Philosophy is about as broad a subject as one can find in a university curriculum. It addresses a wide array of questions, some quite familiar (Does God exist? Why be moral? What is art?), others less so (What is a thing? Is space a substance?). Philosophy includes the examination of its own methods, and its own history.
It also falls within philosophy to examine the methods and practices of virtually all academic disciplines. Because of this breadth, a person can study philosophy in ways involving the styles and techniques of thought of most other fields of inquiry. For example, the work of a philosopher concentrating in logic is much like that of the student of mathematics. A philosopher primarily interested in the philosophy of religion will often be doing much the same things as a theologian or a student of the history of religion. Political philosophy is regarded by some as including political activity itself. Many other such examples exist. In addition, Philosophy examines the practices of other activities, such as the fine arts, that are sometimes thought of as different from typical academic disciplines. However, for the most part the activities characteristic of philosophy are peculiar to the discipline. The only way to know what it's really like is to give it a try.
The Department offers a number of courses that do not carry prerequisites: (A) general introductions designed to acquaint students with a representative sample of philosophical problems (157, 181, 202, 232, and 297); (B) introductions that focus on a particular branch of philosophy or area of human concern – e.g., human nature, the arts, science and physics, religion, and substantive moral problems – designed for students who, having no previous background in philosophy, want to study these areas in a philosophical way (152, 319, 320, 344, 355, and 365); and (C) introductions to logic and reasoning (180, 201, and 303).
(A) The general introductions deal, for example, with questions concerning the nature of reality, knowledge, the self and the mind, freedom, morality, society, and religion, but they differ in their instructional format and staffing. Philosophy 202 is taught by advanced graduate students in independent sections of 25 students. Philosophy 157 and 181 are taught by faculty, in a combination lecture/discussion format, limited to 50 students. In Philosophy 232, a faculty member delivers a lecture two hours per week, and students divide into groups of 25 for discussion sections led by graduate students. Finally, Philosophy 297, "Honors Introduction," is taught by a faculty member to a group of 25 students.
(B) Fall courses not carrying prerequisites that focus on a specific area of human concern or philosophical thought include "Philosophy of Human Nature" (152), "Philosophy and the Arts" (319), "The Worldview of Modern Science" (320), "Human Values and Medicine" (344), "Contemporary Moral Problems" (355), "Problems of Religion" (365), and "Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud" (375). These courses do not require previous work in philosophy. Philosophy 152, 319, 320, and 375 are taught by members of the faculty, in a combination lecture/discussion format, limited to 50 students. In Philosophy 344, 355, and 365, a faculty member delivers a lecture two hours per week, and students divide into groups of 25 for discussion sections led by graduate students.
(C) Among the introductions to logic, Philosophy 180 is designed both to improve critical reasoning skills, and to provide an introduction to formal logic. Philosophy 201, is designed to improve critical reasoning skills, through an introduction to informal logic. Philosophy 303 is an introduction to formal or symbolic logic. Philosophy 180 and 303 are taught by faculty, in a combination lecture/discussion format, limited to 50 students. Philosophy 201 is taught by advanced graduate student teaching assistants in independent sections of 25 students.
A number of Fall 300-level courses require only a single philosophy introduction as a prerequisite: Language and Mind (345), Ethics (361), and History of Philosophy: Ancient (388).
There is additional information about the Department's curriculum in "The Undergraduate Program in Philosophy." This brochure contains information intended for students interested in taking philosophy courses, whether or not they are considering a Philosophy concentration. To request a copy, call 764-6285. Students considering a concentration in Philosophy are encouraged to make an appointment with a Philosophy concentration advisor.
152. Philosophy of Human Nature. Students are strongly advised not to take more than two Philosophy Introductions. (3). (HU).
An introduction to some of the main questions of philosophy through a study of different conceptions of human nature advanced by great thinkers over the centuries. Those whose ideas we will consider will include some or all of Plato, Aristotle, Mencius, Seneca, Augustine, Descartes, Hume, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Skinner, and E.O. Wilson. We will be concerned with what these thinkers believe we human beings are like, with a view to getting some perspective on the fundamental questions of metaphysics (What is there?), epistemology (What can we know?), and ethics (What kind of life should I lead?). The course will be kept small enough so that it will be possible for us to have genuine discussion. The requirements will include: three 3-5 page papers, final exam, and class participation. WL:4 (Darwall)
157/Great Books 157. Great Books in Philosophy. Students are strongly advised not to take more than two Philosophy Introductions. (3). (HU).
This course is an introduction to Philosophy through analysis and discussion of some of the great works in the western philosophical tradition. Students will learn important approaches to central philosophical questions through reading influential works which continue to inform and shape philosophy today. In addition to the analysis of texts, the identification and understanding of philosophical questions, and the evaluation of proposed answers, the course will emphasize development of student skills, particularly skills of argumentation, and of student understanding of the nature of intellectual inquiry. Readings will be selections from texts by such figure as Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, and Dewey. WL:4 (Meiland)
180. Introductory Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (3). (N.Excl). (BS).
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. The course gives 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. WL:4 (MacPherson)
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 002. 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. WL:4 (Roberson)
196. First Year Seminar. First year students; second year students with permission of instructor. (3). (HU).
Section 001 – Philosophy and the Future of Work. What will work be like in the next century? What jobs will have been automated away by then, and in what areas will the new ones be created? And what is happening to work overall? Is there an alternative to work becoming ever more frenetic and demanding? Is it conceivable that the brilliant inventions of Hi-technology could be used not to create ever greater pressures and more unemployment, but instead a culture in which work for a far greater number could become more nearly a vocation or a calling? What movements in various countries have already taken steps in this direction? This course will address these and similar questions quite directly, but it will also, and in large part, ask these questions in the light of major philosophic writings. These will include philosophers like Hegel, Nietzsche and Marx, but also Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism, Henry David Thoreau's Walden, and Paul Goodman's Growing Up Absurd. One paper, one oral presentation and final examination. WL:1 (Bergmann)
201. Introduction to Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (3). (N.Excl). (BS).
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 sections size (usually about 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. WL:4
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).
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. WL:4
230/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. (Young)
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).
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 232 has two discussion meetings per week, and requires three short papers and a final exam. The course has two texts: Anthony Weston, Rulebook for Arguments (Hackett) and Joel Feinberg's anthology Reason and Responsibility (Dickenson). Cost:2 WL:4 (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. For very many people in our culture, questions like 'What is the meaning of life?' and 'How should I live?' seem to lack justifiable answers. In this course we will (i) begin to diagnose the philosophical and cultural roots of this 'crisis of values,' and (ii) attempt to determine whether such a dreary perspective on the 'Big Questions' is the only reasonable one. Problems considered will be: the existence of God and the problem of evil, free will and determinism, cultural relativism and ethical subjectivism, and the nature of 'human nature.' We will develop and apply the techniques of contemporary Anglo-American philosophy to a number of classic (and a few not-quite-so-classic) texts in the Western philosophical tradition, and carefully examine a variety of social phenomena from both 'Western' and 'non-Western' cultures. Finally, (with a little luck) we may try to experience value (that is, live our lives) more reflectively, sensitively, and fully. (Doris)
Section 002. An introduction to philosophical problems and reasoning through the careful study and discussion of classic and contemporary readings. Issues may include: the existence of God, the possibility of knowledge, the nature of morality, evolutionism versus creationism, and the possibility of artificial intelligence. Two short papers, plus midterm and final exams. WL:4 (Crimmins)
303. Introduction to Symbolic Logic. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phil. 203, 296 or 414. (3). (N.Excl). (BS).
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 both to the evaluation of ordinary arguments and to problems as "practical" as the design of computer chips and the simplification of electric circuitry in houses. 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. Basic concepts of the proof theory and model theory for first-order monadic languages will be discussed, and the important metatheorems theorems will be stated, among them the completeness, compactness, and Lowenheim Skolem theorems. There will be regular homework assignments, assigned weekly, as well as a midterm examination and a final. WL:1 (Joyce)
319. Philosophy of the Arts. Phil. 202 or equivalent. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phil. 419. (3). (HU).
The central theme of the course will be emotional engagement and disengagement in art. From the beginnings of philosophical reflection on art, claims about its power to engage the emotions have been central to disputes about its distinctive values and dangers. What should we make of such claims? What happens to familiar human emotions when they get taken up into art? If art is often said to move or engage us, it is just as often said to bring us to a stop, to disengage us, to remove us (however briefly) from currents of emotion and desire that carry us along in the rest of our lives. What is to be made of this second class of claims? And how can the same works inspire both talk of engagement and talk of disengagement? In this course we'll look at several historically influential accounts of art's emotional powers. We'll investigate how various arts and artistic traditions differ in the ways they inspire and use audience emotion. We'll study the conceptual logic of important critical concepts such as identification, alienation, expression, and empathy. And we'll apply what we learn to some of the moral and political issues posed by art's emotional powers. Written work for the course will be three short papers, due at intervals during the term. Class discussion will be strongly encouraged. WL:4 (Hills)
320. The World-View of Modern Science. (3). (HU). (BS).
Contemporary science, especially contemporary physics, presents us with a picture of the nature of the world that is, at first glance, very strange indeed. Yet this scientific world view arises continuously out of our naive everyday experience of the world and rests upon experimental evidence formed in our ordinary concepts for dealing with the world. This course will examine a number of examples of how the scientific conceptions arose, what kind of world they describe for us and how the evidence of observation and experiment supports these world views. Some topics to be discussed will be the overall structure of the cosmos, the nature of space and time, the problem of motion, the structure of matter and light, and the issues of law and chance in the world. Throughout emphasis will be on what these historical examples tell us about the philosophical assumptions and methodological rules of science. Cost:2 WL:4 (Sklar)
344. Ethics and Health Care. Inteflex 101, 201, or 301, or an introductory philosophy course. (3). (HU).
Designed specifically for student who plan to practice medicine; the course provides a forum for discussion of problems in medical ethics within the wider context of philosophical ethics. Class meetings are a combination of lecture and informal discussion. In addition, students are required to do a term paper which explores in depth one of the topics under consideration and to take a final exam. The purpose of this course is two-fold: (1) to provide a general introduction to philosophical ethics drawing on both contemporary and historical courses; and (2) to investigate the problems and debates in contemporary medical ethics using tools of philosophical analysis. With regard to the first, the topics covered will be drawn from the following; the nature of moral reasoning, moral relativism, deontological and utilitarian theories of obligation, the nature of moral responsibility, theories of the intrinsically good, the distinction between facts and values, and metaethical theories concerning the nature of ethical justification. With regard to the second, the problems in medical ethics covered will typically include euthanasia, truth telling and confidentiality, paternalism, experimentation on human subjects, and problems of justice in health care policy. A general introduction to ethics will be assigned along with historical and contemporary selections from anthologies of writings on both philosophical and medical ethics. WL:4 (Noble)
345. Language and Mind. One philosophy course. (3). (HU).
This course is an advanced introduction to several problems shared by philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. What makes a sound, shape or action "linguistic"? What makes a state or event "mental"? How do these relate to the rest of the world: e.g., can real things, categories, and facts exist without being talked about or thought about, and can talk and thought exist without being about anything real? How do they relate to one another: e.g., Can minds exist without languages, or vice versa? What makes a linguistic expression "represent" or "mean" what it does? A pat answer is that linguistic meaning comes from ideas or thoughts, but how exactly could this process work, and what makes ideas and thoughts represent what they do? Your grade will depend on two papers and, class size permitting, a brief presentation. Cost:2 WL:1 (Lormand)
355. Contemporary Moral Problems. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 455. (3). (HU).
Contemporary life faces us with many questions that have moral dimensions, some obvious, some less so. In this course, we will explore the moral dimensions of a range of contemporary issues, including abortion, equality, affirmative action, freedom of expression, justice across national boundaries and across generations, and the treatment of animals. In the process, we will also be examining competing conceptions of morality and justice, and the presuppositions about human nature, society, and value that underlie them. In one unit of the course we will focus on questions about race and gender, looking first at conceptual and empirical issues concerning these two categories – including the various real or alleged differences and inequalities associated with them – and then at the moral issues they raise for contemporary society. Three papers and a final examination. Cost:3 (est.) WL:4 (Railton)
361. Ethics. One Philosophy Introduction. (4). (HU).
This is a course in philosophical ethics. We will be concerned to see whether there is anything one can say in a principled way about what is valuable, worth wanting for its own sake, and what is morally obligatory, what it would be wrong not to do. But we shall also be concerned with philosophical questions about ethics - metaethical questions, as they are called. Here we will ask, not only what is valuable, but what is value? And what is it for an action to be wrong? What are rightness and wrongness themselves? And we shall examine the relation between these fundamental philosophical questions of metaethics and substantive ethical questions. The core of the course will be an examination of three central traditions in moral philosophy in the west, typified by Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and John Stuart Mill. We will also do a section focused on metaethics with readings from classical and contemporary sources, including the existentialists. And we shall end the course by considering a recent critique of traditional moral philosophy raised by writers inspired by the work of the psychologist Carol Gilligan on gender and moral development, who would stress the role of personal relationships in ethics. Lecture and discussion. Two papers of 5-7 pages in length, a midterm, and a final exam. Cost:2 WL:1 (Darwall)
365/Rel. 365. Problems of Religion. (4). (HU).
This course will focus primarily on doctrines common to the major monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam): that there is one God, a personal being who created the universe, who has revealed himself to his creatures, and who requires certain conduct of them. We will explore various questions these doctrines raise: are there good reasons to believe in such a god? Can his existence be reconciled with the existence of evil? Can we expect a life after this life? Is belief in such a god essential to morality? And how ought believers to treat those who hold very different religious beliefs? There will be some attention to non-western religions, of which Buddhism will be taken as representative. WL:4 (Curley)
375. Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. (3). (HU).
This course will introduce you to the main works and thoughts of the authors mentioned in its title. But it will, beyond this, acquaint you also with a number of recent efforts to implement in practice elements taken from their ideas. Broadly speaking, these are responses to the nihilism and the sense of disorientation and disenchantment of our age. One could say that they in various ways seek to build paths towards a culture "more humane, and more intelligent, but also more cheerful, and sensuous and flamboyant" then the one which we have now. A major topic in the course will be the revolution in the realm of work, with the focus on efforts to use the brilliant inventions of Hi-technology not only to speed up work and create more unemployment, but to instead enable a far greater number to do work that is their vocation or their calling. One paper and final examination. WL:4 (Bergmann)
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 philosophical thought through the Hellenistic period. Though the course focuses on the philosophical systems of Plato and Aristotle, some attention might be paid to pre-Socratic thinkers, 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. Requirements will include a number of critical papers. Students who wish more detailed information should contact the department prior to registration. WL:1 (Everson)
397. Topics in Philosophy. Permission of concentration advisor and instructor. (3-4). (Excl). May be elected for credit twice with permission of concentration advisor.
This course number is designed to permit philosophy concentrators, upon recommendation of a concentration adviser, to elect a course a second time for credit when it has a different instructor and covers substantially different material.
399. Independent Study. One Philosophy Introduction and permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be elected twice for a total of 8 credits with permission of concentration advisor.
Independent study of a topic not otherwise available through a regular deparmental offering.
401. Undergraduate Honors Seminar. Open to Honors concentrators in Philosophy and others by permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
A seminar which is conceived for the purpose of assisting students in writing an Honors thesis in Philosophy. The seminar begins with several weeks discussing fundamental methodological issues in philosophy, and then enters a sequence of stages, each lasting several weeks, in which students successively (1) propose a general area for a thesis, (2) develop and explore a list of basic reading in that area, (3) write and present a brief prospectus of the thesis, and (4) write a term paper that corresponds approximately to a chapter of a finished thesis. The aim of the seminar is to provide advice, discussion, and support for thesis writers, so that they will be able (1) to identify and begin a thesis project that genuinely engages them and (2) to enter the Winter Term in an excellent position to write a successful thesis. Cost:1 WL:1 (Railton)
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. (Hills)
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). (BS).
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 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 this 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)
428/Pol. Sci. 428/Asian Studies 428/Soc. 426. China's Evolution Under Communism. Upperclass standing or permission of instructor. (4). (Excl).
See Political Science 428. (Lieberthal)
429. Ethical Analysis. Phil. 361, 363, or 366. (3). (Excl).
This will be a course in contemporary metaethics. Metaethics is concerned with what ethical claims mean, and with the kinds of reasoning or evidence that justify ethical claims. The course will take up the ethical intuitionism of Moore and Ross, the emotivism of Ayer and Stevenson, Hare's universal prescriptivism, and recent proposals such as Rawls' theory of reflective equilibrium, Brandt's linguistic reform, new versions of "moral realism," and moral "expressivism" with "quasi-realism." Students should already have some background in moral philosophy in the twentieth century "analytic" tradition, preferably Philosophy 361 or the equivalent. Three short (five page) papers will be required, and there will be a midterm and a final examination. Classes will consist both of lecture and of discussion. Cost:2 WL:1 (Gibbard)
442. Topics in Political Philosophy. Phil. 363, 366, or 441; or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
This course will explore controversies surrounding three prominent ideals in modern political philosophy: equality, freedom, and community. What forms of social and political organization best embody these ideas? Is equality a matter of distributing external goods equally among persons, or does it more centrally concern eliminating relations of domination among persons? Can freedom be realized through role differentiation? Are community rights inimical to freedom, or necessary for its full realization? These and other questions will be considered by confronting liberal theories with feminist, socialist, and communitarian theories. Likely authors include Mill, Rawls, Sandel, Herzog, Walzer, Habermas, MacKinnon, Okin, and Hooks. Classes will combine lecture and discussion. There will be two papers and a final examination. Cost:3 WL:1 (Anderson)
455. Contemporary Moral Problems. Not open to graduate students in philosophy. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phil. 355. (4). (Excl).
Intended primarily for graduate students outside the Philosophy Department. Course content and requirements are the same as Philosophy 355 (see above), except that the papers of those enrolled in Philosophy 455 are expected to be more substantial. Does not meet the Philosophy Department's 400-level course requirement for Philosophy concentrators. Cost:3 (est.) WL:4 (Railton)
461. Continental Rationalism. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).
"Continental Rationalism" is usually taken to refer to a philosophical movement of the 17th Century, whose most important representatives were Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, and who are supposed to have shared an epistemological program which was overly optimistic about what could be known by pure reason, independently of experience. This course will challenge that picture, but looking in some detail at Descartes and Spinoza. We will also give equal time to Hobbes (who is not usually classed as a rationalist, though he might be, with as much plausibility as the others are). And as background to the "rationalists," we will look briefly at two figures who are clearly not rationalist: Montaigne and Galileo. At the end we will give some attention to Leibniz. The focus will not be as firmly on metaphysics and epistemology as may be common in courses of this type. We will pay some attention to moral and political philosophy as well. The formal prerequisite for this course (one introductory course in philosophy) will probably not constitute adequate preparation for most students. It would be highly desirable to have taken the survey of modern philosophy from Descartes to Kant (Phil. 389). WL:1 (Curley)
466. Topics in Continental Philosophy. One of Phil. 371, 375, 385, or 389, or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
A detailed introduction to some important themes and thinkers in twentieth century continental philosophy. We'll be especially concerned with the novel understandings of time, language, and cultural power developed in various traditions of continental thought. The thinkers we'll study most closely are Heidegger, Benjamin, Saussure, Foucault, and Derrida. But we'll also read brief excerpts from their nineteenth century precursors – Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard – and from some of their contemporary followers and critics. Written work for the course will consist of three short papers, on the order of ten pages each, due at intervals during the term. WL:1 (Hills)
468/Chinese 468. Classical Chinese Thought (To A.D. 220). Upperclass standing; no knowledge of Chinese required. (3). (HU).
See Chinese 468.
481. Metaphysics. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).
Aristotle defined Metaphysics as the study of being qua being. Where every other science concentrates on some special part or aspect of reality, metaphysics considers reality at its most general and abstract. Here are some of the topics that might be covered: existence, identity, essential properties, natural laws, causation, supervenience, and primary vs. secondary qualities. Most of the reading will be from contemporary sources, although some historical material might also be included. Class format will be lecture/discussion. Requirements are two medium-length papers and a final examination. The course is aimed at undergraduates with a substantial background in philosophy (e.g., Philosophy 383 and some logic) and graduate students. Cost:2 WL:1 (Yablo)
498. Senior Honors in Philosophy. By departmental permission only. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).
This course number is to be used for those students who are in the process of writing a philosophy Honors theses. Anyone wishing to write an Honors thesies in philosophy should consult the Philosophy Honors Advisor.
University of Michigan | College of LS&A | Student Academic Affairs | LS&A Bulletin Index
This page maintained by LS&A Academic Information and Publications, 1228 Angell Hall
of the University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA +1 734 764-1817
Trademarks of the University of Michigan may not be electronically or otherwise altered or separated from this document or used for any non-University purpose.