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The University Catalog contains a complete list of courses taught in the Philosophy Department.

Spring 2015

Courses at the 5000 and 6000 levels require graduate standing in philosophy unless otherwise indicated.

5010 002 Single Philosopher: Leibniz
12:30-1:45 TR CLRE 302
Prof. Kaufman

5030 Greek Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours)
TBA
Prof. Lee

5040 Latin Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours)
TBA
Prof. Pasnau

5120 Philosophy and Animals
1:00-1:50 MWF HLMS 245
Prof. Norcross

6000 Seminar in the History of Philosophy: Aristotle's Ethics
3:30-4:45 TR HLMS 196
Prof. Lee
Of all the philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome who wrote on ethics and political philosophy, Aristotle is the one whose work continues to attract the most attention and exercise the most influence today. Yet there are still aspects that have been neglected, most notably, the topic of justice. I argue that, contrary to a common understanding of Aristotle, justice, not virtue, is at the core of his moral and political writings. Justice (or dikaiosunê, sometimes better translated as 'righteousness' or even 'moral goodness') is the virtue that realizes, to the greatest extent, Aristotle's idea that man is by nature a social animal. It is also the concept from which he derives the obligations and duties that we have toward other people. It is thus at the center of his theory about what our relations to other people should be.

This seminar will be on Aristotle's ethics and political philosophy, with a focus on his treatment of the virtue of justice. We will begin with selected readings from Nicomachean Ethics Book I and II, and Politics I and III, and then will spend the rest of the term on Nicomachean Ethics Book V, Aristotle's treatment of dikaiosunê or justice.

6100 Seminar in Ethics: Moral Psychology and the Self
2:00-3:15 TR HLMS 269
Prof. Fileva
We will address the problems of the nature of the self and the psychology of moral judgment. There are different methods of approaching these problems: introspection, thoughts experiments, normative discussion, experimental study of the factors influencing behavior, and empirical study of the brain. The first three methods are traditional in philosophy, the third -- in social psychology, and the last -- in neuroscience. However, there is one subject matter, and there is no good reason for us to limit ourselves to a particular method (of course, there are reasons of convenience -- we may simply feel more comfortable with some methods than we do with others -- but those aren't good enough reasons). Some of you, no doubt, already believe in the advantages of interdisciplinary approaches. The remarks below are addressed primarily not to them but to those who think of themselves as disciplinary purists.

If, due to either educational background or temperamental inclination, you tend to doubt that introspection, thought experiments, and the sorts of normative discussion philosophers engage in can help make progress, consider the following:

  1. Observant writers such as Proust, Dostoyevsky, and Virginia Woolf have provided insights into human nature and moral life without any empirical knowledge, arguably, by relying on ordinary observation and introspection.
  2. Thought experiments devised by philosophers, such as the Trolley Problem, have been used extensively by cognitive scientists working on moral judgment.
  3. Normative questions concerning what we ought to do cannot be decided solely by empirical means, for instance, it may be an empirical fact that people care a lot about kin and not at all about strangers, but no direct conclusion regarding our duties to strangers follows from here.


If, on the other hand, you are disinclined to draw on empirical research -- whether from psychology or neuroscience -- and you prefer to stick to traditional philosophical methods of inquiry, consider the following:

  1. There is, by now, overwhelming evidence that many of our actions and judgments, including moral ones, are driven by unconscious processes, unavailable to introspection. If we want to understand these processes and their role in moral life and the constitution of our identity, we have to look to other sources of evidence.
  2. Virtues and vices may have a neurological basis. For instance, psychopathy is associated with reduced amygdala activity. (Relatedly, psychiatric conditions such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder are, arguably, at once moral and mental disorders).
  3. Certain kinds of brain damage can lead to profound changes in character even when cognitive functions remain intact. To the extent that our characters reflect our values, this suggests that our values may be largely unchosen.


The above points are, admittedly, somewhat cryptic, but they should give you a sense of what we will attempt to do in the course and why: we'll make a serious attempt to integrate evidence regarding the self and moral judgment from a variety of sources.

Please note: this course is offered jointly by the Philosophy Department and the Institute for Cognitive Science. By taking it, students can earn credit in either philosophy or cognitive science. For philosophers interested in obtaining the Philosophy and Cognitive Science certificate, the course credit will count toward the certificate.

6300 Seminar in Philosophy of Mind
3:00-5:00 W HLMS 177
Prof. Rupert
This course will cover contemporary work on self-knowledge, consciousness, and perception. We will begin by reading Brie Gertler's Self-Knowledge in its entirety. Then, the course will take on the structure of something like a choose-your-own-adventure. Together, we will read substantial initial portions (3-5 chapters each) of four books:

  • Peter Caruthers, The Opacity of Mind: An Integrative Theory of Self-knowledge
  • Jesse Prinz, The Conscious Brain: How Attention Engenders Experience
  • Nicoletta Orlandi, The Innocent Eye: Why Vision Is Not a Cognitive Process
  • Jacob Hohwy, The Predictive Mind

Then, each student will choose one of these books to finish and write a term paper about. During the last few weeks of the semester, students will give presentations, telling the rest of us how their adventures ended.

6380 Seminar in Metaphysics
5:00-6:15 TR HLMS 196
Prof. Oddie
This course is an exploration of topics in the metaphysics of value. We will meander leisurely among at least some, perhaps many, possibly even all of the following:

  • Values and attitudes: What's the relation between value and evaluative attitudes? Are things valuable because we value them (idealism), or do we value them because they are valuable (realism)? Or perhaps nothing at all matters (nihilism).
  • The evaluative and the non-evaluative: It is often assumed that two things cannot differ in their value profile without differing in their natural profile. This dependence relation has been cashed out in terms of identity, reduction, universalizability, supervenience, and (recently, that cure-all metaphysical balm that magically salves every metaphysical ache you might ever have suffered from) grounding. The relation, whatever it is, has implications for the correct metaphysics of value.
  • The logical geography of value concepts: There are a number of distinctions in value theory: between intrinsic and extrinsic value; between final and non-final value; between fundamental and derivative value; between personal and impersonal value. There is as yet no well-developed map of the logical geography of these distinctions. We need one, otherwise we will forever be left gnashing and grinding our teeth in outer darkness.
  • Value bearers: A theory of value should tell us what types of entity can be have value. There are two main contenders: concreta (concrete particulars and/or actual states of affairs); and abstracta (that is, possible states and/or properties). As Plato knew well, concreta are perennially more popular among the earth-bound. But (as he warned us) popularity does not make right.
  • Knowledge of value: Different metaphysics yield different epistemologies and value is no exception. There is a possible gap between our valuing attitudes (beliefs, judgments, preferences etc.) and the value facts. Nihilists tell us the gap is unbridgeable because one side of the gap is missing (value facts). The idealists try to eliminate the gap altogether by making value entirely attitude-dependent. Clearly these accounts won't do. Realists acknowledge the gap and try to narrow it, at least a little, but without closing it. Many philosophers are certainty freaks (It is the lust for certainty that idealism panders to). But most of what we claim to know (minus a couple of boring Cartesian truths and a few tautologies) is more or less uncertain. Recently the importance of value uncertainty, and how we might handle that, has engaged value theorists.
  • The logical structure of value: First, do goods aggregate and if so in what way? Is the value of a complex whole the sum of the values of its parts? There is some relationship between value additivity and the ubiquitous method of bare differences. It also underlies Parfit's notorious repugnant conclusion. This is something we definitely need to know. Second, are values commensurable? We examine recent arguments for and against non-standard value relations, like parity.
  • Monism and pluralism: There appear to be a vast range of different kinds of putatively valuable things: music, knowledge, friendship, love, ecosystems, achievements, honor, courage, snowflakes, the starry heavens, happiness, pleasure, well being... Monists think there is some one thing (like pleasure) that unifies and explains this apparent diversity of value. Pluralists say there is no such thing. Well, which is it?


Fall 2014


Courses at the 5000 and 6000 levels require graduate standing in philosophy unless otherwise indicated.

5030 Greek Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours)
TBA
Prof. Bailey

5040 Latin Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours)
TBA
Prof. Pasnau

5200/4200 Contemporary Political Philosophy
3:30-4:45 TR MCOL E186
Prof. Jaggar
Topic: Political authority and the international state system
Until the latter part of the twentieth century, the central questions of Western political philosophy concerned internal legitimacy of the state and the limits of its authority. However, the emergence of an international human rights order since World War II has raised new challenges for traditional conceptions of state sovereignty. This course will study some of these challenges with a view to rethinking the future of the state. Topics include:

  • State regulation and personal liberty
  • Democracy and economic inequality
  • Nationalism
  • Responsibility for global poverty
  • International aid
  • Humanitarian military intervention
  • Migration
  • Self-determination and secession

5240 Seminar in Environmental Philosophy
2:00-3:15 TR HLMS 177
Prof. Zimmerman
This course will provide a roadmap for teaching an effective undergraduate course in environmental ethics and/or environmental philosophy, by critically examining major themes in environmental ethics. Themes will include: 1) The character and limits of "ethical extentionism," that is, the attempt made in the 1970s and 1980s to "extend" to non-human beings legal standing, moral rights, and moral considerability that originally applied to humans. 2) The related effort to determine whether non-human beings have inherent rights or intrinsic value of the sort that would require humans to show moral respect for such beings. 3) Conceptual and cultural challenges to the "wilderness" view of nature that played a significant role in American environmentalism. 4) The rise of "social constructivism" which, informed by postmodern theory, emphasizes that "nature" is always defined and evaluated through different cultural and historical lenses. Themes 3) and 4) will contest a number of the claims made in themes 1) and 2). Major texts will include Holmes Rolston III's classic, Environmental Ethics, and William Cronon, Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. A number of essays on the above-mentioned themes will also be assigned. In addition to the above, we will also examine the topics covered by various environmental ethics/philosophy textbooks, so that you will have an idea of how this material is typically approached in undergraduate courses.

5400/4400 Philosophy of Science
2:00-3:15 TR MCOL E186
Prof. Cleland

5450 History and Philosophy of Physics
11:00 - 12:15 TR DUAN G2B47
Prof. Franklin

6000 Seminar in the History of Philosophy - 17th Century Philosophy
7:00 - 9:30 M HLMS 177
Prof. Pasnau
Developing ideas from my 2014 Isaiah Berlin Lectures, this seminar will look at the history of epistemology from the later Middle Ages into the so-called early modern era. Topics to be discussed include certainty, skepticism, evidence, perception, and first-person authority. We will spend the first half of the class on various less well-known medieval figures -- especially Nicholas of Autrecourt, John of Mirecourt, and John Buridan -- and spend the second half of the class on three famous later figures: Descartes, Locke, and Hume. Students can fulfill their early modern requirement with this class, provided that the bulk of their written work focuses on early modern material.

6380 Metaphysics
5:00 - 7:30 T HLMS 196
Prof. Saucedo
We'll carefully examine the debate between a novel, collectivist approach to questions of fundamental ontology and more familiar pluralist, monist, and structuralist alternatives. We'll delve deeply into issues about plurals, ontological priority, parts and wholes, relations, and emergence along the way. Readings will draw from both historical and contemporary sources, possibly from within both eastern and western philosophical traditions. Although we'll go over a tiny bit of 20th century physics (mostly quantum mechanics), no special background will be assumed.

Spring 2014

5010/4010 Single Philosopher - Nietzsche
(May be repeated up to 12 credit hours)
11:00 - 12:15 TR HLMS 251
Prof. Zimmerman
In this course, we will investigate a number of important themes from Nietzsche's writings, including: perspectivalism, nominalism, the idea that art is worth more than truth, the death of God, nihilism, the revaluation of morality, and the origins of morality. We begin with a few of Nietzsche's early essays (such as "On Truth and Lying in an Extra-Moral Sense"), which introduce themes that Nietzsche would continue to explore until the end of his working life. After reading portions of The Birth of Tragedy, as well as two essays from Untimely Meditations, we will read portions of Beyond Good and Evil. We conclude with The Genealogy of Morals. Secondary literature pertinent to these readings will be assigned. Graduate students will write a term paper exploring an area of Nietzsche's thought that we have explored in class.

5010/4010 Single Philosopher - Plato
(May be repeated up to 12 credit hours)
2:00 - 2:50 MWF VAC 1B90
Prof. Lee
This course will be an advanced survey of Plato's views on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy. We will be carefully reading dialogues such as the Meno, Phaedo, Republic, Parmenides, Theaetetus, Timaeus, plus important pieces of secondary literature on Plato. The course presupposes prior acquaintance with Plato.

5030 Greek Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours)
TBA
Prof. Lee

5040 Latin Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours)
TBA
Prof. Pasnau

5110/4110 Contemporary Moral Theory
2:00 - 2:50 MWF VAC 1B88
Prof. Heathwood
What makes a person's life go well or badly for her? Which things are of ultimate benefit or harm to us? What is it in our interest to get? If someone is well off, or enjoying a high quality of life, what makes this the case? These are various ways of asking the philosophical question of well-being, which is the focus of this course. We'll begin by trying to answer the question ourselves, before reading what other philosophers have written on the matter. Then we'll study some important philosophical theories and doctrines about well-being, such as hedonism, subjectivism, objectivism, internalism, eudaimonism, perfectionism, and pluralism. We'll devote special attention to desire satisfactionism, including some of the work-in-progress of your humble instructor. We will also investigate controversies about the very concept of well-being, or over what this class is even about.

We will read journal articles and book chapters by contemporary analytic philosophers, which I will make available.

Course requirements will include term papers, exams, class presentations, regular attendance, and participation in discussion. Specific requirements will be settled after the class composition (i.e., number of graduate students and number of undergraduates) has been determined.

Prerequisites for undergraduates: 12 hours philosophy course work, including PHIL 3100, and junior standing.

5290 Topics in Values and Social Policy - Political Freedom
3:30 - 4:45 TR HLMS 196
Prof. Wingo

5360/4360 Metaphysics
1:00 - 1:50 MWF HLMS 245
Prof. Cleland

5440/4440 Topics in Logic - Mathematical Logic
2:00 - 3:15 TR HLMS 177
Prof. Forbes
The course is designed mainly with the needs of philosophy majors/ minors and graduates in mind. For philosophy majors or minors, a grade of at least B+ in Phil 2440 (Symbolic Logic) is recommended. Any other undergraduate who plans to enroll should seek the advice of the instructor.

Course Description: The aim of the course is to present proofs of soundness and completeness results for sentential and first-order systems of natural deduction of the kind commonly taught in Phil 2440. The particular focus will be the Gentzen-style systems of my Phil 2440 textbook Modern Logic (OUP 1994). As time permits, we will look at some first-order model theory beyond the completeness proofs, and also, I hope, the corresponding topics for certain rivals to classical logic, for example, intuitionistic logic and relevance logic.

Textbook: Logic and Metalogic for Philosophers, by Graeme Forbes (available in the bookstore in early January).

Homework assignments will be set on a regular basis and graded, course grades being based on these. The assignments for those taking the course at the 4440 level are (often) different from those for the 5440 level.

5550 Metaphysics and Epistemology Proseminar
Restricted to first-year Philosophy grad students only.
3:00 - 5:30 W HLMS 177
Prof. Oddie

6000 Seminar in the History of Philosophy - 17th Century Philosophy
12:30 - 1:45 TR HLMS 196
Prof. Kaufman
The seminar will focus on (mostly) seventeenth-century discussions of a cluster of issues concerning material substances, their individuation, and their identity over time. These include, for instance, the nature of matter, whether matter is fundamentally atomistic or gunky, material constitution, divisibility, the theory of distinctions, composition and the part-whole relation, the ontological status of a substance's parts, the resurrection of the same body, the persistence conditions for artifacts and organisms, and maybe some other stuff. By looking at these issues, we will be learning nearly everything that early-modern philosophers thought was philosophically important and interesting about the material world.

We will start with two pre-seventeenth-century philosophers: John Duns Scotus and Francisco Suárez. After that, our main authors will be Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Leibniz, and Hobbes. However, we will also be reading selections from Kenelm Digby, Walter Charleton, Anne Conway, Henry More, and Margaret Cavendish.

We will also be reading chapters from a book I am writing on these issues, as well as drafts of chapters for a volume on Identity, which I am editing for OUP.

6400 Seminar in Philosophy of Science: Philosophy, Economics, and the Environment
3:00 - 5:30 M HLMS 177
Dr. Kopec
There are many pivotal issues in environmental ethics and policy that engage with the science of economics, such as resource conservation, climate change, cost-benefit analysis, and effective ways to foster conservationist behavior. But many aspects of economic science are themselves controversial. Some specialists even believe that economics fails to deserve to be labeled a 'science'. So one might wonder whether we really ought to rest our considered positions in these important matters upon such a shaky foundation. This seminar aims to address such worries. It will be an interdisciplinary exploration of the philosophy of economics and what guidance economics can offer us in these areas of environmental ethics and policy. In the philosophy of economics, we will survey such topics as: rational choice theory; game theory; economic models and idealizations; predictive accuracy and evidence-based policy; welfare and well-being; markets and morality; and behavioral economics and "the nudge". We will then apply our background in these areas to various issues in environmental ethics and policy. We may cover such topics as: the moral appropriateness of cost-benefit analysis in environmental policy; decision under uncertainty and environmental precautionary principles; the likelihood of market failures in market based solutions like cap-and-trade; tragedy of the commons problems in resource conservation and international carbon emissions; and the effectiveness and moral appropriateness of conservationist nudging.

Fall 2013


Courses at the 5000 and 6000 levels require graduate standing in philosophy unless otherwise indicated.

5010/4010 Single Philosopher - Rousseau
(May be repeated up to 12 total credit hours)
1:00-1:50 MWF HLMS 247
Prof. 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 Confessions, epistolary novel Julie, or the Nouvelle Heloise (the best-selling novel of the 18th century), and his poignant Reveries of the Solitary Walker. We will even listen to the opera for which he wrote both libretto and score. Students will write two 8-10 page papers, and one longer final paper, revised and expanded from one of the two shorter papers. Requirements for graduate students also include one brief in-class presentation.

5030 Greek Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours)
TBA
Prof. Bailey

5040 Latin Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours)
TBA
Prof. Pasnau

5100 Ethics
Restricted to incoming graduate students only.
5:00-7:30 W HLMS 177
Prof. Chwang

5200/4200 Contemporary Political Philosophy
12:30-1:45 TR HLMS 263
Prof. Jaggar
Topic: Political authority and the international state system

Until about 40 years ago, the main questions addressed by Western political philosophers concerned the moral basis and limits of state power in particular bounded territories. However, the emergence of an international human rights order since World War II has raised new challenges for traditional conceptions of state sovereignty. This course will study some of these challenges with a view to rethinking the future of the state. Likely topics include: state regulation and personal liberty, democracy and economic inequality, responsibility for global poverty, nationalism, humanitarian military intervention, international aid, migration, and self-determination and secession.

5230 Bioethics and Public Policy
3:30-4:45 TR HLMS 177
Prof. Chwang

5240 Seminar on Environmental Philosophy
(Same as ENVS 5240)
6:30-9:00 T HUMN 186
Prof. Hale

5340/4340 Epistemology
1:00-1:50 MWF HLMS 245
Prof. Huemer

5360/4360 Metaphysics
3:30-4:45 TR HLMS 245
Prof. Tooley

5400/4400 Philosophy of Science
(Restricted to non-Philosophy students only)
2:00-3:15 TR HLMS 177
Prof. Cleland
Books: Curd & Cover, Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues; Mitchell, Unsimple Truths

This course provides an advanced introduction to foundational issues in philosophy of science. No background in philosophy of science or science is presupposed. Among the issues that we will discuss are: What is the nature of the evidential relation between a scientific hypothesis/theory and the data that supports it; can scientists prove or falsify their hypotheses/theories? Is there a single unified "scientific method" for all of science; does the methodology of, e.g., the historical sciences differ from that of the experimental sciences? What is a law of nature? What role do natural laws play in scientific practice? Are the theories of the "special sciences" (e.g., chemistry, biology, geology, and psychology) ultimately "reducible" to fundamental physics? What is a scientific explanation; is it just prediction in reverse? Can probabilistic (indeterministic) explanations really explain? The last three weeks of the class will be devoted to discussion of Sandra Mitchell's new book Unsimple Truths, which drawing from the complexity and contingency of the systems studied in the special sciences (especially biology), defends a pluralistic (non-reductionist but integrative) view of the nature of scientific practice.

5460/4460 Modal Logic
12:30-1:45 TR HLMS 196
Prof. Forbes
Text: An Introduction to Modal Logic by Graeme Forbes; available at the campus book store.

Course Description: We will make a technical study of classical modal logic, which is the kind of logic obtained by adding two operators "[]" ("it is necessary that") and "<>" ("it is possible that") to classical sentential and predicate logic, and by providing an appropriate semantics and proof theory for the resulting formal language.

Most of the course will be devoted to working in systems of modal logic. However, a final module (Chapter 5 of the book) will cover some of the metatheory of sentential modal logic, such topics as the decidability of modal systems, and the soundness and completeness of their proof systems. How much ground we will cover in this module cannot be predicted. I may skip some sections of Chapter 4 in order to leave more time for it, or we may not get into it at all.

Homework: Homework problems will be set at the end of each class-meeting throughout the semester. Hand in your solutions at the beginning of the following class. Your homework will be returned, graded, at the beginning of the next class.

Grading: Course grades will be based on homework grades, weighted for difficulty of the problems. I will often set different problems for the 4460 and 5460 levels.

6000 Seminar in the History of Philosophy: Aristotle M&E
5:00-7:30 R HLMS 196
Prof. Koslicki
The main focus of this course is two-fold. First, after filling in some of the necessary background, we will undertake a careful reading of the middle books of Aristotle's Metaphysics (Books Z, H, Θ), where Aristotle's main and most mature investigation into primary substance takes place. Since these texts are among the most difficult ever written in the history of Western philosophy, we will need to go very slowly and turn to the secondary literature for help in trying to understand what Aristotle is up to in these central books of the Metaphysics. The second aim of this course is to put the ideas and views Aristotle develops in these texts into a contemporary context, to see why metaphysicians today are still finding them interesting, worthwhile and sometimes even plausible. The recent revival of Aristotelian metaphysics among contemporary philosophers will give us the opportunity to make contact with this current literature as well, as we work our way through the central books of Aristotle's Metaphysics and surrounding texts.

6100 Seminar in Ethics
5:00-7:30 T HLMS 196
Prof. Norcross

spring 2013
5010/4010 Single Philosopher - Descartes
(May be repeated up to 12 total credit hours)
12:30 - 1:45 TR CLUB 13
Prof. Kaufman
Descartes and 17th-Century Metaphysics
In this course, we will examine the hell out of Descartes' metaphysics and some of the early modern responses to it. Among the topics will be: (a) the nature of material substance and what follows (e.g. anti-atomism, the impossibility of empty space, infinite divisibility), (b) monism vs. pluralism about material substance, (c) the real distinction between mind and body, (d) the so-called 'substantial union' of mind and body, (e) causation, (f) free will, and (g) the eternal truths.

Some of the responses to Descartes we will read: Spinoza's rejection of real distinctions between finite things; Malebranche's Occasionalism; Leibniz's view that purely extended things cannot be individual substances (from his 1686 correspondence with Arnauld), Henry More's criticism of Descartes' 'nullibism' (i.e. the view that the mind has no spatial location).

Books: The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, 3 volumes, Cambridge University Press.
All other readings will be available electronically.
Prerequisites: (1) PHIL 3010, or (2) PHIL 1020 + at least one 3000-level philosophy course, or (3) my permission.

5020/4020 Topics in the History of Philosophy - Hellenistic Philosophy
3:30 - 4:45 TR VAC 1B88
Prof. Bailey

5030 Greek Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours)
TBA
Prof. Bailey

5040 Latin Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours)
TBA
Prof. Pasnau

5260/4260 Philosophy of Law
11:00 - 12:15 TR GUGG 206
Prof. Hosein
In this class we'll consider some important questions about the law, especially constitutional law, in light of contemporary moral and political philosophy. Likely topics include the role of judicial review in a democracy, freedom of speech, campaign finance, and equality, especially race and gender equality. We'll read some legal scholars and supreme court cases alongside works by philosophers.

5340/4340 Epistemology
1:00 - 1:50 MWF HLMS 245
Prof. Huemer

5550 Metaphysics and Epistemology Proseminar
Restricted to first-year graduate students.
3:30 - 6:00 W HLMS 177
Prof. Forbes

6000 Seminar in the History of Philosophy - Aristotle: Ethics
5:00 - 7:30 R HLMS 196
Prof. Lee
This seminar will focus on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. We will slowly read through most of the Nicomachean Ethics, with special attention on his account of eudaimonia or 'happiness', his moral psychology, his theory of virtue and his account of the individual character and intellectual virtues. We will also look at his account of friendship and of the nature of pleasure.

Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by David Ross. Edited by Lesley Brown. (Oxford World Classics Paperback.) Oxford University Press 2009. ISBN13: 9780199213610 ISBN10: 0199213615
Kraut, Richard (ed.). The Blackwell Guide to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. Blackwell Publishing 2006. ISBN-13: 978-1405120210
A.O. Rorty (ed.), Essays on Aristotle's Ethics, University of California Press, Berkeley - L.A. 1980. ISBN-13: 978-0520040410

6200 Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy - Democratic Theory
12:30 - 1:45 TR HLMS 196
Prof. Wingo

6300 Seminar in Philosophy of Mind
2:00 - 4:30 T HLMS 177
Prof. Rupert
This seminar will combine philosophy of mind and the psychology of philosophy. We will begin with some general background in philosophy of mind, with an emphasis on functionalism and its discontents. We will then discuss theories of concepts and their connection to the enterprise of analytic philosophy. This will lead to an exploration of cognitive architecture, the personal-subpersonal distinction, and first-person access to mental states. Along the way, we will read work by Jerry Fodor, David Chalmers, Paul Churchland, and John McDowell, among other philosophers, as well as some articles by cognitive scientists, including Richard Nisbett, Timothy Wilson, Alison Gopnik, Hakwan Lau, and Stanislaus Dehaene.

6380 Seminar in Metaphysics
5:00 - 7:30 T HLMS 196
Prof. Barnett

fall 2012

5010/4010 Single Philosopher - Plato
(May be repeated up to 12 total credit hours)
12:30 - 1:45 TR CLRE 104
Prof. Bailey

5010/4010 Single Philosopher - Hobbes
(May be repeated up to 12 total credit hours)
3:30 - 4:45 TR HLMS 263
Prof. Kaufman

A distinguished Hobbes scholar recently wrote:

Hobbes generated more hostile literature than any other thinker in the seventeenth century. Indeed, if judged by the number of hostile books and pamphlets he generated, he may well be the most maligned philosopher of all time. Books in English or Latin hostile to him in the seventeenth century alone run into hundreds and his name became a byword for sensual license and atheism at a time when England was rule by a puritanical ethic that, officially at least, and until the Restoration of 1660, allowed not deviation from the strictest moral code.

That, by itself, should get you interested in Hobbes.

But it wasn't primarily the doctrines concerning sovereignty, etc. in Leviathan that bothered people. Rather, it was the hardcore materialism (which got him into trouble, not only with Descartes and the Cartesians, but also Leibniz, and the Cambridge Platonists, including Anne Conway), his strict nominalism, his mechanical view of the mind, his less-than-flattering view of us in his moral psychology, and his view of freedom of the will and its compatibility with causal determinism, intellectual determinism, and divine providence.

Hobbes was a systematic philosopher, and his well-known views in moral and political philosophy are grounded in his views in natural philosophy (science), metaphysics, and action theory. In my class, we will be looking at all (or as many as time will permit) of Hobbes' system, including

(1) His objections to Descartes' Meditations. (Hobbes authored the 3rd set of Objections to Descartes' Meditations, which, when first published in 1641, came with 6 sets of Objections, along with Descartes' Replies)
(2) His materialism, his views on bodies and space as an exhaustive ontology, as presented in his De corpore and (what is now called) 'Anti-White'. The latter is a work that was only identified as being written by Hobbes in the 1970s!
(3) Hobbes' peculiar (?), nominalistic view on essences, individuation, persistence over time (Hobbes is responsible for reintroducing the Ship of Theseus puzzle), parts and wholes, etc.
(4) Hobbes' exchange with Bishop John Bramhall on freedom of the will.
(5) Interesting responses to Hobbes from Anne Conway, Henry More, and Margaret Cavendish.
(6) Leviathan! We will read as much of this as time permits, but we will get through parts 1 and 2 at the very least. Some issues will be given special attention, including: the state of nature, rational predominant egoism, the laws of nature (including their ontological status and their moral 'weight'), natural vs. artificial persons, the nature of contracts and covenants, the 'reply to the foole', the nature of a commonwealth by institution, the rights of the sovereign, the rights of subjects. We will also look at Hobbes' scathing attack on scholastic philosophy in part 4 of Leviathan.

Books
(1) Leviathan, edited by Ed Curley (Hackett Publishing)
(2) Hobbes and Bramhall on Liberty and Necessity, edited by Vere Chappell (Cambridge UP)
(3) Metaphysical Writings (by Thomas Hobbes), edited by Mary Whiton Calkins (Open Court)
All other readings will be made available electronically.

5030 Greek Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours.)
TBA
Prof. Bailey

5040 Latin Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours.)
TBA
Prof. Pasnau

PHIL 5100: Ethics Proseminar: Classic Texts in Analytic Ethics
Profs. Boonin, Hanna, Heathwood, Hosein, Norcross

This team-taught proseminar will consist of a study of five classic books in analytic ethics:

Henry Sidgwick's The Methods of Ethics (1874/1907)  [Heathwood]
G.E. Moore's Principia Ethica (1903)  [Norcross]
W.D. Ross' The Right and the Good (1930)  [Hanna]
John Rawls' A Theory of Justice (1971)  [Hosein]
Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons (1984)  [Boonin].

Students will write short papers about the texts.

Closed admission proseminar course. Required of all first-year PhD students; recommended for all first-year MAs.

5340/4340 Epistemology
3:00 - 3:50 MWF HLMS 229
Prof. Talbot

5360/4360 Metaphysics (Same as PHIL 4360)
11:00 - 12:15 TR HLMS 237
Prof. Tooley

5470/4470 Probability and Rational Choice
12:30 - 1:45 TR HLMS 196
Prof. Chwang

5490/4490 Philosophy of Language
1:00 - 1:50 MWF HLMS 229
Prof. Barnett

6000 Seminar in the History of Philosophy - Medieval Metaphysics
5:00 - 7:30 M HLMS 177
Prof. Pasnau

This will in large part be a seminar based on my recently published book. We'll look at theories of matter, substantial form, accidents, individuation, etc., as set out by various later medieval figures, esp. Aquinas, Scotus, Ockham, Buridan, and Autrecourt.

6200 Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy - Philosophy of Race
5:00 - 7:30 W HLMS 177
Prof. Jaggar

6400 Seminar in Philosophy of Science - Reduction, Supervenience, and Emergence
3:00 - 4:15 MW HLMS 177
Prof. Cleland





spring 2012


5010/4010 Single Philosopher - Kant
(May be repeated up to 12 total credit hours)
1:00 - 1:50 MWF HLMS 245
Prof. Hanna

5030 Greek Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours.)
TBA
Prof. Bailey

5040 Latin Philosophical Texts
(May be repeated up to 7 total credit hours.)
TBA
Prof. Pasnau

5120/4120 Philosophy and Animals
SEC 001 3:30 - 4:45 TR HUMN 190
Prof. Norcross

This course will focus on the ethical issues raised by human treatment of animals. It is commonly assumed that animals, if they have any moral significance at all, are subordinate in importance to human beings. Not only do we eat animals for our enjoyment and perform experiments on them for our benefit, but it is morally permissible that we do so. This is an assumption that most of us make without trying to justify it. In this course we will examine both attempts to justify and to challenge this assumption.

5240 Seminar in Environmental Philosophy
(May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours.)
6:30 - 9:00 T DUAN G1B25
Prof. Hale

5340/4340 Epistemology
1:00 - 1:50 MWF CLRE 209
Dr. Talbot

5360/4360 Metaphysics
CLOSED TO GRAD STUDENTS FOR NOW
2:00 - 3:15 TR HLMS 255
Prof. Cleland

5800 Open Topics in Philosophy - Metaphysics

(Closed admission proseminar course. Required of all first-year PhD students; recommended for all first-year MA's.)
3:00 - 5:30 W HLMS 185
Profs. Forbes, Hanna, Koslicki, Oddie, Tooley.

5810/4830 Seminar on God, Freedom, and Evil
TR 11-12:15
Prof. Wes Morriston

We'll struggle with (and try to throw a bit of light on) a number of interconnected and emotionally charged issues. If there is a good God, why do bad things happen to nice people (and animals)? Is the amount and variety of evil in the world a strong reason to think that God does not exist? Or perhaps that God is not good? Is human freedom an important source of evil? To what degree, if at all, would that get God off the hook? Are all these questions perhaps based on a mistake? Should we simply abandon traditional Western thinking with its "duality" of "good and evil?"

We'll also spend a good bit of time thinking about freedom and moral responsibility. Do human being have free will? What is free will, anyway? Could it really be compatible with determinism (as 59% of philosophers at research universities allegedly believe)? Is it compatible with divine foreknowledge? And where does divine providence fit into the picture?

You don't have to believe in God (or in free will, or even in the objectivity of moral judgments about evil) to find these questions interesting and challenging and (yes) important. But you might have to take the class to find out why that is so.

Course requirements:
Regular attendance and participation.
Biweekly one-page papers.
A midterm paper and a final paper.

Assigned texts:
The Book of Job (tr. & ed. by Raymond Scheindlin)
Selected papers on the book of Job (online)
Parts X and XI of Hume's Dialogues (online)
Selected papers on the problem of evil (online)
Robert Kane, A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will
Selected papers on freedom, foreknowledge, and providence (online).

We'll also view and discuss two or three movies. One of them will be God on Trial (See http://spot.colorado.edu/~morristo/God-on-Trial.html for information about this great viewing experience.)

6000 Seminar in the History of Philosophy - Aristotle's Metaphysics and Epistemology
3:30 - 4:45 TR HLMS 196
Prof. Bailey

Course Book: Aristotle, Selections trans. and ed. T. Irwin and G. Fine (Hackett 1995) ISBN: 978-0-915145-67-6.

This seminar will address Aristotle's seminal contributions to metaphysics and epistemology, broadly construed (so as to include, e.g., aspects of his natural philosophy and philosophy of mind). We shall be discussing readings from the following treatises:

Categories
De Interpretatione
Prior Analytics
Posterior Analytics
Topics
Physics
De Generatione et Corruptione
De Anima
Metaphysics.

Topics for discussion will include:

  • Substances and their relation to other ways of being
  • The nature of propositions, especially the present status of future contingent propositions
  • Theories about the relations between knowledge, understanding and proof
  • The nature of argument
  • Causation
  • Luck and chance
  • Time, place and the infinite
  • Matter and change
  • The soul and its relation to the body
  • The subject matter of metaphysics
  • The status of the principle of non-contradiction
  • The potentiality/actuality distinction.



6200 Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy - Justice and Institutions
2:00 - 3:15 TR HLMS 196
Prof. Hosein

This class will consider how the institutions we share affect the rights we have. Are our rights and duties "natural" or is their existence and content fixed by the institutions we have? This is a key theoretical topic in social and political philosophy but also significant for answering a range of applied questions. Some topics we are likely to cover include: whether there are "natural" rights to property which limit the permissibility of taxation, whether we have special duties to co-citizens, whether immigrants gain new rights when they enter a state, and whether your rights during wartime depend on what state you belong to.

6310 Issues and Methods in Cognitive Science
(Same as CSCI 6402, EDUC 6504, LING 6200, and PSYC 6200.)
5:00 - 6:15 TR MUEN D430
Prof. Eisenberg (Department of Computer Science)

6380 Seminar in Metaphysics - Truth and Truthmakers
5:00 - 7:30 M EDUC 132
Prof. Oddie

"What is truth? said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer." (Francis Bacon) You, however, will linger for a whole semester on this question, or as long as it takes.

The subject of the nature of truth has recently undergone a remarkable resurgence. There are two main research programs which on the face of it seem utterly incompatible.

On the one hand there is a cluster of theories that deny that truth has any deep nature at all. To affirm that a proposition P is true is to affirm no more or less than the proposition P itself. This is summarized in the T-schema:

     For any proposition P, P is true if and only if P.

And that is all ye know and all ye need to know about truth, according to the minimalists. This is the so-called redundancy or deflationary theory of truth, also known under the banners of minimalism and disquotationalism. It was first floated in the twentieth century by Frank Ramsey but has had many advocates, including its most zealous contemporary defender, Paul Horwich. Interestingly, it has also drawn inspiration from Tarski’s famous definition of truth for formalized languages, although Tarski himself proved some really interesting theorems about truth which seem to belie the deflationary claim that the nature of truth is fundamentally boring.

On the other, there has been a revival of a more substantive truthmaker theory: the guiding idea of which is that for a proposition to be true there has to be some thing or things in the world that make it true. As one slogan puts it: truth supervenes on being. True propositions are made true by facts in the world. Its first major expounder in the twentieth century was Bertrand Russell (in The Philosophy of Logical Atomism) but it suffered from the rise and fall of logical positivism and then from the hegemony of that bastard offspring, ordinary language philosophy. In 1985, Mulligan, Simons, and Smith revived this tradition, in conscious opposition to the dominant minimalist paradigm, in their paper “Truth-makers.” Since then the viability, foundations, and principles of a substantive theory of truthmaking have been vigorously debated in the literature, and sprouted a number of recent books on the topic.

This course will examine both seminal papers and recent work on truth and truthmaking with an emphasis on the recent literature for and against truthmaker theory.

I will put the following books on reserve. I will also be referring to and recommending a number of journal articles.

The assessment for the course will be based on one short essay (1500 words) and one long (3000 word) final essay.

Basic text:

Truth and Truth-Making, edited by E.J. Lowe and A. Rami (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2009). This book contains some of the basic papers on the topic and a range of newly published articles.

Other books:

The Philosophy of Logical Atomism, Bertrand Russell, edited with and with an introduction by David Pears (LaSalle, Ill.: Open Court, 1985).

Truth and Truthmakers, David M. Armstrong (Cambridge: CUP, 2004). This is Armstrong’s main monograph on the topic. Armstrong is one of the leading contemporary proponents of truthmaker theory (or perhaps the).

Sketch for a Systematic Metaphysics, David M. Armstrong (Oxford: Clarendon, 2010). Armstrong’s recent short defense of his comprehensive theory of everything.

Truthmakers: the Contemporary Debate, edited by Helen Beebee and Julian Dodd (Oxford: Clarendon, 2005). A collection of papers written in the early 2000s.

Truth and Ontology, Trenton Merricks (Oxford: Clarendon, 2007). This is a monograph covering most of the difficulties that face a thoroughgoing truthmaker theory, against which Merricks argues systematically.

Truth, Alexis G. Burgess and John P. Burgess (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2011). A very good short introduction to contemporary theories of truth.

Metaphysics and Truthmakers, edited by Jean-Maurice Monnoyer (Picataway, N.J.: Ontos Verlag, 2005).





fall 2011


PHIL 5010/4010: Plato
Prof. Bailey

This course is an in-depth survey of Plato's most important dialogues, selected on the basis of their contribution to his opera as a whole and on their continuing relevance to present day philosophers. We shall be studying Euthyphro, Meno, Charmides, Phaedo, Republic, Theaetetus, Parmenides, Sophist. As well as reading these works as a whole, the course aims to chart Plato's development thematically, in Ethics, Metaphysics and Epistemology.

PHIL 5020/4020: Topics in 17th Century Philosophy: Topics in Early Modern Metaphysics
Prof. Kaufman

The course will deal with a cluster of issues concerning material things, especially issues arising from Descartes’ theory of matter as extension.

Individuation
Location
Divisibility and indivisibility
Parts and Wholes
Persistence
and (maybe) Occasionalism

Our authors: Descartes, Spinoza, Hobbes, Locke, Leibniz, Kenelm Digby, Walter Charleton, Anne Conway, Margaret Cavendish, Henry More, Humphrey Hody, William Sherlock, Nicolas Malebranche, as well as recent secondary literature.

PHIL 5100: Ethics Proseminar: Classic Texts in Analytic Ethics
Profs. Boonin, Hanna, Heathwood, Hosein, Norcross

This team-taught proseminar will consist of a study of five classic books in analytic ethics:

Henry Sidgwick's The Methods of Ethics (1874/1907)  [Heathwood]
G.E. Moore's Principia Ethica (1903)  [Norcross]
W.D. Ross' The Right and the Good (1930)  [Hanna]
John Rawls' A Theory of Justice (1971)  [Hosein]
Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons (1984)  [Boonin].

Students will write short papers about the texts.

Closed admission proseminar course. Required of all first-year PhD students; recommended for all first-year MAs.

PHIL 5300/4300: Philosophy of Mind
Prof. Rupert

In this course, we will address three families of questions. The first pertains to mental content: How do our thoughts get their meaning? Do we have direct access to the contents of our thoughts? Is thought-content essentially normative? The second concerns the relation between the mental domain and the universe as it's depicted by contemporary natural science: How could a mental state cause physical behavior? Could distinctively mental phenomena appear in a world composed ultimately of nothing more than "atoms in the void"? The third focuses on consciousness: How could conscious experiences appear in a physical world? Do conscious experiences have irreducible qualitative character? How is conscious experience connected to the self? We'll read one to two essays per week, according to a schedule to be announced in class as we move along. Textbook: B. McLaughlin and J. Cohen (Eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007).

PHIL 5360/4360: Metaphysics
Prof. Tooley

See syllabus (pdf).

PHIL 5400/4400: Philosophy of Science
Prof. Cleland

Not open to philosophy graduate students this year.

This course provides an advanced introduction to foundational issues in philosophy of science. No background in philosophy of science or science is presupposed. Among the issues that we will discuss are: What is the nature of the evidential relation between a scientific hypothesis/theory and the data that supports it; can scientists confirm or falsify their hypotheses and theories? Is there a single “scientific method” for all of science; does the methodology of, e.g., the historical sciences differ from that of the experimental sciences? What does scientific objectivity and rationality really consist in? What is a law of nature? What role do natural laws play in scientific reasoning? What is a scientific explanation; is it just prediction in reverse? Can probabilistic (indeterministic) explanations really explain? The last three weeks of the class will be devoted to discussion of a now classic book, Nancy Cartwright’s The Dappled World, which argues against the popular idea that nature can be described by a single, fundamental theory of everything.

Books: Curd & Cover, Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues; Cartwright, The Dappled World: A Study of the Boundaries of Science.

PHIL 5460/4460: Modal Logic
Prof. Forbes

Introduces the most philosophically relevant kind of logic that builds on Phil 2440 (Symbolic Logic). Modal logic is the logic of the concepts of necessity, possibility and contingency. A variety of systems of sentential modal logic will be covered, along with the standard system of first-order modal logic. Some metatheory of sentential modal logic will be covered as time permits. Phil 2440 or an equivalent is recommended, but not demanded, as a prerequisite.

PHIL 6100: Seminar in Ethics: Welfare
Prof. Heathwood

Things go better for some people than they do for other people. Some people’s lives are quite good; other lives are not worth living at all. In virtue of what are such things true? What makes a life a good or a bad life for the person living it? What must we get in life if things are to go well for us? What does welfare or well-being consist in? These are different ways of asking the philosophical question of welfare, which is the question we will be trying to answer in this course.

Hedonists think getting a good life is a matter of enjoying what you get, preferentists think it a matter of getting what you want, eudaimonists think it a matter of being happy, aim achievementists think it a matter of achieving your goals, while objective theories maintain that there are things that it is just good for you to get, whether or not you would enjoy them, want them, be made happy by them, or aim to get them. We will study each of these theories, with an emphasis on preferentist approaches.

The topic of welfare is not only interesting in its own right, it is of fundamental importance to moral philosophy. On any plausible moral theory, how an action or social policy affects the welfare of people is at least one relevant factor in determining whether the action ought to be done or the policy instituted.

We will read recent articles and book chapters, which I will provide. A term paper will be due at the end of the term, and perhaps some shorter papers before then. Specific sub-topics and readings may be partly determined by student interest.

PHIL 6340: Seminar in Epistemology
Dr. Talbot

What should we believe and why? When should (or can) reasonable people disagree? These, and other central questions in epistemology, are normative questions. Epistemic norms are distinct from moral or prudential norms. This class will investigate the nature of epistemic norms, their connection to the pursuit of truth, and ask if these norms are really as interesting as epistemologists think they are. This investigation will, hopefully, give us insight into (and maybe even resolve) debates in epistemology about what we know, what we should believe, how demanding our epistemic obligations are, how we should inquire, and how we should approach disagreement.

This class should be of interest to anyone interested in reasoning and the method of pursuing truth. No background in epistemology will be presumed.




spring 2011

 

PHIL 5010/4010: Single Philosopher: Kant
SEC 001; 12-12:50 MWF; HLMS 245
Prof. Hanna

Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (CPR) is arguably the single most brilliant and influential 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. Topics to be covered include: Kant’s transcendental project; the introduction & beyond: basic terms, notions, and distinctions; space, time, and mathematics: the Transcendental Aesthetic; transcendental idealism: phenomena and noumena, empirical realism, and the Refutation of Idealism; concepts, logic & judgments: the Metaphysical Deduction of the Categories; the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories; the System of Principles: Schematism, Axioms of Intuition, Anticipations of Perception, & Analogies of Experience; the Transcendental Dialectic & transcendental ideas; the Third Antinomy, freedom, and determinism; and The Ideal of Pure Reason & the impossibility of ontological arguments.

Required Texts:

(1) Kant, I., Critique of Pure Reason, trans. P. Guyer and A. Wood (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1998).
(2) Altman, M.C., A Companion to Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2008).
(3) Hall, Bryan. The Arguments of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2010).

Course Requirements:

(1) Weekly readings quizzes
(2) Two 8-10 pp. (for undergraduates) or 10-12 pp. (for graduate students) papers

PHIL 5010/4010: Single Philosopher: Aquinas
SEC 003; 10-10:50 MWF; HLMS 245
Prof. Pasnau

This class will provide an overview of the work of the greatest of medieval philosophers, Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). The first third of the class will consider his conception of God, beginning with his famous Five Ways of proving God's existence, and then looking at his treatment of God's nature, including his partial embrace of negative theology and his account of analogical predication. The second third of the class will consider his theory of human nature, including his arguments for the immateriality and immortality of the soul, his conception of soul-body unity, and his account of free will. The final third of the
course will look at his theory of virtue, including his views about the unity of the virtues, and his conception of charity as the foundation of all virtues.

PHIL 5110/4110: Contemporary Moral Theory
SEC 001; 2:00-2:50 MWF; HLMS 245
Prof. Hanna

Kantian Ethics is the most robust and well-developed version of Non-Consequentialism in contemporary moral theory. In this course we will critically & carefully study (all or parts of) four recent or unpublished books in Kantian Ethics:

(1) Allen Wood's Kantian Ethics (Cambridge: CUP, 2008),
(2) Christine Korsgaard's Self-Constitution: Agency, Identity, & Integrity (Oxford: OUP, 2009),
(3) Derek Parfit's On What Matters (Unpublished MS),
(4) Robert Hanna's Existential Kantian Ethics (Unpublished MS).

Required Texts: as above.

Course Requirements:

(1) Weekly readings quizzes
(2) Two 8-10 pp. (for undergraduates) or 10-12 pp. (for graduate students) papers.

PHIL 5200/4200: Contemporary Political Philosophy: Race, Ethnicity, and Empire

SEC 001
Prof. Jaggar

This course will explore issues of racial/ethnic justice both in liberal democratic societies and at the global level. The first few weeks of the course will examine various conceptions of race, ethnicity, and racism, along with the philosophical assumptions that inform these conceptions. We will pay special attention to the relationships among biological, psychological, historical, and cultural approaches to understanding race/ethnicity. We will also explore the relationships between race/ethnicity, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, such social categories as gender, class, ability, and sexuality. The middle few weeks of the course will address issues of racial/ethnic justice in liberal democratic societies. Topics may include indigenous rights, cultural recognition, preferential treatment, and political representation. The last few weeks of the course will consider issues of racial/ethnic justice on a global scale. Topics may include global distributive justice, migration, environmental racism, and humanitarian intervention. The course may conclude by considering the topic of reparations and/or by seeking to imagine a post-racist but not necessarily post-racial future.

PHIL 5240: Seminar in Environmental Philosophy
SEC 001; 6:30-9:00 T; HUMN 145
Prof. Hale

This course is structured to address underlying theoretical concerns of environmental scientists and policy analysts, as well as to bring environmental philosophers "back down to earth." As such, it aims to strike a balance between the abstract and the practical. Because of its unique student composition -- approximately one third environmental scientists, one third environmental policy and law students, and one third philosophers - discussions tend toward "on the ground" issues. Nevertheless, the readings and class discussions are firmly rooted in environmental philosophy. Unlike many philosophy courses, however, the assignments in the course are structured around a practical environmental project -- identifying and fleshing out the ethical dimensions of hydraulic fracturing or of dam removal, say.

To prepare ourselves for this semester-long project, we begin by assessing the landscape of environmental ethics and environmental philosophy, dedicating the first third of the course to getting a lay of the land. We look particularly closely at two prevalent, but diametrically opposed ecological views: social ecology and deep ecology. As we gain command of the central issues in our projects, the course material then turns to ask three
central questions in environmental philosophy: (1) what is the role of the community in the determination of environmental values? (2) Might we better understand nature and our relationship to it from the perspective of the economic market? And (3) does nature have interests, such that we can make sense of the claim that we should act for its own sake?

This course is geared to help philosophy students get some sense of how their philosophical training might facilitate their involvement in practical environmental problems, and to help environmental studies students get some sense of how their deep normative commitments inform their practical responses to environmental problems. Philosophy grad students interests in teaching environmental ethics or declaring environmental ethics as their AOC will likely benefit from this course.

PHIL 5300/4300: Philosophy of Mind
SEC 001; 11:00-11:50 MWF; HLMS 251
Prof. Rupert

This course surveys advanced topics in contemporary analytic philosophy of mind. These include consciousness, physicalism about the mind, mental causation, perception, mental content, and the normativity of thought. The textbook for the course, Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind (edited by McLaughlin and Cohen), contains original essays by prominent living philosophers. The editors group these papers into pairs, representing opposing viewpoints on each of the topics covered. Students will write a series of short papers and a final research paper.

PHIL 5340: Epistemology Proseminar
SEC 001; 3:30-6:00 M; HLMS 177
Profs. Tooley et al

Closed admission proseminar course. Required of all first-year PhD students; recommended for all first-year MAs.

PHIL 6100: Seminar in Ethics: Metaethics
SEC 001; 3:30-6:00 T; HLMS 196
Prof. Norcross

This is a seminar on contemporary work in metaethics. We will be looking at some of the recent debate over expressivism, practical reason, normativity, and the meanings of moral terms. Most of the articles will be taken from Volumes 1 and 2 of the Oxford Studies in Metaethics series (we will also read at least one of Chris Heathwood’s papers). Most of the material is less than 10 years old, none is more than 20 years old. This is state-of-the-art cutting-edge metaethics. It also kicks ass (and takes names).

PHIL 6310: Methods in Cognitive Science
SEC 001; 5:00-6:15 TR; HLMS 141
Prof. Eisenberg (Computer Science)

PHIL 6490: Seminar in Philosophy of Language: Identity

SEC 001; 2:00-3:15 TR; HLMS 196
Prof. Barnett

This seminar will address a group of topics loosely connected by the idea of identity. The topics are: (i) whether the identity relation admits of analysis; (ii) Frege's puzzle as to how an identity statement can be informative, given that it's trivially true, of every object, that it is identical to itself; (iii) the question of how philosophical analysis, which is asymmetrical, can consist of an ascription of the identity relation, which is symmetrical, to the definiendum and the definiens; and (iv) the question of personal identity, that is, the question of what conditions are necessary and sufficient for person A, at time t, to be identical to person B, at some later time.





fall 2010



PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Plato

SEC 002, 1:00 - 1:50 MWF, HLMS 245
Prof. Lee

This course offers to students an advanced survey of the development of Plato's views on metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. As such it consists in careful consecutive readings of the dialogues: Euthyphro, Meno, Phaedo, Republic, Theaetetus, Parmenides, Sophist, and selections from other dialogues, plus secondary literature on Plato.

Required Books:

(1) Plato: Complete Works, ed. J. M. Cooper. Hackett Publishing Co. 1997. (hardback ISBN 0-87220-349-2, $45 on Amazon)

Recommended Books:

(2) Gail Fine (ed.). Plato 1: Metaphysics and Epistemology. (Oxford Readings in Philosophy.) Oxford University Press 1999. (ISBN 0-19-875206-7 paperback, $45 on Amazon)

(3) Gail Fine (ed.). Plato 2: Ethics, Politics, Religion, and the Soul. (Oxford Readings in Philosophy.) Oxford University Press 1999. (ISBN 0-19-875204-0 paperback, $45 on Amazon)

The Fine (ed.) volumes will also be available for purchase at the bookstore, but you do not have to buy these; I will post pdf copies of these readings online on our CULearn website.

PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Nietzsche
SEC 003, 11:00 - 12:15 TR, HLMS 245
Prof. Zimmerman

In this course, we will read all or portions of several major works by Nietzsche, including The Gay Science, Beyond Good and Evil, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra. One of Nietzsche's major concerns was that European civilization would end in nihilism after the death of God and after the triumph of a scientific naturalism that depicts human life as an accidental event in a meaningless and infinite universe. As a possible antidote to nihilism, he posited a new goal for European humanity: the Overman. Commentators often regard the Overman as a regulative ideal, an aesthetic vision needed to help justify human life. In recent decades, however, a number of influential people have begun to describe the Overman not as an ideal, but as an event that will come to fruition in the near future, as we redesign the human genome in ways that confer upon it much longer life spans; make possible exceptional aesthetic, moral, athletic, sensual, sensory, and intellectual capacities; and bring an end to many forms of suffering. This prospect is known as transhumanism. One of the major topics for this course will be whether Nietzsche’s ideal of the Overman is consistent with the supposed near-reality of genetically-engineered super-humans. To allow us to make an informed judgment, we will also read essays by transhumanists who assert explicitly that Nietzsche’s ideal of the Overman anticipates efforts to transform humankind through breakthroughs in medicine, science, and technology.

PHIL 5030: Greek Philosophical Texts
SEC 001, TBA
Prof. M. Lee

PHIL 5100: Ethics Proseminar: Classic Texts in Analytic Ethics
SEC 001, 5:30 - 7:00 R, HLMS 196
Profs. Boonin, Hanna, Heathwood, Hosein, Norcross

This team-taught proseminar will consist of a study of five classic books in analytic ethics:

Henry Sidgwick's The Methods of Ethics (1874/1907)  [Heathwood]
G.E. Moore's Principia Ethica (1903)  [Norcross]
W.D. Ross' The Right and the Good (1930)  [Hanna]
John Rawls' A Theory of Justice (1971)  [Hosein]
Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons (1984)  [Boonin].

Five short papers will be required -- one at the end of each three-week unit.

Closed admission proseminar course. Required of all first-year PhD students; recommended for all first-year MAs.

PHIL 5260: Philosophy of Law
SEC 001, 12:00 - 12:50 MWF, HLMS 245
Prof. Hosein

This course explores some of the moral issues raised by US and international law. Likely topics include the appropriate limits on freedom of speech, what equality before the law requires and the rationale for human rights law. We will consider these issues in light of broader philosophical theories of democracy, equality, well-being and so on, with an eye to evaluating both the issues and the theories.

PHIL 5450: History and Philosophy of Physics
SEC 001, 9:30 - 10:45 TR, DUAN G131

PHIL 6310: Issues and Methods in Cognitive Science
SEC 002, 5:00 - 6:15 TR, MUEN E130

PHIL 6340: Seminar in Epistemology
SEC 001, 5:15 - 7:45 W, HLMS 177
Prof. Rupert

Are there concepts (or meanings) the a priori analysis of which yields substantive philosophical knowledge? If so, what are they, generally speaking? Is conceptual analysis the distinctive mode of philosophical inquiry? In pursuit of answers to these questions, we'll begin by reading some classic texts in philosophy of language: Frege's "On Sense and Reference," chapters from Carnap's Meaning and Necessity, Putnam's "The Meaning of 'Meaning'," and selections from Kripke's Naming and Necessity. We'll then discuss consciousness, to illustrate the way in which questions about a priori methodology can play a significant role in a particular philosophical debate. Here we'll read the work of Chalmers, Jackson, and possibly others. The course will conclude with a look at some recent work on the epistemology of philosophy. We'll read Chalmers's book manuscript Constructing the World.

PHIL 6400: Seminar in Philosophy of Science: Seminar on the Nature of Life
SEC 001, 3:00 - 5:30 M, HLMS 177
Prof. Cleland

This course is designed as an interdisciplinary seminar for graduate students in philosophy and natural science (especially biology, biochemistry, computer science, and astrobiology).* The idea behind the course is to bring graduate students from diverse backgrounds together to debate the question 'what is life?' The question 'what is life?' has been a source of philosophical debate at least since the time of Aristotle. In recent decades it has taken on increasing scientific importance. Biologists investigating the origin of life want to know at what stage an ensemble of nonliving molecules turns into a primitive living thing. Astrobiologists wonder what features of familiar Earth life are common to all life in the universe. Even computer scientists find themselves mired in the controversy as they speculate about whether a computer simulation of life could be truly alive. These are some of the questions that we will be addressing during the course of the semester. We begin our exploration of the nature of life with the formative writings of the great philosophers Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant and, throughout the semester, trace how their philosophical ideas inform contemporary notions and debates (philosophical and scientific) about life. Subsequently we focus on contemporary (20th C and later) writings about life by biologists (Mayr, Orgel, Dawkins, Pace, etc.), chemists (Oparin, Shapiro, Benner, Kauffman, etc.), astronomers and physicists (Sagan, Schrodinger, Chyba, etc.), ALife researchers (Lipson, Deamer, Luisi, etc.) and, of course, philosophers (Sober, Lange, Sterelny, Cleland, etc.). Among the many questions that will be addressed are: Is life a functional, structural, or compositional kind? Can the “natural purposiveness” (ostensibly teleological characteristics) of life (as expressed in metabolism, development, adaptiveness, etc.) be fully explained by Darwinian evolution by natural selection? What does it mean to say that life is an “emergent phenomenon”? Does an understanding of the nature of life presuppose an understanding of its origins? Is a definitional approach to answering the question ‘what is life?’ satisfactory?

Text: Bedau & Cleland, The Nature of Life: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives from Philosophy and Science

Requirements: (1) Class presentation; (2) A 15-20 page term paper; students will be required to submit a first draft for comments.

*Graduate students in the sciences who wish to enroll should contact Karen Sites (Karen.Sites@colorado.edu).

PHIL 6490: Seminar in Philosophy of Language
SEC 001, 2:00 - 3:15 TR, HLMS 245
Prof. Forbes

The particular issue we'll be investigating is that of intensionality, one of the most active areas in contemporary philosophy of language. The course presupposes no prior acquaintance with this topic. Some familiarity with quantificational logic would be helpful, but we will also cover a large amount of relatively non-technical material.

Intensional phenomena are often involved when standard logic seems to break down in application to natural language. In particular, exchanging expressions for equivalent expressions shouldn't make any difference to the sentences they occur in, but on the classical-logic understanding of "equivalent", this isn't so. We will work through some responses to the difficulties, beginning with the first, the two-dimensional account of meaning due to Frege, and more recent attempts to make it formally rigorous by using type theory or possible worlds semantics. Russell's views will be considered as reactions to Frege's. We'll then pursue the modern discussion, by reading the papers in the Davidson collection.

Text: On Sense and Direct Reference, Matthew Davidson (ed.)

Course grades will be based on:
(i) some exercises on possible worlds semantics and type theory
(ii) reports on the papers in Davidson (each student taking the course for credit will give one or two reports)
(iii) a term paper.



spring 2010


PHIL 5010: Rousseau
Prof. 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 Confessions, epistolary novel Julie, or the Nouvelle Heloise (the best-selling novel of the 18th century), and his poignant Reveries of the Solitary Walker. We will even listen to the opera for which he 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; graduate students will also give a brief class presentation.

PHIL 5290: Topics in Values and Social Policy: Sex and Procreation
Prof. Boonin

This course will examine contemporary philosophical writings on a number of moral problems involving sex and procreation. We will begin with two general challenges: one against all procreative sex, the other against all non-procreative sex. The first challenge comes from David Benatar’s provocative book Better Never To Have Been, which argues that conception seriously harms the person who is conceived and that it is immoral to conceive a person for that reason. Benatar will be visiting the Department later in the term as our Morris Colloquium speaker, and he will spend one day visiting our class to discuss his position. The second challenge comes from John Finnis’s article “Law, Morality and ‘Sexual Orientation’,” which contains the most widely-discussed attempt to provide a non-theistic argument for the claim that homosexuality and masturbation are immoral. We will look at Finnis’s argument and at a few articles that attempt to defend or refute it.

From here, we will move on to two more specific issues: abortion and reproductive cloning. Both raise a variety of philosophical questions, but in each case we will focus in detail on a single line of argumentation. In the case of abortion, we will ignore the literature dealing with the moral status of the fetus and focus exclusively on the merits of the argument made famous in Judith Jarvis Thomson’s article, “A Defense of Abortion.” That argument maintains that abortion is morally permissible even if the fetus has the same right to life that you and I have. We will read Thomson’s article and a number of pieces that have been written criticizing it (as well as a few articles that criticize my more recent defense of the argument). Critics of reproductive cloning have raised a number of distinct arguments against the practice, but all in one way or another turn on the claim that cloning a human being would be bad for the resulting clone (because of likely physical defects or psychological problems). These arguments all run up against the problem made famous by Derek Parfit as the non-identity problem: if a defective clone’s life would still be good enough to be worth living, and given that if cloning does not occur the clone will not exist at all, it seems that cloning would not actually harm the clone because it would not make the clone worse off than the alternative. And if that’s the case, then how can the defects in the clone’s life make the act of creating the clone immoral? We will start with Parfit’s formulation of the non-identity problem and then examine a wide variety of attempted solutions to the problem.

Depending on the interests of the class and on the amount of time remaining in the semester, we will conclude with a series of briefer treatments of some additional topics. These may include problems involving commercial surrogate motherhood, prostitution, adultery and pornography.

PHIL 5240: Seminar in Environmental Philosophy
Prof. Hale

This course is structured to address underlying theoretical concerns of environmental scientists and policy analysts, as well as to bring environmental philosophers “back down to earth.” As such, it aims to strike a balance between the abstract and the practical. Because of its unique student composition -- approximately one third environmental scientists, one third environmental policy and law students, and one third philosophers -- discussions tend toward “on the ground” issues. Nevertheless, the readings and class discussions are firmly rooted in environmental philosophy. Unlike many philosophy courses, however, the assignments in the course are structured around a practical environmental project -- identifying and fleshing out the ethical dimensions of hydraulic fracturing or of dam removal, say.

To prepare ourselves for this semester-long project, we begin by assessing the landscape of environmental ethics and environmental philosophy, dedicating the first third of the course to getting a lay of the land. We look particularly closely at two prevalent, but diametrically opposed ecological views: social ecology and deep ecology. As we gain command of the central issues in our projects, the course material then turns to ask three central questions in environmental philosophy: (1) what is the role of the community in the determination of environmental values? (2) Might we better understand nature and our relationship to it from the perspective of the economic market? And (3) does nature have interests, such that we can make sense of the claim that we should act for its own sake?

This course is geared to help philosophy students get some sense of how their philosophical training might facilitate their involvement in practical environmental problems, and to help environmental studies students get some sense of how their deep normative commitments inform their practical responses to environmental problems. Philosophy grad students interests in teaching environmental ethics or declaring environmental ethics as their AOC will likely benefit from this course.

PHIL 5260: Philosophy of Law
Dr. Talbot

PHIL 5340: Proseminar in Epistemology
Prof. Tooley

The main topics that we shall be covering in this course are as follows:

(1) Analysis, Analytically Basic Concepts, and Theoretical Terms
(2) The Analysis of the Concept of Knowledge
(3) Skepticism
(4) The Justification of Induction
(5) Theories of Justification: Foundationalism and Coherentism
(6) Perception and the Justification of Beliefs about the External World.

Closed admission proseminar course. Required of all first-year PhD students; recommended for all first-year MAs.

PHIL 5450: History and Philosophy of Physics
Prof. Monton

Relativity theory and quantum theory are the two great developments in physics in the 20th century. What, if anything, do they have to say about traditional philosophical questions about the nature of space and time, determinism, holism, and the relationship between the observer and reality? We'll explore these issues (and more).

PHIL 5490: Philosophy of Language
Prof. Barnett

Philosophers of language are for the most part not concerned with features unique to English, French, Japanese, or any other specific language. They are rather interested in features common to all languages. What interests them is the nature of language. What is a language? What is meaning? What are the essential ingredients of a language? What is the role of language in communication? By virtue of what are sentences of a language true or false? How in the first place can language be about the world? How does language facilitate our thinking about the world? Must the structure of language match the structure of the world? By addressing these questions, we shall try to gain a greater understanding of the nature of language, meaning, and truth.

PHIL 5600: Philosophy of Religion
Prof. Morriston

The current plan (subject to tweaking). I'm going to ask you to purchase Schellenberg's recent book, The Wisdom to Doubt: A Defense of Religious Skepticism. But it will be far from the only thing we read. Lots of other selections will be posted online. We'll concentrate on the following arguments/problems/issues:

(1) Traditional arguments for the existence of God. This part of the course will include: a modal version of the ontological argument (probably van Inwagen’s), the argument from contingency (readings by van Inwagen and Pruss), the kalām cosmological argument (Craig, Monton, and Morriston), and some version of the fine-tuning argument (probably by Robin Collins). Even though it’s not exactly a straightforward argument for the existence of God, Plantinga’s anti-naturalism argument will go here as well.
(2) Divine foreknowledge and human freedom (selections from Hunt, Craig, Hasker, etc.).
(3) Puzzles about omnipotence. (Maybe. I haven’t settled on readings for this.)
(4) Divine command meta-ethics (selections from Huemer, Heathwood, Robert Adams, Stephen Evans, and Morriston).
(5) Plantinga’s epistemology and the claim that belief in God is properly basic.
(6) “Skeptical theism” and the problem of evil (selections from Alston, van Inwagen, Bergmann, and Schellenberg).
(7) The special problem posed by divine hiddenness (chapters from Schellenberg’s recent book, The Wisdom to Doubt).

PHIL 6000: Seminar on Aristotle's Moral and Political Philosophy
Prof. Lee
TR 2-3:15; HLMS 196

This course will focus on moral and political theory in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Politics. We will read through most of the Nicomachean Ethics, focusing on his account of eudaimonia or ‘happiness’, his moral psychology, his theory of virtue and his account of the individual character and intellectual virtues. We will also look at his account of friendship and of the nature of pleasure. In the last part of the seminar, we will look at selected readings from the Politics, in order to appreciate why both the Ethics and the Politics are for Aristotle parts of political science, and also to see how Aristotle uses his account in the Ethics to evaluate candidates for the best forms of government in a political state.

PHIL 6100: Ethics: Topics in Rational Choice Theory
Prof. Chwang

This seminar will focus on philosophical issues that arise in three related areas.

For the first five weeks, we will discuss various philosophical issues that arise for probability theory. We may start with illustrative lessons gleaned from pseudo-problems (i.e., alleged problems which decisively have been solved but appear problematic for the uninitiated). Examples here include the lottery paradox, the Monty Hall problem, and Simpson's paradox. We'll then move on to genuine problems. Sample topics include: confirmation paradoxes, whether besides subjective credence there is also objective chance, and the sleeping beauty problem.

In the second five weeks, we'll introduce a further complexity to probability theory: preferences (or utilities or desires). In other words, we'll move on to decision theory. Possible topics here include the Newcomb problem, the toxin puzzle, and reasoning about infinities (e.g., Pascal's Wager).

In the last five weeks, we'll introduce a further complexity to decision theory: multiple agents. In other words, we'll move on to game theory. Possible topics here include the prisoner's dilemma / tragedy of the commons, coordination problems, deterrence, and the philosophical use of Schelling (focal) points.

Particular topics will be flexible and open to student suggestion. Familiarity with symbolic logic is strongly recommended.

Students will be expected to write three short (~5 page) critical papers, one on each of the three units, and a long (~15 page) term paper which can (should) be developed from one of the short critical pieces. Depending on the size of the class, students may also be required to give a student presentation.

This course will satisfy the graduate department's values requirement, but not the M&E (or logic or history) requirements.

PHIL 6380: Metaphysics: Seminar on Dependence
Prof. Koslicki

A significant reorientation is currently under way in analytic metaphysics. Following W.V.O. Quine’s seminal article, "On What There Is" (1948), metaphysics and its central component, ontology (the study of being), insofar as they were thought of as meaningful enterprises at all, were for most of the second half of the twentieth century construed as concerned primarily with questions of existence, i.e., questions of the form, "What is there?" More recently, though, a number of writers have urged that many of the most central questions in metaphysics and perhaps philosophy in general are more profitably understood not as asking about the existence of certain apparently problematic sorts of entities (e.g., abstract objects), but rather as asking whether one type of phenomenon (e.g., a smile) is in some important sense dependent on another type of phenomenon (e.g., the mouth that is smiling). In this seminar, we will examine some of these recent writings on the topic of ontological dependence and related concepts like that of grounding. In particular, we will discuss the concept of supervenience, the modal/existential approach and the essentialist approach to dependence, as well as other available treatments; our readings will be taken from the work of such philosophers as Jaegwon Kim, E.J. Lowe, Fabrice Correia, Kit Fine, Jonathan Schaffer, Gideon Rosen, Ted Sider and Benjamin Schnieder.



fall 2009


PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Kant

Prof. Hanna

Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (CPR) is arguably the single most brilliant and influential 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. Topics to be covered include: Kant’s transcendental project; the introduction and beyond: basic terms, notions, and distinctions; space, time, and mathematics: the transcendental aesthetic; transcendental idealism: phenomena and noumena, empirical realism, and the refutation of idealism; concepts, logic & judgments: the metaphysical deduction of the categories; the transcendental deduction of the categories; the system of principles: schematism, axioms of intuition, anticipations of perception, and analogies of experience; transcendental dialectic & transcendental ideas; the third antinomy, freedom, and determinism; and the ideal of pure reason & the impossibility of ontological arguments.

PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Aristotle
Prof. Koslicki

In this course, we will intensively study the work of Aristotle, with the aim of reaching a broad understanding of the philosopher's whole body of thought. We will tour Aristotle's logical treatises as well as his work in natural philosophy, metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy and aesthetics. Our goal will be to arrive at a good overview of Aristotle's impressively wide span of interests and to understand how his views on such diverging subject-matters all hang together to combine into a single system of thought. This course requires 12 hours of philosophy course work or permission of the instructor.

PHIL 5020: Topics in the History of Philosophy: The Rationalists

Prof. Kaufman

Descartes. Spinoza. Leibniz. Malebranche. Substance. Causation. Modality. Free will. Theodicy.

PHIL 5100: Proseminar in Ethics
Prof. Norcross
Closed admission proseminar course. Required of all first-year PhD students; recommended for all first-year MAs.

PHIL 5200: Contemporary Political Philosophy: Political Authority and the International State System
Prof. Jaggar

For over 300 years, Western political philosophy focused on questions concerning the moral authority of the state, interrogating the basis, scope, and limits of state power. Since World War II, however, long-accepted answers to these traditional questions have faced new challenges. The Westphalian model of international relations has been replaced by United Nations Charter model, which limits states’ sovereignty through international laws that often codify moral demands. States’ responsibility to guarantee the human rights of their citizens enhances their moral authority but also limits it, since states that fail to discharge this responsibility lose moral legitimacy. States’ ultimate authority over not only their citizens but also their territory and borders has been challenged from the perspective of citizens morally opposed to state mandates (the question of conscientious objection), the perspective of prospective migrants (the question of immigration), the perspective of groups of citizens who wish their region to disaffiliate (the question of secession), and the perspective of states worried about calamities in other countries (the question of humanitarian intervention). Concerns about environmental damage and global inequality raise further challenges to traditional understandings of state sovereignty. This course will study some of these challenges with a view to rethinking the future of the state.

This is a slash course, meaning that it is available both for undergraduate and graduate credit. People wishing to audit will be expected to attend regularly, do the reading, and write some class responses if I decide to require those.

PHIL 5200: Contemporary Political Philosophy
Prof. Wingo

PHIL 5230: Bioethics and Public Policy
Prof. Chwang

In this course we'll consider a cluster of applied issues centering around two related theoretical themes: why (when) is death bad, and why (when) is killing wrong? We'll probably look at several topics that touch on the badness of death and wrongness of killing, including abortion, euthanasia, the definition of death, and the treatment of non-human animals. We'll read chunks of Jeff McMahan's 2003 book, The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life, but I hope to limit those chunks so that I can (legally) photocopy all the bits we'll need, rather than making you all buy your own copies. I haven't (yet) read a lot of the material we'll be discussing – indeed that's a principal motivation for my choosing to teach this topic – so I hope to keep the atmosphere informal, essentially a glorified reading group. All students will be expected to write a ~20 page term paper at the end of the semester and, depending on enrollment, give one or two in-class presentations.

PHIL 5400: Philosophy of Science
Prof. Cleland

PHIL 5440: Topics in Logic: Mathematical Logic
Prof. Forbes

The course is designed mainly with the needs of philosophy majors/ minors and graduates in mind. For philosophy majors or minors, a grade of at least B+ in Phil 2440 (Symbolic Logic) is recommended. Anyone else who plans to enroll should seek the advice of the instructor.

Course Description: The aim of the course is to present proofs of soundness and completeness results for sentential and first-order systems of natural deduction of the kind commonly taught in Phil 2440. The particular focus will be the Gentzen-style systems of my Phil 2440 textbook Modern Logic (OUP 1994). As time permits, we will look at some first-order model theory beyond the completeness proofs, and also, I hope, the corresponding topics for certain rivals to classical logic, for example, intuitionistic logic and relevance logic.

Textbook: Logic and Metalogic for Philosophers, by Graeme Forbes
(available in the bookstore late summer)

Homework assignments will be set on a regular basis and graded, course grades being based on these. The assignments for those taking the course at the 4440 level are (often) different from those for the 5440 level.

PHIL 5450: History and Philosophy of Physics
Prof. Allan Franklin (physics)

PHIL 5800: Open Topics: Experimental Philosophy
Dr. Talbot

Philosophy is often thought of as an "armchair" discipline. On this view, the answers to philosophical questions can (in principle) be discovered by simply thinking, without the need for any empirical research, and our intuitions are an important source of data for philosophical theorizing. One challenge to this view is the recent Experimental Philosophy movement. The movement has so far focused on criticizing traditional methods of gathering and using intuitions, calling for the use of more rigorous, scientific methodology. The results of philosophical experiments have been used to call into question widely accepted claims about what is intuitive, and to undermine the very use of intuitions as data. This has occurred in a variety of philosophical domains, including ethics, philosophy of action, philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics. In this class we will a) discuss specific works of Experimental Philosophy, b) consider criticisms of the movement, c) discuss what would be the best practices for conducting and analyzing philosophical experiments, and d) try to draw some conclusions about philosophical methodology generally. Because Experimental Philosophy has been applied to a wide variety of topics, there will likely be some room to tailor the readings to the philosophical interests of the class.

PHIL 5810: Buddhism
Prof. Zimmerman

This course surveys the major tenets and philosophical elements of Buddhism in its three major expressions, primarily as developed in India and Tibet: original (Pali canon), Mahayana, and Vajrayana (aka Tibetan) Buddhism. As in the European middle ages, pursuit of wisdom in India long involved both spiritual practice and philosophical inquiry. Classical Indian philosophy/religion, including Buddhism, was very sophisticated, developing on its own virtually all major philosophical positions that were developed in the West, ranging from reductive materialism and skepticism to critical idealism, absolute idealism, and non-dualism.
This course does not fulfil any of the distribution requirements for MA or PhD students. However, it can be taken for graduate credit if you register for Phil 5810, with the permission of the instructor and the DGS.

PHIL 5810: Marxism
(listed at PHIL 4250, cross-listed as GRMN 4251)
Prof. Pickford

This course is designed as an introduction to the philosophy of Karl Marx. We will pay especial attention to his transformation of certain fundamental concepts from the philosophical tradition (chiefly Aristotle) and his political-economic theories.

Henry Pickford is an assistant professor in the German department who is teaching Marxism at the 4000-level. If you would like to take this course for graduate credit, you may enroll in PHIL 5810-802 "Special Topic-Philosophy". You will need to ask Karen for the form to allow you to register for this course. And you will need to make arrangements with Henry to do additional graduate-level work for this course.

PHIL 6000: Seminar in the History of Philosophy: Skepticism
Prof. Pasnau

This class will be, loosely speaking, a history of skepticism. We will divide the semester equally between ancient, medieval, and 17th-century sources. But instead of looking at a lot of different texts, we will be focusing on just three authors: Sextus Empiricus, Nicholas of Autrecourt, and John Locke.

My own interest in skepticism is perhaps idiosyncratic, and this will be reflected in the seminar. I am not very interested in trying to solve arguments from illusion, dreaming, deceiving demons, etc. In some sense I think it is clear these problems cannot be solved. So the interesting questions concern what follows from this. Here it seems to me there are principally two sorts of questions. The first sort concerns the ethics of belief. Given that we are absolutely certain about essentially nothing, what ought we to believe? This in turn raises important questions about what exactly belief is, and what sort of evidence it requires. The second sort of questions concern what follows for philosophy, when one accepts some of the lessons of skepticism. What sorts of reduced aspirations does skepticism entail for philosophical theorizing? Pursuing this second line of inquiry will lead us to look more broadly at the philosophical systems of Autrecourt and Locke: in particular, how they think about various metaphysical questions concerning substance, essence, identity, and the appearance-reality gap.

PHIL 6300: Seminar in Philosophy of Mind: Consciousness and the Mind-Body Problems Revisited
Prof. Hanna

Consciousness is subjective experience. You have it and I have it. Granting that, then there are two fundamental problems in the philosophy of mind, both of them having essentially to do with consciousness. The first problem is this: How can we explain the existence and specific character of consciousness in a physical world? And the second problem is this: How can we explain the causal relevance and causal efficacy of consciousness in a physical world? In this seminar we will look closely, comparatively, and critically at three contemporary attempts to solve the two mind-body problems: (1) David Chalmers's naturalistic dualism in The Conscious Mind (OUP, 1996), (2) Jaegwon Kim's physicalism in Physicalism, or Something Near Enough (Princeton, 2007) and (3) Hanna's and Maiese's essential embodiment theory in Embodied Minds in Action (OUP, 2009).

PHIL 6400: Seminar in Philosophy of Science
Prof. Monton

We'll talk about various issues in philosophy of time, as they relate to issues in philosophy of science and philosophy of physics. For example, is time a fundamental aspect of reality? What accounts for our experience of the directionality of time? Does time fundamentally have a direction? Is eternalism or presentism or the growing block view true? Is time travel possible? Is substantivalism or relationalism true with respect to time? (What are substantivalism and relationalism with respect to time?) I won't presuppose anything beyond a high school knowledge of physics (and I won't presuppose any knowledge of philosophy of time either).




spring 2009


PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Descartes
Professor Kaufman

PHIL 5040: Latin Philosophical Texts
Professor Pasnau

PHIL 5100: Proseminar in Ethics
Professor Norcross
Closed admission proseminar course. Required of all first-year PhD students; recommended for all first-year MAs.

PHIL 5210: Seminar in Philosophy and Public Policy: Ethical and Policy Issues Concerning the Family

Professor Mills

This course will focus on recent philosophical work on the family. Issues we will be examining include: the source and scope of parental obligations; autonomy and justice as these relate to marriage, reproduction, and child-rearing; and a range of policy issues such as contract motherhood, transracial and transcultural adoptions, state support for families via the welfare system, gay marriage, and parenting children with disabilities. I am planning to have us read (final selection still to be determined): Conceptions of Parenthood by our own former grad student Mike Austin; Love’s Labor: Essays on Women, Equality, and Dependence, by Eva Kittay; Feminism, the Family, and the Politics of the Closet, by Cheshire Calhoun; Adoption Matters, edited by Sally Haslanger and Charlotte Witt; Feminism and Families, edited by Hilde Lindeman Nelson, Making Babies, Making Families by Mary Lyndon Shanley; Kindred Matters: Rethinking Philosophy and the Family, edited by Diana Meyers et al.; Having and Raising Children, edited by Uma Narayn and Julia Bartkowiak. Students will write one major paper which will form the basis of an in-class seminar presentation.

PHIL 5240: Seminar in Environmental Ethics
Professor Hale

This course is structured to address underlying theoretical concerns of environmental scientists and policy analysts, as well as to bring environmental philosophers “back down to earth.” As such, it aims to strike a balance between the abstract and the practical. Because of its unique student composition -- approximately one third environmental scientists, one third environmental policy and law students, and one third philosophers -- discussions tend toward “on the ground” issues. Nevertheless, the readings are firmly rooted in environmental philosophy.

Over the course of the semester, we look at several primary questions in environmental ethics and environmental philosophy. First, we look at environmental ethics from a birds-eye view, asking serious questions about its origins and its future. We look particularly closely at two prevalent, but diametrically opposed ecological views: social ecology and deep ecology, seeking particularly to situate environmental philosophy within narrower applied concerns. We then turn away from these broad-brush political questions and address three central questions in environmental philosophy: (1) what is the role of the community in the determination of environmental values? (2) Might we better understand nature and our relationship to it from the perspective of the economic market? And (3) does nature have interests, such that we can make sense of the claim that we should act for its own sake?

This course is geared to provide students with the resources to answer the tougher questions of your critics. How did this whole thing start? Where is it going? What should we be concerned about as philosophers of the environment? Why should I (anyone) be concerned about the environment?

PHIL 5290: Topics in Values and Social Policy: Political Freedom
Professor Wingo

PHIL 5400: Philosophy of Science
Professor Leibowitz

Scientists and philosophers construct theories in order to explain various phenomena. But what does it take to explain something? In this course we will explore the nature of explanation. What is an explanation? Are there conditions of adequacy that all (proper) explanations satisfy? Or is there no single correct explication of the notion of explanation? Are there, perhaps, different conditions of adequacy for different kinds of explanations (i.e., historical, physical, or psychological explanations)? We will begin our exploration by reading Hempel’s pioneering work on explanation from the 1940’s. We will then discuss some of the main articles on scientific explanation that stemmed from Hempel’s influential work, with a special emphasis on the nature of explanation in the physical sciences and in history. Towards the end of the semester we will turn our attention to moral explanations. Are explanations in ethics anything like scientific explanations, or should we expect to find a distinctive kind of moral explanation? Readings may include works by Hempel, Bromberger, Salmon, Railton, van Fraassen, Kitcher, Scriven, Dray, and others. For an overview of some of the topics we will discuss in this course please visit the entry on Scientific Explanation in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. For more information about this course please consult the course website.

PHIL 5450: History and Philosophy of Physics
Professor Franklin

PHIL 5460/4460: Modal Logic

Professor Forbes
TR 2:00-3:15

Introduces the most philosophically relevant kind of logic that builds on Phil 2440 (Symbolic Logic). Modal logic is the logic of the concepts of necessity, possibility and contingency. A variety of systems of sentential modal logic will be covered, along with the standard system of first-order modal logic. Some metatheory of sentential modal logic will be covered as time permits. Phil 2440 or an equivalent is recommended, but not demanded, as a prerequisite.

PHIL 5800: Open Topics in Philosophy: Language and Mind
Professors Rupert and Barnett

This course focuses on consciousness and its place in nature. We will work through David Chalmers’s influential book, The Conscious Mind, as well as recent papers elaborating on and evaluating the ideas presented there. A wide range of topics will be discussed, including the reduction of the mental to the physical, the role of cognitive science in the investigation of consciousness, two-dimensional semantics, and the causal efficacy of the mental.

PHIL 6000: Seminar in the History of Philosophy: Plato: Masterworks
Professor Bailey

PHIL 6310: Methods in Cognitive Science
Professor Eisenberg

PHIL 6380: Seminar in Metaphysics
Professor Tooley

The focus of this seminar will be upon the main alternative accounts of causation and of laws of nature that have been advanced by contemporary philosophers. Central to the consideration of those alternative views will be the choice between reductionist approaches to causation and to laws of nature – according to which, for example, causal concepts are analyzable in non-causal terms – and, on the other hand, realist approaches, according to which such a reduction is not possible. Much of the reading for the course will be taken from a book on the nature of causation that I am presently completing.




fall 2008


PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Aristotle

Professor Mi-Kyoung Lee
MWF 1:00-1:50; MCOL E186

This course will be an advanced survey of Aristotle's philosophy, ranging from his logic and theory of explanation, his metaphysics and natural philosophy, to his ethics, politics and poetics. The course is intended to give advanced undergraduates and graduate students a thorough and synoptic grounding in Aristotle's philosophy. Readings will be assigned from Richard McKeon's The Basic Works of Aristotle, and from Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Aristotle.

PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Nietzsche
Professor Michael Zimmerman
TR 2:00-3:15 ; GUGG 2

In recent decades, interest in Nietzsche's work has grown in many philosophical circles, and for good reason. Although his books are often written in a somewhat untraditional style, they contain remarkably rich philosophical insights--ethical, metaphysical, epistemological--that have had wide influence in Europe and North America. In this course, we will read a selection of Nietzsche's major works, including The Birth of Tragedy, The Gay Science, and The Genealogy of Morals. Other readings could include "The Use and Abuse of History" and some short essays. Assignments will also be made from the voluminous secondary literature. Students will be required to write a series of short papers as well as a final paper. Depending on class size, oral reports may be required. Among course ground rules, two are worth mentioning here: First, my attendance policy permits very few unexcused absences. Second, texting and using computers are not permitted during class sessions.

PHIL 5030: Greek Philosophical Texts
Professor Mi-Kyoung Lee
TBA

PHIL 5040: Latin Philosophical Texts
Professor Robert Pasnau
TBA

PHIL 5210: Philosophy and Social Policy
Professor Eric Chwang
TR 2:00-3:15; HLMS 196

In this course we will examine the concepts of coercion and exploitation. We will read Alan Wertheimer's Exploitation and Ruth Sample's Exploitation: What It Is and Why It's Wrong, as well as numerous papers. Students will be expected to give an in-class presentation towards the end of the term and write a ~20 page term paper.

PHIL 5360: Metaphysics
Professor Kathrin Koslicki
MW 2:00-3:15; HLMS 177

Metaphysics is the study of what there is and our relation to it in the most general way possible. We derive the name for this discipline from a work of Aristotle's by the same title, which was grouped after ('meta') his Physics ('On Nature') in the Aristotelian corpus. Over the past two-thousand-five-hundred years, there have of course been many different conceptions of what the study of metaphysics encompasses, but many of the most familiar and intractable classical philosophical questions within the Western tradition have numbered among them: Do we have free will and what would it mean for us to be free? Is the mind distinct from the body and what is the relation between them? How can we remain the same person over time despite the fact that we undergo many changes? Does God exist and are there good arguments by means of which God's existence can be demonstrated? What in general is it for something to exist and can there be meaningful disputes over what exists? Could there be two things that are exactly alike and what would make them distinct? How are we to understand the concepts of necessity and possibility, i.e., of what must be the case and of what might or might not be the case? What is it for something to be the cause of something else?

Most of us, at one time or another, have been captured by at least some of these questions; their fascination to philosophers and non-philosophers alike is attested by their well-entrenched incorporation into the intellectual mainstream in the form for example of such recent movies as The Matrix, Twelve Monkees and Total Recall. In this course, we will consider some concrete examples of contemporary metaphysical debates, interlaced with more general methodological and metaphilosophical discussions concerning the very possibility and meaningfulness of this enterprise.

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

PHIL 5490: Philosophy of Language
Professor Graeme Forbes
TR 3:30-4:45; HLMS 263

Text: Knowledge of Meaning by Richard Larson and Gabriel Segal. The MIT Press.

Prerequisites: No official ones, but much of the material is likely to be unintelligible to those who have not taken a course in which some quantificational logic was covered.

Course Description: The aim of the course is to introduce the systematic study of meaning in natural language through the tools of formal semantics developed by logicians for formal languages.

People can produce and understand grammatical sentences of their native language which they have never encountered before, so long as they grasp the sentences' syntax and know the meanings of the words in them. The property of language that makes this possible is its compositionality: the meaning of a complete, syntactically unambiguous sentence is composed from, or determined by, the meanings of its largest syntactic constituents; the meanings of the latter are composed from those of their largest syntactic constituents; and so on until we reach the simplest constituents, individual words.

Formal languages of the kind found in logic and computer science have compositionality explicitly built into their design. But in natural language, the mechanisms by which compositionality is implemented have to be inferred. There are issues about the best way of representing the meanings of individual words. And there are issues about how to model the semantic effect of various modes of syntactic combination. The course will examine a broad range of questions of this sort, selecting some, as time permits, for more detailed investigation. We will mainly follow the textbook, but I will spend rather more time than the book does on the topic of implicature, relevance logic, and the borderline between pragmatics and semantics.

PHIL 5840: Graduate Independent Study

PHIL 6000: Seminar in the History of Philosophy - Mind v. Soul (Kaufman v. Pasnau)
Professors Dan Kaufman and Robert Pasnau
R 5:00-7:30; HLMS 196

This is a course in comparative history of philosophy. We will be looking at the best medieval theories of the soul, in authors such as Thomas Aquinas, William Ockham, and John Buridan, and comparing them to the best early modern theories of the mind, in authors such as René Descartes, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and the Cambridge Platonists. We will begin with 2-3 weeks on Aquinas's Treatise on Human Nature, to get an overview of an influential medieval Aristotelian theory of the soul, and then spend 2-3 weeks on Descartes's conception of mind, again to get an overview of an influential modern view. From there we will branch out to other authors and other topics.

Questions to be discussed include these: What is the difference between soul and mind? In what sense is the mind simple? Does the Aristotelian theory of soul solve any part of the "mind-body problem"? In what sense is the soul/mind supposed to be immaterial, and are there good arguments for that conclusion, and for the further conclusion that the mind is immortal? Auditors welcomed.

PHIL 6100: Seminar in Ethics
Professors Michael Huemer and Chris Heathwood
TR 3:30-4:45; HLMS 177

This team-taught course will examine a variety of puzzles about the good. Topics addressed will include what things are intrinsically good, what benefits a person, the repugnant conclusion, the non-identity problem, objections to the transitivity of better than, the value of equality, infinite value, and theories of incommensurable values. Readings by Ross, Parfit, Quinn, Kagan, Temkin, Rachels, and others, including members of the distinguished philosophy department at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Requirements: two shorter (7-10 page) papers; one longer (15-25 page) seminar paper (which can be a development of one of the shorter papers); one class presentation; a love of the good.

PHIL 6490: Seminar in Philosophy of Language
Professor David Barnett
T 5:00-7:30; HLMS 196

The sentence 'Hamsters are cute' means something, namely, that hamsters are cute. This very thing, that hamsters are cute, shows up in the theory of mind as something that we might believe, fear, or hope. Mary believes that hamsters are cute. Joe, who is about to see a hamster for the first time, hopes that hamsters are cute. Joe's parents, who prefer a hamster-free home, fear that hamsters are cute. In giving theories of language and of mind, it is important that we come to a proper understanding of these strange objects, meanings. Early on, we will develop a list of criteria for a theory of meanings and look at some recent theories of meanings. Then we'll turn to my own theory and see how it fares in comparison to the others.





spring 2008


PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Plato

Professor Dominic Bailey
MWF 1:00-1:50; ECON 205

PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Heidegger

Professor Michael E. Zimmerman
TR 12:30-1:45; HLMS 177

The primary text for this course will be Heidegger's Being and Time, which we will read in its entirety. This is a demanding, but not impossible book to read; moreover, it has had a significant influence on much of 20th century philosophy. The work of Bert Dreyfus and his UC Berkeley students in particular has made this text both accessible to and pertinent to the work of Anglo-American philosophers during the past 25 years. In addition to Being and Time, we will read a substantial number of articles that illuminate it from various perspectives, including whether Heidegger can be regarded as an “externalist.” We will also read articles that approach Heidegger's book in terms of its own philosophical context and in terms of how it engages thinkers such as Aristotle, Kant, and Husserl.

Students will be required to write a number of short essays during the semester, as well as a long paper (about 3000 words) at the close of the semester.

PHIL 5100: Ethics

Professor Alastair Norcross
TR 3:30-4:45; EDUC 138
Closed admission proseminar course. Required of all first-year PhD students; recommended for all first-year MAs.

PHIL 5200: Contemporary Political Philosophy

Professor Claudia Mills
MWF 1:00-1:50; CLUB 4

This course is a survey of some of the most major and influential works of political philosophy over the past few decades. We will be reading two works from the 1970s (Rawls, A Theory of Justice; and Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia); two works from the 1980s (Sandel, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice; and Walzer, Spheres of Justice); two works from the 1990s (Rawls, Political Liberalism; Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship); and one work from the 2000s (Nussbaum, Women and Human Development). I hope the course will provide a helpful, high-level introductory survey to students without an extensive background in political philosophy, as well as offering at least something new to those who have read more widely in the field. This is a good chance to fill in any holes in your background in political philosophy and finally read some of those classic works that you are embarrassed to admit you have never read. 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).

PHIL 5240: Environmental Philosophy

Professor Benjamin Hale
R 11:00-1:30

PHIL 5290: Topics in Values and Social Policy: Bodies in Theory and Practice

Professor Christina Van Dyke
MW 12:00-1:15; HLMS 196

If you're looking for a seminar that will change the way you live as well as the way you think, this just might be it—our focus will be on the lived space where critical theories of embodiment intersect with actual physical practices, paying special attention to how gender functions in both those theories and practices. After a brief historical survey of this topic, we'll look closely at how recent discussions involving intersexuality and transsexual experiences are, as Judith Butler puts it, "undoing gender." In particular, we'll delve into the question of whether the current push to deconstruct the traditional binary understanding of gender (as 'female' and 'male') is likely to produce a genuinely practicable theory of embodiment. Can the deconstruction/reconstruction of gender create livable intellectual and physical space for human beings who want to challenge current social roles—who, like Patrick Hopkins, seek to "betray gender"? Is it possible to live a flourishing human life in the twenty-first century as a physically-sexed but genderless/genderful body? Could the move toward an inclusive rather than exclusive (man or woman, female or male) conception of gender ultimately present practicable social, political, and economic policies? Is this all a really bad idea?

In raising, discussing, and proposing answers to these questions, we'll be drawing on the ground-breaking work of such established scholars as Susan Bordo, Judith Butler, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Patrick Hopkins, bell hooks, Michael Kimmel, and Elizabeth Spelman—as well as a bunch of authors far enough off the beaten philosophical path that you've probably never heard of them. Seminar participants will produce a substantial research paper in several stages, as well as an extensive readings journal. Having done serious work on gender theory in the past is not required, but a sense of humor definitely is: this class is not for the conceptually or physically squeamish.

PHIL 5300: Philosophy of Mind

Professor Robert Hanna
TR 12:30-1:45; GUGG 3

There are three basic problems in contemporary philosophy of mind: 1) how to explain the existence and specific character of consciousness in a physical world (the mind-body problem), 2) how to explain the causal relevance and causal efficacy of consciousness in a physical world (the problem of mental causation), and 3) how to explain the nature of intentionality or mental representation (the problem of mental content). This course will cover all three of these problems. Specific topics to be covered include: consciousness, dualism, behaviorism, physicalism, anti-physicalist arguments, functionalism & its troubles, mental causation & the causal exclusion problem, intentionality, individualism vs. externalism, and the varieties of content.

Required Texts:
(1) D. Chalmers, Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).
(2) J. Kim, Philosophy of Mind (Boulder, CO: Westview, 1996).
(3) Lecture outlines & handouts.

Course Requirements:
(1A) For undergraduates: Two 8-10 pp. papers, each worth 35% of the final grade (= 70% in total).
(1B) For graduate students: two 10-12 pp. papers, each worth 35% of the final grade (= 70% in total).
(2) A final examination, worth 30% of the final grade.

PHIL 5800: Open Topics in Philosophy: Secondary Qualities

Professor Robert Pasnau
W 7:00-9:30; HLMS 247

An old philosophical tradition, going back at least to the seventeenth century, and maybe to the Middle Ages, and maybe to the Presocratics, distinguishes between two kinds of properties, primary and secondary. We will explore discussions of this topic through the ages, spending roughly half of the seminar on seventeenth-century discussions, and half on contemporary readings. We will take up both the general question of how such a distinction is best drawn, and also specific secondary qualities, including color, sound, and (on some accounts) value properties. This course can fulfill either the modern philosophy distribution requirement, or the metaphysics distribution requirement (depending on one's term paper).

PHIL 6000: Seminar in the History of Philosophy: Stoics

Professor Mi-Kyoung Lee
MW 2:00-3:15; HLMS 196

This course will be a graduate-level seminar surveying major topics in Stoic philosophy. We will examine their theories in physics/theology, free will, logic, epistemology (including their engagement with the Academic sceptics), and ethics. The aim will be to focus on original texts and sources as much as possible, and to survey the whole of Stoic philosophy, rather than selecting one or two issues in isolation from the rest. Readings will be assigned from Long and Sedley's The Hellenistic Philosophers, vol. 1, and from Inwood's Cambridge Companion to the Stoics, with some additional readings posted on-line. Seminar work will probably include a seminar presentation and a term paper.

PHIL 6300: Seminar in Philosophy of Mind

Professor Robert Rupert
TR 3:30-4:45; HLMS 271

This seminar will focus on philosophical issues that arise in connection with mental representation. Mental representations are theoretical entities, posited to serve particular explanatory purposes. Most obviously, mental representations are supposed to be the vehicles of mental content, the units from which our beliefs and desires inherit their content. That content should also help to explain various forms of human behavior: I recognize and say "hello" to someone whom I have previously met because on both occasions (that of the meeting the person and that of seeing him again), tokens of the same mental representation – the representation of that person – are activated in my mind. In the first half of the semester, we will consider various theories of mental content as well as theories of the nature of mental representations individuated nonsemantically. During the second half of the semester, we will try to make sense of, and evaluate, the idea that mental representations are embodied, i.e., the idea that mental representations do their causal-explanatory work largely in virtue of some special relation they bear to the human body.

PHIL 6310 Issues and Methods in Cognitive Science

Professor Eisenberg
TR 5:00-6:15; HLMS 220





fall 2007


PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Aristotle

Professor Mi-Kyoung Lee
TR 1230PM-0145PM; HLMS 245

PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Rousseau

Professor Claudia Mills
MWF 0100PM-0150PM; HLMS 245

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 5030: Greek Philosophical Texts

Professor Mi-Kyoung Lee
Contact Professor Lee for more information.

PHIL 5040: Latin Philosophical Texts

Professor Robert Pasnau
Contact Professor Pasnau for more information.

PHIL 5110: Contemporary Moral Theory

Professor Eric Chwang
TR 0330PM-0445PM; MCOL E155

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
W 0400PM-0630PM; HLMS 196

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
MW 0230PM-0345PM; HLMS 196

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

PHIL 5450: History and Philosophy of Physics

Professor Allan Franklin
TR 1230PM-0145PM; DUAN G1B27

PHIL 5490: Philosophy of Language

Professor David Barnett
TR 0200PM-0315PM; HLMS 237

PHIL 5500: Advanced Formal Semantics

Professor Graeme Forbes
Recommended prerequisite: PHIL 5490
TR 0330PM-0445PM; HLMS 177

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.

PHIL 6100: Seminar in Ethics

Professor Robert Hanna
TR 0200PM-0315PM; HLMS 177

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
MW 0100PM-0215PM; HLMS 196





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.

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

READING LIST

(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
Dr. 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.

We make value judgments -- e.g., "It's wrong to eat meat," "Death is bad" -- all the time. But what are we doing when we do this? Are we describing an objective moral reality, or just expressing our preferences? Are such statements ever true? Can we ever know one to be true? If there are moral facts, are they just a subclass of the natural facts about the world? If there are facts about what morality requires, do we have any reason to do what they tell us to do? These are some questions in metaethics, to which the first part of this course will provide an introduction.

The second part of the course will ask questions not about moral statements but about our actual moral obligations. These are questions in normative ethics. We will investigate whether there are limits to the sacrifices that morality can demand of us, and whether certain types of acts are simply forbidden, even when necessary for promoting the overall good.

Two books are required:

     Russ Shafer-Landau, Moral Realism: A Defence (Oxford, 2003).
     Shelly Kagan, The Limits of Morality (Oxford, 1989).

Any additional readings will be provided.

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

Dr. Benjamin Hale

In this course, we will take an in-depth look at several primary questions in environmental ethics and environmental philosophy. First, we will look at environmental ethics from a birds-eye view, asking serious questions about its origins and its future. We will look particularly closely at two prevalent, but diametrically opposed ecological views: social ecology and deep ecology. We will then take a turn away from these broad-brush political questions and address three central questions in environmental philosophy: (1) what is the role of the community in the determination of environmental values? (2) Might we better understand nature and our relationship to it from the perspective of the economic market? And (3) does nature have interests, such that we can make sense of the claim that we should act for its own sake?

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

Professor Dan Kaufman





fall 2006


PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Leibniz

Professor Jack Davidson

PHIL 5010: Single Philosopher: Plato

Professor Mitzi Lee

This course will introduce students to some advanced topics in Plato's ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology. (A) Plato's metaphysics. We will begin with the central passages in the Phaedo, the Republic, and the Symposium laying out the 'classic' theory of Forms, and then will investigate Plato's later thoughts about what the Forms are like in the Parmenides, the Philebus, and the Timaeus. Two questions we will pursue are (i) what are the Forms?, and (ii) did Plato's ideas about matter and material body change and develop? (B) Plato's epistemology. We will investigate the 'subject-related' conception of knowledge in the Meno, the 'object-related' conception of knowledge in the Republic, and three definitions of knowledge in the Theaetetus. (C) Plato's ethics. We will begin with a look at the sources for the historical Socrates, and then will sketch the development of ideas concerning Plato's conception of the good and of the good life starting from the early dialogues, through the Republic, and on to the Laws. One of the themes we will pursue is Plato's idea that only philosophers can attain virtue, and therefore happiness. What were his reasons for this, and what kind of a good life did he think is attainable by non-philosophers?

Goals: The aim of this course is to build on students' previous acquaintance with Plato, and to introduce them to more advanced topics in philosophy through study of Plato's middle and late dialogues, and through readings of recent scholarly literature on Plato.

Required Books:

Plato: Complete Works, ed. J. M. Cooper. Hackett Publishing Co. 1997. (hardback ISBN 0-87220-349-2)

Gail Fine (ed.). Plato 1: Metaphysics and Epistemology. (Oxford Readings in Philosophy.) Oxford University Press 1999. (ISBN 0-19-875206-7 paperback)

Gail Fine (ed.). Plato 2: Ethics, Politics, Religion, and the Soul. (Oxford Readings in Philosophy.) Oxford University Press 1999. (ISBN 0-19-875204-0 paperback)

PHIL 5020: Topics in the History of Philosophy: Early Modern Theories of Matter
Professor Dan Kaufman

The 17th century saw a major change in the way philosophers view matter and the material world. This change was largely the result of the invention of the microscope, the rise in empirical science, and the rejection of the scholasticism of the middle ages. In this course, we will examine the way in which early modern philosophers address the following topics: (a) The nature of matter. For instance, we will examine the Cartesian view that the nature of matter is extension, and the view (found in Locke and Boyle, among others) that the nature of matter is extension plus solidity. We will also look at the philosophical consequences of both views. (b) Atomistic vs. infinitely divisible matter. Are there pieces of matter that are indivisible, or is matter ‘gunk’ all the way down? We will also look at the various sorts of divisibility relevant to this discussion. (c) Actual vs. potential parts. Are the parts of a piece of matter actually there as real things prior to (or in the absence of) actual division into parts? Or does division create parts that were there only potentially before division? (d) Qualities of bodies. Most qualities seem to be dispositions (for instance, water solubility and fragility, as well as the ability your key has to open your front door). Are these qualities intrinsic to bodies, such that any duplicate of your key will have the same ability to open your door? Or are they extrinsic? What is the relationship between the qualities of a body and the material arrangement of the parts of the body? (e) Rarefaction, condensation, and scattering. How can a piece of matter become larger or smaller? Does it require the addition of more matter or not? Can a piece of matter survive being scattered? (f) Mixtures. When you mix bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters, you get a Manhattan. But is the Manhattan a new kind of thing in such a way that the bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters cease to exist once they are mixed to make the Manhattan? What is the status of the elements in such mixtures? (g) Cohesion. How do all of the parts of the table manage to stay together, given that the parts only have the properties of size, shape, and motion/rest? Are the parts ‘hook-shaped’ so that they latch on to each other? Does the air surrounding the table have a density that keeps the parts together? We will look at how the following philosophers attempted to answer these questions: Descartes, Boyle, Newton, Clarke, Charleton, Digby, Locke, Hobbes, Rohault, Le Grand, Suarez, Gassendi, Cordemoy, Magirus, Sennert, Conway, Cavendish, and perhaps others.

We will also have a class visit by Tom Holden (UC-Santa Barbara), author of The Architecture of Matter: Galileo to Kant.

PHIL 5030: Greek Philosophical Texts

Professor Mitzi Lee

PHIL 5210: Philosophy and Social Policy

Professor Claudia Mills

Ethical and Policy Issues Concerning the Family This course will look at how recent philosophers have critiqued traditional moral and political theory and practice in regard to the family. Giving special attention to feminist critiques of the family, we will rethink concepts such as autonomy and justice as we examine the issues of marriage, reproduction/family creation, child-rearing, and domestic work. Some of the books I am planning to have us read (final selection still be determined) are: Eva Kittay, Love's Labor: Essays on Women, Equality and Dependence; Hilde Lindemann Nelson, Feminism and Families; Amy Mullin, Reconceiving Pregnancy and Childcare; Diana Tietjens Meyers, et al., Kindred Matters: Rethinking the Philosophy of the Family; Uma Narayan and Julia J. Bartkowiak, Having and Raising Children: Unconventional Families, Hard Choices, and the Social Good; and Cheshire Calhoun, Feminism, the Family, and the Politics of the Closet: Lesbian and Gay Displacement. Students will write one major paper, which will form the basis of an in-class seminar presentation.

PHIL 5290: Topics in Values and Social Policy: Race and Ethnicity

Professor Alison Jaggar

This course will investigate the philosophical assumptions informing racial classifications and explore some of the moral and political concerns that arise out of such classifications.

PHIL 5360: Metaphysics

Professor Carol Cleland

Required for all incoming PhD students; recommended for incoming MAs.

PHIL 5400: Philosophy of Science

Professor Michael Huemer

In the first half of the course we will explore the nature of scientific reasoning and knowledge. In the second half, we try to understand what modern science, particularly physics, tells us about reality. Our focus will be on formulating and evaluating rational arguments on puzzling controversial questions. The course will have 4 units: First unit: The Problem of Induction. Science seems to rely on induction, the practice of inferring that unobserved objects will have similar characteristics as observed objects. Why are we justified in assuming this? We review three responses to this problem. Second unit: Miscellaneous Epistemological Issues. Why are some philosophers skeptical about scientific objectivity and knowledge? Can we formulate meaningful theories that can't be tested? Why is simplicity a theoretical virtue? Third unit: Space, Time, & Causality. How does the Special Theory of Relativity bear on the traditional absolute & relational theories of space? Why do some people still defend absolute motion? Can spacetime be "curved", and what does that mean? Finally, what does physics tell us about causality? Must causes precede their effects? Fourth unit: Quantum Mechanics. We examine the strange experimental results that lead to quantum mechanics, and the mathematical formalism that predicts them. We look at how QM allows for faster-than-light connections (non-locality). Finally, we discuss David Bohm's radical proposal for eliminating most of the paradoxes and weirdness of QM.

PHIL 5440: Topics in Logic

Dr. Devon Belcher

PHIL 5450: History and Philosophy of Physics

Professor Allan Franklin

PHIL 5490: Philosophy of Language

Professor Graeme Forbes

PHIL 5600: Philosophy of Religion

Professor Wes Morriston

We'll do four things in this class:

Critically consider up-to-date versions of some of the traditional arguments for the existence of God. Specifically, we'll be taking on a modal version of the ontological argument, a couple of versions of the cosmological argument, and the so-called "fine-tuning argument" for design.

Take a close look at the key chapters of Alvin Plantinga's highly influential book Warranted Christian Belief. The issues to be discussed are mainly epistemological in nature. Plantinga denies that there is any "neutral ground" on which theists can make their case and non-theists can be decisively refuted. But he offers a theory of "warrant" on which Christians may nevertheless be fully warranted in what they believe.

Consider several of the standard theistic responses the following question: Is God's supposedly complete and infallible foreknowledge inconsistent with human freedom? Readings will be taken from several contemporary authors.

Address the question: How much, if any, should the amount and variety of suffering in the world count against the existence of a God who is both all-powerful and all-good? We'll be looking at this question from quite a number of different angles, with readings drawn from a number of different sources. I hope these will include Peter Van Inwagen's forthcoming book on the subject.

PHIL 5700 Aesthetics
Professor John Fisher

This course will I cover some of the canonical texts in mainstream aesthetics from Hume and Kant to recent work. The topics (tentative) will include: aesthetic judgments, their nature and validity (this is how Hume and Kant thought of aesthetics); the concept of art and proposed definitions of art (an obsession of 20th-century aesthetics); the nature of aesthetic properties; and the nature of aesthetic value and its role in justifying practical reasoning about art and nature (e.g., the Grand Canyon is beautiful – so it should be preserved not dammed).

In addition – and depending on student interests – we might look at nature aesthetics or the philosophy of music.





  

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