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Fall 2007

PHIL 5010 Single Philosopher: Aristotle
Professor Mi-Kyoung Lee

PHIL 5010 Single Philosopher: Rousseau
Professor Claudia Mills

Of all the great philosophers, none is more contradictory, infuriating, or exhilarating than Rousseau. We'll be reading widely in Rousseau's political philosophy (the two Discourses, On the Social Contract, and Considerations on the Government of Poland) and philosophy of education and religion (Emile), as well as his stunningly revelatory, ground-breaking autobiography, the Confessions, epistolary novel Julie, or the Nouvelle Heloise (the best-selling novel of the 18th century!), and his poignant, late-life Reveries of the Solitary Walker. We'll even listen to Rousseau's opera, Le Devin du Village, which was the toast of Paris, for which Rousseau wrote both libretto and score. Students will write two 8-10 page papers, and one 15-20 page final paper, revised and expanded from one of the two shorter papers (an alternative is to write a third 5-8 page paper). Graduate students taking the course as Phil. 5010 will also give one ten-minute class presentation drawn from the secondary, scholarly literature on Rousseau.

PHIL 5040 Latin Philosophical Texts
Professor Robert Pasnau

PHIL 5110 Contemporary Moral Theory
Professor Eric Chwang

This course will discuss the nature of rights and role that they should play in ethics. We will read Judith Jarvis Thomson's The Realm of Rights as well as most of the papers found in Theories of Rights, edited by Jeremy Waldron. Other papers and topics will be assigned depending on class composition and interest but may include whether there is a right to do wrong and whether rights can be inalienable.

PHIL 5290 Topics in Values and Social Policy: Ethics Across Borders
Professor Alison Jaggar

This is a course in moral epistemology. It will examine contemporary accounts of moral reasoning, with special attention to the possibility of cross-cultural social criticism. How can moral criticism of social practices be validated, especially the practices of other cultures? Do universal moral standards exist? If so, how can they be known? Who has the standing to criticize which social practices? Are practices of reasoning themselves culturally biased? Is it possible to avoid both cultural relativism and cultural imperialism?

PHIL 5340 Epistemology
Professor Michael Tooley

Closed admission proseminar course. Required for all incoming PhD students; recommended for incoming MAs.

PHIL 5490 Philosophy of Language
Professor David Barnett

PHIL 5450 History and Philosophy of Physics
Professor Allen Franklin

PHIL 5500 Advanced Formal Semantics
Professor Graeme Forbes

Recommended prerequisite: Philosophy 5490

Course Description: The aim of the course is to study the use of type-theory in formal semantics for natural language.

The fundamental property of language that makes it possible to produce and understand sentences of one's native language not previously encountered is its compositionality: the meaning of a complex meaningful expression is composed from the meanings of its simpler constituents. In type-theory we can provide a very precise model of semantic compositionality, for we can represent the derivation of the meaning of a complex expression from the meanings of its constituents as a proof in a kind of deductive system.

After a brief introduction to semantic tableaux, natural deduction and sequent calculus, we will develop the simple theory of types, applicative categorial grammar, and Lambek calculus in a type-logical framework, and apply it to a variety of problematic constructions in natural language, probably including generalized co-ordination, plurals, higher-order intensional logic, generics, focus, and event-based semantics.

Philosophy 5810- Special Topics in Philosophy

Philosophy 5840- Graduate Independent Study

PHIL 6100 Seminar in Ethics
Professor Robert Hanna

Description: The topic of this seminar is Kant's ethics & Kantian ethics. After a brief look at Kant's transcendental idealism by way of an introduction, we'll (1) do a close critical reading of Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and Critique of Practical Reason, & then (2) develop a version of Kantian ethics I call "embodied kantian constructivism" or EKC, & apply EKC to two clusters of issues in contemporary applied ethics: i) the morality of abortion & infanticide, & ii) the morality of our treatment of non-human animals. The main thesis of this seminar is that ethics is all about real, embodied persons, their absolute intrinsic value or dignity, & their innate capacity (sadly, not always fully realized! due to human finitude or just plain bad luck) to act freely in accordance with action-guiding and instrumental- reason-overriding universal categorical moral principles desired with authentic, rational purity of heart. Texts: (1) Kant, I. Immanuel Kant: Practical Philosophy. Trans. M. Gregor. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. (2) Various online papers & other materials TBA. Requirements: Two 15 pp. papers, a "Canadian" sense of humor, & online personhood.

PHIL 6400 Seminar in Philosophy of Science
Professor Carol Cleland

Philosophy 6940- Master's Candidate for Degree

Philosophy 6950- Master's Thesis

Philosophy 6960- Master's Research

Philosophy 7310- Reading in Cognitive Science

Philosophy 7415- Cognitive Science Research Practicum

Philosophy 7840- Doctoral Independent

Philosophy 8990- Doctoral Dissertation

Spring 2007

Philosophy 5010: Kant
Professor Robert Hanna

Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (CPR) is arguably the single most important book in modern philosophy. Its main topic is the nature, scope, and limits of human cognition and reason; and its main conclusion is that necessary truth, a priori knowledge, and freedom of the will are possible if and only if transcendental idealism is true. The purpose of this course is to give a close, critical reading of the central line of argument in the CPR all the way from the Preface to the Ideal of Pure Reason.

Undergraduates: three 8-10 pp. papers
Graduate students: three 10-12 pp. papers

(A) Required texts:

  • Gardner, S., Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason (London: Routledge, 1999).
  • Kant, I. Critique of Pure Reason, trans. P. Guyer and A. Wood (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1998).
(B) Recommended texts:
  • Guyer, P. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Kant (Cambridge: CUP, 1992)
  • Guyer, P. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Kant and the History of Modern Philosophy (Cambridge: CUP, 2006).
  • Hanna, R. Kant and the Foundations of Analytic Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon/OUP, 2001).
  • Hanna, R., Kant, Science, and Human Nature (Oxford: Clarendon/OUP, 2006).
  • Kant, I. Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, trans. J. Ellington (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1977).

Philosophy 5010: Wittgenstein
Doctor William Grundy

This course involves a close reading of three of Wittgenstein’s major writings—the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Philosophical Investigations and On Certainty. We will look at both Wittgenstein’s distinctive approach to philosophical problems, as well as the unique literary techniques that he uses in advancing his ideas. The course will consider several of the major themes in Wittgenstein’s writings, and trace their evolution over the course of his philosophical development. Among other topics, we will consider the distinction between language and world, the distinction between mind and body, the possibility of a private language, and the nature of rules and rule-following. In the second half of the course, we will survey the many different approaches that commentators have taken to Wittgenstein’s work, and consider what, if anything, a post-Wittgensteinian mode of philosophy might involve.

Philosophy 5100: Ethics
Professor Chris Heathwood

Proseminar course--first year PhDs and MAs only

Philosophy 5230: Bioethics and Public Policy - Topics in Research Ethics
Professor Eric Chwang

We will examine various contentious ethical topics that arise in research. Examples include: research with animals, children, prisoners, embryos, and stored tissue samples; deceptive research; placebo-controlled research; emergency research; undue inducement; and exploitation.

Philosophy 5240: Environmental Philosophy
Doctor Benjamin Hale

Philosophy 5260: Philosophy of Law
Professor David Boonin

This advanced undergraduate/graduate-level course offers a detailed, critical examination of one of the central issues in the philosophy of law: the problem of punishment. The legal institution of punishment involves treating people in ways that it is typically wrong to treat people (e.g., taking away their money, locking them up in cages, killing them). The problem of punishment arises from the fact that although virtually everyone agrees that the practice of punishing people for breaking the law is morally permissible, it is extremely difficult to say precisely why the fact that some people have broken the law renders it permissible to treat them in ways that it would otherwise be wrong to treat them. The course will begin by developing a detailed account of the nature of punishment and of the problem of justifying it. We will then devote the majority of the semester to a critical examination of various solutions to the problem that have been proposed in the philosophical literature on punishment, beginning with the two most prominent sorts of solutions (consequentialist and retributivist) and then moving on to a number of less orthodox positions (including self-defense, reprobative, educative, and consent-based models). The course will conclude with a detailed consideration of the alternative view that punishment should simply be abolished and replaced by a system of victim restitution, and, if there is time remaining after that, with discussion of one or two further topics related to punishment (such as capital punishment, corporal punishment, punishment of children, etc.). Class format will involve a mixture of lecture and discussion and how much time we spend on any one unit will depend largely on how much discussion that unit generates during class meetings.

Philosophy 5400: Philosophy of Science
Professor Carol Cleland

Philosophy 5440: Topics in Logic - Modal Logic
Professor Graeme Forbes

A technical development of sentential and first-order modal logic with, as time permits, some consideration of metatheory or dynamic logic.

Philosophy 5840: Graduate Independent Study

Philosophy 6000: Seminar in the History of Philosophy - Identity in 17th Century Philosophy
Professor Dan Kaufman

Philosophy 6940: Master's Candidate for Degree

Philosophy 6950: Master's Thesis

Philosophy 6960: Master's Research

Philosophy 7840- Doctoral Independent

Philosophy 8990- Doctoral Dissertation