The Philosophy Department offers a series of 150-level courses that serve as introductions to specific areas of philosophical thought. Each probes a group of philosophical issues related to certain other fields or areas of human concern, and each is designed to show how questions in these fields or areas can lead naturally to larger philosophical matters. Philosophy 154, "Law and Philosophy will be offered Winter Term, 1985. It will be taught by regular faculty members and will be limited to 50 students.
Philosophy 181, 202, 231, 232, and 297 are general introductions
designed to acquaint the student with a representative sample
of philosophical problems concerning the nature of reality, knowledge, the self, morality, religion, and society. They deal with such
questions as: If a person's actions are causally determined by
heredity and environment is he capable of free actions for which
he can be held morally responsible? What is a person – just a
very complex machine, a combination of a mind or soul and a body, or what? How can such common sense beliefs as that other human
beings are conscious, or that there exists an external physical
world, be justified? What are scientific theories, and what kinds
of considerations bear on whether they should be accepted? Are there good reasons for believing that God exists? Is abortion, or euthanasia, or suicide, morally permissible? Are value judgments
(e.g., moral or aesthetic judgments) "objective" or
"subjective"? What are the basic differences between the major kinds of social, political, and economic organization, and what reasons are there for preferring any one of them to the
others? How should one live one's life? What is the "meaning"
of life, and what does this question mean?
The 200-level philosophy introductions and 181 vary in their approach to the issues, in their instructional format, and in credit hours. Philosophy 202 (4 hours) approaches issues through a mixture of twentieth century writers (e.g., Bertrand Russell, A. J. Ayer) and seminal figures in Western intellectual history (Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant). It is taught by graduate teaching assistants in sections of approximately 25 students. Philosophy 231 (3 hours) and 232 (4 hours) are more concerned with contemporary debate about these issues than with their historical development; a faculty member delivers two lectures each week, and students are divided into groups of approximately 25 for discussion sections which meet one (231) or two (232) hours per week. Like Philosophy 231 and 232, Philosophy 181 is mostly concerned with contemporary discussion, but its format is different. It s smaller, limited to 50 students, and is taught in a combination lecture/discussion format 3 times a week.
The Department offers 2 elementary introduction courses in logic, 180 and 201. Their subjects and levels are essentially identical. 180, however, is taught by faculty in a section of about 40-50, while 202 is taught in sections of 20-25 by advanced graduate student teaching assistants.
Some 300-level courses do not have prerequisites and can serve as introductions to particular branches of philosophy. Two such courses will be offered Winter Term, 1985: Philosophy 356, "Issues in Bioethics," and Philosophy 357, "Ecology: A Philosophical Perspective."
154. Law and Philosophy. Students are strongly advised not to take more than two Philosophy Introductions. (3). (HU).
This course will focus on three ethical questions about the law: What is the nature of our obligation to obey the law? What justification is there for punishing law-breakers? Are there spheres of activity that the law should not attempt to control? In seeking answers to these general questions we shall consider specific topics such as draft resistance and civil disobedience; drug laws and "victimless" crimes; obscenity laws and censorship; and the insanity defense. Students will be evaluated on the basis of three short papers and a final exam. No prior knowledge of philosophy or law is required. (Velleman)
180. Introductory Logic. No credit is granted to those who have completed 201, 203, or 296. (3). (N.Excl).
This is an introductory course in logic. We will begin with a study of some problems, fallacies, etc., which arise in informal reasoning. This will be followed by a study of some of the elements of formal (symbolic) logic. There may also be some brief considerations of induction and of probability. The course will be conducted by lectures, discussions, and demonstrations of problem-solving techniques. Students will be expected to do homework assignments regularly. Grades will be assigned principally on the basis of two exams and several quizzes. (Mavrodes)
181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction. No
credit granted to those who have completed 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).
Section 001. This course will be an introduction to philosophy through a study of several philosophical questions of perennial interest: What is the nature of mind and what is its relation to the physical? Is there an important sense in which our choices can be free? Is knowledge possible? What justification is there for our most central beliefs? What does justice consist in? Is objectivity possible in ethics? These questions span several traditional areas: metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, ethics, and political philosophy, so the course should provide some idea of the range of things that are done within philosophy. While we will study some classical sources of these issues, our emphasis will be on contemporary writers. There will be no formally scheduled discussion sections, but there will be ample opportunity for give and take in our ordinary class meetings. Two moderate sized papers (8 or so pages) will be required in addition to the final exam. (Darwall)
Section 002. Philosophy 181 is an introduction to philosophy, which will focus on a set of related problems. The problems have been chosen in order to shed light on the following questions. What is the nature of a person which justifies the special concern characterized as respect for persons? We ask the same question when we ask how far this concern should extend. Should it include animals? Could it ever extend to intelligent machines? We will begin by looking at the problems related to our own identities as persons. What is the relation between mind and body? What is the nature of our identity over time? We will then look at the problems of abortion and the rights of animals to try to determine what the limits of personhood might be. Finally, we will examine the relation between our identities as persons and the scope of our obligations toward others. There will be a number of short exercises, two papers and a final exam. (S. White)
201. Introduction to Logic. No credit granted to those who have completed 180, 203 or 296. (3). (N.Excl).
This course aims to give the student a thorough understanding of the fundamental forms of reasoning and rational argument. Students will be expected to master some technical detail, but the emphasis in this course is on non-technical, informal logical techniques applicable to problem solving in any area of inquiry. Both deductive and inductive patterns of argument will be examined. Sections usually have about twenty-five students each. Each section meets three hours per week and is generally conducted with some informality and considerable student participation. Discussion and questions are encouraged, particular problems are analyzed, and students are required to demonstrate mastery of assigned material. Course requirements for grading vary from instructor to instructor. Normally there are weekly assignments frequently in written form and short, periodic quizzes.
202. Introduction to Philosophy. No credit granted to those who have completed 181, 182, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (4). (HU).
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with philosophical thinking on the great questions that have moved mankind throughout history, and to discuss possible solutions to them. The course is taught in independent sections of approximately twenty-five students. Each section is taught by a teaching assistant who selects the topics and readings. Some sections examine the systems of such major historical figures as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche, while others employ primarily the writings of contemporary philosophers such as Bertrand Russell, A.J. Ayer, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and others. The subject matter generally includes ethics, free will and responsibility, philosophy of mind, epistemology and skepticism, and perhaps arguments for the existence of God. The text is either a book of readings or a set of larger selections from separate editions of well known philosophical works. During the term, each student is usually required to submit a total of at least fifteen pages of critical discussion through a series of short papers varying in length from three to five pages. Several short quizzes may also be given as well as a final examination.
231. Introduction to Philosophy: Problems and Principles. No credit granted to those who have completed 181, 182, 202, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).
This course is open to students from all areas of the University. No previous work in philosophy is required or assumed. Freshmen are welcome. The course has two principal goals. The first is to provide an introduction to fundamental philosophical problems drawn from a variety of branches of philosophy. The second goal is to develop the philosophical skills, and more generally the critical and argumentative skills, of those enrolled. Some of the topics to be covered may include (1) the problem of free will and determinism; (2) the nature of mind and its relation to body; (3) the problem of knowledge of the physical world and of mathematical truth; (4) the nature of moral reasoning. There will be a final examination and a midterm exam. Philosophy 231 and 232 share a common lecture for two meetings per week. Philosophy 231 carries three hours of credit and has two discussion meetings per week. Students in 231 will be assigned two short papers. Philosophy 232 carries four hours of credit. Students in 232 will be assigned three short papers. Students who feel they would benefit from the additional hour of discussion, or who need the extra hour of credit, are advised to enroll in 232 rather than 231. The readings for the course will be short pieces by both contemporary philosophers and important figures from the history of philosophy. The text will be Reason and Responsibility, edited by J. Feinberg. (Sklar)
232. Problems of Philosophy. No credit granted to those who have completed 181, 182, 202, 231, 234, or 297. (4). (HU).
See Philosophy 231. (Sklar)
296. Honors Introduction to Logic. Honors students or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who have completed 180, 201 or 203. (3). (N.Excl).
Logic is valuable, first, as a tool for theoretical clarification. That makes it indispensable for many of the purposes of philosophy, particularly for the purpose of analyzing the structures of sciences, mathematics, and other systems of thought. Logic is valuable in the second place because it provides methods for the evaluation of reasoning, regardless of the subject matter with which the reasoning is concerned. This course is designed to introduce the student to the concepts and methods of modern deductive logic. It will deal with such key logical ideas as validity and invalidity of arguments, entailment between propositions, and logical truth. It will examine such properties of logical systems as consistency and completeness, and ask which branches of logic can be formulated as complete, consistent systems. Examples of the use of formal logic as a tool of clarification will be discussed. Students, it is hoped, will acquire considerable skill in applying various logical techniques for evaluating reasoning and for analyzing the logical status of propositions. There will be two or three exams, and satisfactory completion of homework will be required. (Brower)
297. Honors Introduction to Philosophy. Honors
students or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those
who have completed 181, 182, 202, 231, 232, or 234. (3). (HU).
Section 001. This course will examine problems that continue to vex both philosophers and non-philosophers. We will consider how philosophical argumentation can enable us to approach better some of the following questions: The Mind-Body Problem : What does it mean to say I have a soul? Do I have one? Am I a purely physical entity, or is there some immaterial substance within me that makes me different from, say, an animal? Personal Identity : Who am I? What makes me who I am? Am I the same person now I will be in ten years, or was ten years ago? Knowledge : When do I know something. How can I know what I know? What are the limits of knowledge? The Good : Can we know what is the morally right thing to do? What does it mean to say an act is morally right? When am I morally responsible for an act? Can I be blamed for something I could not help doing? We will not hope to find answers to all these questions, but to understand the issues and the arguments for different opinions. Readings will be from historical and contemporary sources. Three short papers and a final exam. (S. Conly)
Section 002. We all have a common stock of basic beliefs that we accept without question: for example, that there is a world of objects external to and independent of ourselves; that some of those objects are persons such as ourselves. Can these beliefs be justified or must they simply be accepted on faith? What, in any event, does it mean for an object to be "external to and independent of oneself"? And what is it to conceive of an object as a person – i.e., as a locus of intelligence, consciousness, thought and responsibility? And to what extent can such a conception of objects be reconciled with a scientific conception of reality? An introduction to these and related questions will form the subject matter of this course. Class sessions will have a lecture-discussion format. Four short papers will be required. (Boghassian)
355. Contemporary Moral Problems. No credit granted to those who have completed 455. (4). (HU).
An examination of moral problems encountered in private, social, and professional life. Topics will be chosen from among the following: abortion, infanticide, preferential treatment for women and minority groups, punishment and the death penalty, legal ethics, civil disobedience and terrorism, and sexual morality. Two hours of lecture; two hours of discussion. Three short papers and one final exam. (S. Conly)
357/Env. St. 408. Ecology: A Philosophical Perspective. (3). (HU).
In this course I hope to discuss a number of ways in which philosophical distinctions and religious considerations can enter into and (perhaps) benefit our thinking about ecology. My plans for the course are still rather fluid. I hope to discuss some distinctions relevant to ethics, such as that between teleological and deontological principles, and corporate vs. private duties. I will also discuss the ethics of risk and the ethics of situations in which all choices are bad. I hope also to consider various religious views of man's relations to nature, including Christian views of mastery and stewardship, a Buddhist approach, perhaps American Indian, etc. There will be a midterm exam, a final exam, and a term paper. Texts have not yet been selected. (Mavrodes)
363/Phil. 363. Philosophical Bases of Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. One Philosophy Introduction. (4). (HU).
See RC Humanities 363 for description. (Cohen)
383. Knowledge and Reality. One course in philosophy. (3). (HU).
An examination of some central problems in metaphysics and the theory of knowledge (epistemology). Typical metaphysical problems will involve questions concerning the nature of substance, causality, space and time, mind and personhood. Typical epistemological problems will involve questions concerning the nature and scope of our knowledge of substances, of the existence of other minds and of the contents of our own mental states. A previous course in philosophy is required as a prerequisite. Class meetings will be conducted as lecture-discussion sessions. Requirements for the course will consist of a final exam and two medium-length papers. (Boghassian)
385. Continental Philosophy Since 1900. One course in philosophy. (3). (HU).
This course is a survey of 20th century French and German philosophy. We will analyze and interpret some of the major texts and schools of thought which have developed since l900, and we will critically evaluate and discuss the significance of the views of these philosophers. We will begin with the development of phenomenology (Edmund Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty). Sartre's existentialism will be briefly discussed. Then we will consider Structuralism (Claude Levi-Strauss, Roland Barthes, Jacques Lacan), Critical Theory or "the Frankfurt School" (Max Horkheimer, Jurgen Habermas, Herbert Marcuse), the thought of Michel Foucault (as represented by his The Order of Things), and Hermeneutics (Hans-Georg Gadamer). We will be concerned with the implications of the views of these thinkers for the critique of objective (and scientific) thought, for the investigation of subjectivity, for work in the social sciences, and for the methods and goals of intellectual activity. Students will be required to write several papers. (Meiland)
389. History of Philosophy: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries. One Philosophy Introduction. (4). (HU).
This course examines the development of modern philosophy in Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Considerable attention is devoted to each of Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. The primary emphasis is placed upon philosophical rather than historical or interpretive issues. These philosophical issues are drawn from epistemology and metaphysics (both broadly construed), to the exclusion of ethics and political philosophy. The following topics are discussed: skepticism about the existence of the material world, theories of perception and of the nature and limits of a priori knowledge, innate knowledge, empiricist theories of meaning, analytic and synthetic truth, necessary and contingent truth, God, substance, causation, the self, the relationship between mind and body, personal identity, and determinism and free will. Students are evaluated on the basis of three papers and a final examination. There are three hours of lecture and one hour of discussion per week. (Loeb)
402. Undergraduate Seminar in Philosophy. Open to junior and senior concentrators and to others by permission of concentration adviser. (3). (HU).
Philosophy 402 will deal with the concept of the self and its role in the foundations of contemporary moral and political theory. We will focus on Rawls, Parfit and such contemporary critics of Rawls as Sandel and Walzer. Course requirements include class presentations and a final paper. (S. White)
405. Philosophy of Plato. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (HU).
This course will examine the basic outlines of Plato's philosophical doctrine, with special emphasis on his metaphysics and theory of knowledge. Issues will be raised about his belief in the possibility of objective knowledge, particularly with regard to issues of morals and values. (N. White)
414. Mathematical Logic. (3). (N.Excl).
Philosophy 414 is an introduction to mathematical logic. The course will cover: the paraphrasing of English sentences into first order languages, proofs in first order languages, elementary model theory, completeness, undecidability, and Gödel's theorems. There will be some discussion of philosophical problems of logic and the application of logic to philosophy. There is no prerequisite but an elementary logic course or mathematical background would be helpful. There will be three tests. Text: Jeffrey, Formal Logic. (Loewer)
416. Modal Logic. Phil. 414 or permission of instructor. (3). (N.Excl).
This course will provide an introduction to the possible worlds semantics for modal logic. It will include an account of the major systems, both from a technical and a philosophical point of view. The instructor will use his own text, but the students may consult An Introduction to Modal Logic by Hughes and Crosswell and Modal Logic by Chellas. (Fine)
422. Philosophy of Physics. One Philosophy Introduction or Logic Introduction or 12 credits of science. (3). (HU).
This course will explore a number of philosophical problems which arise in the foundations of quantum mechanics. The course will first outline the development of quantum mechanics out of the classical physical background and outline the fundamental principles of the theory relevant to foundational issues. Then we will discuss such foundational topics as the meaning of the uncertainty principle, the alleged indeterminism of quantum mechanics, the "proofs" of the impossibility of hidden variables, the problems concerning separability of systems posed by the Einstein-Rosen-Podolsky thought experiment and Bell's Theorem and the interpretation of measurement in quantum mechanics. The course is suitable for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in philosophy, physics, mathematics or related disciplines. (Sklar)
424. Laws, Induction, and Evolution. One Philosophy Introduction or permission of instructor. (3). (HU).
This is an introductory course in the philosophy of science which places more emphasis than usual on science as a social learning process and on its relation to biological evolution and human behavior. The following topics will be discussed and systematically interrelated: (1) What is the philosophy of science? (2) Is science subjective or objective? (3) The nature of scientific theories and their use in explanation and prediction. (4) Laws of nature, both causal and statistical. (5) The inductive confirmation and evolution of theories. (6) Is probability ultimately subjective? (7) Is induction basically enumerative, basically eliminative, or neither? (8) What is the relation of inductive confirmation and pattern recognition to the classification of experience? (9) What is scientific determinism, and how is it related to freedom and responsibility? (10) Are statements of regret meaningful? (11) Did science evolve from common sense and common sense from animal behavior? (12) Are the laws of evolution capable of prediction or only of explanation? (13) Is evolution a teleological process? Do organisms have an irreducible vital component or aspect? (14) Is self-reproduction a logical process? Is evolution? (15) Could science and technology build a robot that could (a) sense, act, use language, learn and think, (b) desire, love, and hate, (c) be free and responsible, (d) evolve? (16) Can the social, psychological, and biological sciences ultimately be reduced to chemistry and physics? Readings and discussion. Midterm and final examinations. (Burks)
428/Asian Studies 428/Econ. 428/Pol. Sci. 428/Soc. 426. China's Evolution Under Communism. Upperclass or graduate standing. (4). (SS).
See Political Science 428. (Oksenberg)
429. Ethical Analysis. Phil. 361, 363, 364, or 366. (3). (HU).
This is primarily a course in twentieth century meta-ethics. We will examine contemporary theories on the nature and meaning of moral language; on the possibility of moral knowledge; and on the relation of reason to moral obligation. Topics will include intuitionism, naturalism, emotivism, and relativism. Some historical sources will be used in tracing the development of particular views. Previous knowledge of moral philosophy is recommended. Students will be required to write two short papers or one long paper as they prefer. (Conly)
439. Aesthetics. One Philosophy Introduction or permission of instructor. (3). (HU).
This course will be a philosophical examination of the institution of art, and of our notions of aesthetic value, aesthetic appreciation, criticism, etc.. Questions to be investigated include: What is art? How does art differ from science? Is art a language? Are works of art symbols? Are they vehicles of communication? Do the arts depend on conventions? In what ways are the arts valuable or important? What is it to interpret a work of art? Is interpretation "objective"? What kinds of reasons can be given in support of an interpretation? Does appreciation or criticism require consideration of the artist's intentions or his background? What is it for a work to be expressive? To be representational? In what ways may one work be more realistic than another? What is the difference between fiction and non-fiction? What is it to perform a theatrical or musical work of art? Examples will be taken from all of the major arts, including literature, theater, painting, music and film. There will be considerable emphasis on comparisons among the various artistic media and genre. The main text will be William Kennick, Art and Philosophy, second edition. There will be two required papers and one or two examinations. (Walton)
455. Contemporary Moral Problems. Not open to graduate students in philosophy. No credit granted to those who have completed 355. (4). (HU).
See description for Philosophy 355. The courses are identical except that students registered in Philosophy 455 will be asked to write an additional ten page paper. Graduate students in the philosophy department may not register for this course. (S. Conly)
462. British Empiricism. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (HU).
This course will cover the major epistemological writings of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. We shall try to clarify the sense in which the empiricists sought foundations for human knowledge, and the extent to which the problems they encountered are inherent in foundationalism itself. Some prior background in the history of philosophy would be useful; students who have not read Descartes' Meditations should do so before the course begins. Students will be evaluated on the basis of two papers and an exam. (Velleman)
477. Theory of Knowledge. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (HU).
Philosophy 477 is devoted to an intensive examination of central issues in contemporary theory of knowledge. The core of the course consists in an extended evaluation of three competing theories of epistemic justification – foundationalism, coherentism, and reliabilism. These theories are discussed against the background of three major problems which motivate the bulk of recent literature in the theory of knowledge: the argument for radical skepticism, the infinite regress argument, and the analysis of knowledge (the Gettier problem). The course concludes with a discussion of recent arguments for the claim that epistemology, as traditionally conceived and practiced, does not constitute an autonomous discipline worthy of serious intellectual effort. Readings will include articles or selections by such authors as Alston, Armstrong, Austin, Ayer, Bennett, Chisholm, Cornman, Dretske, Goldman, Goodman, Harman, Lehrer, C.I. Lewis, Neurath, Nozick, Pollock, Popper, Quine, Quinton, Russell, Schlick, Sellars, Stroud, and M. Williams. Undergraduates are cautioned that satisfaction of the formal prerequisite does not constitute adequate background for this course. An optimal background would include Philosophy 383 (Knowledge and Reality); either Philosophy 345 (Language and Mind), or at least two 300-level philosophy courses which themselves carry prerequisites would constitute a satisfactory background. (Loeb)
482. Philosophy of Mind. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (HU).
Philosophy 482 will deal with a number of problems in the philosophy of mind and will touch on some of the philosophical issues raised by research in artificial intelligence. Topics will include such theories of the relation between mind and body as dualism, behaviorism, central state materialism, and functionalism. We will examine the relation between intentional states such as belief and qualitative states such as pain as well as some of the problems that qualitative states such as pain as well as some of the problems that qualitative states raise for theories of mind. We will be especially concerned with problems involving the nature of consciousness, the subjective point of view, our access to our own mental states, and first person propositions. The course is designed for those with a strong background in analytical philosophy. There is an emphasis on classroom discussion, and the course requires very active participation. There will be two short expository papers and a term paper. Texts include Block, Readings in Philosophy of Psychology Vol. 1; Hougeland, Mind Design and Churchland, Matter and Consciousness. (Loewer)
505/Chinese 505. Topics in Chinese Philosophy. Permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
This course is a seminar (limited to fifteen students) on modern Chinese thought from the period after the Opium War to the present. The unifying theme will be the conflict and fate of traditional and modern values in Chinese society. Class meetings will concentrate on discussion of topics raised by assigned readings and will involve maximum student participation. Open to upperclassmen and graduate students. Permission of instructor required. Students should have had at least one China area course. One substantial seminar paper required. Meeting: Tuesdays 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and Thursdays 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. (as needed). (Munro)
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