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Winter Academic Term 2004 Course Guide

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Courses in Philosophy


This page was created at 7:18 PM on Wed, Jan 21, 2004.

Winter Academic Term, 2004 (January 6 - April 30)



PHIL 180. Introductory Logic.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Theodore Michael Korzukhin

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. Credit is granted for only one of PHIL 180 or 201.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course is an elementary introduction to logic. Topics include the basic concepts, such as validity, consistency, and truth. The basic principles of modern deductive logic will be covered, including an introduction to formal languages and the tree method.

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PHIL 180. Introductory Logic.

Section 002.

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

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. Credit is granted for only one of PHIL 180 or 201.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course is designed both to improve critical reasoning skills that could be of use in a wide range of disciplines and careers, and to provide an introduction to formal logic. The course examines some of the problems and fallacies which arise in informal reasoning, some of the elements of formal (symbolic) logic, and logical concepts used in the analysis and criticism of arguments. This course may also give some attention to issues in branches of philosophy germane to logic, for example, the theory of knowledge, philosophy of language, and metaphysics. There will be lectures, demonstrations of problem-solving techniques, and a variety of exercises. The course is limited to 50 students, which should permit opportunity for discussion. Texts and methods of evaluation to be determined.

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PHIL 180. Introductory Logic.

Section 003.

Instructor(s): Stephen Petersen (spetey@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. Credit is granted for only one of PHIL 180 or 201.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This is a course designed to improve critical reasoning skills and provide an introduction to formal logic. We will analyze the reasoning in passages drawn from college-level texts in various fields, learn some formal systems for representing and criticizing such reasoning, and master the logical concepts used in the analysis and criticism of arguments. This section of Introductory Logic will be based on computerized exercises and tutorials. Students will do weekly assignments at public computing sites. No prior experience with computers is needed.

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PHIL 181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction.

Section 001, 002.

Instructor(s): Paula L. Watson (plwatson@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course will provide an introduction to some of the basic questions in philosophy and canvas possible solutions to those questions through the use of primary texts — including work by Plato, Descartes, J.S. Mill, and John Perry.

Some examples of the problems to be covered include:

  • What is the nature of morality, and the source of moral obligation?
  • What is the relationship between morality and religion?
  • Is there a rational basis for belief in God?
  • What kinds of arguments could be offered to establish God's existence?
  • How do we distinguish certain knowledge from false belief?
  • What makes you you? In other words, what constitutes personal identity?
  • What ought to be the limits of government interference into person's lives?
  • What limits should be imposed upon persons' exercise of freedom?
  • What explains the oppression of women and what should be done about it?

Students will be required to take a midterm and a final exam as well as write two short papers. Class participation is required.

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PHIL 181. Philosophical Issues: An Introduction.

Section 003.

Instructor(s): Stephen Petersen (spetey@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 182, 202, 231, 232, 234, or 297.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course will cover some of the major problems of philosophy, with a special emphasis on their motivation — that is, on why we worry about them in the first place. Some of the problems will include:

  • Should you vote for the mayor soft on crime or hard on crime?
  • Do criminals deserve harsh sentences for doing something wrong?
  • What makes something right or wrong in the first place?
  • If all our actions are determined by a combination of heredity and environment, how can anyone deserve punishment or reward for those actions?
  • Are people just complex physical objects, subject to natural laws, or is there something non-physical about the mind?
  • Could a machine ever be intelligent?
  • What makes for a good reason to believe an answer to one of these previous questions?
  • ... or a good reason to believe, or not believe, in the Abrahamic God?
  • ... or a good reason to believe you aren't in the Matrix?

We'll read both classical and contemporary authors on these issues.

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PHIL 196. First Year Seminar.

Section 001 — Aesthetics, History, and the Value of Art.

Instructor(s): Claudia Moscovici (cmoscovi@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Only first-year students, including those with sophomore standing, may pre-register for First-Year Seminars. All others need permission of instructor. (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

First-Year Seminar

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This seminar is for students who enjoy art, and are curious about why they enjoy it. Aesthetics — a name derived from the Greek word aesthesis meaning "sense experience" — concerns itself with the study of art.

Aesthetic philosophy seeks to understand the principles that underlie our value judgments:

  • What is beauty?
  • Is it objective in any way?
  • How is aesthetic pleasure related to perception?
  • What is talent or genius?
  • What makes something be art?

Such philosophical questions also have a historical dimension, and cannot be answered only in the abstract. Thus, philosophy can benefit from art history.

Art historians attempt to answer such questions as:

  • What constitutes artistic value for a given period, group or set of artists?
  • What perceptual/aesthetic problems were specific artists working on?
  • Who sponsored them, and why?
  • How did critics respond to them?

This seminar introduces students to the question of artistic value from a dual perspective, informed by philosophy and art history. Perhaps in this way we can better understand our own responses to art.

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PHIL 196. First Year Seminar.

Section 002 — Thinking and Speaking about Thinking and Speaking.

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

Prerequisites & Distribution: Only first-year students, including those with sophomore standing, may pre-register for First-Year Seminars. All others need permission of instructor. (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

First-Year Seminar

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

First, think about language, for example saying that snow is white (perhaps by uttering the sentence, "Snow is white.") OK, now think about thought, for example thinking that snow is white (by...well, how DO we think, anyway?) There is an intimate connection between the two. Thinking feels a lot like speaking to oneself in a kind of inner language, and speaking in a public language like English feels a lot like giving voice to one's already formed thoughts. That suggests that the connection between thought and language has something to do with meaning. But it's surprisingly hard to explain how this meaning connection works. Here's one popular idea — words get their meaning from the meaningful thoughts of the speakers who use them. (But, then, how can communication through language be possible? Smith cannot look inside Jones' head; so if the meaning of Jones' words come from his inner thoughts, how is Smith able to understand those words?) Well, here is another idea — I'm only able to have any meaningful thoughts at all because I've learned a language with which I can frame those thoughts. (But that implies that babies and animals, who do not really speak a language, have no thoughts!) Hmmm, how puzzling.

We'll look at some important work on this subject by modern philosophers and perhaps a few psychologists and biologists. Course work will consist of reading quizzes, a midterm exam, and a small number of short papers.

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PHIL 201. Introduction to Logic.

Section 001, 002, 003, 004.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. Credit is granted for only one of PHIL 180 or 201.

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

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2004/winter/phil/201/001.nsf

This course aims to give students a thorough understanding of the fundamental forms of reasoning and rational argument, and to improve critical reasoning skills that could be of use in a wide range of disciplines and careers. The course examines some of the problems and fallacies which arise in informal reasoning and logical concepts used in the analysis and criticism of arguments. Some elements of formal (symbolic) logic might be introduced. Though students will be expected to master some technical detail, the course emphasizes informal logical techniques applicable to problem solving and argument in any area of inquiry. Both deductive and inductive patterns of argument will be examined. The small section size (25 students) is conducive to informality and considerable student participation. There will also be lectures, demonstrations of problem-solving techniques, and a variety of exercises. Normally, there are weekly assignments and short, periodic quizzes.

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PHIL 201. Introduction to Logic.

Section 005, 006.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. Credit is granted for only one of PHIL 180 or 201.

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

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2004/winter/phil/201/005.nsf

This course aims to give students a thorough understanding of the fundamental forms of reasoning and rational argument, and to improve critical reasoning skills that could be of use in a wide range of disciplines and careers. The course examines some of the problems and fallacies which arise in informal reasoning and logical concepts used in the analysis and criticism of arguments. Some elements of formal (symbolic) logic might be introduced. Though students will be expected to master some technical detail, the course emphasizes informal logical techniques applicable to problem solving and argument in any area of inquiry. Both deductive and inductive patterns of argument will be examined. The small section size (25 students) is conducive to informality and considerable student participation. There will also be lectures, demonstrations of problem-solving techniques, and a variety of exercises. Normally, there are weekly assignments and short, periodic quizzes.

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PHIL 202. Introduction to Philosophy.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 181, 182, 231, 232, 234, or 297.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course introduces students to philosophy through an examination of some central philosophical problems. Topics might include:

  • Are minds immaterial spirits, or are minds brains and hence nothing but complex physical objects?
  • If human actions are causally determined by heredity and environment, is there any moral responsibility?
  • Is abortion, or euthanasia, or suicide, morally permissible?
  • Is the nature and extent of our moral obligations determined by our feelings, self-interest, social convention, Divine commands, or something else?
  • What are the reasons for preferring one kind of social, political, and economic organization to another?
  • Are there good reasons for believing that God exists?
  • How do we know that anything exists, other than ourselves?

In addressing these questions, some sections focus on major historical figures, e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, and Kant; others focus on writings of twentieth-century philosophers. Requirements usually include a number of short, critical papers.

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PHIL 232. Problems of Philosophy.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): J David Velleman (velleman@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 181, 182, 202, 231, 234, or 297.

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

Course Homepage: http://www.umich.edu/~velleman/232/

This course is open to students from all schools and all years; First-year undergraduates are welcome. No prior acquaintance with philosophy is assumed.

The course will introduce students to philosophy through a number of issues that have puzzled philosophers over the centuries. Can we know anything about the world beyond our own experience? Is it possible for a person to survive after his body dies? If not, is dying something that we should fear or want to avoid? Are we justified in punishing wrongdoers? Students will be helped to develop skills in critical thinking and argumentation. Graded work will include a final exam and four short papers.

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PHIL 297. Honors Introduction to Philosophy.

Section 001 — [Honors].

Instructor(s): Brian MacPherson (macp@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Honors students or permission of instructor. (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 181, 182, 202, 231, 232, or 234.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

A critical examination of various theories of human nature, the concept of personhood, and proofs for the existence of God.

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PHIL 297. Honors Introduction to Philosophy.

Section 002.

Instructor(s): Roger Jones

Prerequisites & Distribution: Honors students or permission of instructor. (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 181, 182, 202, 231, 232, or 234.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Philosophy is famous for dealing with fundamental questions, such as: What is the status of physical reality? Is there more to us humans than the physical existence of our bodies? (And what about animals?) What is the "meaning" of our lives? What is the nature and origin of our moral obligations? Are there good reasons for believing that God exists, and, if so, what knowledge can we have of God's nature?

Philosophy is also famous for never providing final answers to these questions! But the activity of questioning itself is important, for we all, when it comes right down to our daily actions, live out practical answers to these questions. In the people we associate with and how we association with them, in what we read and what music we listen to, in our jobs and leisure activities, in all the ways we spend our time and money, we are living out answers to deep philosophical questions. By stating the questions with care, philosophy helps us see what our answers really are. Then we can see whether we like them, whether they are consistent with one another, whether we want to go on living in accord with them.

In selections from Daniel Kolak and Raymond Martin's book, The Experience of Philosophy (5th ed.), we will find lots of deep philosophical questions and some people's answers to them. Our job will not be so much to learn their answers, but rather to confront the questions and practice their style of answering, a style that includes carefully linking ideas and often explicitly considering objections to one's views.

Writing for the course will consist of weekly short papers (2 pages) and four exams.

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PHIL 297. Honors Introduction to Philosophy.

Section 003.

Instructor(s): Brian MacPherson (macp@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Honors students or permission of instructor. (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 181, 182, 202, 231, 232, or 234.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

A critical examination of various theories of human nature, the concept of personhood, and proofs for the existence of God.

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PHIL 303. Introduction to Symbolic Logic.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Brian C MacPherson (macp@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (3). (MSA). (BS). May not be repeated for credit. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 203, 296 or 414.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Historically, at least two concerns have driven the development of formal systems of logic to make explicit principles of good reasoning and to systematize inquiry in mathematics and the physical sciences. Central to these concerns is the idea that good reasoning is "truth-preserving" reasoning. ("Truth-preserving" reasoning cannot fail to take one from true premises to true conclusions.) One goal we have in the study of logic is to get a grasp on which forms of argument are truth-preserving and which are not. In this course, we study two simple yet powerful systems of formal logic — "sentential" logic, which takes sentences as the basic unit of logical analysis, and "predicate" logic, which takes predicates and terms as the basic units. In the course of learning these systems, we will have the chance to apply formal techniques in analyzing ordinary, garden-variety arguments, and in solving various practical problems. After mastering these logics, we'll raise some important questions concerning their power and dependability. In order to answer our questions we will have to develop a "meta-theory" for the systems we've studied. And along the way, we will learn to employ the extremely important tool of mathematical induction. No previous training in logic is required. Frequent homework assignments, two midterm examinations, and a final examination.

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PHIL 340. Mind, Matter, and Machines.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Eric P Lormand (lormand@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course is about the mind/body problem and related philosophical challenges to our understanding of human minds. The main aim is for students to understand the difficulties with a number of initially attractive models of mind — as brain, computer, soul, and social construct — and why this matters to our conceptions of ourselves. Each of these models has been the subject of some of the most lively and accessible works in contemporary philosophy; we will supplement these with some ingenious science fiction short stories and films. We will also have several competing group projects "designing" major functions of minds, such as action, belief, concepts, desire, emotion, consciousness, and language. Your grade will depend on several very very short papers, on your contribution to the group projects, and on class participation.

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PHIL 345. Language and Mind.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Peter Ludlow (ludlow@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy course. (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This course will explore several interrelated issues in the study of mind and language. Our starting point will be a distinction that Noam Chomsky has made between two distinct conceptions of language — one according to which it is a social object established by convention for purposes of communication, and the other according to which it is a faculty that is part of our biological endowment and is not really for anything. We will consider the arguments for and against these positions and will then take up some of the issues that arise if one adopts Chomsky's conception of language. In particular we will take up questions regarding the relation between language and thought, between language and reality, and questions regarding the evolution and development of language. Finally, we will integrate this discussion with work by contemporary philosophers of language and mind, including Davidson, Putnam, Burge, Kripke, and Fodor.

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PHIL 355. Contemporary Moral Problems.

Section 001 — Meets with PHIL 455.001.

Instructor(s): Christopher Knapp (cknapp@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 455.

R&E

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

In contemporary life, we are faced with many questions that have moral dimensions, only some of which may be obvious to us. In this course, we will delve into the moral dimensions of a range of contemporary issues, including affirmative action, freedom of expression, abortion, recreational drug use, poverty, civil disobedience, and the treatment of animals. In the process, we will also be examining different conceptions of morality and justice, and the presuppositions about human nature, society, and value that underlie them. Throughout the course, we will be concerned with issues of race and gender and how these categories interplay with the moral issues that we grapple with in contemporary society.

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PHIL 360(475) / ASIAN 360 / HISTART 387 / RCHUMS 375. The Arts and Letters of China.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Shuen-Fu Lin (lsf@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: (4). (HU). May not be repeated for credit. May not be included in a concentration plan in philosophy.

Foreign Lit

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2004/winter/asian/360/001.nsf

See ASIAN 360.001.

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PHIL 366. Introduction to Political Philosophy.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Peter A Railton (prailton@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction. (4). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Political philosophy is concerned not only with questions about how political authority might be justified, but also with broad questions about the nature of a just society, the moral foundations of our conceptions of justice, and the basic characteristics of humans and their social relations. We will examine key texts by a number of important figures in the history of political philosophy (including Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Bentham, Mill, and Marx) as well as influential works by contemporary writers (including Rawls and Nozick), with the goal of reaching a critical understanding of central issues and concepts. Midterm and final examination. Term paper.

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PHIL 385. Continental Philosophy Since 1900.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Michelle A Kosch (mkosch@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One course in philosophy. (3). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Survey of 19th and 20th century Eurpoean philosophy with some emphasis on social/political philosophy. Readings from Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Rickert, Weber, Freud, Lukacs, Husserl, Horkheimer, Adorno, Habermas, Foucault.

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PHIL 389. History of Philosophy: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Martin Lin

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction. (4). (HU). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

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 and interpretive issues that arise in conjunction with the philosophers' works. The philosophical issues addressed are drawn from epistemology and metaphysics: 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, free will and determinism, the self, the relationship between mind and body, and personal identity. Students are evaluated on the basis of two or three papers and midterm and final examinations. There are three hours of lecture and one hour of discussion per week.

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PHIL 397. Topics in Philosophy.

Section 001 — Classical Chinese Philosophy. [3 credits]. Meets with PHIL 463.001 and ASIAN 380.005.

Instructor(s): Christoph Harbsmeier

Prerequisites & Distribution: Permission of concentration advisor and instructor. (1-4). (Excl). May be elected twice for credit. Repetition requires permission of the concentration advisor.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

See PHIL 463.001.

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PHIL 399. Independent Study.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction and permission of instructor. (1-4). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May be elected twice for credit. Repetition requires permission of the concentration advisor.

Credits: (1-4).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

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

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PHIL 402. Undergraduate Seminar in Philosophy.

Section 001 — Global Justice.

Instructor(s): Elizabeth S Anderson (eandersn@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Open to junior and senior concentrators and to others by permission of concentration advisor. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

Upper-Level Writing

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

The topic for this seminar is global justice. Most theories of justice focus on justice within states. Yet the greatest inequalities exist between, not within states. Do people in rich countries have obligations to help those in poor countries? Do states themselves have positive duties to one another? Is it possible to arrive at objective standards of global justice, given widespread cultural disagreements about justice and individual wellbeing? Is it wrong to pressure foreign cultures to become more democratic, respect individual liberties, or adopt other values they deem alien? We will consider this question through classic and contemporary readings, paying attention to current controversies over globalization and free trade. This course can be used to satisfy the Upper-Level Writing Requirement.

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PHIL 402. Undergraduate Seminar in Philosophy.

Section 002 — Freedom and Moral Responsibility.

Instructor(s): Michelle A Kosch (mkosch@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Open to junior and senior concentrators and to others by permission of concentration advisor. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

Upper-Level Writing

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

What are the presuppositions, empirical and metaphysical, of justified moral praise and blame? Could a psychological (or metaphysical) theory entail that no one is ever to blame for anything? Would anything have to change in our practices (e.g., of punishment) if that were the case? Readings will be taken from contemporary and historical sources.

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PHIL 402. Undergraduate Seminar in Philosophy.

Section 003 — The Self.

Instructor(s): Ian N Proops (iproops@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Open to junior and senior concentrators and to others by permission of concentration advisor. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

Upper-Level Writing

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

Course Homepage: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~iproops/practice/self.html

The seminar examines a variety of philosophical questions relating to the concept of the self or the person. We will examine such questions as: What makes someone the same person over time? Is a person identical with his or her brain? Does the notion of a multiple personality make sense? Is the concept of a person culture-dependent? Do I in any sense choose who I am? The required text is John Perry ed., Personal Identity., but further readings will be made available in a course pack or on line. A full syllabus is available on my web page http://www-personal.umich.edu/~iproops/practice/self.html.

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PHIL 406. Aristotle.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Rachana Kamtekar (rkamteka@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: http://coursetools.ummu.umich.edu/2004/winter/phil/406/001.nsf

In this course we will work through, first, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, and second, Aristotle's Metaphysics. In the first half of the course, we will explore such questions as: What method(s) does Aristotle employ in ethical inquiry, and how does that influence his conclusions? What is Aristotle's conception of human happiness and how does it relate to his conception of human nature? What is the relationship between reason, moral virtue, and happiness? Is Aristotle's conception of virtue psychologically plausible? What is the role of intellectual activity in the happy life? In the second half of the course, we will look at how Aristotle articulates the notion of wisdom, or the study of first principles, in his Metaphysics, both through his criticisms of Plato's theory of Forms and through his positive account of first principles.

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PHIL 409. Philosophy of Language.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Jason C Stanley (jasoncs@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: PHIL 345 or 383. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

This is an advanced introduction to topics in the Philosophy of Language. Logical truths are those truths that are true in virtue of the meaning of logical terms. The focus of the course will be on semantic investigation into the meaning of logical words as they occur in natural language. We will begin with the work of Paul Grice, who attempted to defend one view about the meaning of words such as "and", "or", and "if..then" by appealing to general considerations about the relation between meaning and use. We will then delve into classic semantic discussions of the meanings of some logical terms, such as the conditional, conjunction, and the quantifiers.

The prerequisite for this course is one course in logic, at any level (this course does not need to have been taken in a philosophy department; a computer science or math course is equally good).

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

PHIL 416. Modal Logic.

Section 001 — The logic of necessity, possibility, and other intensional items.

Instructor(s): Richmond H Thomason (rthomaso@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: PHIL 414. (3). (Excl). (BS). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

The course will begin by surveying possible worlds semantics for some classical modal logics and running through the proofs of semantic completeness. Contemporary modal logic is pursued and applied in many different areas. The rest of the course will survey as many of these as possible, with emphasis depending on the interests of the class. Topics include: logic of single-agent knowledge and perception, multi-agent logics, mutual knowledge, branching time and historical necessity, deontic logic, modality and nonmonotonicity, proof theory, modality and modularity in reasoning.

This course assumes background in logic. If you have not had PHIL 414 or the equivalent, you should communicate with the instructor before registering for this course. This course will be arranged so that students can get credit either by doing regular exercises and taking two examinations or by doing a research project.

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PHIL 420. Philosophy of Science.

Section 001 — Meets with NURSING 570.001.

Instructor(s): Roger Jones

Prerequisites & Distribution: A course in logic, and either PHIL 345 or 383. (3). (Excl). (BS). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

In this course, we will explore some questions about the aims of science and the methods employed by scientists to achieve these aims. What is it to offer an "explanation" in science? What reasons do we have to "accept" an explanation? Are explanations "true"? What kinds of evidence do scientists give for the "reality" of entities postulated in explanations? How do our judgements about acceptance, truth, and reality change when one theory replaces another?

We will examine these questions with readings from the classic literature of philosophy of science, and with case studies prepared by students in the course. In addition to a case study paper, there will be two exams.

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

PHIL 422. Philosophy of Physics.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Lawrence Sklar (lsklar@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction or logic introduction or 12 credits of science. (3). (Excl). (BS). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Probability played its first central role in physical explanations in the theory of heat. Kinetic theory and statistical mechanics provided the atomistic and mechanistic underpinning to the older thermodynamic theory. But many fascinating questions in the border area of physics and philosophy arose out of these theories. What is the notion of probability involved? How are probabilities used in explanations in these theories? What explains why the fundamental probabilistic posits work as well as they do? How does the non-equilibrium theory that is asymmetrical in time arise out of an underlying time-symmetrical dynamics? What role does cosmology play in the explanations? Is thermodynamics really reducible to statistical mechanics? Finally, does our intuitive idea that time itself is asymmetrical, with past deeply unlike future, arise out of the physical asymmetries studied in this theory? The primary text will be L. Sklar, Physics and Chance.

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

PHIL 431. Normative Ethics.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Christopher Knapp (cknapp@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: One philosophy introduction. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Normative ethics is the search for the basic principles that determine what kinds of actions are right and what kinds of actions are wrong. In this course, we will join this search at two different levels. In the first half of the course, we will survey a range of features that are commonly thought to determine whether an action is morally right or wrong. This will involve us in discussions of the nature and significance of well-being, equality, desert, and constraints against harming, lying and promise-breaking. In the second half of the course we will survey some of the most prominent foundational theories in normative ethics — theories that try to say precisely which of these features of actions are morally relevant and why. Here we will discuss consequentialism, virtue theory, and several forms of deontology. The goal of the course will be to gain a critical understanding of the central positions and arguments that shape contemporary philosophic work on the question of how one ought to live.

The course is designed to be at the level of an advanced undergraduate who has some prior background in moral philosophy. PHIL 361 is an excellent background.

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

PHIL 433. History of Ethics.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Stephen Leicester Darwall (sdarwall@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: PHIL 361. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~sdarwall/Phil433.html

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, 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" and post-enlightenment period. In addition to Hobbes, we shall read some of Hutcheson, Butler, Hume, Kant, Bentham, Rousseau, and Fichte, and end with a radical critic of this broad tradition: Nietzsche.

Course requirements: short paper, long paper, final exam.

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

PHIL 455. Contemporary Moral Problems.

Section 001 — Meets with PHIL 355.001.

Instructor(s): Christopher Knapp (cknapp@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: Not open to graduate students in philosophy. (4). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit. No credit granted to those who have completed or are enrolled in PHIL 355. Does not meet the Philosophy Department's 400-level course requirement for Philosophy concentrators.

R&E

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

Intended primarily for graduate students outside the philosophy department. Course content is the same as in PHIL 355. PHIL 455 requires longer and more substantial papers than those expected in PHIL 355.

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

PHIL 458. Philosophy of Kant.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Ian N Proops (iproops@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: PHIL 389, 461, or 462, or permission of instructor, or concentration advisor. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~iproops/practice/kant45803.html

This course studies Kant's mature philosophical system, paying particular attention to his metaphysics and epistemology. We'll examine Kant's effort to work out the scope and limits of possible human knowledge and his effort to give a purely moral basis to religious faith. But the bulk of our time will be devoted to the account of human experience and human factual knowledge in the Critique of Pure Reason. There Kant argues that the world of our experience must possess certain very general features if experience is to be possible for example, that every event must have a cause. And he argues that 'behind' the familiar world of our experience is a second, more fundamental world of "Things in themselves" about which we can know next to nothing. Secondary readings from Henry Allison, James van Cleve, Paul Guyer, and others. A full syllabus is available on my web page. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~iproops/practice/kant45803.html.

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

PHIL 463. Topics in the History of Philosophy.

Section 001 — Classical Chinese Philosophy. Meets with PHIL 397.001 and ASIAN 380.005.

Instructor(s): Christoph Harbsmeier

Prerequisites & Distribution: PHIL 388 or 389. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

The core concepts and basic ideas of Classical Chinese philosophy have had a formative influence throughout the Far East, and in particular in Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and notably in Singapore, down to the present day. Moreover, this Chinese intellectual tradition remains a powerful factor wherever in the modern world Overseas Chinese form significant social groups, and by now this is the case nearly everywhere, and particularly in the wealthier parts of the Americas, Western Europe, South East Asia, as well as Australia.

One can argue that the creation of the unified state of China was the result of a deliberate application in practice of the principles of Legalist Chinese philosophy. Confucianism, again, was not a mere academic "philosophy", it was a cultural practice, and it remains a powerful practical factor wherever Chinese culture is present. Understanding the basic principles of Chinese philosophy is thus not a matter of exotic intellectual curiosity only, it is a matter of basic intellectual and historical orientation in a world in which Chinese ways of moral and strategic thinking are beginning to play a more and more significant global role. This course assumes that the excitement of understanding Chinese philosophy is in paying close attention to what the ancient thinkers were actually saying: in the case of Confucius, the point it is to sensitise oneself to the Master's Voice, to the specific spirituality of his approach to human life, and in particular to moral self-cultivation. This involves a very close reading of his most important sayings. Understanding these sayings will naturally involve comparing and contrasting them with what ancient Greek philosophers said at roughly the same time.

Through close reading of selected texts from the intellectually formative period -5th to the +1st century, this course will try to put Chinese thinkers into an analytic and comparative global intellectual perspective, always with close attention to intellectual "music" of the primary ancient Chinese (and occasionally Greek) sources.

Among many other things, we shall analyse Han Fei's discovery of a morally neutral social technology of political control which was first parallelled in the West by Machiavelli, and which inspired the unification of China in 221 BC. Finally, we shall sample in some detail a -2nd century BC systematisation of the schools of thought in ancient China, and we shall survey a +1st century AD bibliography of Chinese philosophy which summarises another ancient Chinese perception on ancient Chinese ways of thought.

Thus the sources of Chinese civilisation will allow us to try to look upon Chinese intellectual history with Chinese eyes, and not only to impose Western analyses on it. Chinese intellectual culture will emerge as an advanced civilisation manifestly capable of cultural self-reflection.

Throughout, Chinese philosophy will be introduced through a comparative analysis of primary Chinese sources. All the passages to be discussed will be made available on the Web. Supplementary secondary-source readings in current textbooks will be suggested. No familiarity with Chinese culture or language will be required.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of Department

PHIL 477. Theory of Knowledge.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Eric P Lormand (lormand@umich.edu)

Prerequisites & Distribution: PHIL 345 or 383. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

  • Why are truth, justification, knowledge, and certainty valuable, if they are?
  • How can you search for truth in a rationally responsble way?
  • How can you even start out? Do you have a priori knowledge — or a priori reasons for beliefs — about logic, or necessary truths and falsehoods, or definitions, or your own mind? And how can you proceed?
  • Are there any basic methodological principles (e.g., choosing simpler, more explanatory, or more familiar beliefs over their competitors) that can be defended in a purely epistemic way (as guides to the truth), or are they all merely pragmatic at root (e.g., easy, pleasant, elegant)?
  • How should the various principles be elaborated and weighed against one another?
  • Can any of this persuade various philosophical skeptics? Can any of this help guide real ongoing research?
  • Can any of this apply to searches for evaluative (ethical) truth?

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PHIL 481. Metaphysics.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Daniel Stoljar

Prerequisites & Distribution: PHIL 345 or 383. (3). (Excl). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

An examination of some of the central problems in metaphysics such as appearance and reality, time, universals and particulars, causation, realism and anti-realism, ontology, and others.

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

PHIL 499. Senior Honors in Philosophy.

Instructor(s):

Prerequisites & Distribution: By departmental permission only. (3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT). May not be repeated for credit.

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

Course Homepage: No homepage submitted.

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

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 5, Permission of instructor/department


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