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, "Personal Decisions," will be offered Winter Term, 1991. 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. Finally, Philosophy 297, Honors Introduction, is taught by a member of the faculty to small groups of 25-30 students.
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.
151. Philosophical Dimensions of Personal Decisions.
Students are strongly advised not to take more than
two Philosophy Introductions. (3). (HU).
Many of the considerations that arise in personal decision-making are of a philosophical character, pertaining to questions about freedom and responsibility, autonomy, rationality and prudence, moral obligation, identity, and meaningfulness. This course is intended to provide an introduction to a number of basic concepts in philosophy and rational-choice theory through a sustained examination of the problems of making personal decisions. It is also hoped that this course will help clarify our thinking about choices and values, and students will be encouraged to apply concepts acquired to case-histories in decision-making. No background in philosophy is presupposed, although both the reading and class discussion will require a high degree of tolerance for philosophical inquiry. In addition to doing the reading and attending class regularly, students will be required to write several short papers and to take a midterm and final examination. (Railton)
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, some of the elements of formal (symbolic) logic, and some philosophy of language. There will be lectures, discussions, demonstrations of problem-solving techniques, and reading and writing exercises.
181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction. No
credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in
182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).
Section 001 and 002. 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.
Section 003. This course will introduce the student to a selection of important issues in several major areas of philosophy, including ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind. Fundamental questions about morality, our knowledge of the world, the nature of persons, and relations between the mental and the physical will be examined: What things are valuable in themselves? How are we to decide what we ought to do? Is there any such thing as "objective" morality? Is there a real world independent of our ways of thinking and talking about it? What kinds of evidence do we have about the world? What is evidence? How are thoughts, desires, intentions, etc. related to a person's physical and verbal behavior? Can we be mistaken about our own mental states? How can we know about those of others? Can machines think? We will discuss what a number of philosophers have said about these issues, including important historical figures such as Descartes, David Hume, and J.S. Mill, and a variety of contemporary philosophers. There will be three quizzes, and two papers. (Walton)
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.
202. Introduction to Philosophy. No credit
granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 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.
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 or are enrolled in 181, 182, 202, 232, 234, or 297. (3). (HU).
An introduction to the problems of philosophy. Topics include: skepticism about the external world; free will; the rationality of science and religion; the relation between mind and body; and the foundations of ethics. Readings from historical and contemporary sources. (Rosen)
232. Problems of Philosophy. No credit
granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 181, 182, 202, 231, 234, or 297. (4). (HU).
See Philosophy 231. (Rosen)
296. Honors Introduction to Logic. Honors
students or permission of instructor. Credit is granted for only
one of Phil. 203 or 296. (3). (N.Excl).
This course serves as an introduction to the basic concepts of deductive logic. Students will acquire a variety of standard logical skills, among them the ability to: (1) identify arguments, and isolate premises and conclusions; (2) distinguish between inductive and deductive reasoning; (3) express statements in propositional and first-order logical form; and (4) to identify valid inferences using formal procedures. We also consider some practical applications of logic in engineering and in computer science. The course will finish by addressing issues having to do with the limits of logic. This will include discussions of the significance of the completeness theorem for the first order predicate calculus and of Godel's incompleteness result for arithmetic. (Joyce)
297. Honors Introduction to Philosophy. Honors
students or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those
who have completed or are enrolled in 181, 182, 202, 231, 232, or 234. (3). (HU).
Section 001 and 003. An initiation into some of the characteristic aims, attitudes, and methods of philosophy. After some warming-up exercises on the nature of philosophical problems and arguments, we'll look at three major traditional texts (by Plato, Descartes, and Hume) and two major contemporary topics (freedom of the will and the nature of subjectivity). Then we'll conduct brief explorations of a wider range of current philosophical issues and current philosophical styles. Among other things, we shall be wondering how philosophy differs from other forms of inquiry, where its peculiar fascination and its peculiar inconclusiveness come from, and what would be lost if we stopped doing it.
Section 002. This course is an introduction to three central areas in contemporary philosophy: epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics. Epistemology is an attempt to establish general standards for rationality and knowledge, and to assess whether we miserable earth creatures measure up. Metaphysics is an attempt to find rational ways of answering questions about the world that science appears to leave open, for instance, questions about God, minds and bodies, and free will. And while science and metaphysics are both in the business of describing things in the world, ethics is an attempt to find rational ways of evaluating things in the world as good or bad, right or wrong. Although I will normally lecture, I will also make time each meeting for questions. Your grade will depend on three 10-page papers (roughly one per month), and class participation. (Lormand)
319(369). Philosophy of the Arts. Philosophy 202 or equivalent. No credit
granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Philosophy
419. (3). (Excl).
From the beginnings of philosophical reflection on art, claims about art's ability to move us, to engage our emotions, have been central to discussions of its special value and special dangers. How true are such claims? How is what art makes us feel both like and unlike its counterparts in firsthand experience? Curiously, art is also said to disengage us, to remove us from currents of emotion and desire that sweep us along in everyday life. How much truth is there to this second idea, and how can the same works inspire both talk of engagement and talk of disengagement? We'll look at several influential theories about art's emotional powers. We'll investigate how works of art differ in the ways they inspire and use audience emotion. And we'll apply what we learn to some issues in the aesthetic ethics of contemporary culture. Written work will be three short papers. (Hills)
345. Language and Mind. One philosophy
course. (3). (Excl).
An advanced introduction to some of the central problems in the Philosophy of Mind and Philosophy of Language. These will include some of the following: The mind/body problem, the nature and scope of self knowledge, the relation between thinking and speaking, and the nature of psychological explanation. A term paper and final exam will be required. (Boghossian)
355. Contemporary Moral
Problems. No credit granted to those who have completed
or are enrolled in 455. (4). (HU).
The course will explore the moral dimensions of the problem of racism, the ethical limitations of the market, and justifications for civil liberties and civil disobedience. Rival conceptions of individualism and community, freedom and social justice will be assessed through an examination of such issues as affirmative action, world hunger, property rights, pornography, the legal enforcement of morals, and surrogate motherhood. Several weeks will be devoted to a critical study of racism as a moral issue and as a social phenomenon. Emphasis will be placed on the relations between moral and political theories and social analysis. There will be three papers and a final examination. There will be more, and more difficult assignments that in previous versions of this course. Meets the LS&A race or ethnicity course requirement. Cost:3 WL:4 (Anderson)
363/RC Hums. 363. Philosophical Bases of Communism, Fascism, and Democracy. One Philosophy Introduction.
See RC Humanities 363. (C.Cohen)
369. Philosophy of Law. One philosophy
introduction. (3). (Excl).
Law is both an important institution of modern life, shaping how we plan and act, and also a focus of intense and vigorous philosophical debate. The philosophy of law lies at the intersection of moral, political, and social philosophy. It is the effort to apply philosophical methods and insights to some of the issues that are raised by the importance of law and legal systems. This course will examine questions about the nature and value of law. What, if anything, distinguishes law from the orders of a gangster? What is the connection between law, properly so called, and morality? Is there an obligation to obey the law? We will also examine questions raised by the processes of modern legal systems. What is the proper role of the judiciary, and how can judges justify their decisions? What distinguishes common law from statutory and constitutional law? In the process of investigating these questions, we will need to explore certain basic features of our own legal system, but I do not assume that students have any special familiarity with law or legal concepts. Cost:2 WL:4 (Wellman)
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 theviews 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). (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 the 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, and personal identity. 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. WL:1 (Loeb)
406. Aristotle. One Philosophy Introduction.
Required Texts: The Basic Works of Aristotle, edited by R. Mckeon. Aristotle: The Desire to Understand, by Jonathon Lear. Course Requirements: Two 5-6 page papers and a final exam. This course is a general survey of some of the central themes of Aristotle's philosophy: three weeks on logical doctrines in the Organon (Categories, Topics, Prior Analytics, Posterior Analytics ); six weeks on natural science (Physics, Parts of Animals, De Anima ); two weeks on ontology and theology ( Metaphysics ); and three weeks on ethics (Nicomachean Ethics ). Cost:2 WL:1 (Code)
415. Advanced Mathematical Logic. Phil.
414 or permission of instructor. No credit granted to those who
have completed or are enrolled in 417. (3). (Excl).
Metalogic differs from logic proper in that we study logical systems rather than using them. This course looks at metalogic and related areas as they have developed since the work of Turing, Church, and Godel in the 1930s. Probable topics include: types of infinity; computable and incomputable functions; Church's thesis; representability in formal languages; the Lowenheim-Skolem theorem; Godel's incompleteness theorems; and nonstandard models of arithmetic. Text: Boolos & Jeffrey, Computability & Logic (3rd edition), Cambridge University Press. (Yablo)
419. Philosophy of the Arts. No credit
granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in Phil. 319.
Will not satisfy 400-level course requirement for concentration
in philosophy. Not open to philosophy graduate students. (3).
See Philosophy 319. (Hills)
420. Philosophy of Science. A course in
logic or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
This course will introduce students to some of the basic issues in the philosophy of science. It seeks to deepen the student's understanding of the "scientific method," and to clarify the mechanisms whereby scientific theories predict and explain human experience. The course begins with an account of the rise and fall of Logical Positivism which served as the "standard" model of scientific practice in the first half of this century. This is followed by extended discussions of the following topics: the process whereby scientific hypotheses are confirmed by empirical evidence; the nature of scientific laws; the explanatory function of scientific theories; the realism/anti-realism debate about the status of unobservables. Time permitting, the course will close with a discussion of some issues particular to the philosophy of biology. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy. (Joyce)
422. Philosophy of Physics. One Philosophy
Introduction or Logic Introduction or 12 credits of science. (3).
The course will explore the fundamental philosophical problems which arise in the foundations of quantum mechanics. A sketch of the history of the development of quantum mechanics and an outline of the formal structure of the theory will be given. Then such questions as the nature and meaning of the uncertainty relations, the rise of the "Copenhagen Interpretation," various interpretations of the measurement process in quantum mechanics, the nature of so-called "quantum logic," the issue of hidden variables and alleged proofs of their non-existence, and the non-separability of systems in quantum mechanics will be discussed. (Sklar)
428/Asian Studies 428/Pol. Sci. 428/Soc. 426. China's
Evolution Under Communism. Upperclass standing or
permission of instructor. (4). (Excl).
See Political Science 428. (Lieberthal)
442. Topics in Political Philosophy. Phil.
363, 364, 366, or 441; or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).
The course will explore controversies surrounding three prominent ideals in modern political philosophy: equality, freedom, and community. What forms of social and political organization best embody these ideals? Is equality a matter of distributing external goods equally among persons, or does it more centrally concern eliminating relations of domination among persons? Can freedom be realized through role differentiation? Are community rights inimical to freedom, or necessary for its full realization? These and other questions will be considered by confronting liberal theories with feminist, socialist, and communitarian theories. Likely authors include Mill, Rawls, Sandel, Herzog, Walzer, Habermas, MacKinnon, Okin, and Hooks. Classes will combine lecture and discussion. There will be two papers and a final examination. Cost:3 WL:4 (Anderson)
450. Philosophy of Cognition. Two courses
in Philosophy. (3). (Excl).
This course is an advanced introduction to several problems in contemporary philosophy of cognitive science having to do with "inferential holism" – the view that virtually any premise can support virtually any conclusion, given the right auxiliary premises. We will discuss the distinction between modular and holistic mental processes, and its relevance for the prospects of cognitive science and philosophy of science. We will discuss solutions to the various "frame problems" discussed in philosophy and artificial intelligence (AI), based on traditional AI proposals, as well as on mental models, mental imagery, connectionism, and emotions. Finally, we will consider "meaning holism" – the view that the meaning of a linguistic or mental representation depends on virtually all of one's beliefs, so that virtually no two representations have the same meaning. Although I will normally lecture, I will also make time each meeting for questions. Your grade will depend on three 10-page papers and class participation. (Lormand)
455. Contemporary Moral Problems. Not
open to graduate students in philosophy. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in 355. (4). (Excl).
Intended primarily for graduate students outside the philosophy department. Course content is the same as in Philosophy 355. Philosophy 455 requires longer and more substantial papers than those expected in Philosophy 355. Cost:3 WL:4 (Anderson)
462. British Empiricism. One Philosophy
Introduction. (3). (Excl).
This course will be an examination of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, the three major English language philosophical writers of the early modern period. The course will include a brief survey of Locke's Essay, a more in-depth look at Berkeley's Principles and Three Dialogues, and an examination of several of Hume's major writings, including the Treatise, the Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, and the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. The course will concentrate on epistemological and metaphysical issues but will also focus on the broader philosophical implications of these topics. Students should have had some previous work in philosophy, preferably in the history of philosophy or epistemology. Two papers and a final examination will be required. (Immernahr)
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). (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)
481. Metaphysics. One Philosophy Introduction.
A survey for advanced students of some problems in metaphysics, focussing on challenges to naturalism in recent philosophy. Topics include: the fact/value distinction; causation and modality; the autonomy of the mental; and the nature of mathematical truth. Prerequisites: two courses in philosophy or the permission of the instructor. Background in symbolic logic is recommended but not essential. (Rosen)
505/Chinese 505. Modern
Chinese Thought. 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. Active participation in discussions is expected of all students. Open to upperclassmen and graduate students. Permission of instructor is required. One substantial seminar paper is required. (Munro)
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