College of LS&A

Winter Academic Term 2003 Graduate Course Guide

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Courses in Philosophy


This page was created at 8:38 AM on Thu, Feb 6, 2003.

Winter Academic Term, 2003 (January 6 - April 25)

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PHIL 418. Philosophy of Mathematics.

Section 001.

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

Prerequisites: PHIL 414. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course will aim to treat in reasonable depth a number of central topics in modern philosophy of mathematics. These will include whether pure mathematical theories should be regarded as having a special "platonistic" subject matter, whether a purely logical foundation can be provided for any nontrivial parts of pure mathematics, the significance and treatment of the paradoxes of classical set theory, whether mathematical knowledge is a priori, a controversy between classical and intuitionistic mathematicians, and special problems raised by the notions of infinity and mathematical truth by the meta-mathematical results of Skolem and Gödel. Particular emphasis will be given to the problem of the application of mathematics to the material world. Every effort will be made to keep technicalities and presupposed philosophical background to a minimum, but this will not always be possible. It is probably students with prior experience of 300- or 400-level courses in epistemology and philosophy of language, and some knowledge of at least elementary formal logic, who will derive most from the course. Undergraduate mathematics, though useful, is not essential.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 420. Philosophy of Science.

Section 001 Meets with Nursing 570.001.

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

Prerequisites: A course in logic, and either PHIL 345 or 383. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course provides upper-level undergraduates and beginning graduate students with a broad overview of the philosophy of science. It seeks to clarify the nature of the "scientific method" and to explain its success. Topics to be covered include: the process by which scientific hypotheses are confirmed by empirical evidence, the nature of scientific laws and their role in explanation, the logical and semantic structure of scientific theories, the "realism/anti-realism debate" concerning the nature of unobservable entities and processes, the objectivity of science, the distinction between science and nonscience. Students will be asked to read about 50 pages of material per week, to write two 10-12 page papers, and to take a midterm examination and a final.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 425. Philosophy of Biology.

Section 001.

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

Prerequisites: One course in philosophy or biology. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Biologists study how individually purposeless things combine into "properly" functioning hearts, "damaged" cells, genetic "codes" ... is this kind of "teleological" talk misleadingly anthropomorphic, or does it accurately reflect something objective? If the latter, can it be used in turn to account for psychological or cultural norms, via evolutionary psychology, sociobiology, biosemantics, evolutionary epistemology, or evolutionary ethics? We'll address these questions directly, and use them to see what's at stake with large-scale theoretical issues in and around biology: whether biology should be reduced to physics; the extent of life (through viruses, bacteria, artificial life, extraterrestrial life, the distinction between organism and environment); how widespread adaptations are; and the scope and basic units of natural selection (molecules, individual genes, gene sequences, organs, organisms, memes, cultures, species, ecosystems, replicating universes, ...).

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 430. Topics in Ethics.

Section 001 Normative Ethics.

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

Prerequisites: PHIL 361. (3). May be repeated for credit for a maximum of 6 credits.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course will explore the motivation, structure, and implications of three major schools of normative ethics: Kantianism, pragmatism, and sentimentalism. In contrast with consequentialist theories, which are very well understood, these other schools of thought remain somewhat mysterious. From a formal point of view, our goal will be to develop for these other schools what has long been an asset for consequentialists: a clear set of alternative specifications of the underlying idea for each (much as options for consequentialists are divided among act vs. rule consequentialism, welfarism vs. ideal utilitarianism, etc.), with consideration of the advantages and disadvantages that attend each specification. Substantively, the central theme of the course will be to explore relations among reason (both practical and theoretical), value, and the emotions. Readings will include works by Kant, Korsgaard, Herman, and O'Neill (our Kantians), Dewey, Rorty, Herzog, Smiley, and Stout (our pragmatists), and Brentano, D'Arms, Jacobson, and Wiggins (our sentimentalists). Classes will combine lecture and discussion. There will be two papers and a final examination.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 455. Contemporary Moral Problems.

Section 001 Meets with Philosophy 355.001

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

Prerequisites: Not open to graduate students in philosophy. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 355. (4). Does not meet the Philosophy Department's 400-level course requirement for Philosophy concentrators. May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Intended primarily for graduate students outside the philosophy department. Course content is the same as in PHIL 355. PHIL 455 requires longer and more substantial papers than those expected in PHIL 355.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: 3 Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 458. Philosophy of Kant.

Section 001.

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

Prerequisites: PHIL 389, 461, or 462, or permission of instructor, or concentration advisor. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course studies Kant's mature philosophical system with particular attention to Kant's metaphysics and epistemology. We'll look at Kant's effort to work out the scope and limits of possible human knowledge and his effort to give a purely moral basis 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 if experience is to be possible for example, that every event must have a cause. 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.

Readings will be drawn both from Kant's works and from some of the more accessible secondary literature. Written work is three short (6-8 page) papers. Class participation is strongly encouraged.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: 2 Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 461. Continental Rationalism.

Section 001.

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

Prerequisites: One philosophy introduction. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2003/winter/phil/461/001.nsf

"Continental Rationalism" usually refers to a philosophical movement in 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.

I'm out of sympathy with the historiography which makes that assumption. So this course will not focus as much on metaphysics and epistemology as is normal in courses which bear this label and will involve a somewhat different cast of characters. It will be a broadranging course, which will pay attention to moral and political philosophy and philosophy of religion as well as metaphysics and epistemology. We will look in detail at Descartes and Spinoza. But we will not do Leibniz, and we will give significant attention to Hobbes (who is not usually classed as a rationalist).

As background to the 'rationalists,' we will look briefly at other figures: Machiavelli, Erasmus, Luther, Montaigne, and Galileo. And we will give brief attention to Pascal and Malebranche, two important intermediary figures in the period between Descartes and Spinoza.

This course is the first in a sequence of two courses, the second of which is PHIL 462, currently titled 'British Empiricism.' Courses with that title normally focus exclusively on Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. My 462 course looks in detail at Locke and Hume, but pays only passing attention to Berkeley. It does, however, deal with Leibniz and various French Enlightenment figures: Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diderot, and (in some detail) Rousseau.

Between them the two courses are intended to provide a good survey of European intellectual history from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. But the courses are independent of one another. PHIL 461 is not a prerequisite for PHIL 462, nor must students who enroll in PHIL 461 go on to PHIL 462.

The formal prerequisite for these courses is only one introductory course in philosophy. But students who have only that minimal requirement may find the course too difficult. We will be covering a lot of ground. I recommend that students have two courses at the 300-level (any of PHIL 345, 361, 366, 383, 388, and 389 would be very helpful). If you have doubts about your preparation for the course, check with me by email: emcurley@umich.edu. For more information about the course, check my personal web site: http://www.sitemaker.umich.edu/emcurley/.

All materials for the course will be in a coursepack, the first installment of which should be available at Excel Test Prep by January 3.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 466. Topics in Continental Philosophy.

Section 001 Kierkegård and post-Kantian German Philosophy.

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

Prerequisites: One of PHIL 371, 375, 385, or 389. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Kierkegård will be the main focus of the course, though substantial time will be devoted to Kant, Fichte, and Jacobi. Depending on student interest, we may spend some time looking at one or more contemporary debates in the philosophy of religion (and at Kierkegård's place in them). Readings will be drawn from both primary and secondary literature.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 481. Metaphysics.

Section 001.

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

Prerequisites: PHIL 345 or 383. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2003/winter/phil/481/001.nsf

Metaphysics is the study of the most general features of reality. In this course, we will investigate into several such general features, including particulars and properties, time, modality (possibility and necessity), causation, and material constitution.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 550. Topics in Philosophy of Language.

Section 001 Tense and Time.

Instructor(s): Peter Ludlow (ludlow@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course will explore a view of time known as "presentism". Originally attributed to St. Augustin and defended in the 20th century by A.N. Prior, the view rejects the reality of the future and the past. Obviously such a view gives rise to a number of puzzles. In this course we will make an attempt (no doubt a vain attempt) to resolve these puzzles. We will also take up the relative merits of tensed and detensed metalanguages, the relation of semantics to metaphysics, McTaggart's argument for the unreality of time, the "myth of passage" argument, the problem of temporal anaphora, and other topics that are related to the central issue of presentism.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 585. Topics in Aesthetics.

Section 001 Metaphysics of Fictional Characters.

Instructor(s): Stacie Robyn Friend (staciefr@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

A number of contemporary philosophers have defended some form of realism about fictional characters. Realist proposals differ along a number of axes, such as whether these characters should be classified as nonexistent concrete objects or as existent abstracta. The motivations for postulating fictional characters also vary, ranging from issues of reference and quantification, to concerns about the intentionality of mental states, to more general considerations of ontological commitment or literary interpretation. Pretense theories offer an alternative to realism, though they have come under fire from numerous directions. This course will investigate several different arguments for and against realism, with a special focus on whether and how the postulation of fictional characters explains features of our engagement with fictional texts and our discourse about them.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 596. Reading Course.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (2-3). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (2-3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

A faculty-directed independent study.

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

PHIL 596. Reading Course.

Dark Matter in the Universe: An Interdisciplinary Seminar. Meets with Statistics 701.001 and Philosophy 596.

Instructor(s): Mario Mateo (mateo@umich.edu), Jim Joyce , Michael Woodroofe (michaelw@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (2-3). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (2-3).

Course Homepage: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jjoyce/dark.html

See Astronomy 699.009.

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

PHIL 598. Independent Literature Survey.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. Permission of instructor required. (3). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

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

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

PHIL 599. Candidacy Reading Course.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor. (2-3). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

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.

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

PHIL 600. Advanced Studies.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. Permission of instructor required. (3). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Independent study program arranged between instructor and student.

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

PHIL 601. Seminar in Theory of Knowledge.

Section 001 The Role of Evidence in Belief Revision and Inductive. [4 credits].

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

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3-4). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3-4).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2003/winter/phil/601/001.nsf

This seminar will focus on the concept of evidence and its role in belief revision and inductive inference. The following are among the topics to be covered: (i) internalist versus externalist conceptions of evidence; (ii) recent analyses of evidence in terms of "evidential probability," including those of Timothy Williamson and Peter Achinstein; (iii) Bayesian accounts of evidential support; (iv) the Dempster-Shafer theory of evidence; (v) accounts of evidence found in classical statistics; (vi) Wolfgang Spohn's "plausibility theory;" (vii) attempts to measure the strengths of evidential relationships; (vi) attempts to formalize the concept of epistemic entrenchment in terms of belief-revision functions. The material should be accessible to graduate students at all levels. Students will be asked to do one in-class presentation and to write two 10/15-page papers.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 605. Seminar in Logic.

Section 001 Philosophy of Mathematics.

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

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This will be a seminar on the philosophy of mathematics. We will address both the classic topics ("Is mathematics a form of logic?" "How do we refer to abstract objects?") and some that have been neglected until recently. ("How important is visualization to mathematical investigation, and in what respects?" "Are there any systematic features of plausible reasoning and conjecture in mathematics?") Some attention will be paid to historical events in mathematics, particularly the early development of semantics and its interaction with geometry, and the early development of complex analysis. Students should have some background in philosophy and some comfort with mathematics, though an extensive background in either philosophy or mathematics can compensate for the absence of background in the other.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 2

PHIL 640. Seminar in Ethics.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Peter A Railton (prailton@umich.edu)

Prerequisites: Graduate standing. (3). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

We will read and discuss important recent work in a number of areas of ethics. Among the areas to be covered are: methods of inquiry and justification in ethics; the role of ethical theory; disputes over cognitivism vs. non-cognitivism and realism vs. anti-realism; contending views on normative theory, including Kantian, consequentialist, and neo-Aristotelian.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 2

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.

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

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.

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


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