Courses in Philosophy (Division 442)

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 151, "Philosophical Dimensions of Personal Decisions" and Philosophy 154, "Law and Philosophy will be offered Winter Term, 1986. They 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. Philosophy 181 is distinguished by its format. It is 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 201 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, 1986: Philosophy 383, "Knowledge and Reality" and Philosophy 385, "Continental Philosophy."

155. The Nature of Science. (3). (HU).

The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to some major issues in the philosophy of science to students without previous background in philosophy. Overall the course hopes to provide insight into the aims and methods of various sciences. Typical questions include: What is a scientific explanation? What is a law of nature? What role do theories play in science? What kinds of reasons exist for accepting scientific accounts of the world as adequate or true? Are there problems of objectivity in science as there are alleged to be in history and moral theory? This course serves as a possible "prerequisite to concentration" for those considering a concentration in philosophy. There will be a midterm exam and a final exam in the course. One term paper will also be required. (Sklar)

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. We have a certain common sense view of ourselves as creatures who act upon the basis of reasons, and who can be held responsible for actions. This view is at odds with another view we have of ourselves: that we are a part of nature. In this course we will focus upon issues which can be understood to be the result of the freedom of the will and the question of responsibility, the relation of mind to the body, personal identity, and the explanation of human action. Emphasis will be placed upon the development of our critical skills both in class discussions and in a series of short essays. (Scott-Kakures)

201. Introduction to Logic. No credit granted to those who have completed 180, 203 or 296. I and II: (3); IIIa and IIIb: (2). (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.

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.

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 some of the major problems of philosophy: Does God exist? Can we know anything about the world, independently of our subjective perceptions of it? If so, how? Are we free to act as we choose, or are all our actions causally determined by genetic and environmental factors? Can we be held responsible for our behavior? Is the mind an immaterial, spiritual entity, or are we composed entirely of physical matter? Can we objectively justify our ethical judgments? Are they instead mere subjective expressions of emotion? Or valid only relative to our particular social conventions? The readings will be drawn primarily from contemporary sources, and historical background will be provided. Class sessions will follow a lecture and discussion format. Students will be evaluated on the basis of two short papers, and midterm and end-term examinations. There are no prerequisites for this course. (Piper)

Section 002. We all have a common stock of basic reliefs 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. (Boghossian)

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)

363/RC Hums. 363. Philosophical Bases of Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. One Philosophy Introduction. (4). (HU).

See RC Humanities 363. (C. Cohen)

370. Philosophical Aspects of Literature. (3). (HU).

This course will be centered upon several literary works, tentatively including: John Barth, The End of the Road; Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies; Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths; A. Camus, The Stranger; F. Dostoevsky, Notes from the Underground; Kafka, The Metamorphosis; J.P. Sartre, No Exit and The Flies; There will be supplementary readings in various philosophical sources, including selections from Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, Sartre, and Wittgenstein. The literary works will be examined for their "philosophical content," for what they have to say on a variety of philosophical issues, including ideas concerning morality, freedom, human nature, metaphysics, knowledge, and so forth. We will especially emphasize problems of philosophy of mind, problems about the nature of the self, self-knowledge and self-deception, sincerity, action, and freedom. In addition, philosophical questions concerning the nature, function, and value of literature itself will be discussed, in light of detailed examination of the selected works. Some such questions have to do with how it is that literary works express or communicate philosophical (social, political, etc.) ideas, compared to how philosophical essays, or political tracts, do, how literary works inform or illuminate readers, contribute to their understanding of themselves and their situations, and affect their lives in other ways. Other questions to be raised concern the nature of literary devices: metaphor, symbolism and allegory, and caricature. We will also discuss the theory of literary criticism. Probable requirements: three short papers and a final examination. (Walton)

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. (Boghossian)

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 interpretative 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 existence of the material world, theories of perception and of the nature of material objects, the problem of induction, 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)

414. Mathematical Logic. (3). (N.Excl).

A study of the syntax, semantics, applications, and limitations of elementary logic. Among the topics included are: (A) Truth - functions and sentential logic; symbolization of truth functional arguments; completeness of sentential logic. (B) Syntax and semantics of quantification theory; symbolization of quantification arguments; completeness of quantification theory; limitations of quantification theory. (C) Elements of set theory and the foundations of mathematics; undecidability and Church's theorem. (Tennant)

420. Philosophy of Science. A course in logic or permission of instructor. (3). (HU).

A systematic study of contemporary philosophy of science. We will discuss the following topics, among others. (1) The aims and methods of philosophy of science. What is philosophy of science and what is its relation to science itself? (2) The nature of scientific theories. What is the structure of a scientific theory? How are a theory's terms and assertations related to experience? (3) Theory change and confirmation. Can competing scientific theories be tested objectively against one another? Is there such a thing as "the scientific method," and can it be justified? Can we speak meaningfully about scientific progress? (4) Explanation, causation, laws, and probability. How do scientific theories explain? Must explanations involve laws or causal mechanisms? What kinds of probability are there? (5) Physics and metaphysics. What, if any, are the metaphysical assumptions of contemporary science? What role do metaphysical issues (such as the nature of laws or causation) play in the philosophy of science? (6) Philosophy of social science. Are the social sciences fundamentally different from the natural sciences, and, if so, in what ways? Midterm and final examinations. A term paper. (Railton)

428/Asian Studies 428/Econ. 428/Poli. Sci. 428/Soc. 426. China's Evolution Under Communism. Upperclass standing or permission of instructor. (4). (SS).

See Political Science 428. (Yahuda)

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)

475/Chinese 475/Hist. of Art 487/RC Hums. 475/Asian Studies 475. The Arts and Letters of China. May not be included in a concentration plan in philosophy. (4). (HU).

See Chinese 475. (Y. Feuerwerker)

480. Philosophy of Religion. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (HU).

The course this term will focus on the question of whether belief in God is justified, rational, in violation of our intellectual duties, etc. We will begin with a consideration of some nineteenth and twentieth century treatments of this topic (e.g., William Clifford and William James) and spend most of the time on comparatively recent arguments (e.g., Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, Kai Nielsen, Antony Flew, etc.). There will be a midterm exam, a final exam, and a term paper. (Mavrodes)


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