Course Descriptions Fall 1999

CAS PH 100
PHILOSOPHICAL INQUIRY
Professor Rosen
An introduction to philosophy. In this course we will employ works of literature as well as cultural essays in order to exhibit the human context of philosophy.

CAS PH 110
GREAT PHILOSOPHERS
Professor Kremer
Introduction to some basic questions of human existence, with particular reference to the relationship between man and nature, between the individual and the political domain; the soul and the passions; the definition of virtue and of ethics; morality and freedom.

CAS PH 150 A1
INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Professor Dahlstrom
A systematic and historical inquiry into differing accounts of the good life, alternating lectures with discussions of selected texts.

CAS PH 150 B1
INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Professor Cahoone
A systematic inquiry into differing philosophical accounts of the good life. Both historical and contemporary readings will be used.

CAS PH 150 C1
INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Professor Griswold
The course provides a systematic introduction to the major questions in moral thought, for example, is there any absolute moral standard or are all values relative? Is morality necessarily dependent upon religion? What is the relationship between morality and egoism? Is morality “made up” by people? Is the morally right action the one that achieves the best outcome, or the one that is in accordance with conscience or with duty?

CAS PH 160 A1
REASONING & ARGUMENTATION
Professor Floyd
A systematic study of the principles of both deductive and informal reasoning, with an emphasis on reasoning and argumentation in ordinary discourse, and on their strategies. The aim of the course is to train the student in the skills of argument analysis, argument construction, and argument evaluation.
Textbook: Hintikka and Bachman, What if…? Toward Excellence in Reasoning and Weston, A Rulebook for Arguments.

CAS PH 160 B1
REASONING & ARGUMENTATION
Professor Janssen
A systematic study of the principles of both deductive and informal reasoning, with an emphasis on reasoning and argumentation in ordinary discourse, and on their strategies. The aim of the course is to train the student in the skills of argument analysis, argument construction, and argument evaluation.

CAS PH 160 C1
PHILOSOPHY & ARGUMENTATION
Professor Devlin
A systematic study of the principles of both deductive and informal reasoning, with an emphasis on reasoning and argumentation in ordinary discourse, and on their strategies. The aim of the course is to train the student in the skills of argument analysis, argument construction, and argument evaluation.
Textbook: Hintikka and Bachman, What if…? Toward Excellence in Reasoning.

Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing

CAS PH 248
EXISTENTIALISM
Professor Kestenbaum
Analysis of existentialism as a movement or orientation in contemporary philosophy. Topics include contingency and the grounds for belief and value; depth, superficiality, and the intense life; commitment and open-mindedness; tragedy and the healthy self; boredom, anxiety, and adventure; and existentialism as a philosophy of the possible.

CAS PH 251
MEDICAL ETHICS
Professor Grodin
This course reviews the nature and scope of moral dilemmas and problematic decision making in medicine and health care. After this survey of ethical theory, the course focuses on a broad range of ethical concerns raised by the theory and practice of medicine: the nature of health, disease and illness; rights, access and the limits of health care; the physician-patient relationship; truthtelling and confidentiality. Through a series of case studies, the course examines specific topics: the Bioethics movement; human experimentation; the role of institutional review boards; the concept and exercise of informed, voluntary consent; abortion, reproduction, genetic counseling and screening; euthanasia, death and dying; ethics committees; international and cross cultural perspectives.

CAS PH 260
KNOWLEDGE AND REALITY: EINSTEIN
Professor Janssen
This course, taught by one of the editors of the Einstein Papers Project, will offer an in-depth yet non-mathematical look at the surprising picture of the physical world emerging from relativity theory and quantum theory. The focus will be on the contributions of Albert Einstein to this modern view of nature. The goal is not just to get a clear image of the unexpected features of physical reality uncovered by Einstein and others, but also to understand the reasoning behind their claims.
To give just two examples of the sort of question that will be guiding us: How does one get from the notion that the velocity of light is independent of the velocity of its source to the claim that an astronaut returning from a mission in space will be younger, albeit only a tiny bit, than his or her twin who stayed at home, an unexpected effect Einstein immediately accepted as a consequence of his special theory of relativity? How does one get from the splitting of a beam of electrons sent through some magnetic field to the claim that electrons do not have definite properties until one performs a measurement on them, one of the basic tenets of standard quantum mechanics, a theory Einstein never accepted?

CAS PH 265
MIND AND MACHINES
Professor Webb
Additional Prerequisite: logic or some mathematical background, or consent of instructor.
This course examines the efforts of artificial intelligence to model the human mind and explain human thought by means of suitably programmed computers. Attention is given to the historical and mathematical origins of such efforts, as well as the main psychological and philosophical assumptions on which they depend.
Requirements: mid-term and final examinations.
Text: What Computers Can’t Do by Dreyfus, Minds and Machines edited by Anderson

CAS PH 270
PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
Professor Cao
Main features of the scientific enterprise will be illustrated by examples in the study of physics, biology, mind and society: the aims of scientific activities; the nature of scientific understanding; scientific procedures; the structure and interpretation of scientific theories; the development of science. Some concepts central to the natural and social sciences will be examined carefully. Controversies among competing schools in the philosophy of science over the objectivity and rationality of the scientific enterprise will also bediscussed.

CAS PH 300 A1
HISTORY OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY
Professor Brinkmann
The course will explore Greek philosophy and will concentrate on its development from Thales through Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Platonic dialogues, and major chunks of the Aristotelian corpus will be read with some care. The focus will be philosophical rather than historical, and the emphasis will be on the analysis and interpretation of texts. One in-class written exam, a midterm and a final paper.

CAS PH 300 B1
HISTORY OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY
Professor Ostrow
The course will explore Greek philosophy and will concentrate on its development from Thales through Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Platonic dialogues, and major chunks of the Aristotelian corpus will be read with some care. The focus will be philosophical rather than historical, and the emphasis will be on the analysis and interpretation of texts.

CAS PH 310 A1
HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY
Professor Dodd
Examination of theories of major seventeenth and eighteenth century philosophers, from Descartes to Kant. Along with their confidence in reason, the Continental Rationalists share a conception of philosophy as a universal discipline whose propositions are derivable from first principles regarded as necessary. The British Empiricists, on the other hand, beginning with Locke’s “historical, plain method,” claim to rely primarily on experience as the basis of their theories of knowledge. There are lessons in all of this that Kant takes to heart.

CAS PH 310 B1
HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY
Professor Michalski
Examination of theories of major seventeenth and eighteenth century philosophers, from Descartes to Kant. Along with their confidence in reason, the Continental Rationalists share a conception of philosophy as a universal discipline whose propositions are derivable from first principles regarded as necessary. The British Empiricists, on the other hand, beginning with Locke’s “historical, plain method,” claim to rely primarily on experience as the basis of their theories of knowledge. There are lessons in all of this that Kant takes to heart.

CAS PH 350
HISTORY OF ETHICS
Professor Tuule
The course provides a history of Western ethics through detailed study of representative thinkers: Plato, Thomas Hobbes, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, , and John Stuart Mill. We consider such questions as whether morality is invented or discovered? What is the good life? What is the relationship between moral virtue and happiness? What is duty? What is supererogation? What is the relationship between morality and religion?

Undergraduates: Register for 400 level courses
Graduates: Register for 600 level courses

CAS PH 405
ARISTOTLE I
Professor Brinkmann
Prerequisite: PH 300 and two other PH courses
A careful study of the philosophy of Aristotle conducted primarily through a close reading of the Metaphysics. Though not a survey course, students should obtain a grasp of themes central to the philosopher’s thought. Reference to other texts (Categories, Posterior Analytics, Physics, De Anima) will be constant.
Students will be evaluated by the quality of their contribution to the class discussion and by two papers written during the semester.

CAS PH 410/610
CONTINENTAL RATIONALISM
TBA
Prerequisite: PH 310, and two other PH courses
A study of the central ideas, arguments, and concepts of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz.

CAS PH 417/617
HEGEL’S PHENOMENOLOGY
Professor Speight
The last several years have seen a renewed philosophical interest in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit–from recent work by McDowell and Brandom to the publication of a number of important new commentaries (Pinkard, Forster, Harris). This course will be designed to explore, in a seminar format, leading issues of Phenomenology of Spirit interpretation; since that aim assumes some prior familiarity the Phenomenology of Spirit, there will be in addition separate class meetings for those reading the Phenomenology of Spirit for the first time and desiring an opportunity for careful reading on a section-by-section basis.
Some previous study of Kant or Hegel is highly desirable

CAS PH 419/619
NIETZSCHE
Professor Michalski
An examination of the work of the nineteenth century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Our aim will be to gain a perspective on the development of his thought and the range of his concerns.

CAS PH 422/622
ANALYTIC PHIL: WITTGENSTEIN
Professor Dreben
A detailed examination of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus.
Texts: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Logico-Philosophicus, trans. C.K. Ogden
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Logico-Philosophicus, trans. David Pears Mcguinness

CAS PH 426/626
PHENOMENOLOGY
Professor Dahlstrom
The aim of this course is to provide an introduction to phenomenology as a way of doing philosophy. To this end the course concentrates on central themes and methods of the founder of phenomenological movement, Edmund Husserl. The course begins with a review of Brentano’s concept of intentionality and its critical appropriation by Husserl in the analyses of truth, facts, and categorical intuitions within the Logical Investigations (1900). Based upon Husserl’s own early and late introductions into phenomenology in Ideas to a Pure Phenomenology and Phenomenological Philosophy: General Introduction into Pure Phenomenology (1913), and The Cartesian Meditations (1929), the course critically analyses the natural attitude and phenomenological reductions, the general structures of pure consciousness, and the Lebenswelt. While all texts are available in translation, reading knowledge of German is helpful.

CAS PH 446
PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
Professor Olson
Prerequisites: PH 300, 310, and one other PH course
(cross-listed with RN450/750)
An examination of principal issues and topics in the philosophy of religion. The course develops in three stages: (1) Historical overview of the development of philosophy of religion as a discipline or sub-discipline of philosophy, theology, and metaphysics, with special attention to the problems and challenges facing this discipline within the context of comparative and inter-cultural approaches to philosophy of religion. (2) Analysis and discussion of traditional source materials in the philosophy of religion, viz., proofs for the existence of God, the problem of evil, mysticism and religious experience, faith and reason, revelation and authority, immortality and enlightenment, etc. (3) The final part of the course will consist of a close reading and discussion of GWF Hegel’s 1827 Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, and its influence on the field.
Requirements: Two position papers based on the readings (2-3 pages each), research paper or final take-home examination (undergraduate students), research paper (graduate students)
Books for Purchase: (BU Book Store)
Gary Kessler, Philosophy of Religion: Toward a Global Perspective, Wadsworth, 1999
G.W.F. Hegel, 1827 Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, California, 1988

CAS PH 453/653
THEORIES OF POLITICAL SOCIETY
Professor Cahoone
Prerequisite: PH 350 and two other PH courses
What is politics? What are the differences between a society, a nation, a civil society, a community and a political association? The contrasts have concrete political implications. We will explore this issue through historical and contemporary readings, including Aristotle, Hanna Arendt, Carl Schmitt, Michael Oakeshott, and John Rawls.

CAS PH 454/654
COMMUNITY,LIBERTY AND MORALITY
Professors Griswold & Loury
NOTE: THIS IS A TWO SEMESTER COURSE (cross-listed with UNI 516)
Students may take the first semester of the course without taking the second; those taking the second, however, must take the first as well. The year long course will culminate in a major research paper, drafts of which the students will have reviewed with the instructors and Graduate Fellow. The course thus presents the student with an unusual opportunity not only to study under the guidance of two faculty from different departments, but also to perfect a philosophically and empirically informed paper on a pressing problem of the day.
Prerequisites for those registering for the course under the PH number: at least 4 courses in philosophy. The course is open to undergraduate and graduate students. In the Spring semester, the course will also be cross-listed with Political Science and Economics.
Time: Monday 4-6. A separate discussion section (W. 3-4) will be held for undergraduates and conducted by an advanced Philosophy graduate student who served in this same capacity last year (Thornton Lockwood).
This two semester seminar explores the question of whether economic and political freedom lead to “progress” toward a more just society. Philosophical questions about the meaning of social justice are central to this exploration. Through the reading of classical and contemporary writers, seminar participants examine the relation of freedom to the alleviation of poverty; the link between freedom and the extension of equal opportunities to women and to racial minority groups, and the connections between freedom and economic development throughout the world.
The Fall semester section of the course concentrates on writings of philosophers such as Locke, Smith, Marx, Hayek, Mill, Rawls, Nozick, Taylor, and Walzer. The Spring semester section considers pressing contemporary social and political problems (in particular, those relating to the problems of poverty and of race) in light of the philosophical writings. Works in political theory, economics, and sociology will be read in the second semester.
In addition, thanks to a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, several distinguished scholars will be invited to campus to talk with the seminar’s students and to give public lectures. Last year, these included John Gray (Political Theory, London School of Economics), Orlando Patterson (Sociology, Harvard University), Eugene Rivers (pastor of Azuza Christian Community in Boston), and Gary Becker (University of Chicago). During the 1999/2000 year it is expected that the speakers will include Cass Sunstein (School of Law, University of Chicago), Robert Fogel (University of Chicago), Charles Taylor (Philosophy, McGill University), and Charles Colson (Chairman of Prison Fellowship Ministries and a senior aid to President Nixon during the Watergate era).

CAS PH 460/660
EPISTEMOLOGY
Professor Floyd
An investigation of the fate of skepticism in the twentieth century. We will begin discussing claims that have been made about the role of skepticism in early modern philosophy, and then focus on efforts to refute skepticism in the twentieth century–efforts largely the result of the attempt to throw off the legacy of nineteenth century idealism and historicism. We shall examine G.E. Moore’s essays “Proof of an External World,” “Certainty,” and “A Defense of Common Sense,” Russell’s “Our Knowledge of the External World,” J.L. Austin’s “Sense and Sensibilia” and “Other Minds,” Wittgentstein’s “On Certainty,” and related works by such contemporary philosophers as Quine, Grice, Putnam, Cavell and Williams.

CAS PH 470/670
PHILOSOPHY OF PHYSICS
Professor Cao
Prerequisite: PH 310, 360, and one other PH course
An introductory survey of fascinating problems in contemporary philosophy of physics. The basic ideas and main features of physical theories, which touch upon nature at its most fundamental level and interact most crucially with philosophy, are outlined, so that students will have a road map of the central problems in the field. Throughout, the driving theme is the entanglement of a radical revision in our conceptualization of the world (which is forced upon us by the changes in the physical picture of the world due to major developments in modern physics) with central philosophical issues in metaphysics and epistemology. Some areas of discussion include: the nature of space and time in relativity theory; probability and irreversibility in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics; the understanding of measurement, locality, causality, reality and objectivity in quantum theory; ontology of quantum field theory.
In-depth conceptual analysis will be carried out in a non-technical way, without requiring either a thorough understanding of the technical details of physical theories or major competence in mathematics.
Texts: Tian Yu Cao, Conceptual Development of 20th Century Field Theories (CD)
Alastair Rae, Quantum Physics: Illusion or Reality (QP)
Lawrence Sklar, Philosophy of Physics

CAS PH 474/674
INDUCTIVE LOGIC & SCI. METHOD
Professor Hintikka
Examination of some of the central conceptual issues in the logic of science, including an approach to scientific inquiry as a questioning process and a study of such ideas as the logic of discovery, including its relation to confirmation, the hypothetico-deductive method, information as the goal of scientific inference, the role of theoretical concepts in science, induction, experiment, explanation, definition and identification, theory-ladenness of observation and the incommensurability of theories.

TOPICS COURSES:
400 level: Limited to Senior Philosophy Majors
600 level: Open to All Graduate Students

CAS PH 482/682
TOPICS: MOD/CONT PHIL.
Professor Webb
Recommended: one course from PH410-439
The concept of time for Descartes.

CAS PH 485/685
TOPICS: PHIL. OF VALUE
Professor Lyons
(cross-listed with LAW JD 846 A1)
Recommended: one course from PH450-457
The interpretation of law, especially of the US Constitution, is a politically and theoretically controversial subject. This seminar will address central theoretical issues, such as (1) skepticism about the possibility of interpretation (whether law has determinate meaning when there is reasonable disagreement or uncertainty about it), (2) the idea that written law should be interpreted and applied, in a value-free manner, according to the lawmakers’ original intent, and (3) recent developments in legal theory which allow or require interpretation to be value-based.
Required readings will include selections from contemporary writers (mainly, but not all, in law), such as Herbert Hart, Carl Hempel, Raoul Berger, Richard Posner, Ronald Dworkin, and Robert Bork, as well as selected judicial opinions.

Required writing will include (1) brief weekly reports–notes and theoretically critical comments or questions–on the reading assignments, and (2) a term paper, with a theoretical focus, on a topic that must be proposed to and approved by the instructor, by dates to be assigned.
Two drafts of the term paper will be submitted, on a schedule to be determined. The first submission must be a complete and polished draft, which will be returned with comments. The paper will be revised, taking account of comments received and further research or reflections, and the resulting second submission will be graded.
Consultation with the instructor is required, early on, for the identification of a term paper topic, and consultation is advised and expected as the project develops.
Prerequisites: at least two courses in Philosophy, or the consent of the instructor.

The following courses are open to Graduate Students ONLY
Note that courses listed above, bearing a 600 level number, may be taken for graduate credit.

GRS PH 801
ANCIENT PHIL. I: ARISTOTLE
Professor Rosen
A detailed study of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.

GRS PH 802
ANCIENT PHIL. II: PLATO
Professor Roochnik
A careful reading of Plato’s Theaetetus as well as a sampling of contemporary secondary literature. Students will have extensive opportunities to write on Plato and may expect extensive commentary on their written work.

GRS PH 813
KANT III
Professor Allison
The seminar will focus on the metaphysical and transcendental deductions in the Critique of Pure Reason. Attention will also be paid to the “pre-history” of the deduction in Kant’s Nachlass and correspondence, as well as to the major secondary literature.
Pre-requisite: one general course on Kant’s theoretical philosophy (413/613 or its equivalent)

GRS PH 841
PHIL. OF RELIGION
Profs Haakonssen & Garrett
The course will analyze some of the fundamental texts in philosophical thought on toleration with the aim of clarifying such issues as: the autonomy of conscience, the relationship between secular and sacred, the connection between private faith and public religion, the relevance of fallibility of belief to justifiability of action. The central figures to be discussed are Spinoza, Pufendorf, Locke and Bayle; in addition, we will pursue the influence of the great toleration-debate on the formation of rights-theory, especially in the French tradition.

GRS PH 870
PHIL. OF COGNITIVE SCIENCE
Professor Hintikka
A number of central concepts and issues in the foundations of cognitive science and cognitive psychology are examined, among them the nature of reasoning, including the use of mental models in reasoning, different cognitive systems and their conceptual character, including the what- and where-systems and the reference and identification systems, cognitive fallacies, the nature of some of the major cognitive disturbances (dyslexia, autism), and the notion of intuition.

GRS PH 882
TOPICS: PHIL. III – IMAGINATION
TBA
A course on the history of the notion of imagination. We will deal with Aristotle, Plotinus, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Husserl, and Sartre.