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The University Catalog contains a complete list of courses taught in the Philosophy Department. Undergraduate courses are those numbered in the 1000s, 2000s, 3000s, and 4000s. Upper division courses (3000s and 4000s) and selected lower division courses are listed below. All upper division courses have prerequisites; please check the catalog.

Fall 2018

PHIL 2240: Philosophy and Sport
Alexander Wolf-Root
SEC 001 MW 3:00-4:15 CLUB 13

Introduces students to philosophical issues surrounding sport. Topics may include: paying college athletes, sex testing in sports, the use of performance enhancing drugs, sports and gambling, the nature and value of sports and sportsmanship, gender equity and sports, the ethics of strategic fouling, sports fandom, the coach-athlete relationship, athletes as role models, and the risk of extreme bodily harm.

PHIL 3000: History of Ancient Philosophy
Professor Bailey
SEC 001 MWF 1:00-1:50 MCOL E155
SEC 002 MWF 3:00-3:50 HLMS 237

PHIL 3010: History of Modern Philosophy
Professor Kaufman
SEC 001 TR 11:00-12:15 VAC 1B88
Dr. Potter
SEC 002 TR 3:30-4:45 CLRE 208

PHIL 3100: Ethical Theory
Professor Heathwood
SEC 001 MW 3:00-4:15 RAMY N1B31
Dr. Bowman
SEC 002 TR 5:00-6:15 HLMS 237

PHIL 3140 / ENVS 3140 Environmental Ethics
Dr. Youkey
SEC 001 MWF 12:00-12:50 MCOL W100
SEC 002 MWF 9:00-9:50 DUAN G131

PHIL 3160 Bioethics
TBA
SEC 001 TR 5:00-6:15 ECON 205
SEC 002 TR 3:30-4:45 HLMS 247

PHIL 3190 War and Morality
Professor Sturgis
SEC 001 MWF 1:00-1:50 HLMS 237

PHIL 3200: Social and Political Philosophy
TBD
SEC 001 TR 3:30-4:45 DUAN G2B21

PHIL 3260: Philosophy and International Order
Dr. Youkey
SEC 001 MWF 4:00-4:50 VAC 1B88

PHIL 3140: History of Science: Ancients to Newton
Dr. Kultgen
SEC 001 MWF 2:00-2:50 HUMN 125

PHIL 3430: History of Science: Newton to Einstein
Dr. Youkey
SEC 001 MWF 1:00-1:50 HLMS 177

PHIL 3480: Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy
Dr. Potter
SEC 001 TR 12:30-1:45 HLMS 196
SEC 002 TR 2:00-3:15 HLMS 196

PHIL 3600: Philosophy of Religion
Professor Fileva
SEC 001 TR 3:30-4:45 HLMS 177

PHIL 3700 / HUMN 3092: Aesthetics
Professor Oddie
SEC 001 TR 2:00-3:15 HLMS 177

PHIL 4010: Single Philosopher: Kant
Dr. Bredeson
SEC 002 MWF 2:00-2:50 ECON 205

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is the single most influential philosopher of the modern period, hands down. It can probably be said that Kant’s impact on at least four core areas of philosophy—epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics—outstrips that of anyone working after Aristotle. In addition, Kant put forward a comprehensive vision of philosophy and science in general, giving principled reasons why some of their parts must be unified and others strictly separated, all while pioneering the integration of philosophy with emerging disciplines like anthropology and geography. Few thinkers since Kant have attempted anything even remotely as ambitious.

In this course we will try to get a sense of the significance of Kant’s philosophical achievement considered as a whole. Granted, in one semester we can only go so far in this direction, and several areas important to Kant’s conception of philosophy (notably, aesthetics, anthropology, geography, and political philosophy) will of necessity receive short shrift. But we will do our best to begin to bring Kant’s grand vision into focus. In doing so, we will split our focus along two main axes: theoretical philosophy and practical philosophy. We will focus on four core texts: the Critique of Pure Reason (1781/87), the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785), the Critique of Practical Reason (1788), and the Metaphysics of Morals (1797).

PHIL 4030/5030: Topics in the History of Philosophy: Medieval Philosophy
Professor Pasnau
SEC 001 TR 3:30-4:45 HUMN 125

This course will be a survey of medieval philosophy, ranging over ethics, mind, and metaphysics, and covering both the Latin and the Arabic traditions.

PHIL 4070: Existentialism
Dr. Chapman
SEC 001 MWF 9:00-9:50 HLMS 237

PHIL 4200/5200: Political Philosophy: Nationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Global Justice
Professor Jaggar
SEC 001 MW 3:00-4:15 MCOL E155

This course will study the tensions between the global regime of international law and human rights, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the rise of contemporary nationalisms. New forms of global governance seem to be required by the ever-increasing integration of the global economy and the recognition that many environmental problems cross national borders. Yet today we see a resurgence of xenophobia and nationalism, with calls to guard our borders and ways of life.

The tensions between these two approaches to global governance emerge in many conflicts over land, language, and culture. We will study the philosophical aspects of a tangle of related issues including: moral bases for territorial claims, cultural integrity, migration, responsibility for global inequality, military humanitarian intervention, and reparations for colonialism.

PHIL 4260: Philosophy of Law
Professor Talbot
SEC 001 TR 9:30-10:45 HLMS 177

PHIL 4340: Epistemology
Professor Staffel
SEC 001 TR 12:30-1:45 HLMS 177

PHIL 4440/5440: Topics in Logic
Professor Forbes
SEC 001 TR 11:00-12:15 HLMS 177

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) or some equivalent is recommended. Any undergraduate who doesn’t satisfy this condition but who plans to enroll should first 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, up to and including properties of non-standard models of arithmetic.

Textbook: Logic and Metalogic for Philosophers, by Graeme Forbes (available in the bookstore in 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 may sometimes be different from those for the 5440 level.

PHIL 4800/5800: Open Topics: The Epistemology of Testimony
Professor Steup
SEC 001 TR 3:00-4:15 HLMS 245

There are interesting parallels between the epistemology of perception and the epistemology of testimony. When the liquid in a cup tastes like coffee, you have a perceptual experience. Under which conditions does such an experience give you justification for believing that there is coffee in the cup? Dogmatists say: Perceptual experiences are necessarily a source of (defeasible) justification. There are no conditions under which the liquid’s tasting like coffee fails to give you a reason to believe there is coffee in the cup. Conservatives say: Perceptual experiences are a source of justification provided you have no reason to distrust them. On that view, the liquid’s tasting like coffee gives you justification for believing there is coffee in the cup as long as you have no negative reason to think the experience is deceptive. Credentialists say: Perceptual experiences are a source of justification only if you have reasons to trust them. According to them, the liquid’s tasting like coffee gives you justification for believing there is coffee in the cup only if you have positive reasons to consider this experience trustworthy or reliable.

In the epistemology of testimony, we find the same dialectic. Suppose Jane tells you that the liquid in the cup is coffee. Under which conditions does the Jane’s assertion give you justification for believing there is coffee in the cup? Dogmatists say: Testimony is always a source of (defeasible) justification. There are no conditions under which Jane’s assertion fails to give you a (defeasible) reason to believe the liquid in the cup is coffee. Conservatives say: Testimony is a source of justification as long as there is no negative reason to consider it untrustworthy. Jane’s assertion is a reason to believe there is coffee in the cup provided you have no negative reasons for not trusting what she told you. Credentialists say: Testimony is a source of justification only if you have evidence of its reliability. Jane’s assertion is a reason to believe the liquid in the cup is coffee only if you have positive reasons to consider her testimony trustworthy.

In this course/seminar, we will examine the reasons for and against each of these theories about testimony, and also discuss various other issues that arise in the epistemology of testimony. Readings: Paul Faulkner: Knowledge on Trust (OUP 2011). Jennifer Lackey: Learning from Words (OUP 2008). Lackey & Sosa (eds.): The Epistemology of Testimony (OUP 2006).

Summer 2018

Term B

PHIL 3200: Social and Political Philosophy
Professor Harry Platanakis (Koç University, University of Athens)
SEC 200 MTWRF 11:00-12:35 MCOL E158

This course offers a systematic survey of issues and problems of political philosophy through the study of historical and contemporary texts on seminal political ideas and problems. After examining whether humans are meant to be political by nature and what is the justification for state authority, democracy is assessed as a constitution by exploring the main attempts for its justification and several of the problems associated with it. Finally the focus shifts to the analysis and evaluation of the two pillars of political philosophy, freedom and equality, their tension with reference to communitarianism and minorities, and the main political alternatives to them.

The course will offer familiarity with central political concepts and provide students with the ability to think philosophically about central political issues. Additionally it will confront and assess critically the major political perspectives, evaluate students' political ideologies and invite them to defend them rationally.

Augmester

PHIL 3100: Ethical Theory
Daniel Coren
SEC 051 MTWRF 9:00-12:00 HLMS 263

Making a left turn when you should have made a right turn is wrong. Getting a cheesy tattoo just to impress someone is also, arguably, wrong. But those actions are not (necessarily) morally wrong. Most of us would admit that we have done something that was morally wrong, and that there were morally right things we did not do. Probably all of us would say that we have done something morally right, and that there were morally wrong alternatives we did not choose. We say these things about the actions of others, too. What do we mean by those claims? How do we evaluate them, and how should we evaluate them? Ethical theory tries to answer those questions.

This course has three main purposes. First, it aims to introduce students to ethical theory, taking as a special focus the following topics: choice and moral responsibility, virtue ethics, consequentialism, and deontology. Second, it aims to give students plenty of exposure to good philosophy papers, and some practice writing good philosophy papers. Third, it aims to get students actively engaging with some of the relevant issues and debates in contemporary ethical theory.

 

PHIL 2800: Open Topics in Philosophy: Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry
TR 3:30-4:45 HUMN 125
Professor Fileva

Suppose a person with a psychiatric condition approaches you in the street and makes an attempt to establish communication. What would you do? If you are like most people, you will ignore her. This is an understandable reaction: mental illness makes us feel uncomfortable, almost embarrassed. Yet, the psychiatric patient needs human contact as much as the rest of us do (if not more), and since none of us are willing to talk to her, she is likely “starved” for contact. Should we try to prevent ostracizing the mentally ill, and if so how? This is an ethical problem in psychiatry. There are other ethical problems concerning psychiatry, for instance, when is a psychiatrist justified in administering a treatment against a patient's will? Should a psychiatrist go along with a patient's desires if he believes fulfilling those desires would be bad for her? Is a psychopath morally blameworthy?
 
There are also questions concerning psychiatry that have to do with branches of philosophy other than ethics, such as philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science. Thus, we can ask: what is a mental disorder? Is  autism a mental disorder or merely a different neurological type? Is psychiatry a science?

All of these questions fall at the intersection between philosophy and psychiatry. Philosophers and psychiatrists are aware of the existence of common ground. In the last couple of decades, the common ground has been subject of intensive exploration. In this course, we shall take advantage of these recent developments. Our aim will be to get the best of both worlds: combine philosophy's clarity of vision with psychiatry's firm empirical grounding. 

PHIL 3000: History of Ancient Philosophy
SEC 001 MWF 2:00-2:50 CLUB 13, SEC 002 MWF 3:00-3:50 HLMS 241
Professor Bailey

PHIL 3010: History of Modern Philosophy
SEC 001 TR 3:30-4:45 CLRE 104
Professor Kaufman
SEC 002 MWF 10:00-10:50 MCOL E155
TBA

PHIL 3100: Ethical Theory
MWF 2:00-2:50 VAC 1B88
Professor Norcross

PHIL 3140/ENVS 3140: Environmental Ethics
SEC 001 TR 11:00-12:15 MCOL W100, SEC 002 TR 12:30-1:45 RAMY N1B31
Dr. Youkey

PHIL 3160: Bioethics
SEC 001 MWF 3:00-3:50 HLMS 141, SEC 002 MWF 9:00-9:50 ECON 2
Anthony Kelley

PHIL 3190: War and Morality
TR 3:30-4:45 CLUB 4
Dr. Sturgis

PHIL 3200: Social and Political Philosophy
MWF 12:00-12:50 HLMS 177
Professor Wingo

PHIL 3260: Philosophy and International Order
TR 3:30-4:45 EKLC 1B50
Dr. Youkey

PHIL 3430: History of Science: Newton to Einstein
TR 3:30-4:45 HLMS 245
Dr. Vistarini

PHIL 3480: Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy
SEC 001 TR 9:30-10:45 MKNA 204
Professor Demarest
SEC 002 MWF 9:00-9:50 HLMS 196
Dr. Potter

PHIL 3600: Philosophy of Religion
MWF 3:00-3:50 CLUB 13
TBD

PHIL 4010: Single Philosopher: Hume
MWF 2:00-2:50 VAC 1B90
Dr. Potter

PHIL 4260: Philosophy of Law
MWF 2:00-2:50 HLMS 177
Professor Wingo

"Philosophy of Law" can refer to a wide range of philosophical topics related to the law.  In this course we will be especially concerned with the moral foundations of law and moral questions that arise when thinking about the law, especially the constitutional law of the United States.

Some Topics we will cover include:

  1. Natural Law Theory
  2. Legal Positivism
  3. Legal Realism
  4. Law and the Limits of Individual Liberty
  5. Human Dignity and the Law
  6. American Constitution: The original Intent and the Constitution as a living Document  
  7. Civic Education and the Law

PHIL 4340: Epistemology
TR 3:30-4:45 VAC 1B90
Professor Huemer

PHIL 4360: Metaphysics
TR 11:00-12:15 HLMS 177
Professor Demarest

PHIL 4370: Free Will and Determinism
TR 12:30-1:45 HUMN 270
Professor Steup

This course will be on the four main theories about free will: 1. Hard determinism: the world is entirely deterministic; therefore, free will does not exist.   2. Libertarianism: the world is not entirely deterministic; there are indeterministic gaps in which we can exercise free will.  3. Compatibilism: the world is entirely deterministic, but that’s compatible with the existence of free will. 4. Agent Causation: all events are determined. That’s not a problem for free will because agents are unmoved first movers. We will also discuss the following topics: the consequence argument, alternative possibilities and Frankfurt cases, and contemporary skepticism: living without free will. Requirements are likely to be two exams and a paper. 

PHIL 4450: History and Philosophy of Physics
TR 11:00-12:15 ECON 205
Dr. Vistarini

PHIL 4470: Rational Choice Theory
TR 12:30-1:45 HLMS 177
Professor Oddie

The concepts of rationality, and of rational choice, are fundamental throughout philosophy, and the notion of probability features prominently in our attempts to solve problems of rationality in both theoretical and practical domains. The course will examine the foundations of practical and theoretical rationality through the exploration of a number of paradoxes that are not only fascinating in themselves but which pose real difficulties for any unified theory of rationality. On the practical side these include the Prisoner’s Dilemma, Newcomb’s Puzzle, Ellsberg’s Paradox, the Allais Paradox, the Condorcet voting paradox, Arrow’s Impossibility theorem for theories of social choice, Sen’s paradox of liberalism, and Parfit’s paradox of value aggregation. On the theoretical side we will examine puzzles of prediction and theory choice, including the Raven’s paradox, the famous Monty Hall and Three Prisoners problems, the Sleeping Beauty paradox, and the Opaque Proposition paradox. The course is highly recommended for any student who thinks they might want to pursue further study in philosophy, cognitive science, politics or public policy. (And the course comes with the Professor’s personal guarantee that, although you will together solve some of these paradoxes, you will leave with enough still unresolved to occupy a lifetime’s reflection.)

PHIL 4490: Philosophy of Language
MW 3:00-4:15, HLMS 177
Professor Forbes

The course will focus on semantic and pragmatic aspects of linguistic meaning, and the difference between the two.

Example: you are serving on a search committee in the Department of Mathematics. The appointment is to be at the Assistant Professor level, for a specialist in differential geometry. Dr. Y has applied, and you await a letter of reference from Professor X, Y’s Ph.D. supervisor. X’s letter arrives. It reads in its entirety: Dr. Y is always polite and well-dressed, and has very neat handwriting. You conclude that X’s opinion is that Dr. Y is not a great differential geometer. Semantics tells us what the literal meaning of X’s letter is. The literal meaning concerns Dr. Y’s personal manner, tailoring, and legibility of writing. But pragmatics enriches this meaning to “Dr. Y would be a really bad choice for your position.” Somehow, the irrelevance of the literal meaning in the context (it wouldn’t be so irrelevant if we run the clock back a thousand years and suppose Y is applying for a position transcribing manuscripts in a monastery) combines with general principles about conversation to generate a total message about something — Y’s ability as a differential geometer — that the letter never even mentions.

Semantics explains how the literal meaning is arrived at. Pragmatics explains how the total message is generated from the literal meaning.

The central concept of semantics is that of compositionality, which goes back to Frege: the meaning of a complex phrase is derived in a systematic way from the meanings of its syntactic constituents. In the first part of the course we will work through an elementary version of a compositional semantic theory, known as type-logical semantics (TLG). The text for this is an introduction to semantics, Formal Models of Fregean Compositionality, by the instructor, and will be available in the campus bookstore in January.

The central concept of pragmatics is that of conversational implicature, due to Grice. Grice’s original paper, Logic and Conversation, will be distributed during the semester, as will several other readings.

The course grade will be based on homework problems set in the first part of the course, and a paper set at the end of the second.

Most of the course will be unintelligible to students who haven’t taken PHIL 2440 (Symbolic Logic) or an equivalent.

PHIL 4800: Gender and Global Justice
Professor Jaggar
This course highlights the gendered aspects of some contemporary transnational moral wrongs, which are often overlooked in mainstream discussions of global justice. Topics may include:

  • Human rights, moral relativism, and adaptive preferences
  • Assessing wellbeing, poverty, and quality of life
  • Responsibility, aid, and development
  • Gendered divisions of global labor
  • Labor migration, including global care chains and sex trafficking
  • Health including reproductive and mental health
  • Gender and militarism
  • Moral repair and transnational responses to gendered wrongs

Fall 2017

PHIL 2150: Ethics and Sex
Professor Boonin
Are violent sexual fantasies immoral?  What about playing video games that feature sexual violence?  Voyeurism?  Prostitution?  Incest?  What about plain old sexual promiscuity?  And what should we say when a person’s consent to sex is compromised because they’ve been given false information?  Or because they’re moderately intoxicated?  Or because they’re quite young?  Is it wrong to be a sperm donor?  To pay someone to carry a pregnancy to term?  What about reproductive cloning?  Is reproduction itself morally wrong? Are there too many people?  Sex and reproduction raise a number of important and difficult ethical questions like these.  This introductory-level, discussion-oriented course will provide a critical survey of what contemporary philosophers have said about the questions listed here and about several related questions as well.  The course does not require any previous work in philosophy. 

PHIL 3010: History of Modern Philosophy
SEC 002
Dr. Bredeson
In this course we will examine a series of foundational works in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy—what we call the “modern” period. The contours of many contemporary philosophical questions remain decisively shaped by the work done in this period, and its political philosophy continues to provide the rational basis for many political structures today. In this class, we will look at the way basic questions in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy were addressed by some of the greatest thinkers of modern philosophy. Readings will include works by René Descartes, Elisabeth of Bohemia, John Locke, David Hume, and others.

PHIL 3180: Critical Thinking: Contemporary Topics
Professor Boonin
This course offers a critical examination of philosophical writings on a wide variety of controversial social issues with a special focus on understanding and evaluating the different kinds of argumentative strategies that philosophers deploy in defending their views about such matters.  Topics to be covered include widely-debated subjects such as abortion, affirmative action, animal rights, and our obligations to future generations, as well as some less familiar issues such as whether blackmail should be legal, whether parenting should require a license, and whether it is possible for acts to harm people after they are dead.  Argument strategies to be covered while discussing these issues include arguments from analogy, arguments from inference to the best explanation, and arguments by reductio ad absurdum. 

PHIL 4010: Advanced Topics in Aristotle
Professor Lee
MWF 1:00-1:50
This course will be an advanced survey course on Aristotle. We will cover the following topics in Aristotle: (i) Aristotle’s theory of dialectic and argument, (ii) what is distinctive about his syllogistic and theory of deductive argument? (iii) Aristotle’s concept of proof and his epistemology, (iv) Aristotle’s early ontology, (v) did Aristotle recognize the principle of bivalence or any other principle as a “logical principle”? (vi) Aristotle’s metaphysics—his concept of explanation and cause, his concept of ‘metaphysics’, what kind of principle is the principle of non-contradiction and how does Aristotle argue for it?, his theory of substance, matter and form, his concepts of potentiality and actuality, his theology, with his theory of unmoved movers and of God; (vii) Aristotle’s philosophy of science and biology, (viii) Aristotle’s psychology, (ix) Aristotle’s ethics and politics. This course is designed for advanced philosophy majors and for philosophy graduate students. Prerequisites: Undergraduates should not take this before taking PHIL 3000, and should have taken 4 philosophy courses before taking this course. If you have questions, please contact mitzi.lee@colorado.edu. The required text for this course is J.L. Ackrill’s  A New Aristotle Reader (Princeton 1987).

PHIL 4040: Studies in 20th Century Philosophy
Professor Saucedo
The course will be an in-depth study of a few core themes in the intersection of logic and metaphysics throughout the 20th century. Readings from Boole, Cantor, Frege, McTaggart, Bradley, Moore, Russell, Whitehead, Wittgenstein, Quine, Kripke, Boolos, Lewis, and Fine. Restricted to graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Prerequisites: must have gotten a grade of B+ or better in PHIL 2440. Highly advisable to have taken PHIL 3480 and at least one of the following: PHIL 4300, PHIL 4340, PHIL 4360, PHIL 4400, PHIL 4440, PHIL 4450, PHIL 4460, PHIL 4490.

PHIL 4120: Philosophy and Animals
Professor Norcross
his course will focus on ethical issues arising out of humans’ treatment of nonhuman animals. We will begin with a consideration of the ethics of eating animals, and then move on to discuss issues arising in connection with the use of animals in research. We will conclude with a variety of issues connected with Tom Regan’s rights-based approach to animal ethics.
Graduate students, who sign up for PHIL 5120, will also read Peter Carruthers’ Book The Animals Issue, and take part in extra graduate-only weekly meetings.

PHIL 4200: Contemporary Political Philosophy
Prof. Jaggar
Topic: Political Authority and Global Governance
Until the latter part of the twentieth century, the central questions of Western political philosophy concerned the internal legitimacy of the nation state and the limits of its authority over populations within particular bounded territories. After World War II, however, traditional conceptions of state sovereignty were challenged by the emergence of an international human rights regime. With increasing economic integration and a recognition that many pressing issues such as climate change crossed national borders, many political philosophers came to advocate some version of cosmopolitanism. Yet today we see a resurgence of popular nationalisms, especially in wealthier countries, with calls to guard our borders, jobs, and ways of life.

This course will study various aspects of a tangle of related issues including: moral bases for territorial claims, cultural integrity, migration, responsibility for global inequality, military humanitarian intervention, and reparations for colonialism.

PHIL 4340: Epistemology
Professor Steup
This course will be an advanced survey of contemporary epistemology. It will cover the following topics: the traditional analysis of knowledge, the Gettier problem, internalist vs. externalist theories of knowledge and justification, relevant alternative theories, contextualism, pragmatic encroachment, theories of perceptual justification, and skepticism. Required readings: Richard Feldman: Epistemology (https://www.pearsonhighered.com/program/Feldman-Epistemology/PGM267611.html), and a selection of recent journal articles.

PHIL 4460: Modal Logic
Professor Forbes
Many of the central problems of philosophy crucially involve the modal concepts of possibility and necessity. For example, the problem of free will is the problem whether it was in any sense possible to have acted differently from the way one did; the problem of causation is whether there is any sense in which a cause necessitates its effect; various issues about reducibility turn on whether facts of one kind could have been different without there being any difference in facts of some other kind; and so on.

Nowadays, proper discussion of these and other issues requires some familiarity with the logic of possibility and necessity, or modal logic, as it is known. This course imparts the required familiarity. After a review of non-modal sentential logic, we will begin with the standard system of sentential modal logic, S5. Following a review of non-modal first-order logic, we will then investigate other systems of sentential modal logic. In the second part of the course we extend sentential S5 to first-order S5, and we will investigate a number of topics of philosophical interest, including quantification and existence, possibilist quantifiers, the actuality operator, the de re/de dicto distinction, and counterpart theory.
 
Grades will be based on homework assignments set at the end of each class.

PHIL 4470: Probability and Rational Choice
Professor Oddie
This course is a very gentle introduction to the contemporary theory of value.  We begin with the fundamentals of decision theory—the best theory we have of how beliefs and desires mesh together in a rational agent to produce rational action.  A grasp of decision theory is essential for anyone who wants to understand recent developments in moral theory and epistemology.    Decision theory is concerned in the first instance with decision making under conditions of uncertainty—which, of course, is ubiquitous—but it connects deeply with issues concerning subjective and objective probability, risk, game theory, social choice theory, value aggregation, organic unity, population ethics, and cognitive value.  It will lay bare for us a rich collection of problems, paradoxes and puzzles about value and reason.

Text:  An Introduction to Decision Theory  Martin Peterson (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

Summer 2017

PHIL 1200: Philosophy and Society Thinking about Current Social and Political Problems through Short Stories in World Literature
SEC 200
Professor Luc Bovens, London School of Economics and Political Science Department of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method
L.Bovens@LSE.ac.uk

This course addresses themes in social and political philosophy through short stories in world literature. We focus on Africa, Asia, Europe, North-America, and South-America for one week each and read six to eight stories from some of each continent’s greatest writers. We investigate the cultural and political contexts in which the stories are written and discuss the philosophical themes in the stories. By using short stories written by local writers you will develop an appreciation for the perspective of the people affected. The Nigerian author Chinua Achebe famously cites an African proverb: “Until the lions have their own historians, history will always glorify the hunter.” The same holds for social and political philosophy. The stories cover a wide range of social and political problems from around the globe. Recurring themes are the status of women, migration, poverty, race relations, war, exploitation, mental health, complicity, and culpability. The short stories are linked with newspaper articles and op-eds addressing the topics under discussion from a journalistic angle.

You will learn:

  • how to analyse, discuss and write about socially relevant literature;
  • how to lead discussions of short stories in contexts of adult education or with underprivileged communities following the methodology of People & Stories;
  • how to identify social and political themes in fiction and write about them in a philosophical style;
  • how to start from a theme in social and political philosophy and search for literary sources to support your work;
  • how to write a short story around a philosophical theme that is of social or political relevance.

Classroom time will be structured around student presentations, small-group discussions, and short lectures about the background philosophical themes. There will be a weekly movie night featuring movies that connect with the stories we have read. Your grade will depend on classroom presence and participation (20%) and four 1000-word essays.

Spring 2017

PHIL 1010/CLAS 1030: Introduction to Ancient Philosophy
SEC 100, MW 10:00-10:50, HLMS 199
Prof. Lee
John Christmann will be the TA and will conduct discussion sections on Fridays at 10, and Fridays 11. 

PHIL 1010-100/CLAS 1030-100 ‘Ideas and Ideals in Ancient Greece’ 
 
This section of PHIL 1010/CLAS 1030 introduces students to seven big ideas from ancient Greek philosophy and history. 
 
  1. What is happiness? What can the Greeks teach us about happiness? I will introduce students to the Greek concept of eudaimonia, and we will discuss approaches to the question, how can one be happy? 
  2. What can explain why philosophy and science first originated in Greece? We will look at some cross-cultural evidence concerning early science and philosophy in the Near East, and will also talk about what was unique politically and economically about ancient Greece. 
  3. What is philosophia? How is it related to science? We will look at the way that philosophy and science emerged from myth, religion and story-telling in ancient Greece. 
  4. Who are we? What happens when we die? We will look at the ancient Greek views about religion and soul, including Epicurus' argument that there is no reason to fear death.
  5. What is ‘virtue’ or aretê? What are the virtues? Does having the virtues make us happy? We will look at various ethical theories from ancient Greece, and discuss their answers to the question, whether virtue makes one happy. 
  6. The Greeks had original and distinctive views about love and sex. We will compare and contrast their views with various modern ideas on the topic. 
  7. Greece is said to be the birthplace of democracy. How and why did it emerge here? What are some distinctive features of democracy? We will look at some of the most famous criticisms of democracy in ancient Greece, as well as some responses. 
All readings will be posted on the course D2L website. Course requirements include three exams. The course is cross-listed as both PHIL 1010 and CLAS 1030; it is approved for the historical context requirement in the Arts and Sciences Core Curriculum. There are no prerequisites.
 

PHIL 3000: History of Ancient Philosophy
SEC 001, MWF 2:00-2:50, VAC 1B90
Prof. Bailey
SEC 002, MWF 12:00-12:50, HLMS 237
Prof. Lee
This course is a survey of ancient Greek philosophy. We begin with a selection from the Presocratics, a selection of the dialogues of Plato, Aristotle’s ethics, and selected writings from Epicurus. The aim of the course is to introduce students to the central concerns and ideas of ancient Greek philosophy. Writing assignments will introduce students to the basic elements of how to write a good philosophy paper.

PHIL 3010: History of Modern Philosophy
SEC 001, MWF 2:00-2:50, ECON 13
TBD
SEC 002, MWF 9:00-9:50, VAC 1B88
Dr. Bredeson
In this course we will examine a series of foundational works in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy—what we call the “modern” period. The contours of many contemporary philosophical questions remain decisively shaped by the work done in this period, and its political philosophy continues to provide the rational basis for many political structures today. In this class, we will look at the way basic questions in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy were addressed by some of the greatest thinkers of modern philosophy. Readings will include works by René Descartes, Elisabeth of Bohemia, John Locke, Lord Shaftesbury, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

PHIL 3100: Ethical Theory
SEC 001, TR 12:30-1:45, HLMS 229
Prof. Norcross

PHIL 3140: Environmental Ethics
SEC 001, TR 11:00-12:15, MCOL W100
Dr. Youkey
SEC 002, TR 12:30-1:45, RAMY N1B31
Dr. Youkey

PHIL 3160: Bioethics
SEC 001, MWF 3:00-3:50, DUAN G2B21
Dr. Colvin
We will begin with an overview studying three main approaches in contemporary ethics and apply them to current controversies in bioethics. The point of this course is not to establish the "truth" about any of these controversies but rather to develop critical thinking and writing skills. We will learn how to think philosophically, that is, how to recognize and construct arguments rather than mere opinions. The course covers traditional topics in bioethics such as abortion, euthanasia, and the doctor/patient relationship, but also examines the ethical aspects of emerging technologies (such as gene therapy), and the way the science of medicine is reshaping its social role.
 

PHIL 3200: Social and Political Philosophy
SEC 001
TBA

PHIL 3260: Philosophy and the International Order
SEC 001, TR 9:30-10:45, CLRE 209
Dr. Youkey
SEC 002
TBA

PHIL 3430: History of Science: Newton to Einstein
SEC 001, TR 3:30-4:45, CLUB 4
Dr. Youkey

PHIL 3480: Critical Thinking/Writing in Philosophy
SEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, HLMS 177
Prof. Huemer
SEC 003, TR 11:00-12:15, ECCR 110
TBA

PHIL 3600: Philosophy of Religion
SEC 001, TR 5:00-6:15, VAC 1B88
Prof. Heathwood
In analytic philosophy of religion, we attempt to answer fundamental questions concerning important doctrines of major world religions, especially the Abrahamic religions, and especially the doctrines concerning God, as God is typically understood in those traditions.  There are too many such questions worth studying to fit into one course.  We will confine our attention to just a few of them.

After laying out a traditional definition of God, our first main topic will be divine omnipotence.  We'll gain an appreciation for why the notion of omnipotence is problematic, and will explore the solution offered centuries ago by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274).  Our next topic will be the dilemma of freedom and foreknowledge, where we investigate whether God's omniscience implies that no one has free will.  Our focus will be on the kind of solution to the dilemma offered centuries ago by William of Ockham (1287–1347) as it is developed by the leading contemporary philosopher of religion Alvin Plantinga.

Then we will move on to arguments for God's existence.  We'll being with Pascal's wager, due to the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623–1662), which attempts to show that it is prudent to believe in God.  Then we'll study the most famous version of the ontological argument, due to St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033–1109).  Ontological arguments attempt to prove that God exists simply from the definition of God.  We'll conclude our examination of arguments for God's existence with a fascinating modern version of the argument from design called the fine-tuning argument.  According to this argument, certain remarkable facts about the laws of physics provide evidence that those laws were crafted by an intelligent designer.

Our next topic for the course will be a kind of master argument for atheism, and the many issues this argument raises, such as the different kinds of possible evidence for God's existence, the notion of self-evidence, the problem of divine hiddenness, and the notion of faith.  If time remains, we’ll investigate the possibility of life after death by examining (i) what human beings would have to be like for life after death to be possible (e.g., would we have to have immaterial souls?), and (ii) whether there is any reason to think that we are that way.

PHIL 3700: Aesthetic Theory
SEC 001, TR 11:00-12:15, MUEN E130
Prof. Oddie
Creating, enjoying and appreciating art is one of the most distinctive features of human beings. Artworks are among the most valued entities in our culture, but also in most human cultures. But what is art, and why do we, or why should we, value it so highly? These are the core philosophical questions that we will address in this course. We will explore a variety of answers that philosophers have given to these basic questions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it turns out to be difficult to formulate a coherent and consistent theory of art and of its value. One aim of the course is to become familiar with the main answers to these questions, and the arguments for and against them. The range of theories we will explore include: the representational theory, the expression theory, formalism, neo-Wittgensteinianism, and the institutional theory. But aesthetic theory encompasses more than the domain of art. A secondary aim of the course will be to locate art within the wider domain of aesthetic objects, aesthetic properties, and aesthetic experiences.

PHIL 4010: Single Philosopher: Kant
SEC 001, TR 9:30-10:45, DUAN G2B47
Dr. Potter

PHIL 4070: Existentialist Philosophy
SEC 001, MWF 3:00-3:50, CLRE 104
Dr. Chapman

PHIL 4110: Contemporary Moral Theory
SEC 001, TR 3:30-4:45, HLMS 237
Prof. Fileva
We will begin this course with a central problem in metaethics, that of the role of reason versus emotion in moral judgment: Do emotions cause moral judgments? Are emotions themselves moral judgments? Is moral understanding possible without moral emotions?

In the second part of the course, we will focus on contemporary work by deontologists and consequentialists. As we will see, the debate over the role of reason and emotion in moral judgment has implications for the deonotlogy-consequentialism debate. For instance, it has been argued that deontology is based on emotion while consequentialism is based on at least partly emotion-independent reasoning.
 
In part three, we will discuss virtue and moral goodness and the relationship between these two, on the one hand, and and moral rightness, on the other. We will begin this part by asking what makes certain character traits virtues and whether virtue ethics is an alternative to deontology and consequentialism as has been traditionally held. Here, we will draw on work on virtue not only by contemporary virtue ethicists but by Kantians and consequentialists as well. After getting a handle on virtue's relationship to deontology and consequentialism, we will ask whether being a virtuous person is the same as being a good person as ordinarily understood, and if not, how the two are different.  
 
In the fourth and last part of the course, we will take a careful look at the so-called  unvirtuous emotions: envy, jealousy, anger, and so on. We will inquire into their nature and causes, their fittingness from the viewpoint of practical rationality, and the  moral assessment appropriate to them and the agents who feel them.
   

PHIL 4250: Marxism
SEC 001, MWF 1:00-1:50, VAC 1B90
Dr. Bredeson
If we consider the sheer breadth of his influence across diverse academic disciplines—in philosophy, political theory, economics, historiography, and literary theory—there is a strong case to be made that Marx was the most influential thinker to emerge from modern Europe. In fact, one could easily claim that no one else comes even close to him on this score. To be sure, it is unlikely that Marx himself, were he alive today, would set much store in this achievement, and he might even regard it with a measure of embarrassment. As he famously put it, the point is not to interpret the world, but to change it. And despite the countless revolutions, large and small, that have been launched in his name, the jury is very much still out on the power of Marxist critique to bring about the material change that Marx took himself to be taking part in. To begin to come to grips with Marx’s legacy, we will, first, try to understand Marx’s critique of capitalism from out of its historical and philosophical context; readings will be drawn from Locke, Kant, Novalis, Hegel, and Feuerbach. We will then turn to Marx’s early philosophical, economic, and political writings. The most intensive part of the course will involve a close reading of the first fifteen chapters of Marx’s monumental critique of capitalism, the first volume (and the only volume he lived to complete) of Capital. Finally, we will examine the foundational debates about its political significance that have set the shape for the uptake of Marxism over the past century; readings will be drawn from Bernstein, Luxemburg, and Lukács.

PHIL 4260: Philosophy of Law
SEC 001,TR 3:30-4:45, HLMS 177
Prof. Hosein

PHIL 4300: Philosophy of Mind
SEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, HLMS 237
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 in particular: 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 4360: Metaphysics
SEC 001, MWF 12:00-12:50, HLMS 177
Prof. Tooley

PHIL 4450: History and Philosophy of Physics
SEC 001, TR 11:00-12:15, DUAN G2B41
Prof. Franklin

PHIL 4800: Open Topics: Gender and Global Justice
SEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, HLMS 251
Prof. Jaggar

Gender and Global Justice, WGST 4000/5000 and PHIL 4800

This course highlights the gendered aspects of some contemporary transnational wrongs, which are often overlooked in mainstream discussions of global justice. Topics may include:

  • Human rights, moral relativism, and adaptive preferences
  • Assessing wellbeing, poverty, and quality of life
  • Responsibility, aid, and development
  • Gendered divisions of global labor
  • Labor migration, including global care chains and sex trafficking
  • Health including reproductive and mental health
  • Gender and militarism
  • Moral repair and transnational responses to gendered wrongs

Fall 2016

PHIL 3000: History of Ancient Philosophy
SEC 001, MWF 1:00-1:50, HLMS 229
Prof. Bailey
SEC 002, MWF 3:00-3:50, HLMS 229
Prof. Bailey
 

PHIL 3010: History of Modern Philosophy
SEC 001, MWF 10:00-10:50, HLMS 237
Dr. Bredeson
In this course we will examine a series of foundational works in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy -- what we call the "modern" period. The contours of many contemporary philosophical questions remain decisively shaped by the work done in the modern period, and the political philosophy of the period continues to provide the rational basis for many political structures today. Readings will be drawn from the following figures (plus maybe a few more): Descartes, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, and Rousseau.
SEC 002, MWF 11:00-11:50, VAC 1B88
Dr. Potter

PHIL 3100: Ethical Theory
SEC 001, TR 3:30-4:45, HLMS 229
Prof. Heathwood
We make moral and evaluative judgments - e.g., "You shouldn't litter," "It's unfair that some children have no health care," "Friendship helps make life worth living," "Abortion is wrong," "Martin Luther King was a great man" - all the time. But what are we doing when we do this? Are we describing an objective moral reality, or ultimately just expressing our feelings? 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? Assuming that we do have moral obligations, why should we care about them? These are some questions in metaethics, to which the first part of this course will provide an introduction.

Then we will turn to normative ethics, where we attempt to figure out which moral claims - and, in particular, which fundamental moral principles - are actually true. Our main questions will be, What makes an act right or wrong?, and, What makes a state of affairs good or bad? Consequentialists believe that an act's rightness or wrongness is to be explained solely in terms of how good or bad its outcome would be. We will explore this theory, as well as theories about what makes an outcome good or bad (and especially about what makes an outcome good or bad for someone). Deontologists reject the view that consequences are all that matter. They typically believe that we have special obligations (e.g., to our children, to people with whom we have made agreements) that are not explained by the value of outcomes, and that there are constraints against certain kinds of behavior (e.g., lying, harming the innocent) even when doing so would lead to the best outcome. We will explore deontology as well.
 

PHIL 3140: Environmental Ethics
SEC 001, MWF 12:00-12:50, MCOL W100
Dr. Sturgis
SEC 002, MWF 8:00-8:50, HLMS 137
TBA
 

PHIL 3160: Bioethics
SEC 001, MWF 9:00-9:50, MUEN E431
Dr. Warren
SEC 002, MWF 2:00-2:50, ECON 205
Dr. Warren
This course surveys some of the most pressing issues in medical ethics and practice today.  In the first section of the course, we will identify the ways in which vulnerability and exploitation have undermined moral and political ideals for conducting research on human subjects. These ideals include patient autonomy and treatment in accordance with non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice. Following this, we will question how the availability, use, and practice of certain technologies can increase as well as diminish individual liberty. The topics we will consider include abortion, surrogacy, and eugenics. At the end of the semester students will have the opportunity to explore a bioethical issue that they find most pressing and interesting on their own and to present their findings to the class.

PHIL 3190: War and Morality
SEC 001, TR 8:00-9:15, HLMS 199
Dr. Youkey
 

PHIL 3200: Social and Political Philosophy
SEC 001, MWF 1:00-1:50, HLMS 237
Prof. Wingo
 

PHIL 3260: Philosophy and the International Order
SEC 001, TR 3:30-4:45, CLUB 13
Dr. Youkey
 

PHIL 3310: Cognitive Science
SEC 001, TR 9:30-10:45, FLMG 104
Prof. Eisenberg, Prof. Wager
 

PHIL 3430: History of Science: Newton to Einstein
SEC 001, MWF 1:00-1:50, HLMS 177
Dr. Vistarini
 

PHIL 3480: Critical Thinking/Writing in Philosophy
SEC 001, TR 9:30-10:45, HLMS 177
Dr. Potter
SEC 002, TR 12:30-1:45, HLMS 196
Prof. Saucedo
 

PHIL 3700: Aesthetic Theory
SEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, HLMS 196
Prof. Fileva
The Bad, the Painful, and the Beautiful
Literature can be morally disturbing. For instance, it can portray an ordinary person, a perfectly normal individual -- one of us, really -- as being completely unmoved by his mother’s death, or else it can depict decent parents who are in all ways upstanding citizens as being ashamed of their child’s disability. What is more, a good book is often good precisely because it disturbs us in some way. How should we read such books? Should we look for aesthetic pleasure without letting the art works in question have any bearing on our lives and world, or should we derive moral lessons from them? And if fictional worlds must be taken to be completely severed from our world, how are we to judge the characters we encounter in literature, by an appeal to what moral standards if not to ours? These are some of the questions we will discuss in this course.

There is a second main problem we will explore -- that of negative emotions in art. Art often provokes in us negative emotions such as sadness, horror, and disgust. Interestingly, those emotions give us aesthetic pleasure. But how can that be? Why would it be pleasant to have art provoke in us emotions which would never please us in real life? This problem in aesthetics is known as the “paradox of tragedy,” because the discussion of it began with Hume’s observation that fictional tragedies delight us. In contemporary aesthetics, however, the problem has a broader scope and negative emotions other than the sadness provoked by tragedies fall within its purview.           

The purpose of this course is to seek answers to the two main problems mention: first, that of the connection between morality and fiction -- with a special emphasis on morally disturbing literature -- and second, that of negative emotions in art. As we will see, the two are not unrelated: being morally disturbed can be painful yet pleasurable precisely because it is painful. In seeking to accomplish our task, we shall read and discuss both philosophical and literary works. We will begin with readings from Plato, Aristotle, and Hume and will then transition to contemporary philosophical work by philosophers including Berys Gaut, Matthew Kieran, Daniel Jacobson, and Robert Solomon. In the third part of the course, we will seek to illuminate the philosophical issues with the help of good literary works. We will read and discuss novels and plays by Jean Genet, Henrik Ibsen, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Eugene O’Neill, and Vladimir Nabokov.     

PHIL 4010: Advanced Topics in Plato
SEC 001, TR 2:00-3:45, HLMS 245
Prof. Lee
This course will concentrate on the issues of law and virtue in Plato's Crito, Statesman, and the Laws. The course presupposes the equivalent of PHIL 3000 History of Ancient Greek Philosophy, and in particular, a basic acquaintance with Plato.
 

PHIL 4010: Single Philosopher: Aquinas
SEC 002, TR 11:00-12:15, HLMS 237
Prof. Pasnau
This is a special team-taught course, led by Professor Robert Pasnau, a leading historian of medieval philosophy, and Visiting Professor Francis Beckwith, a prominent Catholic moral philosopher. We will work our way through the central ideas of Aquinas's philosophy, beginning with his conception of human nature, followed by his account of human happiness, the nature of God, and his theory of natural law.

PHIL 4120: Philosophy and Animals
SEC 001, MWF 11:00-11:50, HLMS 229
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 many, perhaps most, people assume that 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.

PHIL 4260: Philosophy of Law
SEC 001, TR 11:00-12:15, HLMS 177
Prof. Hosein
In this course we will consider moral questions that arise when thinking about the law, especially the constitutional law of the United States. We will look at how important philosophical debates about the values of democracy, freedom and equality can affect central legal debates about constitutional interpretation in general and discussions of particular clauses. And we will think about whether the existing legal framework best promotes those values. Some questions we will consider include: Is judicial review undemocratic? Would stricter campaign finance regulations enhance people's liberties and the democratic process or be serious blows to freedom and the democratic process? What is gender discrimination?

PHIL 4340: Epistemology
SEC 001, TR 12:30-1:45, HLMS 177
Prof. Tooley
 

PHIL 4360: Metaphysics
SEC 001, MWF 2:00-2:50, MCOL E155
Prof. Oddie
Metaphysics concerns the elements of being and their nature -- including (amongst other entities) properties, particulars, sets, relations, states of affairs, events, actions, numbers, functions, procedures, proofs, possibilities, connections and values. Different metaphysical theories posit different fundamental elements and attempt to construct a complete account of what is in terms of the fundaments. We will begin with the problem of universals and particulars and investigate a range of realist and nominalist theories.  This will lead on naturally to an investigation of the nature of existence, wholes and parts, modality, causation and value.

 

PHIL 4440: Topics in Logic: Mathematical Logic
SEC 001, TR 3:30-4:45, 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) or some equivalent 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, up to and including properties of non-standard models of arithmetic.

Textbook: Logic and Metalogic for Philosophers, by Graeme Forbes (available in the bookstore in 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 4450: History and Philosophy of Physics
SEC 001, MWF 11:00-11:50, DUAN G2B21
Dr. Vistarini
 

PHIL 4830: Senior Seminar in Philosophy: Political Liberty
SEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, HLMS 177
Prof. Huemer
Description: The course will explore questions related to political liberty, including whether and why government is necessary, what are the rights of the individual, and how state power should be limited. Controversies to be discussed include drug prohibition, gun control laws, immigration restrictions, and others. Readings will include Huemer's The Problem of Political Authority, as well as selections from Robert Nozick, David Friedman, and other proponents of political liberty.

Summer 2016

A Session

PHIL 1000: Introduction to Philosophy
SEC 100, MTWRF 11:00am-12:35pm, MCOL E158
Caleb Pickard
An introduction to some fundamental topics in philosophy, including skepticism, induction, personal identity, the mind-body problem, and well-being. No prerequisites.

Approved for GT-AH3. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: ideals and values
 
PHIL 2270: Philosophy and Race
SEC 100, MTWRF 11:00am-12:35pm, HUMN180
Benjamin Rohrs
This course will critically engage with recent philosophical work on questions of race and racial justice. Some of these questions are quite abstract: Are races real? What is racism? What makes discrimination wrong? Other questions are more concrete: Should the United States pay reparations to descendants of slaves? Is Affirmative Action just? Most of these questions are controversial. The course will emphasize rigorous discussion of these topics, with a focus on carefully analyzing arguments for and against the various views advocated in the field. Students will practice disagreeing respectfully and critiquing each other’s arguments constructively.

 

B Session

PHIL 1200: Philosophy and Society
SEC 200, MTWRF 9:15-10:50am, HLMS 247
Prof. Mason
This class introduces philosophic thought through critical analysis of our own society and its institutions and principles by making use of the critical analytical tools provided by feminist philosophic thinking.  It will explore a variety of topics, including pornography, prostitution, stereotyping and gender roles, the body, and others.  It will examine recent philosophical positions on these issues, with a critical eye on the various theoretical tools and political frameworks in use.  Students will learn about traditional liberal approaches to feminism, as well as approaches that use ideas such as false consciousness, social construction, and power relations to explain and understand the role of gender in injustices.  This course meets MAPS requirement for social science: general, and is approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: United States context or ideals and values. See the Summer School website for full details.

PHIL 1500: Reading, Writing, and Reasoning
SEC 200, MTWRF 11:00am-12:35pm, HLMS 251
Spencer Case
This course is designed to help you develop three skills: the ability to read and understand a philosophy paper, the ability to write clearly and comprehensibly – especially argumentative essays – and the ability to think critically about philosophical topics. Thinking critically about philosophical topics means the ability to provide reasons for your beliefs, and to evaluate arguments as good or bad. This class fulfills the First-Year Written Communication core requirement. In accordance with that requirement, by the end of this course you will also be able to: distinguish the structural components of sentence paragraph writing; express and synthesize your ideas coherently; frame an argument according to your purpose, audience, and subject-matter; and develop strategies for generating, revising, and proofreading your work.

PHIL 1600: Philosophy and Religion
SEC 200, MTWRF 9:15-10:50am, MCOL E186
Jonathan Spelman
Is it reasonable to believe in Godmiracles? an afterlife? What is the relationship between science and religion or between religion and morality? This courses provides you with a philosophical introduction to these questions and helps you develop the skills you need to think more carefully about them. 

 
This course meets the IDEALS AND VALUES core requirement.

Spring 2016

PHIL 3000: History of Ancient Philosophy
SEC 001, MWF 2:00-2:50, HLMS 237
Prof. Bailey

PHIL 3010: History of Modern Philosophy
SEC 001, TR 11:00-12:15, CLUB 13
Prof. Kaufman
SEC 002, MWF 10:00-10:50, HLMS 237
Dr. Bredeson
In this course we will examine a series of foundational works in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy -- what we call the "modern" period. The contours of many contemporary philosophical questions remain decisively shaped by the work done in the modern period, and the political philosophy of the period continues to provide the rational basis for many political structures today. For this class, we will try to come to terms, in detail and in depth, with four of the crucial figures of this period: René Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In addition, we will read selections from Elisabeth of Bohemia and John Locke.

PHIL 3100: Ethical Theory
SEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, HLMS 237
Prof. Norcross

PHIL 3140: Environmental Ethics
SEC 001, TR 11:00-12:15, MCOL W100
Dr. Sturgis
SEC 002, MWF 10:00-10:50, RMLY N1B31
Dr. Youkey

PHIL 3160: Bioethics
SEC 001, MWF 3:00-3:50, MCOL E155
TBA

PHIL 3200: Social and Political Philosophy
SEC 001, TR 11:00-12:15, VAC 1B90
TBA

PHIL 3260: Philosophy and the International Order
SEC 001, MWF 1:00-1:50, HLMS 237
Dr. Youkey
SEC 002, MWF 2:00-2:50, HLMS 229
Dr. Youkey

PHIL 3410: History of Science Ancients to Newton
SEC 001, MWF 12:00-12:50, HLMS 177
Dr. Vistarini
SEC 002, MWF 2:00-2:50, HLMS 177
Dr. Vistarini
The goal of this course is that of familiarizing students with the history of western science prior to the eighteenth century, with a special focus on history of physics. Broadly speaking, the course wants to promote an analytical and historical understanding of the nature of science: what is science? How did western ideas about science evolve since antiquity? How does science differ from other belief systems such as religion? How did this difference evolve since antiquity?

Our journey into the past starts from the origins of natural philosophy: from Pre-Socratics to Lucretius, passing through Plato, Aristotle and Euclid. By exploring this period we will encounter and analyze some of the most interesting ancient attempts to explain natural phenomena through a system of rational reasoning. The physical methodologies of those attempts deeply intertwine with mathematical methods quite different from our contemporary approach to mathematics. Then, we will review some of the most central works of Roman period along with the contribution given by Islamic science to the transmission of ancient knowledge. Readings may be from Ptolemy, Galen, Al-Ghazali and others.

The revival of natural philosophy in western Europe (Thomas Aquinas, Jean Buridan, William of Ockham and so on) starts the second half of the journey that will then continue through the Renaissance. Readings from Copernico ("On the Revolutions"), Galilei ("Two New Sciences", "The Letter to Grand Duchess Christina") and Kepler ("The Harmony of the World") will help us to reconstruct the notion of science progressively emerging during those years.

Finally, the apparent explosion of scientific activity in the seventeenth century. Was really there such a thing as the scientific revolution? Sketching here a line of topics, we start from Bacon and his new philosophy based on the idea of testing and evidence rather than observation and logic. His ideas about scientific method deeply influenced many future generations of scientists and philosophers. Then we will move to Descartes, probably the most famous philosopher of the age writing on a wide range of scientific and philosophical topics. His work on mathematics largely created the modern field of analytic geometry. Finally Newton. He created the great advancements in physics and mathematics that reshaped modern science. He defined the notions of gravity, motion, mass and force. He unraveled the secrets of light. We will be reading parts of his "The Principia Mathematica" and of his "Opticks".

PHIL 3480: Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy
SEC 001, TR 9:30-10:45, HLMS 177
Dr. Potter
SEC 002, TR 12:30-1:45, TBA
Dr. Potter

PHIL 3600: Philosophy of Religion
SEC 001, MWF 3:00-3:50, HLMS 237
Dr. Chapman
Questions like 'Does God exist?' 'Does more than one god exist?' 'What is the nature of God or the gods?' 'Are there good arguments for or against God's existence?' 'What is the nature of religious experience?' 'Is there life after death?' 'What is the relation between God and morality?' 'What is the relationship between faith and reason?' and 'What is the relationship between religion and science?' have struck most of at some point in our lives. But can thoughtful answers be provided to such questions?

The philosophy of religion supposes that the answer is 'yes.' The philosophy of religion is not theology, nor is it comparative religion; it is a careful explication of the questions religions raise and a systematic treatment of the rational reasons in favor of or against certain religious or irreligious positions. In this course, we will consider and evaluate potential answers to questions such as those listed above.

PHIL 3700: Aesthetics
SEC 001, TR 11:00-12:15, HALE 236
Prof. Oddie

PHIL 4010: Single Philosopher: Hume
SEC 001, MWF 2:00-2:50, CLUB 13
Prof. Pasnau
David Hume is often regarded as the historical figure who has most influenced modern philosophy. We will spend most of the course working carefully through his youthful masterpiece, the Treatise of Human Nature, spending equal time on his metaphysics, his epistemology, and his moral philosophy. Students will be asked to pick some particular area of his work and become expert on that topic, mastering both Hume's own writings and the recent secondary literature. The last weeks of the class will be devoted to selected readings from among Hume's Essays, which range over topics like suicide, polygamy, aesthetics, taxes, and avarice. Students will decide which essays we read.

PHIL 4040: 20th Century Philosophy
SEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, HLMS 177
Prof. Oddie

PHIL 4200: Political Philosophy
SEC 001, TR 12:30-1:45, HLMS 177
Prof. Jaggar
Topic: Global Governance and the International State System
Until the latter part of the twentieth century, the central questions of Western political philosophy concerned the state's internal legitimacy and the limits of its authority over populations within particular bounded territories. Since World War II, however, traditional conceptions of state sovereignty have been challenged by the emergence of an international human rights regime along with increased economic integration and many transborder issues. This course will study some of these challenges with a view to reassessing the international state system as a model of global governance.

PHIL 4340: Epistemology
SEC 001, TR 3:30-4:45, HLMS 177
Prof. Fileva
There are two ways to view epistemology. The first is to see epistemology as the study of knowledge -- of the conditions, sources, and limits of knowledge and related epistemic phenomena such as justification. The task of epistemology thus conceived is to answer questions such as, what can we know, if anything? Does human knowledge have a secure foundation? If not, would it follow from here that there is no knowledge? Suppose the world is not as it appears to us, suppose our conscious experiences are generated by computers that our brains are wired to; then we won't have knowledge of the external world. Would we have knowledge of our own private thoughts? Is the latter kind of knowledge more reliable than our knowledge of the external world? Do we always mean the same things by the words "know" and "knowledge"? Is, for instance, a physicist said to "know" what radiation is in the same sense in which a layperson is said to "know" that?

There is a second way to view epistemology -- as the study not of human knowledge but of human reasoning. The goal of epistemology thus conceived is somewhat different: the task is no longer to provide necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge (or other related epistemic phenomena), but rather, to illuminate the nature of reasoning and suggest ways in which humans can become better reasoners. This second way became prominent in philosophy in the last two decades, when the empirically-minded among philosophers sought to bring the results of the empirical study of human cognition to bear in shaping their epistemological practice. The results are new, pragmatically-oriented epistemological theories that look quite different from their traditional counterparts.

Our goal in this course is to explore both classical and novel approaches to epistemology. To this end, we shall read and discuss work by some of the best contemporary philosophers from both traditions.

PHIL 4450: History and Philosophy of Physics
SEC 001, MWF 3:00-3:50, HLMS 177
Dr. Vistarini

PHIL 4490: Philosophy of Language
SEC 001, MWF 1:00-1:50, HLMS 177
Dr. Morasch
All of us interact with words on a daily basis. Despite this closeness, words remain puzzling and fascinating entities. This is why much in philosophy of language is yet to be discovered! Most philosophers agree on the following starting point: we use words to communicate thoughts about a shared environment to other individuals. For early modern philosophers (e.g., John Locke), language works with difficulty from the inside out. Since the externalist turn ushered in by Hilary Putnam with the slogan "Meanings ain't in the head," language is now predominantly conceived as working with ease from the outside in. While individualists such as Locke struggle to explain how words can reach from within the mind of individuals and latch on to things outside of the realm of ideas, externalists may ascribe too little control to individual speakers over the meaning of their words. In the course of the semester, we will distill the advantages of each framework and discuss whether words ought to be treated as entities that are publically shared. These and other topics at the nexus of language, metaphysics, and epistemology will form the foundations of the course.

PHIL 4800: Gender and Global Justice
SEC 001, W 2:00-4:30, CLRE 301
Prof. Jaggar
Topic: Gender & Global Justice
This course focuses on the gendered dimensions of some contemporary transnational moral wrongs, which are often overlooked in mainstream discussions of global justice. Issues include: moral relativism; human rights; assessments of the quality of life; gendered divisions of global labor; food justice; labor migration, including global care chains and sex trafficking; health including reproductive and mental health; the transnational market in reproductive services; gender and militarism; responsibility, aid, and development; transitional justice and moral repair.

Fall 2015

PHIL 3000: History of Ancient Philosophy
SEC 001, MWF 10:00-10:50, MCOL E155

PHIL 3010: History of Modern Philosophy
SEC 001, MWF 2:00-2:50, HLMS 229
Prof. Kaufman
SEC 002, MWF 1:00-1:50, MCOL E155
Dr. Morasch

PHIL 3100: Ethical Theory
SEC 001, MWF 1:00-1:50, HLMS 229
Prof. Heathwood
We make moral and evaluative judgments -- e.g., "You shouldn't text while driving," "It's unfair that some children grow up with no health care," "Friendship helps make life worth living," "Martin Luther King was a great man" -- all the time. But what are we doing when we do this? Are we describing an objective moral reality, or ultimately just expressing our (or society's) feelings? 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? Assuming that we do have moral obligations, why should we care about them? These are some questions in metaethics, to which the first part of this course will provide an introduction.

Then we will turn to normative ethics, where we attempt to figure out which moral claims -- and, in particular, which fundamental moral principles -- are actually true. We will ask, What makes an act right or wrong? Consequentialists believe that an act's rightness or wrongness is to be explained solely in terms of how good or bad its outcome would be. Deontologists believe that there are certain kinds of act (e.g., harming the innocent, breaking an agreement) that are wrong to do in even when doing so would lead to the best outcome. We will explore both of these normative ethical theories.

We will also ask, What things are good in themselves for us, or make our lives worth living? Hedonists say that it is pleasure and pleasure alone. Desire Satisfactionists hold that what is of fundamental benefit to us is getting what we want, whatever it is. Objective-List Theories maintain that there are some things -- e.g., knowledge, love, respect -- that are good for us to have independently of whether we want them or would enjoy them. We will explore all three of these theories of human welfare.

One book is required: Michael Huemer, Ethical Intuitionism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). Other readings will be made available online.

Prerequisites: two previous courses in philosophy.

PHIL 3140: Environmental Ethics
SEC 001, MWF 12:00-12:40, MCOL W100
Dr. Sturgis

PHIL 3160: Bioethics
SEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, HLMS 229
SEC 002, TR 3:30-4:45, HLMS 229

PHIL 3190: War and Morality
SEC 001, TR 9:30-10:45, EKLY E1B20
Dr. Youkey

PHIL 3200: Social and Political Philosophy
SEC 001, MWF 11:00-11:50, HLMS 229
Prof. Wingo

PHIL 3310: Cognitive Science
SEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, FLEM 156
Prof. Rupert

PHIL 3430: History of Science: Newton to Einstein
SEC 001, TR 3:30-4:45, HLMS 237
Dr. Youkey
SEC 880, TR 2:00-3:15, HLMS 196
Dr. Youkey

PHIL 3480: Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy
SEC 001, TR 9:30-10:45, HLMS 177
Dr. Brindell
SEC 002, TR 12:30-1:45, HLMS 177
Dr. Brindell

PHIL 3800: Open Topics in Philosophy: Eastern Philosophy
SEC 001, TR 3:30-4:45, MCOL E155
Prof. Saucedo
A critical examination of a variety of Hindu and Buddhist views on the self, the mind, matter, action, and value.

PHIL 4010: Single Philosopher: Kant
SEC 001, MWF 1:00-1:50, HLMS 245
Dr. Bredeson
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is the single most influential philosopher of the modern period, hands down. It can probably be said that Kant's impact on at least four core areas of philosophy-epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics-outstrips that of anyone working after Aristotle. In addition, Kant put forward a comprehensive vision of philosophy and science in general, giving principled reasons why some of their parts must be unified and others strictly separated, all while pioneering the integration of philosophy with emerging disciplines like anthropology and geography. Few thinkers since Kant have attempted anything even remotely as ambitious.

In this course we will try to get a sense of the significance of Kant's philosophical achievement considered as a whole. Granted, in one semester we can only go so far in this direction, and several areas important to Kant's conception of philosophy (notably, aesthetics and anthropology, but politics, too) will of necessity receive short shrift. But we will do our best to begin to bring Kant's grand vision into focus. In doing so, we will concentrate on three main areas of his thought (which correspond relatively neatly with the change in Kant's own focus over time): theoretical philosophy, practical philosophy, and the significance of Kant's project for the human being. The readings will be drawn from a wide range of sources, spanning the course of Kant's thought from the 1750s to the 1790s. But we will focus on four core texts: the Critique of Pure Reason (1781/87), the Critique of Practical Reason (1788), the Metaphysics of Morals (1797), and Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason (1793).

PHIL 4120: Ethics and Animals
SEC 001, TR 2:00-3:15, HLMS 245
Prof. Norcross

PHIL 4260: Philosophy of Law
SEC 001, TR 11:00-12:15, HLMS 177
Prof. Hosein

PHIL 4340: Epistemology
SEC 001, MWF 2:00-2:50, HLMS 177
Prof. Huemer

PHIL 4400: Philosophy of Science
SEC 001, TR 11:00-12:15, CLRE 104
Prof. Cleland

PHIL 4460: Modal Logic
SEC 002, TR 12:30-1:45, ECON 2
Prof. Forbes
Many of the central problems of philosophy crucially involve the modal concepts of possibility and necessity. For example, the problem of free will is the problem whether it was in any sense possible to have acted differently from the way one did; the problem of causation is whether there is any sense in which a cause necessitates its effect; various issues about reducibility turn on whether facts of one kind could have been different without there being any difference in facts of some other kind; and so on.

Nowadays, proper discussion of these and other issues requires some familiarity with the logic of possibility and necessity, or modal logic, as it is known. This course imparts the required familiarity. After a review of non-modal sentential logic, we will begin with the standard system of sentential modal logic, S5. Following a review of non-modal first-order logic, we will then investigate other systems of sentential modal logic. In the second part of the course we extend sentential S5 to first-order S5, and we will investigate a number of topics of philosophical interest, including quantification and existence, possibilist quantifiers, the actuality operator, the de re/de dicto distinction, and counterpart theory.

Grades will be based on homework assignments set at the end of each class.

PHIL 4830: Senior Seminar: Existentialism
SEC 001, MWF 4:00-4:50, HLMS 177
Dr. Chapman
We'll be covering all of the greats: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre, as well as a number of other philosophers who are either less well-know, but still firmly in the existentialist tradition, and also some who would count as proto-existentialists or extensions of existentialism.

  • 3000: History of Ancient Philosophy
  • 3010: History of Modern Philosophy
  • 3100: Ethical Theory
  • 3110: Feminist Practical Ethics
  • 3140: Envirionmental Ethics
  • 3160: Bioethics
  • 3200: Social and Political Philosophy
  • 3260: Philosophy and the International Order
  • 3410: History of Science: Ancients to Newton
  • 3480: Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy
  • 3600: Philosophy of Religion
  • 3700: Aesthetic Theory
  • 4010: Single Philosopher: Aquinas
  • 4010: Singel Philosopher: Leibniz
  • 4120: Philosophy and Animals
  • 4250: Marxism
  • 4340: Epistemology
  • 4360: Metaphysics
  • 4490: Philosophy of Language

  • 3000: History of Ancient Philosophy
  • 3010: History of Modern Philosophy
  • 3100: Ethical Theory
  • 3140: Envirionmental Ethics
  • 3160: Bioethics
  • 3190: War and Morality
  • 3200: Social and Political Philosophy
  • 3260: Philosophy and the International Order
  • 3310: Cognitive Science
  • 3480: Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy
  • 3600: Philosophy of Religion
  • 3800: Open Topics in Philosophy: Buddhism as Philosophy
  • 3800: Open Topics in Philosophy: Existentialism
  • 4010: Single Philosopher: Kant
  • 4200: Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • 4340: Epistemology
  • 4360: Metaphysics
  • 4400: Philosophy of Science
  • 4450: History and Philosophy of Physics

  • 3000: History of Ancient Philosophy
  • 3010: History of Modern Philosophy
  • 3100: Ethical Theory
  • 3140: Envirionmental Ethics
  • 3160: Bioethics
  • 3180: Critical Thinking: Contemporary Topics
  • 3190: War and Morality
  • 3200: Social and Political Philosophy
  • 3260: Philosophy and the International Order
  • 3430: History of Science: Newton to Einstein
  • 3480: Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy
  • 3600: Philosophy of Religion
  • 4010: Single Philosopher: Nietzsche
  • 4010: Single Philosopher: Plato
  • 4040: Studies in 20th Century Philosophy
  • 4070: Existentialist Philosophy
  • 4110: Contemporary Moral Theory
  • 4260: Philosophy of Law
  • 4340: Epistemology
  • 4360: Metaphysics
  • 4440: Topics in Logic: Mathematical Logic
  • 4800: Open Topics in Philosophy: Gender and Global Justice

  • 3000: History of Ancient Philosophy
  • 3010: History of Modern Philosophy
  • 3100: Ethical Theory
  • 3140: Envirionmental Ethics
  • 3160: Bioethics
  • 3190: War and Morality
  • 3200: Social and Political Philosophy
  • 3260: Philosophy and the International Order
  • 3310: Cognitive Science
  • 3410: History of Science: Ancients to Newton
  • 3480: Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy
  • 3600: Philosophy of Religion
  • 3800: Open Topics in Philosophy: Buddhism as Philosophy
  • 4010: Single Philosopher: St. Augustine
  • 4010: Single Philosopher: Rousseau
  • 4200: Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • 4210: Classsical Greek Political Thought
  • 4250: Marxism
  • 4340: Epistemology
  • 4360: Metaphysics
  • 4400: Philosophy of Science
  • 4460: Modal Logic