Courses in Philosophy (Division 442)

Philosophy is about as broad a subject as one can fine in a university curriculum. It addresses a wide array of questions, some quite familiar (Does God exist? Why be moral? What is art?), other less so (What is a thing? Is space a substance?). Moreover, it falls within philosophy to examine the methods and practices of virtually all academic disciplines. For this reason, a person can study philosophy in ways involving the styles and techniques of thought of most other disciplines. Philosophy also examines the practices of other activities, such as the fine arts, that are sometimes thought of as different from typical academic disciplines. There are many different views about how philosophy ought to be done, and philosophy includes the examination of its own methods, and its own history.

In the Summer Term, the Department teaches a number of courses that do not carry prerequisites Philosophy 181, 180, and 158 and 370. Philosophy 181 is a general introduction designed to acquaint students with a representative sample of philosophical problems concerning the nature of reality, knowledge, the self, morality, religion, and society. Philosophy 180 is a general introduction to logic and reasoning. Philosophy 158 and 370 focus on philosophical issues that arise in conjunction with the study of literature and film. These courses should be of special interest to students who, having no previous background in philosophy, want to study such narrative art in a philosophical way. in addition, the Department offers Philosophy 383, Knowledge and Reality. This is an intermediate level course that carries a prerequisite of one previous course in philosophy. Summer offerings are generally limited to 50 or 60 students, and sometimes enroll as few as 25.

158. Philosophy and Narrative. Students are strongly advised not to take more than two Philosophy Introductions. (2). (HU).

This course will pursue three major themes: the autonomy of art, interpretation, and ethical criticism. In each section, we'll consider how several related works of narrative art pertain to the philosophical subject. Aesthetic value has been claimed to be autonomous from other values, in particular, from truth and morality. The readings on autonomy will be: Kant, Shaftesbury, Nietzsche, Arnold Isenberg, and Nelson Goodman. We'll screen several films about World War II, some documentary and some fiction. On interpretation, we'll focus on the debate over critical monism and pluralism: Is there ever (always) a single best "reading" of a work? We'll consider the views of Wayne Booth, Stanley Fish, E.D. Hirsh, and Alexander Nehemas. Here, we'll look at some realist fiction. Finally, we'll consider the ethical criticism of art and its detractors, including Shaw, Corneille, Rousseau, Wilde, and Nussbaum. WL:4 (Jacobson)

180. Introductory Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (2). (N.Excl).

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, name 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, discussions, demonstrations of problem-solving techniques, and a variety of exercises. Texts and methods of evaluation to be determined. It is possible that the course will make extensive use of computerized exercises and tutorials, with weekly assignments to be completed on Macintosh computers at public computing sites. (No prior experience with computers would be needed.) Students who wish to know whether the course will use computer-assisted instruction should contact the Department prior to registration. WL:4

181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (2). (HU).

See Philosophy 181 (Spring 1994).

370. Philosophical Aspects of Literature. (2). (HU).

For Summer Term, 1994, this course will be offered jointly with Philosophy 158 and will cover the same material (see Philosophy 158), 154 is an introductory-level class. Philosophy 370 is intended for concentrators in philosophy or the arts; written assignments will be somewhat more challenging and expect more sophistication in handling these texts. WL:4 (Jacobson)

383. Knowledge and Reality. One course in philosophy. (2). (Excl).

This is a course in metaphysics (theory of reality) and epistemology (theory of knowledge). Among the metaphysical problems which we might investigate are: existence, necessity and possibility, essence, identity, causation, the relationship between the mind and body, and free will. Possible topics from epistemology include: the analysis of knowledge, the nature and structure of justification, skepticism, a priori and a posteriori knowledge, and one or more particular kinds of knowledge (e.g., perceptual knowledge, knowledge of the past and future, knowledge of other minds, and self-knowledge). Readings will be drawn from contemporary or historical sources, or both. WL:4


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