Course Descriptions Fall 2011

To register for courses, please proceed to the Student Link.

CAS PH 100 A1 – Introduction to Philosophy
Prof. Blaustein
MWF, 11:00-12:00
Introduction to the nature of philosophical activity through a careful study of selected great works such as Plato’s Apology, Descartes’ Meditations, Lao Tze’s Tao Te Ching, Pascal’s Pensees, and Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

CAS PH 100 B1 – Introduction to Philosophy
Prof. Link
TR, 12:30-2:00

Introduction to the nature of philosophical activity through a careful study of selected great works such as Plato’s Apology, Descartes’ Meditations, Lao Tze’s Tao Te Ching, Pascal’s Pensees, and Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

CAS PH 110 A1 – Great Philosophers
Prof. Richardson
MWF, 1:00-2:00
A comparative introduction to the life and thought of six preeminent philosophers from classical times in both the Western and Eastern traditions.

CAS PH 150 A1 – Introduction to Ethics
Prof. Soyarslan
MWF, 10:00-11:00
Who ought we to be, what ought we to do, what ought we to strive for? Examination of our obligations to ourselves, to other humans, and to the natural world in light of ethical theory and contemporary problems. Readings from a wide range of texts in philosophical ethics.

CAS PH 150 B1 – Introduction to Ethics
Prof. Star
TR, 9:30-11:00

Who ought we to be, what ought we to do, what ought we to strive for? Examination of our obligations to ourselves, to other humans, and to the natural world in light of ethical theory and contemporary problems. Readings from a wide range of texts in philosophical ethics.

CAS PH 150 C1 – Introduction to Ethics
Prof. Griswold
TR, 2:00-3:00

This course is an introduction to major questions and themes in moral thought, including these: is moral value “relative”? What does it mean to offer a moral “reason” for an action? What are the central moral theories? What are virtue, duty, and utility, and how do they figure into ethics? We will discuss differences between secular and religious moral outlooks, and such questions as: if God exists, how to explain evil? If God does not exist, what foundation is there for good? We will, in the latter part of the course, also examine some “applied” issues in ethics (these may include such topics as sexuality, stem-cell research, the environment, terrorism and war, economic justice, and globalization). Throughout, we will work to sharpen reasoning and argumentation skills.

CAS PH 160 A1 – Reasoning & Argumentation
Prof. Liebesman
MWF, 10:00-11:00

A systematic study of the principles of both deductive and informal reasoning, calculated to enhance students’ actual reasoning skills, with an emphasis on reasoning and argumentation in ordinary discourse.

CAS PH 160 B1 – Reasoning & Argumentation
Prof. Floyd
TR, 11:00-12:30

A systematic study of the principles of both deductive and informal reasoning, calculated to enhance students’ actual reasoning skills, with an emphasis on reasoning and argumentation in ordinary discourse.

CAS PH 241 A1 – Philosophy of Personality
Prof. Kestenbaum
MWF, 11:00-12:00

Consideration of the nature and problems of self-understanding and self-realization. Philosophical perspectives on growth and maturity in personality. Particular attention to matters such as happiness, pleasure, importance, death, and the reality of self.
The intent of the course is to examine what philosophy can contribute to, and learn from, a theory of personhood and personality.
[Likely] Texts:
Plato, Five Dialogues
Henry Bugbee, The Inward Morning: A Philosophical Exploration in Journal Form
Robert Nozick, The Examined Life: Philosophical Meditations
C.G. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul

CAS PH 248 A1 – Existentialism
Prof. Katsafanas
TR, 9:30-11:00

The existentialists grappled with some of the most difficult and problematic aspects of human condition. What is it to be an authentic individual? Can one be alienated from oneself? How, if at all, can one live a meaningful life? In this course, we will explore the ways in which Dostoevsky, Kierkegaarde, Nietzsche, Sartre, Beauvoir, and Camus responded to these questions.

CAS PH 251 A1 – Medical Ethics
Prof. Powell
MWF, 12:00-1:00

Examination of a number of value problems arising within the context of medicine and health care. Particular ethical problems of euthanasia, abortion, human experimentation, reproduction, and allocation of scarce resources; critiques of contemporary medicine as an instituion.

CAS PH 254 A1 – Political Philosophy
Prof. Michalski
TR, 3:30-5:00

The class will be devoted to examination of three of the classic and most influential texts of modern political philosophy, from the XVII, XIX, and XX centuries: Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels The Communist Manifesto, and Carl Schmitt’s The Concept of the Political. Discussion will focus on the interpretation and criticism of “liberalism” by the authors. Other works of the authors and the intellectual landscape of the time wll be taken into consideration-as well as later reception of these texts in the XX and XXI centuries.

CAS PH 256 A1 – Philosophy of Gender and Sexuality
Prof. Behrensen
MWF, 10:00-11:00

An analysis of the notions of gender and sexuality, with readings from Plato, Rousseau, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Sartre, Levinas, Scruton, Bloom. Questions include: are gender and sexuality natural, or are they social constructions? How are they related to love and desire?

CAS PH 258 A1 – Philosophy of Literature
Prof Kestenbaum
MWF, 11:00-12:00
Consideration of how questions regarding reality, imagination, meaning and truth have
found expression in poetry and the short story. What kind of knowledge and the
understanding is afforded by literature? Philosophy? Are the demands placed upon
reason, language, and experience fundamentally different in literature and philosophy?
A particularly complex set of questions involves T.S. Eliot’s assertion that “the poet is
occupied with frontiers of consciousness beyond which words fail, though meanings still
exist.” What sort of frontier is wordless? How can either philosophy or literature have a
frontier that is “wordless”? What happens when “words fail” in philosophy and literature?

[Likely] Texts: The principal philosophical text will be Martha C. Nussbaum, Love’s
Knowledge: Essays on Philosophy and Literature
(Four will be chosen from the
following): Henry James, Tales of Henry James, John Updike, Early Stories, Robert
Frost, The Robert Frost Reader, Wallace Stevens, Opus Posthumous, Susan Sontag,
Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963

CAS PH 266 A1 – Mind, Brain, and Self
Prof. Hopp
MWF, 9:00-10:00

This course is devoted to considering some of the philosophical problems that arise when we consider the nature of the human person. What is a “self”? Is the self identical with an immaterial mind? A material brain? A body? How are mind and body related to one another? And what, if anything, makes a person at some one time-you at 20, say-identical with a person at some other time-you fifteen years ago? What roles do consciousness, memory, and character play in the constitution of the self? In this class we will carefully examine what some of philosophy’s best and brightest historical and contemporary figures have to say about these issues.

CAS PH 270 A1 – Philosophy of Science
Prof. Cao
TR, 2:00-3:30

This introductory course is designed for those with little exposure to science. Main features of the scientific enterprise will be illustrated by examples in the study of physics, biology, and psychology: the aims of scientific activities (understanding, prediction and control); the nature of scientific understanding (casual explanation with general applicability); scientific procedures (by which scientific theories are formulated, tested, accepted or rejected); the structure and interpretation of scientific theories (evidential support, models and hypotheses, laws and predictions; the cognitive significance of these components); the development of science (accumulation and/or revolution). Some concepts central to the natural and social sciences, (such as space, time, forces, atom and quantum; life and evolution, structure and function; facts, value and agents) will be examined carefully. Controversies among competing school in the philosophy of science (logical positivism, falsificationism, historicism, social constructivism and feminism) over the objectivity and rationality of the scientific enterprise will also be discussed.

CAS PH 272 A1 – Science, Technology, and Values
Prof. Bokulich
TR, 11:00-12:30

Examination of some of the important ways in which science, technology, society, and human values are interconnected. Includes case studies of the social and ethical challenges posed by computer, military, and biological technology.

CAS PH 300 A1 – History of Ancient Philosophy
Prof. Bronstein
TR, 2:00-3:30

Our focus will be on the two giants of Ancient Greek Philosophy, Plato and Aristotle. Our main texts will be Plato’s Apology, Euthyphro, and Republic, and selections from Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Physics, and (especially) Nicomachean Ethics. We will examine and compare Plato’s and Aristotle’s answers to such questions as: What is virtue? What is knowledge? What is the fundamental nature of reality? What is the good life?

CAS PH 310 A1 – History of Modern Philosophy
Prof. Webb
TR, 9:30-11:00

An examination of seventeenth-and eighteenth-century philosophy from Descartes to Kant, with emphasis on the nature and extent of knowledge. Readings include Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Berkley, Hume, and Kant.

CAS PH 310 B1 – History of Modern Philosophy
Prof. Kuehn
MWF, 10:00-11:00

An examination of seventeenth-and eighteenth-century philosophy from Descartes to Kant, with emphasis on the nature and extent of knowledge. Readings include Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Berkley, Hume, and Kant.

CAS PH 350 A1 – History of Ethics
Prof. Kuehn
MWF, 1:00-2:00

A critical and comparative examination of the ideas representative moral philosophers from Plato to Nietzsche.

CAS PH 350 B1 – History of Ethics
Prof. Soyarslan
TR, 11:00-12:30
A critical and comparative examination of the ideas representative moral philosophers from Plato to Nietzsche.

CAS PH 360 A1/GRS 633 A1 – Logic
Prof. Hintikka
MWF, 11:00-12:00

Study of methods characteristic of modern deductive logic including use of truth tables, Boolean normal forms, models, and indirect and conditional proofs within the theory of truth-functions and quantifiers.

CAS PH 403/GRS PH 603 A1 – Plato I
Prof. Roochnik
R, 6:00-9:00

A close reading of Plato’s Republic.

CAS PH 405/GRS PH605 A1 – Aristotle I
Prof. Hintikka
MWF, 2:00-3:00

A careful study of the philosophy of Aristotle conducted primarily through a close reading of several of his major works.

CAS PH 415/GRS PH 615 A1 – 19th Century Philosophy
Prof. Michalski
W, 5:00-8:00

The class will focus on Hegel’s project of absolute knowledge – and Karl Marx’ and Friedrich Nietzsche’s answer to it. XX century interpretations of this debate – in particular Martin Heidegger’s and Leszak Kolakowski’s – will be examined as well.

CAS PH 419/GRS PH 619 A1 – Nietzsche
Prof. Katsafanas
T, 5:00-8:00

An intensive study of Nietzsche’s philosophical thought. Topics to be addressed include Nietzsche’s claim that modern morality is “the danger of dangers”; that the death of God brings with it the possibility of nihilism and the “last man”; that all organisms manifest a “will to power”; that the will to truth is an expression of the ascetic ideal; that we need a “revaluation of all values”; and that we must affirm the eternal recurrence of our lives. Readings will be drawn from The Birth of Tragedy, Daybreak, The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, On the genealogy of Morality, The Twilight of the Idols, and The Antichrist.

CAS PH 422/GRS PH 622 A1 – Analytic Philosophy
Prof. Floyd
TR, 2:00-3:30

A survey of classic texts in the history of early analytic philosophy, focusing on contrasting interpretations of skepticism. Wilson, Williams and Stroud on Descartes; Moore’s “Proof of an External World,” “Certainty,” and “A Defense of Common Sense”; Russell’s “Our Knowledge of the External World”; Austin’s “Other Minds”; Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty”; Quine’s “Word and Object,” and related works by Grice, Wright, Putnam, McDowell, and Travis on perception and meaning.

CAS PH 426/GRS PH 626 A1 – Phenomenology
Prof. Hopp
MWF, 12:00-1:00

The central concern of phenomenology is consciousness. Most conscious experiences are of or about things other than themselves-the consciousness of a cat is not itself a cat, but is of a cat. Corresponding to any type of object whatsoever (a cat, a color, a number, a philosophical argument, etc.) there is an account to be given concerning the experiences in virtue of which we can become conscious of it. Phenomenology’s task is to provide such an account by examining the essential features of conscious acts as they are given in phenomenological reflection. How is it possible, if it is, for consciousness to reach beyond itself to a world of independent objects? How can it “take hold” of those objects in knowledge and cognition? In this class, we will tackle some of the main questions of phenomenology by examining works by Edmund Husserl and others.

CAS PH 430/GRS PH 630 A1 – American Philosophy
Prof. Neville
T, 2:00-5:00

The American fascination with religion; Idealism versus Pragmatism in close readings of major texts from three or four among the following: Edwards, Emerson, James, Dewey, Royce, Hocking, Reinhold, Niebuhr, Tillich.

CAS PH446/646 – Philosophy of Religion
Prof. Olson
TR, 11-12:30
Critical survey of the manner in which philosophers over the centuries have evaluated the truth and value claims of various religions. Focus on Hegel and  the nineteenth-century emergence of “philosophy of religion” as a subdiscipline of philosophy and theology.

CAS PH 451/GRS PH 651 A1 – Contemporary Ethical Theory
Prof. Star
TR, 2:00-3:30

This course will focus on ideas and arguments during the past 50 years concerning: (1) moral realism: and (2) fundamental moral principles. We will cover some of the most important territory in metaethics, when we consider arguments for and against realism, as well as some of the most important territory in normative ethics, when we consider arguments for and against particular principles (consequentialist, duty based, or virtue based) playing a central role in answering substantive moral questions. We may also briefly explore the following topics: moral knowledge, the trolley problem, and non-consequentialism, rule-conseuentialism, the nature of virtue, and moral particularism. Assessment will be based on the writing and rewriting of one original philosophical paper that engages with contemporary arguments.

CAS PH 455/GRS PH 655 A1/LAW JD53 – Philosophy of Law
Prof. Baxter
W, 4:30-6:30

This small course, which will run on a seminar format, will begin by considering two very different jurisprudential approaches of the previous century: American legal realism and the analytical, positivist approach of H.L.A. Hart. We will then consider two recent attempts to update these approaches: Brian Leiter’s Naturalizing Jurisprudence (2007) and Scott Shapiro’s Legality (2011). Active participation in class discussion is required.

CAS PH 461/GRS PH 661 A1 – Mathematical Logic
Prof. Kanamori
TR, 11:00-12:30

The syntax and semantics of sentential and quantificational logic, culminating in the Godel Completeness Theorem. The Godel Incompleteness Theorem and it’s ramifications for computability and philosophy. Also offered as CAS MA 531.

CAS PH 463/GRS PH 663 A1 – Philosophy of Language
Prof. Liebesman
M, 2:00-5:00

Critical survey of the main issues in the philosophy of language and the foundations of linguistics, including the idea of logical form and the universality of languages as well as the basic ideas of generative grammar, possible-worlds semantics, Wittgenstein, and speech-act theories.

CAS PH 465/GRS PH 665 A1 – Philosophy of Cognitive Science
Prof. Cao
T, 5:00-8:00

The course begins with a review of the computational understanding of intelligence and various challenges it raised by psychologists, roboticists, neuroscientists and mathematicians, based on an in-depth philosophical analysis of some key concepts in cognitive science: information (representation) and its processing (computation), a dynamical understanding of the emergence of (localized or distributed) intelligence. Then the course moves to a substantial discussion of the idea of the embodied, embedded and evolved cognition, and will end with an exploration of the bearings of cognitive science to the mind-body problem.

CAS PH 468/GRS PH 668 A1 – Philosophical Problems of Logic and Mathematics
Prof. Webb
TR, 12:30-2:00

Selected traditional metaphysical and epistemological problems in the light of modern logic and various studies in the foundations of mathematics, including the nature of the axiomatic method, completeness in logic and mathematics, and the nature of mathematical truth.

GRS PH 871 A1 – Philosophy of Science
Prof. Bokulich
TR, 2:00-3:30

The theme of this course will be “Philosophical Issues in Scientific Modeling: Fiction and Representation”.  The use of models is pervasive in science, and yet models involve all sorts of falsehoods, like idealizations, omissions, abstractions, and even fictions.  How are such “false” models used in science?  How can they nonetheless generate reliable predictions and explanations?  What challenges arise in multiscale models of complex phenomena (such as models of the Earth’s climate)?  At the heart of scientific modeling is also the notion of representation: how does representation work in science as opposed to (or as similar to) representation in art?  We will examine examples of models from a wide variety of sciences including neuroscience, medicine, physics, biology, geology, astronomy, climatology, and economics.  No prior knowledge of these fields is expected.

GRS PH 881 A1 – ProSeminar for First Year Graduate Students
Prof. Griswold
W, 5:00-8:00

Required of all First Year Graduate Students.

GRS PH 993 A1 – Proseminar
Prof. Rorty
M, 3:00-6:00

This workshop seminar offers advanced graduate students the opportunity to present and discuss work-in-progress (dissertation chapters, papers for job applications, journal submissions). A serious commitment to regular and continuing attendance is expected.