The Philosophy Department offers a series of 150-level courses that serve as introductions to specific areas of philosophical thought. Each probes a group of philosophical issues related to certain other fields or areas of human concern, and each is designed to show how questions in these fields or areas can lead naturally to larger philosophical matters. Philosophy 155, "Nature of Science" will be offered Fall Term, 1988. It will be taught by a regular faculty member and will be limited to 50 students.
Philosophy 181, 202, 231, 232, and 297 are general introductions designed
to acquaint the student with a representative sample of philosophical problems
concerning the nature of reality, knowledge, the self, morality, religion, and society. They deal with such questions as: If a person's actions are
causally determined by heredity and environment is he capable of free actions
for which he can be held morally responsible? What is a person – just a
very complex machine, a combination of a mind or soul and a body, or what?
How can such common sense beliefs as that other human beings are conscious, or that there exists an external physical world, be justified? What are
scientific theories, and what kinds of considerations bear on whether they
should be accepted? Are there good reasons for believing that God exists?
Is abortion, or euthanasia, or suicide, morally permissible? Are value judgments
(e.g., moral or aesthetic judgments) "objective" or "subjective"?
What are the basic differences between the major kinds of social, political, and economic organization, and what reasons are there for preferring any
one of them to the others? How should one live one's life? What is the "meaning"
of life, and what does this question mean?
The 200-level philosophy introductions and 181 vary in their approach to the issues, in their instructional format, and in credit hours. Philosophy 202 (4 hours) approaches issues through a mixture of twentieth century writers (e.g., Bertrand Russell, A. J. Ayer) and seminal figures in Western intellectual history (Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant). It is taught by graduate teaching assistants in sections of approximately 25 students. Philosophy 231 (3 hours) and 232 (4 hours) are more concerned with contemporary debate about these issues than with their historical development; a faculty member delivers two lectures each week, and students are divided into groups of approximately 25 for discussion sections which meet one (231) or two (232) hours per week. Like Philosophy 231 and 232, Philosophy 181 is mostly concerned with contemporary discussion, but its format is different. It is smaller, limited to 50 students, and is taught in a combination lecture/discussion format 3 times a week.
The Department offers 3 elementary introduction courses in logic, 180, 201 and 203. 180 and 201 are both courses in informal logic, however 180 is taught by faculty in a section of about 40-50, while 201 is taught in sections of 20-25 by advanced graduate student teaching assistants. Philosophy 203 is an introductory course in symbolic logic, taught in sections by advanced graduate student teaching assistants.
Some 300-level courses do not have prerequisites and can serve as introductions to particular branches of philosophy. Three such courses will be offered Fall Term, 1988: Philosophy 356, ISSUES IN BIOETHICS, Philosophy 365, PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION, and Philosophy 370, PHILOSOPHICAL ASPECTS OF LITERATURE.
155. The Nature of Science. (3). (HU).
What is the difference between a well-supported scientific theory, and a pseudo-scientific or crackpot theory? This course aims to give an answer to that question, by studying the nature of scientific reasoning and scientific method. Topics to be covered include the nature of theories, methods for testing theories, statistical inferences and probability, and the use of scientific information in making decisions. The course will be practically oriented, in that it aims to enable students to intelligently assess the evidence for scientific claims which they come across in the media or elsewhere. There are no prerequisites. Both humanities and science majors should find the course useful. There will be short quizzes or homework assignments most weeks, and two one-hour exams. An optional comprehensive final can be taken by students who wish to improve their course grade. Students will be encouraged to participate in class discussion. The text for the course will be UNDERSTANDING SCIENTIFIC REASONING, by Ronald N. Giere. (Maher)
180. Introductory Logic. No credit is granted to those who have completed 201, 203, or 296. (3). (N.Excl).
SECTION 001. This section of 180 will be an experimental course, designed to improve students' skills in critical reading and argumentative writing. Topics will include some formal logic, some philosophy of language, and some classical rhetoric. There will be frequent reading and writing exercises. (Villeman)
SECTION 002. This is an introductory course in logic. We will begin with a study of some problems, fallacies, etc., which arise in informal reasoning. This will be followed by a study of some of the elements of formal (symbolic) logic. There may also be some brief considerations of induction and of probability. The course will be conducted by lectures, discussions, and demonstrations of problem-solving techniques. (Mavrodes)
181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction. No credit granted to those who have completed 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).
SECTION 001. The approach to philosophical topics in this course is partially historical. There will be some attention to the origins and evolution of central ideas in the Western philosophical tradition, and to the long term influence on Western culture. Students will read the writings of about five key figures in the history of philosophy, rather than a textbook of articles by contemporary philosophers. Lectures will explain the doctrines of the thinkers, and, in so doing, illuminate certain enduring problems in philosophy and types of answers to them. A partial list of these answers includes materialism and idealism with respect to questions about what exists; rationalism, empiricism, and pragmatism with respect to questions concerning what we know and the nature of truth, and hedonism with regard to standards of good and evil. In addition to learning about these problems and types of answers, students will examine and evaluate arguments in the texts. They will gain practice in writing a paper that draws upon skills in argumentation. Evaluation of course work will be based primarily on the paper and on three, one-hour examinations. There is no final examination. Lectures and discussion will be intermixed in the same classroom setting, the discussions focusing on the texts as illustrations of topics covered in the lectures. No previous philosophy course is required. (Munro)
Section 002. This is a general introduction to philosophy taught by a faculty member to a class that is kept small enough so that there can be a significant discussion. The specific content varies with the person offering the course which was, unfortunately, not known when the Course Guide went to press. For a general idea of the sort of thing the course is likely to include see the descriptions for Philosophy 202 and 231.
SECTION 003. This is a general introduction to philosophy taught by a faculty member to a class that is kept small enough so that there can be a significant discussion. The specific content varies with the person offering the course. For a general idea of the sort of thing the course is likely to include see the descriptions for Philosophy 202 and 231. (White)
201. Introduction to Logic. No credit granted to those who have completed 180, 203 or 296. (3). (N.Excl).
This course aims to give the student a thorough understanding of the fundamental forms of reasoning and rational argument. Students will be expected to master some technical detail, but the emphasis in this course is on non-technical, informal logical techniques applicable to problem solving in any area of inquiry. Both deductive and inductive patterns of argument will be examined. Sections usually have about twenty-five students each. Each section meets three hours per week and is generally conducted with some informality and considerable student participation. Discussion and questions are encouraged, particular problems are analyzed, and students are required to demonstrate mastery of assigned material. Course requirements for grading vary from instructor to instructor. Normally there are weekly assignments frequently in written form and short, periodic quizzes.
202. Introduction to Philosophy. No credit granted to those who have completed 181, 182, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with philosophical thinking on the great questions that have moved mankind throughout history, and to discuss possible solutions to them. The course is taught in independent sections of approximately twenty-five students. Each section is taught by a teaching assistant who selects the topics and readings. Some sections examine the systems of such major historical figures as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche, while others employ primarily the writings of contemporary philosophers such as Bertrand Russell, A.J. Ayer, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and others. The subject matter generally includes ethics, free will and responsibility, philosophy of mind, epistemology and skepticism, and perhaps arguments for the existence of God. The text is either a book of readings or a set of larger selections from separate editions of well known philosophical works. During the term, each student is usually required to submit a total of at least fifteen pages of critical discussion through a series of short papers varying in length from three to five pages. Several short quizzes may also be given as well as a final examination.
203. Introduction to Symbolic Logic. No credit granted to those who have completed 180, 201 or 296. (3). (N.Excl).
Common sense classifies arguments as good or bad according to a variety of formal and informal criteria. Roughly speaking, we count an argument good if it makes plausible assumptions which exhibit its conclusion as likely to be true. Though the common sense classification is familiar and useful, sometimes we want something more precise and more amenable to systematic investigation. Thus we idealize from the intuitive notion of a "good" argument and call an argument VALID if it is impossible for its assumptions to be true without its conclusion being true as well. Logic can now be defined as the study of validity. As it turns out, this study is best pursued by constructing artificial languages designed to replicate in purer form the logically relevant features of natural languages like English. Symbolic logic, the subject of this course, is the study of validity by reference to these formal languages. Students meet in sections of about twenty-five students each. Each section meets three hours per week and has a lecture/discussion format, with considerable student participation. Course requirements and grading vary from instructor to instructor, but normally there are weekly homework assignments and periodic quizzes.
231. Introduction to Philosophy: Problems and Principles. No credit granted to those who have completed 181, 182, 202, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).
This course is open to students from all areas of the University. No previous work in philosophy is required or assumed. First term undergraduates are welcome. The course has two principal goals. The first is o provide an introduction to a number of fundamental philosophical problems drawn from a variety of branches of philosophy. The following issues will be discussed (1) determinism and free will; (2) arguments for and against the existence of God; and (3) the nature of moral obligation. Some attention will be paid to interconnections between these issues. The second goal is to develop the philosophical skills, and more generally the critical and argumentative skills, of those enrolled. Philosophy 231 and 232 share a common lecture for two meetings per week. Philosophy 231 carries three hours of credit, has one discussion meeting per week and requires two short papers. Philosophy 232 carries four hours of credit, has two discussion meetings per week, and requires three short papers. Students who feel they would benefit from the additional hour of discussion or from the additional required writing are advised to consider enrolling in 232 rather than 231. The course has a single text, an anthology: Joel Feinberg, editor, REASON AND RESPONSIBILITY (Dickenson Publishing Co.) (Loeb)
232. Problems of Philosophy. No credit granted to those who have completed 181, 182, 202, 231, 234, or 297. (4). (HU).
See Philosophy 231. (Loeb)
296. Honors Introduction to Logic. Honors students or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed 180, 201 or 203. (3). (N.Excl).
In HONORS INTRODUCTION TO LOGIC we examine the theories and methods of FORMAL or SYMBOLIC logic. What this means is that we will not be learning techniques for logical reasoning, but rather studying the nature of logical reasoning for its own sake. The method will be to develop a series of progressively richer formal systems – the sentential calculus, the predicate calculus, and maybe others – intended to capture significant aspects of the logical structure of thought and language. In relation to these systems, key logical precepts, such as validity, consistency, and logical truth, can be precisely defined, and rigorously examined. Requirements for the course are weekly homework assignments, perhaps a few short quizzes, a midterm examination, and a final examination. (Yablo)
297. Honors Introduction to Philosophy. Honors students or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed 181, 182, 202, 231, 232, or 234. (3). (HU).
SECTION 001. This course will examine some of the major philosophical problems: the existence of God, the nature and limits of human knowledge, the idea of freedom, the basis for ethical judgments, and the grounds of legitimate political authority. The readings will consist of a series of primary sources. Works by such philosophers as Plato, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Mill, Marx, and Camus will be included. Class sessions will follow a lecture and discussion format and students will be evaluated on the basis of three to four papers. No prerequisites. (Lipschutz)
Section 002. Philosophy investigates fundamental questions which arise in the course of our practical and intellectual pursuits. In this course, we will consider some basic questions concerning science, work, morality, and religion. Can belief in God be justified? Are moral claims objective or subjective? What is the significance of work in human life? What methods should we use in investigating natural and human phenomena? We will read from works written by major figures in the history of philosophy (Plato, Descartes, Bacon, Hume, Marx, James) as well as from contemporary sources. There will be two papers and a final examination. (Anderson)
335/Buddhist Studies 320/Asian Studies 320/Rel. 320. Introduction to Buddhism. Buddhist Studies 220 or the equivalent. May not be included in a concentration plan in philosophy. (3). (HU).
See Buddhist Studies 320.
345. Language and Mind. One philosophy course. (3). (HU).
"Language and Mind" is a rigorous and demanding introduction to a range of contemporary issues at the interface of the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. The overarching concern is the relationship between thinking and speaking – the extent to which our understanding of one requires and informs our understanding of the other. The course has been designed especially to prepare undergraduate concentrators in philosophy for serious upper division and perhaps eventually graduate level work in the areas discussed, but should be of interest to any serious student interested in the relation between thought and language. The reading consists in a number of seminal papers (collected in a course pack) by twentieth century philosophers working primarily in the Anglo-American analytic tradition (e.g., Frege, Russell, Donnellan, Kripke, Perry, Grice, Davidson, and Burge) and sections of two books (by Kripke). Besides the reading, which is essential, each student will be expected to write three 10 page papers. Topics will be assigned, though students can write on a topic of their own with permission. Class participation is very strongly encouraged. Although the only official prerequisite is one previous philosophy course, a stronger background in central philosophical areas (metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind) will be the most useful, as will a familiarity with (the notation of) symbolic logic. (Taschek)
356. Issues in Bioethics. No prerequisites; one Philosophy Introduction is recommended. (4). (HU).
This course introduces the major themes and theories of ethics by examining moral dilemmas that arise in the practice of medicine. The issues discussed include: drug addiction; the artificial heart; socialized medicine; euthanasia and "living wills"; the use of placebos; and abortion. No pre-requisites. Three five-page papers and a final exam. (Velleman)
361. Ethics. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (HU).
The course begins with an introduction to fundamental questions of moral philosophy: What is ethics about? Are there truths ethics can hope to discover? If there are, are these relative only to cultures, or even to individuals, or are they universal? The core of the course is an examination of three central traditions in moral philosophy typified by Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill. We shall be interested in the different approaches these writers take both to the questions raised in the first part of the course, and to the substantive questions of ethics: What is good? What is right? The course ends with a recent critique of traditional moral philosophy raised by those who would stress the role of personal relationship in ethics. Lecture and discussion. Three papers of about five pages in length and a final exam. (Darwall)
365/Rel. 365. Problems of Religion. (4). (HU).
This is an introductory course in the philosophy of religion. It is not a course in comparative religion, nor a survey of various religions, etc. The emphasis is on philosophical problems and philosophical treatments of topics which are generated by religious belief – particularly in connection with Christianity and religions that are somewhat similar to Christianity (i.e., theistic religions). The main topics to be considered are: the rationality of religious belief, attempts to prove (or to argue for) the existence of God, criticisms of such arguments, the significance of religious experience, revelation, and the problem of evil. One or two other topics may be added if there is time. Usually I will lecture for two of the three weekly class sessions, trying to reserve the third one for questions, objections, and general discussion. There will be weekly assigned readings from classical and contemporary writers on the philosophy of religion. Probably I will use an anthology of such selections, but the text has not yet been selected (in January 1988). There will be a final exam, and either one or two hourly exams during the course of the term. My present plan is to make all of these open-book, multiple choice exams, covering both the readings and the lectures. Sample exams from previous courses will be available for students to examine. Grades will be determined largely by the scores of these exams. (Mavrodes)
366. Introduction to Political Philosophy. One Philosophy Introduction. (4). (HU).
Political philosophy is concerned not merely with the question of what sort of government (if any) we should have, but also with the most general questions about how people can and should live in society. We will undertake a systematic examination of the moral, philosophical, and empirical foundations of three of the dominant political philosophies of our times: social contract theory, utilitarianism, and socialism. Our goal will be to understand the conceptions of human nature, of value, of freedom, and of society and the individual's relation to it that underlie these political philosophies. Readings will include significant figures in the history of political philosophy (such as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, and Marx) as well as controversial contemporary political philosophers (such as Rawls and Nozick). Lectures and discussion sections. A midterm and a final examination. A term paper. (Railton)
370. Philosophical Aspects of Literature. (3). (HU).
This course will consist primarily of an examination of the philosophical content of selected works of literature. We will consider what these works have to say, in one way or another, about questions of morality, freedom, human nature, knowledge, reality, and so forth. To a lesser extent we will examine philosophical problems concerning the nature, function, and the value of literature itself, including questions about the manner in which literary works express or communicate philosophical ideas, compared to the ways in which philosophical essays do. The readings will include (tentatively) literary works by John Barth, Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, Albert Camus, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Sartre and perhaps others. We will also study various philosophical writings which treat the philosophical issues we find in the literary works. Two short papers will be required, and there will be a midterm and a final examination. There is no prerequisite, but an introduction to philosophy and some background in literature would be helpful. (Walton)
388/Class. Civil. 388. History of Philosophy: Ancient. One Philosophy Introduction. A knowledge of Greek or Latin is not required. (4). (HU).
This course is a survey of Greek philosophical thought from its beginnings through Hellenistic times. The figures covered in detail are certain Presocratic thinkers, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, the Stoics, and the Sceptics. Stress is laid not only on the doctrines of these philosophers, but also on their arguments for holding them. Attention is also given to the non-philosophical background against which these thinkers worked, particularly in the case of their ethical views. There will be three papers, ranging from four to seven pages in length, two 30-minute quizzes, and a final. One of the chief aims of the course is to teach students to write a clear, well-organized philosophy paper. (N. White)
409. Philosophy of Language. One Philosophy Introduction or permission of instructor. (3). (HU).
This is an advanced undergraduate course on some of the principle issues in contemporary philosophy of language. The aim will be to cover a relatively small selection of central topics in some depth. These will include meaning-skepticisms, with reference to arguments of Quine, Putnam, and Kripke's Wittgenstein; analyticity, the idea of systematic theory of meaning, and the notion of tacit knowledge; the Sorites paradox; singular reference; and Davidson's program. Some previous experience with at least some of these issues would be useful. An elementary FORMAL logic course basic quantification logic is a prerequisite. The class will meet twice a week for a seminar of one and one half hours. Evaluation will be by one term paper and a take home examination. (Wright)
414. Mathematical Logic. (3). (N.Excl).
A study of the syntax, semantics, applications, and limitations of elementary logic. Among the topics included are: (A) truth-functions and sentential logic; symbolization of truth-functional arguments; completeness of sentential logic. (B) Syntax and semantics of quantification theory; symbolization of quantification arguments; completeness of quantification theory; limitations of quantification theory. (C) Elements of set theory and the foundations of mathematics; undecidability and Church's theorem. The text is FORMAL LOGIC by R. Jeffrey.
457/Buddhist Studies 480/Asian Studies 480/Rel. 480. Problems in Buddhism. Buddhist Studies 320 or equivalent. (3). (Excl).
See Buddhist Studies 480.
468/Chinese 468. Classical Chinese Thought (To A.D. 220) Upperclass standing; no knowledge of Chinese required. (3). (HU).
Philosophy 468 focuses on the major philosophical schools of the Chou-Han period, which was roughly equivalent in time and intellectual fertility to the classical ages of Greece and Rome. Among these schools, special consideration is given to the Confucian and Taoist schools, since the doctrines associated with these were the sources of the two major philosophical traditions in China for the next 2000 years and affected very significant cultural developments in the arts, religion, science, and politics. The course concentrates on Chinese social and political philosophies (with notable exceptions in the case of certain Taoist thinkers) and on the theories of human nature that were associated with them. Among the more interesting political theories discussed are those pertaining to social control or the most desirable and effective ways of mobilizing the population for goals determined by the rulers. Chinese philosophers have been somewhat unusual in occupying political office and in having an opportunity to test their ideas in practice. This fact has affected the character of Chinese philosophy from the beginning, and it makes the study of Chinese political philosophy especially intriguing. There is some background consideration of the social and living conditions of the periods in which the various philosophies emerged. No knowledge of Chinese is required. Readings are in translation. All students are required to prepare an annotated, critical bibliography of secondary readings. Other course requirements include a midterm and a final examination. (Munro)
482. Philosophy of Mind. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (HU).
A rigorous introduction to and critical evaluation of a range of issues and problems of central importance in contemporary work in the philosophy of mind. Topics will include traditional issues surrounding the nature of mind and mental phenomena and the relation between mental phenomena and physical phenomena. We will try to focus equally on issues raised by mental phenomena possessing qualitative content – paradigmatically, sensations such as pains and tickles and color perception – and issues raised by mental phenomena possessing intentional content – paradigmatically, propositional attitudes like belief and desire. Along the way we shall examine a number of foundational and conceptual issues concerning the nature of psychological inquiry and the scientific status of psychology. Although the official pre-requisite is one philosophy introduction, the course is designed primarily for advanced undergraduates and graduate students with a substantial prior background in philosophy. The required work, besides the reading, will be either two medium length papers and a final exam, or a shorter paper (7-12 pages) and a longer term paper (15-25 pages). Principal reading will probably be from a course pack. (Taschek)
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