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Fall Academic Term 2002 Course Guide

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Courses in Philosophy


This page was created at 7:55 PM on Thu, Oct 3, 2002.

Fall Academic Term, 2002 (September 3 - December 20)


PHIL 180. Introductory Logic.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Greg M Sax

Prerequisites & Distribution: Credit is granted for only one of PHIL 180 or 201. (3). (HU). (BS).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course is designed both to improve critical reasoning skills that could be of use in a wide range of disciplines and careers, and to provide an introduction to formal logic. The course examines some of the problems and fallacies which arise in informal reasoning, some of the elements of formal (symbolic) logic, and logical concepts used in the analysis and criticism of arguments. This course may also give some attention to issues in branches of philosophy germane to logic, for example, the theory of knowledge, philosophy of language, and metaphysics. There will be lectures, demonstrations of problem-solving techniques, and a variety of exercises. The course is limited to 50 students, which should permit opportunity for discussion. Texts and methods of evaluation to be determined.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

PHIL 181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): James M A Bell

Prerequisites & Distribution: No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course examines some of the main problems of philosophy, such as:

  • How do we know that anything exists, other than ourselves?
  • Are minds immaterial spirits, or are minds brains and hence nothing but complex physical objects?
  • If human actions are causally determined by heredity and environment, is there any free will or moral responsibility?
  • Is abortion, or euthanasia, or suicide, morally permissible?
  • Is the nature and extent of our moral obligations determined by our feelings, self-interest, social convention, Divine commands, or something else?
  • What are the different kinds of social, political, and economic organization, and what reasons are there for preferring one to another?
  • How should one live one's life?
  • What is the meaning of life, and what does this question mean?
  • Are there good reasons for believing that God exists?

Students will write papers discussing a number of these topics.

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PHIL 181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction.

Section 002.

Instructor(s): Lori Watson

Prerequisites & Distribution: No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course examines some of the main problems of philosophy, such as:

  • How do we know that anything exists, other than ourselves?
  • Are minds immaterial spirits, or are minds brains and hence nothing but complex physical objects?
  • If human actions are causally determined by heredity and environment, is there any free will or moral responsibility?
  • Is abortion, or euthanasia, or suicide, morally permissible?
  • Is the nature and extent of our moral obligations determined by our feelings, self-interest, social convention, Divine commands, or something else?
  • What are the different kinds of social, political, and economic organization, and what reasons are there for preferring one to another?
  • How should one live one's life?
  • What is the meaning of life, and what does this question mean?
  • Are there good reasons for believing that God exists?

Students will write papers discussing a number of these topics.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

PHIL 196. First Year Seminar.

Section 001 Philosophical Issues in Crime and Punishment.

Instructor(s): Rebecca Walker (walkerrl@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Only first-year students, including those with sophomore standing, may pre-register for First-Year Seminars. All others need permission of instructor. (3). (HU).

First-Year Seminar

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

No one wants to be the victim of a crime and most people feel that criminals deserve punishment and that states should be in the business of imposing this punishment. However, few people stop to think about the underlying philosophical issues involved in the process of state imposed punishment. Does the state truly have the authority to punish the guilty? What counts as a crime and how does the notion of crime relate to morality? For example, should drug use, prostitution, and gambling be crimes? Finally, what underlying justification is there for punishment? Do we punish people to rehabilitate them? To exact retribution for what they have done? Or to keep others from committing crimes? This course will examine these and other related issues throughout the term using both historical and contemporary philosophical writings, literature, and controversial cases in the media and courts. Grades in the course will be based on essays, exams, and class participation and presentations.

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PHIL 196. First Year Seminar.

Section 002 Ethics and the Arts.

Instructor(s): Stacie Friend

Prerequisites & Distribution: Only first-year students, including those with sophomore standing, may pre-register for First-Year Seminars. All others need permission of instructor. (3). (HU).

First-Year Seminar

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2002/fall/phil/196/002.nsf

This course focuses on the relationship between aesthetics and ethics. If a work of art expresses a morally good or bad message, does that make it better or worse as art? How can art contribute to moral knowledge? Is the artistic domain distinct from practical concerns, or can art effect ethical or political change? We begin with historical background, considering the answers to these questions provided by such philosophers as Plato, Aristotle, Hume, and Kant. We then discuss contemporary views of the connection between ethical and aesthetic value, applying these to several case studies, such as the debate over the racist implications of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the objections to the "Sensation" exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Finally we examine ethical and political critiques of artistic institutions, which question why these have traditionally excluded groups such as women and minorities.

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PHIL 201. Introduction to Logic.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites & Distribution: Credit is granted for only one of PHIL 180 or 201. (3). (HU). (BS).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course aims to give students a thorough understanding of the fundamental forms of reasoning and rational argument, and to improve critical reasoning skills that could be of use in a wide range of disciplines and careers. The course examines some of the problems and fallacies which arise in informal reasoning and logical concepts used in the analysis and criticism of arguments. Some elements of formal (symbolic) logic might be introduced. Though students will be expected to master some technical detail, the course emphasizes informal logical techniques applicable to problem solving and argument in any area of inquiry. Both deductive and inductive patterns of argument will be examined. The small section size (25 students) is conducive to informality and considerable student participation. There will also be lectures, demonstrations of problem-solving techniques, and a variety of exercises. Normally, there are weekly assignments and short, periodic quizzes.

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PHIL 202. Introduction to Philosophy.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites & Distribution: No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 181, 182, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course introduces students to philosophy through an examination of some central philosophical problems. Topics might include:

  • Are minds immaterial spirits, or are minds brains and hence nothing but complex physical objects?
  • If human actions are causally determined by heredity and environment, is there any moral responsibility?
  • Is abortion, or euthanasia, or suicide, morally permissible?
  • Is the nature and extent of our moral obligations determined by our feelings, self-interest, social convention, Divine commands, or something else?
  • What are the reasons for preferring one kind of social, political, and economic organization to another?
  • Are there good reasons for believing that God exists?
  • How do we know that anything exists, other than ourselves?

In addressing these questions, some sections focus on major historical figures, e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, and Kant; others focus on writings of twentieth-century philosophers. Requirements usually include a number of short, critical papers.

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PHIL 230 / ASIAN 230 / RELIGION 230. Introduction to Buddhism.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Luis Oscar Gomez

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (HU). May not be included in a concentration plan in philosophy.

Foreign Lit

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2002/fall/asian/230/001.nsf

See Asian Studies 230.001.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: 3 Waitlist Code: 4

PHIL 232. Problems of Philosophy.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Louis E Loeb (lloeb@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 181, 182, 202, 231, 234, or 297. (4). (HU).

Credits: (4; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course is open to students from all areas of the University. No previous work in philosophy is assumed. First-term undergraduates are welcome. The course will provide an introduction to some fundamental philosophical problems drawn from a variety of branches of philosophy. The course also seeks to develop, through written work and intensive discussion, skills in critical reasoning and argumentative writing. Topics will be selected from among the following:

  1. determinism, free will, and moral responsibility;
  2. arguments for and against the existence of God;
  3. skepticism about knowledge of the material world;
  4. the nature of personal identity;
  5. the relationship between mind and body;
  6. egoism, altruism, and the nature of moral obligation; and
  7. the ethics of belief and nature of faith.

There will be two required papers and a midterm and cumulative final examination. Course readings will be drawn from the following: Joel Feinberg and Russ Shafer-Landau, editors, Reason and Responsibility, Readings in Some Basic Problems of Philosophy 11th edition (Wadsworth, 2002); and Thomas Nagel, What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (Oxford, 1987).

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PHIL 297. Honors Introduction to Philosophy.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Michelle A Kosch (mkosch@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Honors students or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 181, 182, 202, 231, 232, or 234. (3). (HU).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

The course will provide an introduction to several areas of philosophy. Questions asked will include the following:

  • What features of our actions make them morally right or wrong?
  • What features of social organizations make them just or unjust?
  • Are human actions causally determined? If so, how can we be morally responsible for what we do?
  • How can we know anything exists beyond ourselves?
  • Are there convincing arguments for or against the existence of God?

Readings will include selections from Descartes, Hume, Kant, Mill and a number of contemporary philosophers.

Text: Perry and Bratman, Introduction to Philosophy.

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PHIL 297. Honors Introduction to Philosophy.

Section 002.

Instructor(s): James P Tappenden (tappen@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Honors students or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 181, 182, 202, 231, 232, or 234. (3). (HU).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course serves as an introduction to three of the perennial issues on which the finest minds in history have exercised their intelligence.

  1. The first topic is philosophical scepticism: the thesis that you are never correct if you say you know something. As with many philosophical issues, this one is hard to believe, but also difficult to refute.
  2. The second topic is the relationship of the mind to the body and its physical activity. Are mental events just physical events such as states of the nervous system, or do they have a distinctive nature of their own?
  3. Finally, we will take up the question of how (if at all) we can rightly be said to act on rational decisions, or on choices made by our free will when we are apparently physical organisms in a universe governed by brute, unreasoning laws of nature.

There will be three short papers.

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PHIL 297. Honors Introduction to Philosophy.

Section 003.

Instructor(s): Jason C Stanley (jasoncs@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Honors students or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 181, 182, 202, 231, 232, or 234. (3). (HU).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

The question, "What is Philosophy?" is one of the most difficult philosophical questions. Yet, in the normal Department of Philosophy, the only course whose central purpose it is to address this question is the introductory course. One reason that there are not more philosophy courses devoted to this question is that perhaps the best way to find an answer is to engage in the practice of Philosophy, to enter into philosophical issues, and see how philosophers dispute them. Since this is the best strategy to obtain a sense of what counts as a philosophical consideration, it is the one we will employ here to discover what Philosophy is. We will look at some traditional philosophical questions and some competing answers to them. Among the questions we will discuss are the nature of personal identity, the relation between mind and body, the nature of morality, and the existence of God.

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PHIL 303. Introduction to Symbolic Logic.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): James P Tappenden (tappen@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 203, 296 or 414. (3). (MSA). (BS).

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Symbolic logic is the application of formal, mathematical methods to human reasoning. Its goal is to determine which forms of reasoning must produce true conclusions when applied to true premises. This course will introduce students to the two simplest, but most important systems of formal logic: the propositional calculus, which classifies forms of reasoning that involve the truth-functional operations of negation, disjunction, and conjunction ("not," "or" and "and"); and the monadic predicate calculus, which characterizes inferences involving the quantifiers "all" and "some." The first half of the course will focus on the propositional calculus. A system of inference rules will be developed, and students will be shown how it can be applied to the evaluation of ordinary arguments. A series of "metatheorems" will then be proved to show that the system developed indeed captures all and only the valid truth-functional inferences. During this portion of the course, students will also be asked to master proofs by mathematical induction. The second half of the course will be dedicated to the study of first-order logic. There will be regular homework assignments, assigned weekly, as well as a midterm examination and a final.

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PHIL 319. Philosophy of the Arts.

Section 001 Meets with Philosophy 419.001.

Instructor(s): Kendall L Walton (klwalton@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 419. (3). (HU).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

NOTE: Students who have completed one philosophy introduction may elect this course.

This course will examine the arts from a philosophical perspective. It will investigate what art is, the nature of creation, criticism, interpretation, evaluation, and appreciation, and the ways in which the various arts are important, concentrating on several specific art forms such as the novel, photography and film, representational painting, and music. It will treat questions such as:

  • What, if anything, is distinctive about art and aesthetic experience, and how are they related to other aspects of life and culture?
  • In what ways are works of art expressive of feelings?
  • Do they have cognitive content?
  • In what ways do we learn from them, and how do they work to change people's perspectives or attitudes?
  • What is fiction and why are people interested in it?
  • Why and in what ways is photography more, or less, powerful than painting and drawing?
  • What is it for a painting or a novel to be realistic?
  • What is interesting or important about indeterminate art, conceptual art, found art, and performance art, and how do they compare with more traditional forms of art?

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

PHIL 345. Language and Mind.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Eric P Lormand (lormand@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy course. (3). (HU).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Ready for twenty questions? What do "mental" and "linguistic" mean? Is there a world independent of mind and language? How widespread are minds and languages (e.g., animals, plants, fetuses, ...)? Are there minds independent of language? Does thinking require talking to oneself? Are there thoughts that can't be expressed in language? Does one think in a special kind of "brain language"? How can one communicate more than "literal" meaning? Why can't we communicate better? Can two minds or languages share meanings exactly? Can our messy language use be studied scientifically? What makes an ink mark or sound wave "mean" stuff? Could machines really understand language? What makes a thought or brain state be "about" stuff? Could machines really think? What does "conscious" mean? How can we account for the "inner feel" of mental states? Could machines really be conscious? How can you resist taking this course?

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PHIL 359. Law and Philosophy.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Elizabeth S Anderson (eandersn@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (HU).

R&E

Credits: (4; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2002/fall/phil/359/001.nsf

This course analyzes law and legal institutions from the perspective of moral and political philosophy, with particular attention to U.S. civil rights law in historical context. Topics studied in this course may include: methods of legal interpretation, equality and discrimination, democracy and voting rights, the tension between property rights and distributive justice, the tension between social control and liberty (including specific liberties, such as free speech), and the justification for punishing lawbreakers (or for imposing specific punishments, such as the death penalty). Readings will be drawn from historical figures (Locke, Hume, Bentham, Mill); from contemporary legal philosophers; from texts in legal history, criminology, or sociology; and from statutes and court decisions. Requirements include substantial readings, 3 short papers, a final examination, and class participation.

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PHIL 361. Ethics.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): J David Velleman (velleman@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction. (4). (HU).

Credits: (4; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: http://www.umich.edu/~velleman/361/

This course is an historically-oriented introduction to philosophical ethics. We will read Aristotle, Mill, Kant, and possibly Hobbes and Hume as well. These authors examined specific moral issues, such as the obligation to tell the truth or the permissibility of suicide; general ethical issues, such as the best life for a person to live or the nature of justice; and so-called meta-ethical issues, such as our reasons or motives acting morally. Lectures and discussions. Students will write frequent, short essays and take a final exam.

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PHIL 365 / PHIL 365. Problems of Religion.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Edwin M Curley (emcurley@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (HU).

Credits: (4; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: http://sitemaker.umich.edu/emcurley/files/syl365f02abr.html

This course will discuss the standard arguments for and against the existence of God. For example, we will talk about the design argument for God's existence and the problem of evil as an objection to God's existence. Also on our agenda will be issues about the relation between faith and reason; miracles and revelation; the immortality of the soul; predestination, foreknowledge, and freedom; and the relation between religion and morality. There will be some, but limited consideration of non-monotheistic religions, like Advaita Vedanta Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism. Our discussion of these religions will focus on the problems they present for formulating a defensible version of religious pluralism.

The main text will be William Rowe's Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction (Wadsworth, 3rd edition). But this will be supplemented by a coursepack which will make available the main sources Rowe discusses.

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PHIL 366. Introduction to Political Philosophy.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Debra Satz (dsatz@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction. (4). (HU).

Credits: (4; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2002/fall/phil/366/001.nsf

Political philosophy is concerned not only with questions about how political authority might be justified, but also with broad questions about the nature of a just society, the moral foundations of our conceptions of justice, and the basic characteristics of humans and their social relations. We will examine key texts by a number of important figures in the history of political philosophy, as well as contemporary writers, with the goal of reaching a critical understanding of central issues and concepts.

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PHIL 371. Existentialism.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Michelle A Kosch (mkosch@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction. (3). (HU).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

The course will focus on an examination of three central commitments of existential philosophy:

  1. to an ontology that posits a radical difference between human being and the being of objects,
  2. to a phenomenological account of the structure of human existence, and
  3. to a non-cognitive account of value and to the central role of human activity in the creation of value.

We will examine competing accounts of the nature of human freedom, the meaning of contingency in the human situation, and the nature and possibility of 'authenticity'. Readings will include selections from the philosophical works of Sartre, Ortega y Gasset, Heidegger, Jaspers, Kierkegaard, and perhaps others.

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PHIL 383. Knowledge and Reality.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Thomas Hofweber (hofweber@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One course in philosophy. (3). (HU).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course will provide an detail study of central philosophical questions in two of the main areas of philosophy: first, the theory of knowledge, or epistemology. We will ask what it is to know something, and what we human beings can know. Also, we will investigate what the right procedures are for acquiring knowledge, and we will pay particular attention to the question whether or not we can know that there is anything other than ourselves.

The second area is the study of the most general features of reality, or metaphysics. Here we will investigate whether or not everything that exists is in space and time. Are there, for example, mathematical objects? Are there general things, like properties or universals? In particular, we will discuss the question why there is anything at all. Why is there something rather than absolutely nothing?

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PHIL 388 / CLCIV 388. History of Philosophy: Ancient.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Rachana Kamtekar (rkamteka@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction. A knowledge of Greek or Latin is not required. (4). (HU).

Foreign Lit

Credits: (4; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~rkamteka/Philosophy388.html

What should an education provide for its students? This question, of continuing interest, was debated in the 4th century BCE by Plato and his contemporaries. Different answers, and the programs of study that resulted, defined philosophy in opposition to other disciplines, and later defined the different philosophical schools in relation to one another. In this course, we will study works on the goals and content of education by the major philosophers of Greek and Roman antiquity: Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenistics (Epicureans, Stoics, and Skeptics). Beginning with the question of what an education should offer students, posed by Plato in the Gorgias, we will explore related questions: what is the relationship between knowledge and living well? Is knowledge necessary and/or sufficient for living well (how?) or do we also need certain non-rational dispositions, external goods, etc. to live well? What is it to live well? What subject matter(s) should one seek to know, and why? How does a student make progress in knowledge? What is the value of such progress (e.g. how does it benefit one to acquire true beliefs)? By the end of the course, students should be able to understand the motivations for the ancient philosophical schools' differing answers to these questions and the different answers' implications for what counts as philosophy, its methods, and its goals.

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PHIL 399. Independent Study.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction and permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be elected twice for a total of eight credits with permission of concentration advisor.

Credits: (1-4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Independent study of a topic not otherwise available through a regular departmental offering.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Instructor

PHIL 401. Undergraduate Honors Seminar.

Section 001 Topic? (Honors).

Instructor(s): James M Joyce (jjoyce@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Open to Honors concentrators in Philosophy and others by permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

Upper-Level Writing

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Philosophy 401 is open to seniors who are declared Honors concentrators in Philosophy and to others only by permission of the instructor. The seminar will aim to provide advice, discussion, and support for students who intend to write an Honors thesis in philosophy during the Winter Term of 2003. The goal of the course is to help students to identify and begin a thesis project that genuinely engages them, and to help them enter the Winter Term in a good position to write a successful thesis. The seminar begins with several weeks discussing research methods and methodological issues in philosophy, and then enters a sequence of stages, each lasting several weeks, in which students successively:

  • propose a general area for a thesis;
  • develop and explore a list of basic reading in that area;
  • write and present a brief (3-4 page) prospectus of the thesis;
  • write a critical survey of literature relevant to the thesis topic (about 15 pages); and
  • write a term paper (of about 15 pages) dealing with some central ideas for the thesis.

Each student will give one or two presentations of their work during the course of the seminar.

Students who enroll in 401 *must* agree to contact Professor Joyce by e-mail before the end of the Winter 2002 term (or early in the summer), and to arrive in the fall having done some preliminary work.

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PHIL 402. Undergraduate Seminar in Philosophy.

Section 001 Philosophy of David Lewis.

Instructor(s): Jessica M Wilson (jwils@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Open to junior and senior concentrators and to others by permission of concentration advisor. (3). (Excl).

Upper-Level Writing

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

David Lewis' (1941-2001) contributions to debates in metaphysics, modality, mind, and language (among other areas) have made his work arguably the most influential or at least most discussed in contemporary analytic philosophy. Taken piece by piece, his work manifests the highest ingenuity and rigor, resulting in new and often highly controversial accounts; together, these pieces add up to a fascinating philosophical world view. We'll study several portions of Lewis' oeuvre, including his modal realism, on which the truth of modal claims is grounded in possible worlds just as real as this one; his functionalist account of mind; his counterfactual theory of causation; his account of properties as collections of actual and possible particulars; and his supervaluationist approach to problems of material constitution.

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PHIL 402. Undergraduate Seminar in Philosophy.

Section 002 Philosophy Shrugged.

Instructor(s): Eric P Lormand (lormand@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Open to junior and senior concentrators and to others by permission of concentration advisor. (3). (Excl).

Upper-Level Writing

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

In this seminar students can bring their experience with academic philosophy to bear on a wide range of issues present in Ayn Rand's novels or argumentative works (so-called "Objectivism"). Rand seeks to support an impressively wide-ranging set of philosophical conclusions, and to apply them systematically to many issues of practical importance. As a small sampling, she argues that all human knowledge rests on perception and a few basic certainties ("foundationalism"), that the external world, and even moral facts, exist independently of any views about them ("realism"), that self interest is the proper fundamental standard of moral value ("egoism"), and that private ownership and unregulated enterprise form the best social system ("capitalism"). We'll examine many interesting arguments for such conclusions from Rand and her band, and consider alternative arguments (sometimes supplementary, sometimes opposed) from academic philosophers such as Quine, Searle, Dennett, and Nozick.

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PHIL 402. Undergraduate Seminar in Philosophy.

Section 003 Contemporary Responses to the Classical Problem of Skepticism.

Instructor(s): Peter Ludlow

Prerequisites & Distribution: Open to junior and senior concentrators and to others by permission of concentration advisor. (3). (Excl).

Upper-Level Writing

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Are we all just brains in vats? maybe just part of The Matrix? or maybe just being duped by Descartes' evil deceiver? In this seminar we will begin by looking at some contemporary responses to the classical problem of skepticism. Among the strategies we will survey will be attempts to defeat skepticism by appeal to externalism about content, externalism about justification, and contextualism. Students will use this literature survey as a springboard for a class presentation and term paper on a topic relating these skeptical concerns to a topic of interest to them in philosophy.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

PHIL 405. Philosophy of Plato.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Rachana Kamtekar (rkamteka@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction. (3). (Excl).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

In this course, we will read Plato's main works of political philosophy, the Crito, Republic, and parts of the Statesman and Laws. Our approach will be presentist: we will focus on the role played in Plato's political philosophy by such notions as political justification, obligation, and consent (notions of central importance in contemporary political philosophy); we will consider the similarities and differences between Platonic and utilitarian political philosophy; finally, we will assess the 20th century debate about Plato's political philosophy sparked by Karl Popper's criticism of Plato.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

PHIL 414. Mathematical Logic.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Allan F Gibbard (gibbard@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: PHIL 303. (3). (Excl). (BS). (QR/1).

Full QR

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~gibbard/sy414f02.htm

This is a course in modern symbolic logic. The idea is to use a symbolic language to examine such logical properties and relations as valid argument, consistency and inconsistency, and logical truth. We prove the soundness and completeness of first order logic. (Students should be warned that the subject gets harder as we progress, so that even if you find it easy at the outset, you should be prepared to work hard on the later material.)

There will be two in-class exams and a final exam.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

PHIL 417. Logic and Artificial Intelligence.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Richmond H Thomason (rthomaso@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: PHIL 414. (3). (Excl).

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://www.eecs.umich.edu/~rthomaso/courses/log-ai/

Since its emergence in the nineteenth century, a dominant theme within modern logic has been its application to mathematical reasoning and metamathematical problems, together with the development of rigorous techniques for studying formalized languages. More recently, these techniques have been given a computational turn and have played an important part in the design of languages for specialized computational purposes. The discipline known as "philosophical logic" has been concerned to adapt the new logical ideas to study other types of reasoning than the axiomatic, deductive reasoning found in mathematics, and has sought for applications for logical techniques in temporal reasoning, ethical and practical reasoning, the philosophy of science, and many other areas. More recently, many of the ideas in this second area have also been given a computational turn, as a group of logicians working in the area of computer science known as "Artificial Intelligence" has realized the importance of logical techniques to a variety of common sense reasoning tasks. This work recapitulates many themes from philosophical logic, but deploys systematic formalisms on a scale that was not envisaged by the philosophers. It has led to useful applications and to important new technical ideas. As the field has expanded it has become one of the more active and important areas of contemporary logic.

This course will survey work in the field, concentrating on applications to planning and temporal reasoning. Readings will include work by Michael Bratman, Ernest Davis, Joseph Halpern, Vladimir Lifschitz, John McCarthy, Leora Morgenstern, Ray Reiter, and Eric Sandelwall. The work in logic and artificial intelligence discussed in this course has a variety of important applications in the design of communications protocols, robotics, natural language interpretation and generation, and machine learning. Requirements: a mix of exercises, papers, and examinations.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

PHIL 419. Philosophy of the Arts.

Section 001 Meets with Philosophy 319.001.

Instructor(s): Kendall L Walton (klwalton@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Not open to philosophy graduate students. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 319. (3). (Excl). Will not satisfy 400-level course requirement for concentration in philosophy.

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

NOTE: Students who have completed one philosophy introduction may elect this course.

This course will examine the arts from a philosophical perspective. It will investigate what art is, the nature of creation, criticism, interpretation, evaluation, and appreciation, and the ways in which the various arts are important, concentrating on several specific art forms such as the novel, photography and film, representational painting, and music. It will treat questions such as:

  • What, if anything, is distinctive about art and aesthetic experience, and how are they related to other aspects of life and culture?
  • In what ways are works of art expressive of feelings?
  • Do they have cognitive content?
  • In what ways do we learn from them, and how do they work to change people's perspectives or attitudes?
  • What is fiction and why are people interested in it?
  • Why and in what ways is photography more, or less, powerful than painting and drawing?
  • What is it for a painting or a novel to be realistic?
  • What is interesting or important about indeterminate art, conceptual art, found art, and performance art, and how do they compare with more traditional forms of art?

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

PHIL 428 / POLSCI 339 / ASIAN 428 / SOC 426. China's Evolution Under Communism.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Kenneth Lieberthal (kliebert@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Upperclass standing. (4). (Excl).

Foreign Lit

Credits: (4; 3 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2002/fall/polsci/339/001.nsf

See Political Science 339.001.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

PHIL 431. Normative Ethics.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Allan F Gibbard (gibbard@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction. (3). (Excl).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~gibbard/syl431f02.htm

Normative ethics is the search for basic principles that determine what kinds of acts are right and what kinds wrong, what kinds of states of affairs are good and what kinds bad. The course will focus on two chief families of normative ethical theories: utilitarian theories and Kantian theories. We shall ask how best to formulate these theories, and examine arguments for them and against them. We shall read Mill and Kant for background, and otherwise, for the most part, articles by twentieth century philosophers. Classes will consist in lectures and discussion.

The course is designed to be at the level of an advanced undergraduate who has some prior background in moral philosophy. Philosophy 361 is an excellent background.

Three short papers will be required, and there will be midterm and final exams. Short exercises in or out of class may also be required.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

PHIL 462. British Empiricism.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Edwin M Curley (emcurley@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction. (3). (Excl).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2002/fall/phil/462/001.nsf

This will not be a standard course on the British Empiricists. We will devote substantial time to Locke and Hume, reading not only their epistemological works, but also some of their work in moral and political philosophy. Our treatment of Berkeley will be brief. We will also devote substantial time to Rousseau, looking not only at his political writings, but also at his metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of religion. There will also be some treatment of Leibniz, Newton, Voltaire, and Diderot. Readings will be from a coursepack to be made available at Excel Test Prep.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

PHIL 463. Topics in the History of Philosophy.

Section 001 Descartes.

Instructor(s): Louis E Loeb (lloeb@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: PHIL 388 or 389. (3). (Excl).

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course will investigate the philosophy of Descartes, based upon a careful reading of his major philosophical works and selected secondary literature. For course prerequisites, see the final paragraph.

Topics to be covered include: epistemology and metaphysics before the Meditations, skepticism with regard to the senses, clear and distinct perception, the causal arguments for the existence of God, the Cartesian circle, error and the will, the ontological argument, sense-perception and the nature of body, dualism and the mind's essence, interactionism and the substantial union, innateness, necessity and the eternal truths, laws of nature and scientific explanation, mechanism and physical determinism, occasionalism, and dissimulation theories. Time permitting, we may give some attention to developments of, and reaction to, Descartes' philosophy in subsequent Cartesian and rationalist figures.

Primary source readings will include the Meditations and selections from the Rules for the Direction of the Mind, The World, Treatise on Man, Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conduction the Understanding, Optics, Objections and Replies to the Meditations, Principles of Philosophy, Passions of the Soul, and Descartes' correspondence. Secondary source readings will include work by such commentators as Janet Broughton, Edwin Curley, Daniel Garber, Harry Frankfurt, Norman Kemp Smith, Bernard Williams, and Margaret Wilson.

There is a prerequisite for the course: either a one term survey of seventeenth and eighteenth century European philosophy (e.g., Philosophy 389) or a one term course in seventeenth century European Philosophy or Continental Rationalism (e.g., Philosophy 461). Background at the intermediate (Michigan 300-level) in epistemology and metaphysics would also be helpful. Undergraduates will be expected to write two seven to ten page papers, a longer paper revising one of the short papers, and to take a midterm and final examination. Requirements for graduate students are to be arranged.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: No Data Given.

PHIL 498. Senior Honors in Philosophy.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites & Distribution: By departmental permission only. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

Credits: (3; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course number is to be used for those students who are in the process of writing a philosophy honors thesis. Anyone wishing to write an honors thesis in philosophy should consult the Philosophy Honors Advisor.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Instructor

Graduate Course Listings for PHIL.


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