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, "The Nature of Science," will be offered Fall Term, 1993. Each will be taught by a 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 organizations, 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 introduction and 181 vary in their instructional format. Philosophy 202 (three 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 student teaching assistants in sections of approximately 25 students. Philosophy 231 (three hours) and 232 (four hours) can be expected to cover similar issues and texts, but in a different format; 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. Philosophy 181 has yet a different format. It is smaller, limited to 50 students, and is taught in a combination lecture/discussion format three times a week. Finally, Philosophy 297, Honors Introduction, is taught by a member of the faculty to small groups of 25-30 students.
The Department offers three elementary introductory courses in logic: 180, 201 and 203. 180 and 201 both cover some informal logic, while 203 introduces students to symbolic logic. 180 is taught by faculty in a section of 40-50, while 201 and 203 are taught in sections of 20-25 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, 1993: Philosophy 356, "Bioethics," Philosophy 365, "Problems of Religion," and Philosophy 375, "Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud."
155. The Nature of Science. (3). (HU).
This course serves as an introduction to the history and philosophy of natural science. During the first half of the course we examine some great milestones in the history of physics: the Copernican Revolution in astronomy, Newton's codification of the laws of mechanics, the discovery and clarification of the energy concept, the formulation and acceptance of the atomic hypothesis, and the development of thermodynamic theory. We use this history as a stepping stone on the way to a broad-based "philosophical" understanding of the scientific enterprise as a whole. Among the more philosophical topics we will discuss are: (i) the nature of the "scientific method;" (ii) the process whereby hypotheses are confirmed by empirical evidence; (iii) the nature of scientific laws and their role in explanation; (iv) the procedures by which new concepts are introduced into scientific theories; and (v) the reduction of one scientific theory to another. During the last portion of the class we examine evolutionary biology and its implications for the creationist/evolutionist debate about the teaching of evolution in our public schools. our aim will be to decide what makes some body of discourse a "science," and to see whether the theory of evolution or creationism (or both, or neither) fit the bill. (Joyce)
180. Introductory Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (3). (N.Excl).
This is a course designed to improve critical reasoning skills and provide an introduction to formal logic. We will analyze the reasoning in passages drawn from college-level texts in various fields, learn some formal systems for representing and criticizing such reasoning, and master the logical concepts used in the analysis and criticism of arguments. This section of Introductory Logic will be based on computerized exercises and tutorials. Students will do weekly assignments at public computing sites. No prior experience with computers is needed. Cost:1 WL:4 (Velleman)
181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction. No
credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in
182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).
Section 001. This course is an introduction to three central areas in contemporary philosophy: epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. Epistemology is an attempt to establish general standards for rationality and knowledge, and to assess whether we miserable earth creatures measure up. Metaphysics is an attempt to find rational ways of answering questions about the world that science appears to leave open, for Instance, questions about God, minds and bodies, and free will. And while science and metaphysics are both in the business of describing things In the world, ethics is an attempt to find rational ways of evaluating things in the world as good or bad, right or wrong. Although I will normally lecture, I will also make time each meeting for questions. Your grade will depend on three 5-page papers (roughly one per month), and class participation. Cost:1 WL:1 (Lormand)
Sections 002 & 003. An introduction to some of the main problems of philosophy, such as: Does God exist? Do we have free will? What can we know? What has value and what kind of life should I lead? We will study selections from some of the great classical writers and from more contemporary thinkers. In wrestling with such issues of intellectual substance in a rational way, we will hope to acquire skills of critical thinking, reading, and writing. The course will be kept small enough so that there can be genuine discussion. The course requirements will be: three (3-5 page) papers, final exam, and class participation.
201. Introduction to Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (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 or are enrolled in 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. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 203 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 preference to these formal languages. Students meet in sections of about 25 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.
230(335)/Buddhist Studies 230/Asian Studies 230/Rel. 230. Introduction to Buddhism. May not be included in a concentration plan in philosophy. (4). (HU).
See Buddhist Studies 230.
231. Introduction to Philosophy: Problems and Principles. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 181, 182, 202, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).
This is a first course in philosophy assuming no background in the subject; it is open to students from all areas of the University at any stage in their studies. The course has two main goals. First, to give you a sense of what philosophers think about and why. This will be done through consideration of several historically important issues: the existence of God, skepticism about the external world, knowledge of the future, personal identity, and freedom vs. determinism. The second goal is to develop the philosophical skill, 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. Both 231 and 232 require a final exam. The course has two texts: Anthony Weston, A Rulebook for Arguments, (Hackett Publishing Company) and Joel Feinberg's anthology Reason and Responsibility (Dickenson Publishing Co.) Cost:2 WL:1 (Haslanger)
232. Problems of Philosophy. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 181, 182, 202, 231, 234, or 297. (4). (HU).
See Philosophy 231. (Haslanger)
297. Honors Introduction to Philosophy. Honors
students or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those
who have completed or are enrolled in 181, 182, 202, 231, 232, or 234. (3). (HU).
Section 001. This course will introduce the student to important issues in several major areas of philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and ethics. Is there a real world independent of our ways of thinking and talking about it?, What kinds of evidence do we have?, What is evidence? What is it for one event to cause another?, How is one's mental life related to his/her physical and verbal behavior? Can we be mistaken about our own mental states?, How can we know about those of others?, Can machines think?, What things are valuable in themselves?, How should we live our lives?, Is there any such thing as "objective" morality? We will discuss what a number of philosophers have said about these issues, including important historical figures such as Descartes, David Hume, and J.S. Mill, and various recent philosophers. There will be approximately two assigned papers and three quizzes. (Walton)
Sections 002 & 003. This course will introduce students to philosophy through an examination of some major philosophical issues and problems, with some attention given also to the history of philosophical work on those problems. Examples of the problems to be dealt with are: free will, determinism, and moral responsibility; the possibility of objectivity in ethical discourse; the nature of our knowledge of the physical world; the nature of the mind and its relation to the body. Readings will be derived from modern works, and historical texts. The small size of the course will allow significant opportunity for discussion.
319. Philosophy of the Arts. Philosophy 202 or equivalent. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Philosophy 419. (3). (Excl).
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 meant by indeterminate art, conceptual art, found art, and performance art?, How are these forms of art interesting, and how do they compare with more traditional ones (e.g., do they deserve to be called "art"?).
356. Issues in Bioethics. No prerequisites; one Philosophy Introduction is recommended. (4). (HU).
This course introduces areas of philosophical ethics that are relevant to decision-making in health care. It is NOT, however, a course in "medical ethics," since it focuses on philosophical theory rather than medical practice. There will be little or no discussion of specific medical cases, court decisions, or news items. The course will concentrate instead on theoretical questions such as: "What is good for a person?", "Why is death usually bad for a person?", "Can death ever be good rather than bad?" Cost:2 WL:4 (Velleman)
361. Ethics. One Philosophy Introduction. (4). (HU).
This is a course in philosophical ethics. We'll inquire into questions like these: Is there anything one can say in a principled way about what is valuable, what is worth wanting for its own sake? Can we say that certain acts are morally required and certain other acts are wrong ? And what do terms like 'valuable' and 'morally wrong' mean? Is there ever good reason to go against one's own long term self-interest on moral grounds? The core of the course will be an examination of three central traditions of European moral philosophy, typified by Aristotle, Kant, and Mill. We will also do a section on metaethics - questions about what moral terms mean and how ethical conclusions can be justified; this part will draw chiefly on sources from this century. Lecture and discussion. Brief daily exercises, three 5-page papers, a midterm, and a final exam. Cost:2 WL:1 (Gibbard)
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 a society. This course will provide an introduction to the moral, philosophical, and empirical foundations of the political thought of a range of important figures in the history of polictical philosophy: Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Bentham, Mill, Marx, and Rawls. Our goal will be to understand the conceptions of human nature, society, value, freedom, and legitimacy that underlie the work of these political philosophers. Lectures and discussion sections. A midterm and final exam, and a term paper. WL:1 (Railton)
375. Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. (3). (HU).
Since the collapse of Marxism as both a social system and a structure of ideas, we no longer have an orienting conception of an alternative to our culture that would be more intelligent, more vigorous and more humane than the inchoate and self-destructive system in which we now live. This course will start from a deep critique of Marxism (concentrating on his ideas concerning the nature of Work) and will then make a sustained attempt to develop on the foundations of Hegel's views concerning Human Nature (i.e. as radically evolving) and of politics, and of Nietzsche's revaluation of our traditional values, and of some of the ideas of Freud, as well as of the Sociologist Max Weber (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism) the design of a possible Next Culture; i.e. it is the hope of this course to in some fashion fill the hole that the disintegration of Marxism has left us with, and to begin the work of rebuilding "a utopia for the disillusioned." One paper, one class presentation and final examination. (Bergmann)
383. Knowledge and Reality. One course in philosophy. (3). (Excl).
This is a course in metaphysics (theory of reality) and epistemology (theory of knowledge). Among the metaphysical problems which we might investigate are: existence, necessity and possibility, identity, causation, mind/body relations, and freedom of the will. Possible topics from epistemolgy are: the analysis of knowledge, the nature of justification, perceptual knowledge, knowledge of the past and future, knowledge of other minds, and self-knowledge. Readings will be from various contemporary metaphysicians and epistemologists. Course requirements will include several short homework assignments, two papers and a final exam. Cost:2 WL:4 (Haslanger)
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 two papers of about seven pages in length, a midterm, 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). (Excl).
This advanced undergraduate/graduate course will concentrate on a small number of central questions in contemporary philosophy of language. Familiarity with at least elementary formal logic is a prerequisite, and 300 level (or equivalent) experience of philosophy of mind, general metaphysics, or epistemology would be useful.
414. Mathematical Logic. (3). (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 and the foundations of mathematics; undecidability and Church's theorem.
419. Philosophy of the Arts. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phil. 319. Will not satisfy 400-level course requirement for concentration in philosophy. Not open to philosophy graduate students. (3). (Excl).
See Philosophy 319.
423. Problems of Space and Time. One Logic Introduction and either one other philosophy course or 12 credits of science; or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
Traditional philosophical questions about the nature of time and space have been strikingly influenced in the twentieth century by the results of contemporary physical science. At the same time, the important current physical theories of space and time rest explicitly or implicitly on deep-rooted philosophical assumptions. The purpose of this course is to study the mutual interaction between science and philosophy as illustrated in problems about space and time. Typical topics to be considered include the status of knowledge about the structure of space and time, substantial versus relational theories of space-time, spatio-temporal order and causal order, and the so-called problem of the direction of time. This course can best be appreciated by students who have either a background in philosophy especially logic and philosophy of science, metaphysics, epistemology or background in physical science or mathematics. An attempt is made in the course to introduce the fundamental ideas of both philosophy and science at a level which can be understood by those without extensive background so students need not be proficient in both science and philosophy to benefit from the course. The primary text is L. Sklar, SPACE, TIME AND SPACETIME. There are additional readings from such authors as Reichenbach, Poincare, Grunbaum, Smart, Wheeler, and others. Cost:2 WL:1 (Sklar)
425. Philosophy of Biology. One course in philosophy or biology. (3). (Excl).
This course will be part biology, part general philosophy of science, and part philosophy of biology. In the first section, students will be introduced to the rudiments of evolutionary biology in a broadly historical setting. Topics to be covered include: Darwin's theories of common descent and natural selection; pre-Mendelian accounts of inheritance and their overthrow by modern genetics; elementary population genetics; the modern "neo-Darwinian" synthesis. The second section focuses on some standard issues in the philosophy of science: the nature of scientific laws and their role in explanation; the concept of probability and its role in biological laws; and the basics of concept formation in science, with emphasis on biological concepts like "species" and "fitness." The last, and longest, section of the course applies what has been learned to central issues in the philosophy of biology. Questions to be addressed include: (1) The "Tautology" Problem: Given that evolutionary "fitness" is defined in terms of differential rates of survival, how can the former be used to explain the latter? (2) The "Unit of Selection" Controversy: Does natural selection act at the level of the individual organism, the gene, the species, or the group? And, how should the answer affect our view about the explanatory power of evolutionary theory?' (3) What role, if any, does teleology play in evolutionary explanations? (4) Can important aspects of human behavior, like altruism or cooperation, be explained in evolutionary terms? (Joyce)
428/Asian Studies 428/Pol. Sci. 428/Soc. 426. China's Evolution Under Communism. Upperclass standing or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
See Political Science 428. (Lieberthal)
431. Normative Ethics. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).
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 be asking how best to formulate these theories, and we shall examine arguments for them and against them. We'll read Mill and Kant for background, and otherwise, for the most part, articles by twentieth century philosophers. Classes will consist in lectures with discussion encouraged. The course requires prior background in moral philosophy. Philosophy 361 is an excellent background. If you have not taken that or a clear equivalent, please see the instructor to discuss whether the course is suitable for you. Three papers of about 1500 words each (roughly 5 double-spaced typed pages) will be required. (For particularly advanced students, it may be possible to substitute a long paper for the second and third short papers.) There will be a midterm and a final exam. For both exams, a list of possible questions will be distributed, and you are welcome to propose your own exam questions, subject to instructor's approval. There will be very brief daily written assignments, and attendance and participation in discussion is expected. (Gibbard)
458. Philosophy of Kant. Phil. 389, 461, or 462, or permission of instructor, or concentration adviser. (3). (Excl).
A detailed introduction to Kant's mature philosophical system. we'll look at Kant's effort to work out the scope and limits of possible human knowledge, his effort to sum up morality in a single categorical imperative, and his effort to give a purely moral basis and significance to religious faith. But the bulk of our time will be devoted to the account of human experience and human factual knowledge in the Critique of Pure Reason. There Kant argues that the world of our experience must possess certain very general features by tracing those features to a source in us. And he argues that behind the familiar world of our experience is a second, more fundamental world about which we can know next to nothing. Most of the required reading is from Kant's own major works. written work is three short papers. Class participation will be strongly encouraged. Cost:2 WL:1 (Hills)
461. Continental Rationalism. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).
This course will investigate the philosophical systems of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, based upon a careful reading of selections from their major philosophical works. We will focus on the epistemology and metaphysics in these systems. The principal goal will be to understand the philosophical systems of each of the figures in its own right. To this end, there will be assigned reading in a number of secondary sources, selected to reflect major interpretive controversies. There will be some attention to the question of whether and in what sense "Rationalism" constituted a philosophical movement or genre. Time-permitting, some attention will be devoted to the "minor" Rationalist, Malebranche. The formal prerequisite for this course, one introductory course in philosophy, does not in fact constitute adequate preparation. A one term course in the history of modern philosophy (Descartes through Kant), or the equivalent, would provide a much more suitable background. Undergraduate concentrators are strongly discouraged from taking this course IN LIEU of Philosophy 389. Ideally, undergraduates who enroll will have taken at least one 300-or 400-level course in epistemology or metaphysics (e.g.,Philosophy 383).
462. British Empiricism. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).
This course will be an examination of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, the three major English language philosophical writers of the early modern period. The course will include a brief survey of Locke's Essay, a more in-depth look at Berkeley's Principles and Three Dialogues, and an examination of several of Hume's major writings, including the Treatise, the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, and the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. The course will concentrate on epistemological and metaphysical issues but will also focus on the broader philosophical implications of these topics. Students should have had some previous work in philosophy, preferably in the history of philosophy or epistemology.
465. Contemporary Continental Philosophy. Phil. 412 and two other courses in philosophy; or graduate standing. (3). (Excl).
Among the main writers studied in this course will be Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Habermas, Roland Barthes, Derrida, and Lyotard. Special emphasis will be placed on a critical study of post-structuralism and post-modernism. The ambition of this course is not to study only samples, or isolated bits of Recent Continental Philosophy, but instead to comprehend the general nature of the intellectual enterprise which gives these pieces sense and purpose and coherence. Since it was Hegel who set the stage for this enterprise by performing the radical turn away from the basic premises on which English-speaking philosophy continued to operate we shall go back to Hegel, so as to understand the nature and the motivation for the abrupt break he made. The main body of the course will then grow organically from this base. One of several results will be the realization that Nietzsche's apparently scattered writings gain astonishing coherence and far greater philosophic force once they are seen against the backdrop of the new "Hegelian Paradigm." Similarly, we will see Heidegger in far sharper outlines than before, once we perceive him against the illumined background of the Hegelian position. Likewise for Sartre: which of his intellectual endeavors constitute significant contributions, and which were false starts down blind alleys, should become startlingly visible once his works, too, are examined from this perspective. And analogously for all of the protagonists whom we shall study. One paper and final examination. (Bergmann)
468/Chinese 468. Classical Chinese Thought (To A.D. 220). Upperclass standing; no knowledge of Chinese required. (3). (HU).
See Chinese 468. (Munro)
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