Courses in Philosophy (Division 442)

Fall Term, 1998 (September 8-December 21, 1998)

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180. Introductory Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (3). (HU). (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
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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).
Sections 001 and 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
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201. Introduction to Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (3). (HU). (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
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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
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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 course is open to students from all areas of the University. No previous work in philosophy is assumed. First semester undergraduates are welcome. The course will provide an introduction to some fundamental philosophical problems drawn from a variety of branches of philosophy. Four of the following topics will be discussed: (1) determinism, free will, and moral responsibility; (2) arguments for and against the existence of God; (3) skepticism about the existence of the material world; (4) the nature of personal identity; (5) the relationship between mind and body; and (6) egoism, altruism, and the nature of moral obligation. The course also seeks to develop, through papers and intensive discussion, philosophical, and more generally critical and argumentative, skills. There will be two required papers. Course readings will be drawn from an anthology, Joel Feinberg, editor, Reason and Responsibility, and possibly a course pack. WL:4 (Loeb)
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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 provide an introduction to the problems and methods of contemporary philosophy through an examination of three central issues: (1) The existence of God: Are there plausible arguments for the existence of God? How can the existence of an omnipotent and loving Creator be reconciled with the existence of worldly evil? (2) Personal identity: What is a person? Are you the same person you were five years ago? If so, why? If not, then how canyou be held morally responsible for your earlier actions? (3) Free will: Are our decisions about how to act just part of the chain of causes and effects? If so, does that mean we can never act freely? WL:4 (Proops)

Section 004. The course will provide a survey and discussion of some of the major problems with which philosophy is traditionally concerned. While much of the reading will be from contemporary philosophers, some historical texts will be read as well. Among the general topics to be discussed are the following: skepticism and the possibility of knowledge; the connection between mind and matter; free will, determinism, and responsibility; the nature of morality; the meaning of life. The nature of philosophy itself will also be discussed, and hopefully made clearer in the process of tackling philosophical questions. WL:4 (Arpaly)
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303. Introduction to Symbolic Logic. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phil. 203, 296 or 414. (3). (MSA). (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 (Tappenden)
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319. Philosophy of the Arts. Phil. 202. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phil. 419. (3). (HU).

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? Written work for the course will consist of a short paper, three quizzes, and a longer paper. This course is designed especially for students who have not had extensive work in philosophy, although background in philosophy and the arts would be helpful. Cost:3 WL:4 (Walton)
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355. Contemporary Moral Problems. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 455. (4). (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)
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361. Ethics. One philosophy introduction. (4). (HU).

This is a course in philosophical ethics. We will be concerned to see whether there is anything to be said in a principled way about what is valuable and what is right and wrong. But we shall also ask philosophical questions about ethics metaethical questions, as they are called. Here we will ask, not what is valuable, but what is value. Are where do fundamental standards of right and wrong "come from"? The core of the course will be an examination of four central traditions in ethical philosophy in the west, typified by Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and Friedrich Nietzsche. We will also consider contemporary sources, including some feminist ethics. Lecture and discussion, with an emphasis on student participation. Three papers of 5-7 pages in length, and a final exam. Cost:2 WL:1 (Anderson)
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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)
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371. Existentialism. One philosophy introduction. (3). (HU).
This course will focus on a number of major themes in the nineteenth and twentieth century existentialist movement, e.g., self-deception; dread; anxiety, and despair; death; integrity, authenticity, and individuality; freedom and responsibility; the absurd and the tragic. We will pay special attention to Dostoevsky (The Notes from Underground and The Brothers Karamazov), Nietzsche (Thus Spake Zarathustra, On the Genealogy of Morals, and Beyond Good and Evil), Sartre (Nausea and Being and Nothingness ) and Camus (The Stranger and The Plague). Representative works are listed in parentheses; readings will be drawn from a selection of these writings, and possibly works by other figures. WL:4
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383. Knowledge and Reality. One course in philosophy. (3). (HU).

This is an in-depth introduction to philosophical attempts to find a method for reaching justified beliefs, and philosophical attempts to use it to answer questions, that science seems to leave unanswered, about the way the world is. The former task is part of "epistemology," or the most general study of knowledge and good reasoning; the latter is part of "metaphysics," or the most general study of what exists. We'll ask: What could make a view reasonable? What could make it knowledge? What could make it certain? And: Is there anything other than minds (e.g., an external world)? Is there anything other than matter and energy around us (e.g., souls, numbers, physical laws, abstract objects, alternative worlds)? (Lormand)
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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. WL:1 (Everson)
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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 dealing with some central ideas for the 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)
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414. Mathematical Logic. (3). (Excl). (BS). (QR/1).

A study of the syntax, semantics, applications, and limitations of elementary logic. Among the topics included are: (A) truth-functions and sentential logic; symbolization of truth-functional arguments; completeness of sentential logic. (B) Syntax and semantics of quantification theory; symbolization of quantification arguments; completeness of quantification theory; limitations of quantification theory. (C) Elements of set theory and the foundations of mathematics; undecidability and Church's theorem. The text is Formal Logic: Its Scope and Limits by R. Jeffrey. Cost:1 WL:1 (Sklar)
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419. Philosophy of the Arts. 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.

See Philosophy 319. (Walton)
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423. Problems of Space and Time. One logic introduction and either one other philosophy course or 12 credits of science. (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, Poincaré, Grunbaum, Smart, Wheeler, and others. Cost:2 WL:1 (Sklar)
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429. Ethical Analysis. Phil. 361, 363, or 366. (3). (Excl).

Broadly, moral philosophy has been divided into two main areas. In "normative ethics," one addresses such questions as "How should one act?", "What makes an action right?", and "What is the nature of happiness?". In "meta-ethics," in contrast, the theorist is concerned to investigate the nature of moral judgments relative to different societies or to individuals, and whether indeed we really do make moral judgments rather than merely express certain kinds of attitudes. This course is concerned with questions of this second kind. We shall aim to determine whether our moral claims are capable of being true and what other explanations there might be for our moral utterances if we do not understand them to be attempts to describe an independent moral reality. Whereas normative ethics is reasonably self-contained in its subject matter, meta-ethics is not. To address its characteristic questions, one needs to look at wider issues in semantics, metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind to see how these apply in the particular case of moral beliefs and judgments. This has the advantage that one can see how claims in these different areas of philosophy might cohere with each other but, although I shall not be assuming very much existing knowledge of these areas, the course certainly requires a serious interest in them and may be difficult for someone who is not already acquainted with at least one or two of them. WL:1 (Everson)
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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). Does not meet the Philosophy Department's 400-level course requirement for Philosophy concentrators.
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. Cost:3 (est.) WL:4 (Railton)
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462. British Empiricism. One philosophy introduction. (3). (Excl).

A close critical examination of some central philosophical works by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, three of the most important thinkers writing in English during the early modern period. The course will focus on metaphysical and epistemological questions, but we'll strive to develop an appreciation of various broader contexts scientific, ethical, political, and religious that gave shape and urgency to these questions at the time. Texts receiving especially close attention will be Locke's Essay, Book I of Hume's Treatise, and Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Written work will be three short papers due at intervals during the term. Previous work in either epistemology or the history of philosophy would be extremely helpful. WL:1 (Hills)
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468/Chinese 468. Classical Chinese Thought (To A.D. 220). Upperclass standing; no knowledge of Chinese required. (3). (HU).
See Chinese 468. (Ivanhoe)
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485. Philosophy of Action. Two philosophy courses. (3). (Excl).

The topic of this course is moral psychology. Moral psychology is the study of the broad area in which our intuitions regarding normative ethics are intertwined, sometimes inseparably, with our understanding of human beings and the actual ways in which they act, think, feel, or develop. Of this broad area, we will take a look at the following issues: Virtues, vices, and the role of character: friendship and duty, justice and care; moral responsibility and the self: the role of the intellect and that of the emotions in moral life; rationality and moral motivation. Touched upon will be weakness of will, moral perfection, and moral luck. WL:1 (Arpaly)
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492. Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein. Phil. 414. (3). (Excl).

An examination of the work of three major figures in the development of analytic philosophy, paying special attention to their views on the nature of language and logic. Topics include: Russell's critique of idealism, logical atomism, Russell's theory of descriptions, the project of analysis, Frege's distinction between sense and reference, logicism in the philosophy of mathematics, the set-theoretic and semantic paradoxes, Russell's constructivist epistemology, Wittgenstein's critiques of Russell and Frege, Wittgenstein's views on the inexpressibility of semantics and the nature of nonsense. WL:1 (Proops)
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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 thesis. Anyone wishing to write an Honors thesis in philosophy should consult the Philosophy Honors Advisor.
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