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, 1990. It will be taught by a faculty member 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 organizations, 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 introduction and 181 vary in their instructional format. Philosophy 202 (three 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 student teaching assistants in sections of approximately 25 students. Philosophy 231 (three hours) and 232 (four hours) can be expected to cover similar issues and texts, but in a different format; 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 has yet a different format. It is smaller, limited to 50 students, and is taught in a combination lecture/discussion format three times a week.
The Department offers three elementary introductory courses in logic: 180, 201 and 203. 180 and 201 both cover some informal logic, while 203 introduces students to symbolic logic. 180 is taught by faculty in a section of 40-50, while 201 and 203 are 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, 1990: Philosophy 355, "Contemporary Moral Problems," and Philosophy 371, "Existentialism."
154. Law and Philosophy. Students are strongly advised not to take more than two Philosophy Introductions. (3). (HU).
A discussion of fundamental issues in the philosophy of law: such as (1) Is there a moral obligation to obey the law and, if so, what are its limits? (2) What is the moral justification for punishing people who break the law? (3) What limits are there to the justifiable use of legal coercion? The course is intended for students who have no prior experience in philosophy. Two papers and one exam. [WL:1]
180. Introductory Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (3). (N.Excl).
This is a course designed to improve critical reasoning skills and provide an introduction to formal logic. We will study some of the problems and fallacies which arise in informal reasoning and some of the elements of formal (symbolic) logic. Evaluation will be through quizzes, problem sets, short papers and a final exam. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Peterson)
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 is a general introduction to philosophy taught by a faculty member to a class that is kept small enough so that there can be a significant discussion. The specific content varies with the person offering the course which was, unfortunately, not known when the Course Guide went to press. For a general idea of the sort of thing the course is likely to include see the descriptions for Philosophy 202 and 231. (Bergmann)
Section 003 – Philosophy 181 will be an introduction to some of the basic problems of philosophy. These include questions concerning: the nature of the mind – is the mind (or soul) something distinct from the body? If so, how is this to be reconciled with a commitment to science and its methods? The nature of personal identity - what makes something a person? And what is it for different stages of some thing to be stages of the SAME person? Freedom of the will – is our sense of our own free agency defensible in light of modern science? The nature of knowledge – can we be justified in holding some of our most fundamental everyday beliefs or must we simply accept them on faith? The nature of morality – are moral judgments capable of truth and falsehood? Is there any reason why we should act morally? Course requirements: a midterm, final, and two short papers. Class meetings will have a lecture/discussion format and student participation will be encouraged. (Boghossian)
201. Introduction to Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 180 or 201. (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. [WL:1]
202. Introduction to Philosophy. No credit granted to those who have completed 181, 182, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (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. [WL:1]
203. Introduction to Symbolic Logic. Credit is granted for only one of Phil. 203 or 296. (3). (N.Excl).
Common sense classifies arguments as good or bad according to a variety of formal and informal criteria. Roughly speaking, we count an argument good if it makes plausible assumptions which exhibit its conclusion as likely to be true. Though the common sense classification is familiar and useful, sometimes we want something more precise and more amenable to systematic investigation. Thus we idealize from the intuitive notion of a "good" argument and call an argument VALID if it is impossible for its assumptions to be true without its conclusion being true as well. Logic can now be defined as the study of validity. As it turns out, this study is best pursued by constructing artificial languages designed to replicate in purer form the logically relevant features of natural languages like English. Symbolic logic, the subject of this course, is the study of validity by preference to these formal languages. Students meet in sections of about 25 students each. Each section meets three hours per week and has a lecture/discussion format, with considerable student participation. Course requirements and grading vary from instructor to instructor, but normally there are weekly homework assignments and periodic quizzes.
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 designed to introduce students to several of the great works in the history of Western Philosophy. The aim of the course is not to provide a whirlwind survey of the entire history of philosophy, but rather to focus upon selected works that are representative of important differing approaches to certain central and persistent philosophical problems. The point is to allow the students to go beyond merely reading and hearing about the works of great philosophers, to actually interpreting, analyzing, and critically evaluating the works themselves – the principles held and positions taken by these philosophers. In lecture, I will provide some historical background to each author and suggest interpretations and evaluations of selected portions of the assigned texts. Students will be expected not merely to record my interpretations or evaluations, but to begin to be able to read, interpret, and evaluate the texts for themselves. Thus the required reading should not be viewed as subsidiary to the lectures and discussions, but as the focus of the course. Requirements: Besides the reading, there will be three five-page papers. Topics will be assigned. Emphasis will be placed on the development of the students' own interpretive and critical ability, their ability to recognize and evaluate arguments, as well as their ability to formulate and defend their own views. There will be a final exam unless the grade point average for the class, as based on the first two papers, is B+ or better – in which case there will be no final!! [WL:1] (Taschek)
232. Problems of Philosophy. No credit granted to those who have completed 181, 182, 202, 231, 234, or 297. (4). (HU).
See description for Philosophy 231. Besides the reading, there will be two five-page papers plus one ten-page paper. [WL:1] (Taschek)
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 – An introduction to some of the main problems of philosophy. Topics will include: Skepticism and our knowledge of the external world; the roles of faith and reason in intellectual life; the relation between mind and body; the nature of morality and its relation to science; and further topics to be developed by the class. Readings will be drawn largely from contemporary sources. Students will write several short papers (2-4 pp.) and one more substantial term paper (8-12 pp.) [Cost:1] [WL:1] (Rosen)
Section 002 – This course will introduce students to philosophy through an examination of some major philosophical issues and problems, with some attention given also to the history of philosophical work on those problems. Examples of the problems to be dealt with are: free will, determinism, and moral responsibility; the possibility of objectivity in ethical discourse; the nature of our knowledge of the physical world; the nature of the mind and its relation to the body. Readings will be derived primarily from modern works, but some historical texts will also be included. (White)
Section 003 – This is an Honors introduction to a few diverse contemporary philosophical problems. Readings will be from the collection by Edwards and Pap, A MODERN INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY (3rd Edition), and the topics will be determinism, freedom, and moral responsibility; skepticism and the problem of induction; body and mind; the nature of moral judgments; the existence of God; perception and the physical world; and meaning, verification, and the possibility of metaphysics. Extensive, careful reading will be required. There will be little lecturing, and we will expect to benefit from active discussion on the part of everyone. The other requirements for the course are four short papers (c. 5 pp. each) and a final exam. [Cost:1] (Gibbard)
345. Language and Mind. One philosophy course. (3). (Excl).
"Language and Mind" is a rigorous and demanding introduction to a range of contemporary issues at the interface of the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. The overarching concern is the relationship between thinking and speaking – the extent to which our understanding of one requires and informs our under- standing of the other. The course has been designed especially to prepare undergraduate concentrators in philosophy for serious upper division and perhaps eventually graduate level work in the areas discussed, but should be of interest to any serious student interested in the relation between thought and language. The reading consists of a number of seminal papers (collected in a course pack) by twentieth century philosophers working primarily in the Anglo-American analytic tradition (e.g., Frege, Russell, Donnellan, Kripke, Perry, Grice, Davidson, and Burge) and sections of two books (by Kripke). Besides the reading, which is essential, each student will be expected to write three 10 page papers. Topics will be assigned, though students can write on a topic of their own with permission. Class participation is very strongly encouraged. Although the only official prerequisite is one previous philosophy course, a stronger background in central philosophical areas (metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind) will be the most useful, as will a familiarity with (the notation of) symbolic logic. (Taschek)
355. Contemporary Moral Problems. No credit granted to those who have completed 455. (4). (Excl).
This course will explore rival individualistic and communitarian notions of freedom, equality and social justice through a consideration of issues such as racism, sexism and affirmative action, the legal enforcement of morality, property rights, and surrogate motherhood. There will be an emphasis on placing moral issues within a broader social and political context. In addition to three papers and a final exam, all students will be required to give a short presentation in discussion section. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Patterson)
357/Env. St. 408. Ecology: A Philosophical Perspective. (3). (Excl).
This course explores some of the philosophical issues associated with ecological concerns. Some of the questions to be considered are: Are human beings sent of nature? Do animals, trees, rocks, etc., have rights? Is all legitimate human concern about ecology based on a concern for human welfare? Is there a significant religious contribution to thinking about ecology. Grades will probably be based largely on a midterm exam, a final exam and a term paper [Cost:2] [WL:1] (Mavrodes)
363/RC Hums. 363. Philosophical Bases of Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. One Philosophy Introduction. (4). (HU).
See RC Humanities 363. (Cohen)
371. Existentialism. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).
No other philosophic movement has raised issues and questions as evocative and mortal as has been done by Existentialism. Solitude, Anguish, Authenticity, The Death of God, Self-deception, Nausea, The Will to Power, The Absurd, Fascism, Nihilism, and in spite of that the birth of a new Humanity and Culture! We will try to understand what authors like Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Kafka, Hesse, Rilke, Gide, Malraux, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus and Handke wrote and thought about these matters. The course will require hard work and hard thinking. If you feel very frail you probably should not take it. Two papers and a final examination. (Bergmann)
385. Continental Philosophy Since 1900. One course in philosophy. (3). (Excl).
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 1900, 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 Frankfort 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 investigations of subjectivity, for work in the social sciences, and 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). (Excl).
This course will examine in detail some of the main theories put forward by the major philosophers of the period, especially concerning the nature and extent of human knowledge, and the relation of mind to body. The reasonings behind their theories will be examined, and those theories themselves will be assessed for truth from our contemporary standpoint. The texts covered will be selected portions of Rene Descartes' MEDITATIONS ON FIRST PHILOSOPHY, John Lock's ESSAY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING, Gerge Berkeley's PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE, David Hume's ENQUIRY CONCERNING THE HUMAN UNDERSTANDING and Immanuel Kant's PROLEGOMENA (all available in cheap paperback editions). There may also be an accompanying course pack. Assessment for the course will be by two papers and an end of term examination. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Carruthers)
401. Undergraduate Honors Seminar. Open to Honors concentrators in Philosophy and others by permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
Some central questions in the theory of value will be intensively investigated. Do values differ in kind, or are they all homogeneous? What difference does the answer make to our practices? How can we criticize claims that a particular evaluative distinction is genuine? The seminar will focus on the case of aesthetic values are, how they differ from moral or other sorts of values, and how we can come to know them. But the very idea of the "aesthetic" as a genuine category of values has been challenged. Are aesthetic distinctions, such as that between "fine art" and "popular culture" merely expressions of an attempt by one social class to assert its superiority over other classes? How are aesthetic evaluations influenced by class and gender-based ideologies? Readings will be selected from Nietzsche, Kant, Dewey, Mill, and Collingwood, as well as contemporary sources in philosophy, sociology, and art criticism. Seminar discussions will proceed on the basis of short papers written by the students on assigned topics, and on infrequent lectures. Each student should expect to write 3-4 short papers during the term, which will be the basis for evaluation of course performance. [Cost:2] [WL:3] (Anderson)
406. Aristotle. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).
This course will be a survey of some of the major aspects of Aristotle's philosophy. It will include an overview of the outlines of his thought, and a close examination of particular parts of it, notably his ethics and his metaphysics.
414. Mathematical Logic. (3). (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. The text is FORMAL LOGIC by R.Jeffrey. [WL:1]
420. Philosophy of Science. A course in logic or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
It is widely believed that scientific theories should be based on empirical evidence; but since scientific theories go beyond available evidence, all arguments from evidence to theory are logically invalid. This fact raises a number of important philosophical questions. Are scientific theories based on evidence, and if so in what sense? What kinds of arguments count as good arguments in science? What distinguishes genuine sciences from pseudosciences (e.g., astrology)? And why should we think science is better than pseudoscience? Are scientific beliefs more rational than unscientific ones, and if so, why? To answer the latter question, we need to consider the goals of science; is science aiming to discover the truth, or is it aiming at something else? We will study the three different approaches to this complex of questions which have been most influential in the 20th century – those of Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, and the Bayesian movement. We shall read Popper's classic LOGIC OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY, Kuhn's STRUCTURE OF SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTIONS, and a selection of recent Bayesian writings. There will be three or four short (three-five pp.) papers, and a take-home final. [Cost:2] [WL:No overrides will be given] (Maher)
428/Asian Studies 428/Econ. 428/Pol. Sci. 428/Soc. 426. China's Evolution Under Communism. Upperclass standing or permission of instructor. (4). (Excl).
See Political Science 428. (Oksenberg)
433. History of Ethics. Phil. 361 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
The modern period in moral philosophy began with Thomas Hobbes, whose LEVIATHAN (1651) shook the traditional foundations of ethics and forced those who would defend ethics against (what they saw to be) Hobbes' nihilism to do so in a broadly naturalistic framework that took serious account of recent advances in science. Thus began a period of exciting and fruitful moral philosophy that stretched through the end of the eighteenth century and into the nineteenth. Indeed, even debates now current in moral philosophy almost always can be traced back to origins in this period. This course will be a study of several of the central writers and texts of this "enlightenment" period. In addition to Hobbes, we shall read Hutcheson, Butler, Hume, Kant, Bentham and Rousseau. We shall end with a radical critic of this broad tradition: Nietzsche. Course requirements: short paper, long paper, final exam. [Cost:2] [WL:1] (Darwall)
439. Aesthetics. One Philosophy Introduction or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
What is art, and what sets art apart from other human activities? What is AESTHETIC INTEREST, and how does it differ from the other main forms of human concern? Why does art matter? What should we make of the strange blends of seriousness and playfulness that turn up in art? Or do all such big questions doom themselves to shallowness by imposing a false unity on the vast range of activities we count as art, the vast range of concerns we count as aesthetic? Certain pervasive ways we humans have of making sense to each other – play-acting, image-making, metaphor, and so on – take especially elaborate and ambitious forms in art. How should these pervasive ways of making sense be analyzed? And how are they transformed when art gets its hands on them? Do artists have any special responsibilities to the public? Do critics have any special responsibilities to the creative aims of the artists they discuss? Do contemporary audiences have any special responsibilities to the art of the past? Such questions belong fully as much to criticism and to artistic modern practice to give them credible answers. The course takes a careful critical look at some of the contributions philosophers have made to our understanding of art and the aesthetic. IT IS NOT AN ART APPRECIATION COURSE. Written work will be three short papers. If a student has a strong background in one of the arts or a strong background in the history of ideas, the prerequisite of one philosophy course will usually be waived. (Hills)
455. Contemporary Moral Problems. Not open to graduate students in philosophy. No credit granted to those who have completed 355. (4). (Excl).
Intended primarily for graduate students outside the philosophy department. Course content is the same as Philosophy 355, but longer, more substantial papers are required. [Cost:2] [WL:4] (Patterson)
474. Nineteenth-Century Philosophy: Hegel and Marx and the Origin of Social Science. Phil. 389 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
This course will concentrate principally on those main works of Hegel and Marx that shaped the origin of the social science, but not only those. Among the readings will be selections from Hegel's PHENOMENOLOGY and from the PHILOSOPHY OF RIGHT, and selections from GERMAN IDEOLOGY, the GRUNDRISSE and DAS KAPITAL by Marx. No previous knowledge of philosophy is presupposed. Conversation between the course instructor and students will be encouraged both inside and outside the classroom. [WL:1] (Bergmann)
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)
477. Theory of Knowledge. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).
An intensive survey of recent work in epistemology intended for advanced undergraduates and graduate students. Possible topics include: the analysis of knowledge and epistemic justification; responses to skepticism; transcendental arguments; 'naturalized' epistemology; evolutionary epistemology; logical and mathematical knowledge; self-knowledge; and the rationality of theism. A solid background in philosophy, including Philosophy 201 (Logic) and Philosophy 383 (Knowledge and Reality) is strongly recommended. Students will be expected to write either two short papers (10-15 pp.) or one substantial term paper (20-30 pp.). [Cost:1] [WL:1] (Rosen)
480. Philosophy of Religion. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).
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. [Cost:1] [WL:1] (Mavrodes)
482. Philosophy of Mind. One Philosophy Introduction. (3). (Excl).
Philosophy 482 will look at central problems in the theory of mental content. Sample questions include: Are content properties naturalistic properties? Are they, for example, reducible to causal/teleological properties? Do they supervene on purely internal properties? If not, must we, and can we, introduce a notion of content that does? What role, if any, do content properties play in the causation of behavior? Can content properties be eliminated from our most refined accounts of the aetiology of behavior and cognitive activity? (Boghossian)
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