Callaghan firstname.lastname@example.org
apparently is our most immediate form of acquaintance with our surroundings.
Seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling strike us as rich sources of
experience and of information about the world. Perception guides action, and it
grounds concepts and beliefs. Yet, the world as we encounter it perceptually
can seem to differ dramatically from the world as it is and as it is described
by science. This course aims at an understanding of the nature of perception
and of perceptual experience, and of their roles in shaping cognition and
thought. The course is divided into three parts. The first part deals with the
nature of the objects of perception. The second part deals with perceptual
content and its relation to perceptual experience. The third part deals with
the nature of sense modalities and philosophical lessons drawn from theorizing
about non-visual and multi-modal perception.
Phil 355 Advanced Topics in Philosophical Logic - Prof. R. Grandy email@example.com
We will both explore technical aspects of logical systems
for necessity, time, conditionals, vagueness, higher order logic, etcetera
and also discuss philosophical questions about logic, such as: How do we decide which system of modal logic or conditional
logic is best? What is a
logical operation? Where is
the boundary of logic? Grades will
be based on homework, a project and participation.
Phil 305 or 505.
502 Seminar in Modern Philosophy - Prof. M. Kulstad firstname.lastname@example.org
This year's early
modern seminar will focus on topics in epistemology and philosophy of science.
The figures considered will be Descartes, Locke, Leibniz and Hume, with special
emphasis on the middle two.
504 Seminar in Metaphysics - Prof. R. Grandy email@example.com
The course will explore the possibility of a "naturalized" metaphysics, beginning with Carnap's criticism of metaphysics and Quine's criticism of Carnap. Specific topics will include colors, physical objects, sentences, causes, vagueness, possibilities and fictionalism. Prerequisite: 305 or 505
506 Ethics — Prof. H. Sheinman firstname.lastname@example.org
year’s graduate seminar will focus on expressive moral theories, those that
evaluate acts (and other objects – e.g. laws, policies, practices) by what they
express or mean (or by what is expressed/meant in relation to them). Reading includes work by Elizabeth
Anderson, Simon Blackburn, Jean Hampton, Deborah Hellman, Rae Langton, and
Richard Pildes. Open to
undergraduate students with permission.
Phil 512 Seminar in Philosophy of Mind – Prof. C. Siewert email@example.com
R 2:00 – 5:00
Is all consciousness in some sense a form of
self-consciousness? Can we explain phenomenal consciousness as a form of self-representation?
In what way, if any, do or should our answers to such questions depend on
introspective self-knowledge? How might they elucidate its character? We will
approach these issues by considering classic readings from the phenomenological
tradition (Brentano and Husserl) and recent interpretations of them (in e.g.,
D.W. Smith and D. Zahavi), and drawing this together with related work in
contemporary philosophy of mind—examining “higher-order thought” (Rosenthal)
and “higher-order perception” (Carruthers, Lycan) theories of consciousness, as
well U. Kriegel’s recent neo-Brentanian “self-representational” account.
535 Seminar in Value Theory – Prof. G. Bradford firstname.lastname@example.org
good? In this graduate seminar in value theory, we look at the central
issues in axiology, and lay the foundation for your further advanced studies in
moral philosophy and value theory. Topics covered include hedonism,
perfectionism, and other theories of wellbeing, equality, desert, organic
unities, and the nature of intrinsic value. Texts are largely from the
contemporary cannon, including Feldman, Parfit, Griffin, Moore, Temkin, Kagan,
Korsgaard, Hurka, Ross and others.