College of LS&A

Fall Academic Term '02 Graduate Course Guide

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Courses in Philosophy


This page was created at 7:30 PM on Thu, Oct 3, 2002.

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


PHIL 405. Philosophy of Plato.

Section 001.

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

Prerequisites: One philosophy introduction. (3).

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.

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PHIL 414. Mathematical Logic.

Section 001.

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

Prerequisites: PHIL 303. (3).

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.

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PHIL 417. Logic and Artificial Intelligence.

Section 001.

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

Prerequisites: PHIL 414. (3).

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.

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PHIL 419. Philosophy of the Arts.

Section 001 Meets with Philosophy 319.001.

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

Prerequisites: Not open to philosophy graduate students. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 319. (3). 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?

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PHIL 431. Normative Ethics.

Section 001.

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

Prerequisites: One philosophy introduction. (3).

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.

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PHIL 462. British Empiricism.

Section 001.

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

Prerequisites: One philosophy introduction. (3).

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.

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PHIL 463. Topics in the History of Philosophy.

Section 001 Descartes.

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

Prerequisites: PHIL 388 or 389. (3).

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.

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PHIL 517. Topics in the History of Philosophy.

Section 001 Wittgenstein.

Instructor(s): Ian N Proops (iproops@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3).

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

In this seminar we examine Ludwig Wittgenstein's views on the nature of language and mind as they appear in his seminal work: the Philosophical Investigations. We concentrate on Part I of this work and, within this part, on three topics that have generated a large (and fruitful) secondary literature:

  1. Wittgenstein's attack on the doctrine of universals,
  2. interpretation and rule following, and
  3. privacy and private language.

Secondary readings will be drawn from the writings of - among others - John McDowell, Saul Kripke, and Crispin Wright. The recommended edition of the Philosophical Investigations is the 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, G.E.M Anscombe trans. (Blackwell, 2001). (This is the third edition with facing German text.) Other required texts will be assigned at the first meeting of the seminar.

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PHIL 576. Topics in Social-Political Philosophy.

Section 001 Contemporary Theories of Justice.

Instructor(s): Debra Satz

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3).

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

The aim of this course is to facilitate understanding of some of the major debates in contemporary political theory, focusing on social and political justice. We will address such issues as:

  • How does one best approach the question "what is just?"
  • How is thinking about justice related to conceptions of human nature?
  • What are the connections between justice and "the good," justice and merit, justice and needs, justice and rights?
  • What social groups are omitted or excluded from various theorists considerations of justice?
  • Why are they excluded and what are the ramifications of such exclusions for the theories?
  • What is the just response to unjust laws and why?

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PHIL 596. Reading Course.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (2-3). (INDEPENDENT).

Credits: (2-3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

A faculty-directed independent study.

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PHIL 597. Proseminar.

Section 001 Theoretical Reason.

Instructor(s): Peter A Railton (prailton@umich.edu), Elizabeth S Anderson (eandersn@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (6).

Credits: (6).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

"Theoretical Reason" is concerned with what we have reason to believe, "practical reason", with what we have reason to do. Although many philosophers have assumed deep contrasts between these two forms of normative guidance (often to the disadvantage of practical reason, which is viewed more skeptically), recent years have witnessed a growing interest in possible parallels and relations, or even reduction to a common mode of reasoning.

Among the questions central to these debates are issues about the nature of objectivity, the fact/value distinction, whether norms of belief or conduct can be determined a priori, the role of social vs. individual factors in cognition and knowledge, the relation of the natural to the normative, the possibility of an empirical "epistemology of value", the scope and limits of means/ends reasoning, and the role of epistemic considerations in political theory.

We will explore these issues through a reading of historical and contemporary writings, including Hume, Kant, Mill, Dewey, Quine, among the "classics", and Goldman, Dretske, Solomon, and "Kripkenstein", among more recent works.

The Proseminar is an opportunity for extensive discussion and intensive writing, and students will also be involved in the selection of topics and the presentation of material to the group.

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PHIL 598. Independent Literature Survey.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3). (INDEPENDENT).

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

An independent literature survey in which a student reviews basic literature in a given area of philosophy and writes an extended bibliographic essay that sets forth a range of major positions within that area, indicates how various philosophers fit within this range of positions, and provides critical commentary on the positions, indicating, for example, the chief advantages and disadvantages of each, resulting in a critical bibliographic essay. Students must seek guidance from a faculty member in selecting a reasonable range of works for study. Students are encouraged to carry out such surveys during the summer months. If the ILS is to commence in the Spring/Summer or Fall, initial guidance should be sought the preceding April; if it is to commence in the Winter, initial guidance should be sought no later than the preceding December. The bibliographic essays will be evaluated by the faculty member and may, if appropriate, be certified for distribution

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PHIL 599. Candidacy Reading Course.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (2-3). (INDEPENDENT).

Credits: (2-3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

A faculty-directed candidacy reading course in which a student having already successfully completed an independent literature survey in the area of his or her projected dissertation works toward identifying a specific thesis topic and writing a dissertation prospectus, and begins to write material which can be expected to represent some component of the dissertation. If the reading course is to commence in the Fall, students should arrange for faculty direction the preceding April; if it is to commence in the Winter, students should arrange for faculty direction no later than the preceding November. Faculty service in this capacity does not commit the student to asking the faculty member to serve on his or her dissertation committee, nor does it commit the faculty member to agreeing to do so. A student wishing to elect Philosophy 599 must submit a proposed plan of study no later than the beginning of the term for which the course is elected. (Students are urged to consult with their advisors and prospective faculty sponsors as early as possible during the planning of their Reading Course). The plan must be accepted by the faculty sponsor of the course within a week of the beginning of the term. A plan will normally not be acceptable if it overlaps significantly with a departmental course. When the plan of study has been approved by the faculty sponsor, the student will ask the sponsor to sign a Reading Course Approval Form (available from the department office). The student's advisor must countersign the form. The course approval form will be placed in the student's file.

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PHIL 600. Advanced Studies.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3). (INDEPENDENT).

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Independent study program arranged between instructor and student.

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PHIL 607. Seminar in Metaphysics.

Section 001 Objectivity.

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

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3).

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Objectivity is a central and widely used notion in philosophy. In this course we will have a closer look a how this notion should be understood more precisely and what role and importance it has in various philosophical debates. We will particularly focus on metaphysical conceptions of objectivity, which is closely related to debates about realism, truth, and to the notion of there being a fact of the matter. More details will be posted at http://www.umich.edu/~hofweber.

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PHIL 611. Seminar in Current Philosophy.

Section 001 Modality.

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

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3).

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jasoncs/611.htm

We will begin this seminar with a close reading of some of the literature on modality that preceded Saul Kripke's Naming and Necessity, such as Carnap's Meaning and Necessity and Quine on modal logic. We will then spend several weeks discussing Naming and Necessity. We will follow this up with four sections each devoted to one theme in metaphysics or philosophy of language raised by Naming and Necessity. The four tentative topics are transworld identity, origins essentialism, rigidity and general terms, and the contingent a priori.

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PHIL 697. Candidacy Seminar.

Section 001.

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

Prerequisites: Restricted to Philosophy Candidates and Philosophy Doctoral students nearing Candidacy. Graduate standing. (2).

Credits: (2).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Seminar for Philosophy graduate students achieving candidacy.

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PHIL 990. Dissertation/Precandidate.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Election for dissertation work by doctoral student not yet admitted as a Candidate. Graduate standing. (1-8). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit.

Credits: (1-8; 1-4 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Election for dissertation work by doctoral student not yet admitted as a Candidate.

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PHIL 993. Graduate Student Instructor Training Program.

Section 001.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Must have Teaching Assistant award. Graduate standing. (1).

Credits: (1).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

A seminar for all beginning graduate student instructors, consisting of a two day orientation before the term starts and periodic workshops/meetings during the Fall Academic Term. Beginning graduate student instructors are required to register for this course.

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PHIL 995. Dissertation/Candidate.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate School authorization for admission as a doctoral Candidate. Graduate standing. (8). (INDEPENDENT). May be repeated for credit.

Credits: (8; 4 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Graduate School authorization for admission as a doctoral Candidate. N.B. The defense of the dissertation (the final oral examination) must be held under a full term Candidacy enrollment period.

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Undergraduate Course Listings for PHIL.


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