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Spring/Summer '99 Course Guide

Courses in Philosophy (Division 442)


Calendars

Spring Half-Term, 1999 (May 3 June 22, 1999)
Spring/Summer Term, 1999 (May 3 August 17, 1999)
Summer Half-Term, 1999 (June 28 August 17, 1999)


Skip to a Specific Term's Descriptions:

Spring Half-Term

Spring/Summer Term

Summer Half-Term


Spring Half-Term Courses

Take me to the Spring Half-Term '99 Time Schedule for Philosophy.


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?). 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.

In the Spring Term, the Department offers a number of courses that do not carry prerequisites Philosophy 181, 303, 340, 355, and 372. 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 303 is an introduction to symbolic logic, and meets a requirement for the concentration. Philosophy 340 addresses the relationship between mind, consciousness, and intelligence to matter and the brain. Philosophy 355 focuses on a number of contemporary moral and social issues. Philosophy 372, which addresses philosophical issues that arise in connection with gender. Spring offerings are limited to 50 students, and sometimes enroll as few as 20.


Philo. 181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction.

Section 101.

Instructor(s): Kathleen McShane (katemcsh@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (2). (HU).

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

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

The purpose of this course is to introduce you to philosophy through the examination of issues in several major areas of philosophy. These may include ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of religion. Over the course of the term, we will consider the answers that philosophers have given to some of the following questions: How can we tell right from wrong and good from bad? Is there any such thing as "objective" morality? How can we distinguish appearance from reality? What kind of knowledge can we have about the world? Do we have free will? Are there good reasons for thinking that God exists? Our readings will include mostly classical texts, among them works by Plato, Bentham, Mill, Kant, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Anselm, and Leibniz, although we will read the writings of a few contemporary philosophers as well. In this course you will learn how to think carefully about the most fundamental questions of human existence, and in doing so you will learn how to think critically, reason carefully, and write articulately. There will be frequent short homework assignments and two papers.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

Philo. 303. Introduction to Symbolic Logic.

Section 101.

Instructor(s): Peter Gibbard (pgibbard@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phil. 203, 296 or 414. (3). (MSA). (BS).

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

One particularly good form of reasoning is a "valid inference". if an inference is valid, the conclusion is guaranteed to be true if the premises are true. In this course, we shall use formal, mathematical techniques to determine which forms of inference are valid. In particular, we shall use two systems of formal logic: first, the propositional calculus will be employed to assess inferences involving the sentence operators "not". "or". "and". "if... then...". and "if and only if". and, second, the predicate calculus will be used to assess inferences involving the quantifiers "all" and "some." Part of the course will concern "metatheory". it will be proven that the propositional calculus is a good instrument for detecting validity the calculus classifies as "valid" all the valid inferences and only the valid inferences. For this part of the course, students will have to master proofs by mathematical induction. There will be regular homework assignments, assigned weekly, as well as a midterm examination and a final.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

Philo. 340. Mind, Matter, and Machines.

Section 101.

Instructor(s): Karen Bennett (elizab@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (2). (HU).

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

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course will be a study of the mind/body problem and related questions. What are minds, and how do we manage to have them? How can there be room for conscious beings in a world apparently composed of physical stuff and governed by physical laws? Are minds supernatural entities souls which lie beyond the reach of science? Or are minds just very complicated physical structures? What is the relationship between psychology and physics, or psychology and computer science? Could a properly designed computer think? Could it experience emotion? How can our beliefs, feelings, and desires ever cause us to act? etc. Class will involve both lecture and discussion. Written work will likely consist of two short papers and a final. A previous philosophy course is helpful, but not required.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

Philo. 355. Contemporary Moral Problems.

Section 101.

Instructor(s): Nishiten Shah (nishah@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 455. (2). (HU).

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

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

In this course we will explore the moral dimensions of a range of contemporary issues, including abortion, euthanasia, affirmative action, and treatment of animals. Various conceptions of justice will be presented and examined in order to help us think about these complex and important issues. Philosophical tools such as conceptual analysis and reflective equilibrium will also be introduced in an attempt to gain a clearer, more coherent view of our moral intuitions about these matters. Two papers, a midterm and a final examination.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

Philo. 372. Philosophical Topics in the Study of Gender.

Section 101.

Instructor(s): Andrea Westlund (westlund@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One course in philosophy or women's studies. (2). (HU).

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

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

Simone de Beauvoir, in her landmark text The Second Sex, famously states that "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman." This course will focus on the social construction of gender, and its effects on women's agency. We will begin by discussing reasons for drawing a distinction between sex and gender, and will proceed to consider what it might mean to say that masculinity and femininity are socially constructed. Using Beauvoir's work (and its Hegelian and Sartrian influences) as a springboard, we will critically examine the line of thought according to which gender is a product of relations of dominance and subordination between the sexes. Attention will also be given to more recent feminist and psychoanalytic approaches to understanding the intersubjective roots of gender, and we will use these analyses to gain an understanding of what's at stake in contemporary feminist debates about marriage, prostitution, and pornography. Evaluation will be based on a number of writing assignments, varying in length, rather than on exams.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

Philo. 397. Topics in Philosophy.

Prerequisites & Distribution: Permission of concentration advisor and instructor. (2). (Excl). May be elected for credit twice with permission of concentration advisor.

Credits: (1-4; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course number is designed to permit philosophy concentrators, upon recommendation of a concentration advisor, to elect a course a second time for credit when it has a different instructor and covers substantially different material.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

Philo. 399. Independent Study.

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction and permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be elected twice for a total of eight credits with permission of concentration advisor.

Credits: (1-4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

Independent study of a topic not otherwise available through a regular departmental offering.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

Philo. 498. Senior Honors in Philosophy.

Prerequisites & Distribution: By departmental permission only. (2). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

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

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

Students who wish to elect the Philosophy 498-499 sequence should consult with the departmental Honors advisor by the end of the preceding academic year.

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

Spring/Summer Term Courses

Take me to the Spring/Summer Term '99 Time Schedule for Philosophy.


Summer Half-Term Courses

Take me to the Summer Half-Term '99 Time Schedule for Philosophy.


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?). 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.

In the Summer Term, the Department offers a number of courses that do not carry prerequisites Philosophy 180, 181, 344, and 370. Philosophy 180 is an introduction to critical thinking and logic. 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 344 addresses ethical issues that arise in connection with the practice of modern medicine. Philosophy 370 addresses philosophical themes in literary works. Summer offerings are limited to 50 students, and sometimes enroll as few as 15.


Philo. 180. Introductory Logic.

Section 201.

Instructor(s): Greg Sax (gmsax@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (2). (HU). (BS).

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

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course is an introduction to formal methods of reasoning. We begin with the relevant basic concepts: reason, argument, deduction, validity, etc. We next learn how to symbolize English sentences into logical notation and are then able to study the concepts and techniques of propositional logic. The centrally relevant concepts are truth functions (e.g., conjunction, disjunction, negation, etc.), rules of inference and argument forms. We will learn to apply the truth table method to argument forms in order to assess their validity. We then learn to derive (i.e., prove) propositions using inference rules within a system of natural deduction. Finally, we begin the more difficult work of studying (first-order) predicate logic in which sentences display the complicated internal structure of terms, relations, functions, and quantifiers. Whereas lectures and assigned readings will be important, the student's most demanding task will be learning to solve logic problems. Problem sets are therefore assigned as homework weekly. Grades will be based on this homework, two midterms, and a final.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

Philo. 181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction.

Section 201.

Instructor(s): Gerhard Nuffer (gnuffer@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (2). (HU).

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

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course will introduce students to philosophy through an examination of some of the following problems: (1) The problem of skepticism: Can we have knowledge? (2) The problem of induction: Are we ever justified in believing that the future will resemble the past? (3) The existence of God: Can it be proved that God exists? (4) The problem of free will: Do we ever act freely? If so, is this compatible with the assumption that the universe is governed by deterministic laws? (5) The mind-body problem: How is our mind related to our body? Or, more fundamentally: are there minds at all? Are minds to be identified with brains? If not, how is the human mind related to the human brain? In exploring these questions, we will look at the answer given by historical figures such as Descartes, Hume, and Mill, as well as contemporary philosophers. Requirements include a number of short (7-8 pp.) papers.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

Philo. 344. Ethics and Health Care.

Section 201.

Instructor(s): Jeanine Diller (jdiller@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Inteflex 101, 201, or 301, or an introductory philosophy course. (2). (HU).

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

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course is an introduction to philosophical reasoning about central topics in contemporary medical ethics. We will begin by exploring several standard theories in normative ethics (including utilitarianism and deontology) and then consider their application to questions arising in the practice of medicine, medical research, and technology. Topics will include some of the following: termination (abortion, impaired infants, euthanasia); rights (mandatory AIDS testing, medical experimentation and informed consent); controls (genetics, reproductive control); and resources (organ distribution, the claim to health care). Students will be encouraged to supplement lectures with a discussion of their own views on these topics throughout the course. There will be both papers and exams. No previous background in philosophy is required. For the Summer offering of this course, it is not necessary for students to meet the formal prerequisites listed in the Course Guide.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

Philo. 370. Philosophical Aspects of Literature.

Section 201.

Instructor(s): Jim Bell (jmab@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (2). (HU).

Foriegn Lit

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

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

In 1836 Emerson challenged his audience to seek an 'original relation to the universe' to articulate their own philosophy, and not rely on history and tradition to articulate their personal understanding of God, Nature, themselves, and those around them. In this course, we will try to come to grips with the radicalness of Emerson's challenge. What is it Emerson wants us to reject? Society? Morality? Christianity? One's own current self-understanding? And with these rejected, how do we begin again? The authors we will read, Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Poe, and Henry James, each in his own way deal with the various aspects of this challenge. Our focus will be on deep issues concerning freedom, liberty, human nature, the value of self-expression (and the conflicts between this value and living in society), and the fostering of personal relationships or 'connections' with nature, with oneself, and with other people. Throughout the course we will be discussing the nature of knowledge, faith, trust, certainty, value and skepticism as each relates to these issues. Assignments consist in three papers, 5-7 pages in length. Please contact the instructor if you have any questions.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

Philo. 397. Topics in Philosophy.

Prerequisites & Distribution: Permission of concentration advisor and instructor. (2). (Excl). May be elected for credit twice with permission of concentration advisor.

Credits: (1-4; 2 in the half-term).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course number is designed to permit philosophy concentrators, upon recommendation of a concentration advisor, to elect a course a second time for credit when it has a different instructor and covers substantially different material.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

Philo. 399. Independent Study.

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction and permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be elected twice for a total of eight credits with permission of concentration advisor.

Credits: (1-4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

Independent study of a topic not otherwise available through a regular departmental offering.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

Philo. 499. Senior Honors in Philosophy.

Prerequisites & Distribution: By departmental permission only. (2). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

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

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

Students who wish to elect the Philosophy 498-499 sequence should consult with the departmental Honors advisor by the end of the preceding academic year.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 4

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