Course Descriptions Fall 2003

CAS PH 100 A1
Professor Griswold
This course focuses on a number of important philosophers. We do so not simply in order to learn about them as individual thinkers, but more importantly in order to evaluate their philosophical views. Our aim is to philosophize; study of great philosophers is a means to that end. About what do we philosophize? Among others things: the nature of the good life for a human being; the virtues that make the individual morally good; the nature of the human being, and of passions such as love; self-knowledge; the nature of happiness; the definitions of “knowledge” and of “being”; and the nature of the divine. We shall also discuss, right from the beginning, the problem as to whether the answers to all these questions are “relative,” as is so widely believed; whether every answer one gives is either bound to one’s culture (Western, Asian, etc.), or to one’s personality as an individual. Finally, throughout we shall discuss the definition of “philosopher”: what exactly distinguishes a “philosopher” from, say, a religious sage or a novelist?

CAS PH 110 A1
Professor Caswell
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
Professor Keller
Morality is important, but it is also mysterious. We talk all the time about right and wrong, good and bad, virtue and vice, but we have trouble saying exactly what we are talking about when we use these terms. It can also be difficult to say whether certain things really are right or wrong, or how disagreements about such matters should be resolved. In this course, we will examine a number of puzzles that arise when we start thinking about moral matters, including such questions as, “Is there a single true morality?”; “When is it legitimate to hold someone responsible for her actions?”; “What things are valuable?”; and “Is abortion morally permissible?”.

CAS PH 150 B1
Professor Dahlstrom
The aim of this course is to introduce students to basic approaches to ethical thinking through careful reading of classic accounts of ethics in the history of Western philosophy.

CAS PH 150 C1
Professor Speight
What is ethics? What does it mean to be an ethical human being? A philosophical introduction to principal approaches in normative ethics utilitarianism, Kantianism and virtue theory with readings from classical philosophical texts interspersed with studies of current ethical issues (cloning, war and terrorism, environmental ethics).

CAS PH 160 A1
Professor Hintikka
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 B1
Professor Caswell
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 C1
Professor Webb
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.

Intermediate Level I
*Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing*
(Unless Otherwise Indicated)

CAS PH 242
Professor Kestenbaum
In Moby Dick, Ahab says:

“All visible objects, man, are but pasteboard masks. But in each event–in the living act, the undoubted deed-there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask!”

Is human nature a “visible” object, a mask concealing “some unknown but still reasoning thing?” Can human nature be known like any other “visible” object? If there is something necessarily invisible about human nature, how is it to be known or thought? Can we–should we–”strike through the mask?” The course will examine selected ideas or concepts which might help make human nature more visible while at the same time respecting its tendency to withdraw from inspection, i.e., to remain invisible. These concepts include: attention, habit, reason, transcendence.

CAS PH 247
Professor Ivanhoe
This course focuses on the major philosophical schools of Classical China through the unification of China in 221 B.C. Special consideration is given to the ethical, religious and political thought of the Confucian, Mohist and Daoist schools. The doctrines associated with these early Chinese philosophical movements, along with Buddhism (which came to China around the first century A.D.), affected cultural developments in art, philosophy, religion, science, and politics throughout Chinese history. The course concentrates on the theories of human nature that were associated with these early Chinese thinkers and the ways in which these theories served as the foundation for their ethical, religious and political views. No knowledge of Chinese is required. Readings are in translation.

CAS PH 248
Professor Michalski
Introduction to the principal themes of existential philosophy, in particular to the existential concept of the human condition. Texts of Pascal, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger and Sartre will be discussed in this context.

CAS PH 258
Professor Tauber
Courses devoted to “Philosophy and Literature” assume two general strategies: The first is to study various literary texts for their philosophical content, for example, What is Mark Twain’s conception of social justice in Huckleberry Finn? The second is to examine literature itself as a philosophical problem. This latter approach is taken here, specifically such questions as, What is literature? and What is interpretation? will be considered to show how various responses to such inquiry reflect different philosophical conceptions of social or psychological reality, different understandings about the character of language, different conceptions of the relationship of author and reader, different criteria defining art, and different claims about what is meaningful and true. Beginning with Plato and Aristotle, a historical review of ancient, medieval, modern, romantic, and 20th century literary theories will be reviewed to illustrate how literature and its criticism reflect the deepest commitments of authors and critics to these central issues of knowing and being.

CAS PH 259
Professor Kingston
Prerequisite: One philosophy course or sophomore standing.

Introduction to aesthetics, considering such questions as: What is a work of art? How does one know whether it is good or bad?

CAS PH 270
Professor Cao
Prerequisite: One year of college science.

Texts: Martin Goldstein and Inge F. Goldstein, How We Know (HWK);
Victor F. Weisskopf, Knowledge and Wonder (KW).

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 (causal 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 schools 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
Professor Caswell
The goal of this course is to come to a deeper and more reflective understanding of the nature of science and technology, their ethical implications, and their impact on society. As citizens, business people, and policy makers we cannot afford to be ignorant of the developments in science and technology. As scientists, engineers, or healthcare professionals-or even simply as consumers-we cannot afford to be ignorant of the ethical, social and political implications of our practices. In this course we shall examine some of the important ways in which science, technology, society, and values are interconnected. The course will include case studies of particular technologies such as cloning, nuclear power, and the internet.

CAS PH 277
Professor Devlin
Analysis of basic concepts relevant to the social sciences: causal and functional explanation, prediction, understanding and interpretation, rationality, reduction, individualism and holism, objectivity and values. Consideration of philosophical problems of the special sciences: psychology, economics, history, and archeology.
Intermediate Level II
*Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing*
(Unless Otherwise Indicated)

CAS PH 300 A1
Professor Brinkmann
Prereq: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

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. On in-class written exam, a midterm and a final paper.

CAS PH 300 B1
Professor Diamandopoulos
The history of ancient philosophy is the history of the invention of philosophy and of its extraordinary accomplishments and ambitions. This unprecedented development, the lecturer will argue, was the unique creation of the Greek world–a reflection of its outlook, culture, language, politics and values; and of the geniuses that pressed the quest.

To outline and interpret the development of ancient philosophy, the course will reconstruct the speculations of Ionian and Southern Italian thinkers; the philosophical breakthroughs of classical Athens (Sophists, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle); and the re-direction of philosophy during the Hellenistic/ Roman era (Stoics, Skeptics, Epicureans and Cynics).

Through a close reading and interpretation of selected texts, the lecturer will argue for the continuity of Greek philosophical thought; but also for its surpassing autonomy and coherence. From the Presocratics through Plato, Aristotle and the Hellenistic philosophers, philosophical inquiry evolved but also remained steadfastly focused on topics that proved perennial – the possibility of knowledge, the nature of Being, the scope of reason, the search for method, the idea of the good, etc.. This fact will suggest that the history of Greek philosophy is paradigmatic of all authentic philosophy: It will explain why all later philosophy had to re-investigate the hellenic philosophical issues.

The class will be conducted in lecture form.

CAS PH 310 A1
Professor Ferrarin
Examination of theories of major seventeenth and eighteenth century philosophers, from Descartes to Hume. The main focus of the class will be on metaphysical and epistemological issues (i.e., not political, ethical, or religious). The status of the cogito (Descartes’ name for the mind) is first isolated as the leading metaphysical starting point by Descartes. Questions such as: ‘is the mind independent of the body?’ ‘What does thinking mean?’ ‘What are the objects of thought?’ constitute the backbone of modern philosophy’s development. Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley and Hume will pursue this line of inquiry along different directions, mainly through an analysis of the mind’s ideas (the objects of thought, or the contents consciousness is aware of). The result of this trajectory will be that metaphysical and existential questions become aspects of an ever more complex and articulate philosophy of mind.

CAS PH 350
Professor Roochnik
Is morality invented or discovered? What does it mean to live a good life, and does it mean the same thing for every human being? What is the relation of virtue to happiness? This course will explore the answers that philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Mill, and Nietzsche offer to these and other fundamental human questions.

Undergraduates: Register for 400 level courses.
Graduates: Register for 600 level courses.
Ancient Philosophy
*Prerequisites: PH 300 and 2 other PH courses*
(Unless Otherwise Indicated)

CAS PH 403
Professor Rosen
A close reading of the Symposium.

CAS PH 405
Professor Diamandopoulos
Prereq: PH 300 and two other philosophy courses or consent of instructor.

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

Modern and Contemporary Philosophy
*Prerequisites: PH 310 and 2 other PH courses*
(Unless Otherwise Indicated)

CAS PH 410/610
Professor Brinkmann
This class will focus on the three central figures in the development of seventeenth-century rationalism: Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz. Topics covered will include the nature of rationalist thought, its metaphysics and epistemology, the role of proofs of God in early modern philosophy, and the problem of free will. We will read Descartes’ Meditations and the Objections and Replies, selections from the Principles of Philosophy, Spinoza’s Ethics, and Leibniz’ Discourse on Metaphysics, the Monadology, and a couple of short essays by Leibniz.

CAS PH 420/620
Professor Michalski
This course will present briefly some of the most influential figures of contemporary continental philosophy, among them Marx, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer and Levinas, and thus some of the important philosophical movements of the last hundred years: in particular marxism, phenomenology and hermenuetics.

CAS PH 424/624
Professor Hintikka
An intensive (line by line) study of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations.
Text: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

Speculative Philosophy
*Prerequisites: PH 300, 310, and 1 other PH course*
(Unless Otherwise Indicated)

CAS PH 443
Professor Webb
Issues in contemporary philosophy and psychology reflecting traditional concerns in both fields, whether conceptual or methodological.

CAS PH 446/646
Professor Olson
(cross-listed RN 450)
An examination of principal issues and topics in the philosophy of religion. This course develops in three stages: first, an 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 in the context of the comparative philosophy of religion. The second part of this course is dedicated to readings and discussions of source materials in the philosophy of religion, viz., the traditional proofs for the existence of God, the problem of evil, mysticism and religious experience, faith and reason, revelation and authority, science and religion, religious ethics, etc. The third and final part of the course will consist of religious ethics, etc. The third and final part of the course of a close reading and commentary on Hegel’s 1827 Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, the first serious attempt to do a comparative philosophy of religion.

Requirements: Two position papers on the readings (2-3 pages each) by undergraduate students and graduate students, research paper or “take-home” final examination for undergraduate students; research paper by graduate students.

Texts: Peterson, Hasker, Reichenbach, and Basinger (eds), Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings (Oxford, 1996).
G.W.F. Hegel, 1827 Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, California, 1988.

Philosophy of Value
*Prerequisites: PH 350 and 2 other PH courses*
(Unless Otherwise Indicated)

CAS PH 451/651
Professor Keller
This course will be an investigation into the nature and moral significance of various forms of love and loyalty. If you really love someone, does that mean that you’d love him no matter what? We all believe that all people are, in some fundamental sense, of equal moral worth, yet we show great favoritism for our own loved ones: does this make any sense? Should we, ideally, love everyone? What moral considerations go along with such things as love for a romantic partner, love for a parent, and love for a country? The major moral traditions are sometimes criticized for failing to leave room for love and loyalty; what is the nature of this criticism, and is it sound? Can there be an ethical theory that is built around love and care, rather than duty and obligation?

CAS PH 453
Professor Haakonssen
The basic principles of political society are commonly understood by studying those thinkers who have a theory justifying these principles. However, much insight into political society may also be gained by reading thinkers who are critical of or even reject the forms of political society of which humankind seems capable. This course will focus on one of the major debates on the principles and values of political society, namely that which surrounded the French Revolution in the late eighteenth century. To this purpose we will read three important thinkers, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Edmund Burke, and William Godwin.

The first part of the course will analyse Rousseau’s idea of civilization, not least political civilization, as a process of corruption of human nature and then consider one of his suggested means of counteracting this corruption, namely a new set of political institutions. These ideas of Rousseau, though published well before the Revolution, played a significant role in the fierce debate that followed the overthrow of the established political system.

The second part of the course will analyse one of the greatest criticisms of the Revolution, that of Edmund Burke. His Reflections on the Revolution in France provides a forceful presentation of the conservative, or traditionalist, principles of both community and political society.

The third part of the course will present a radical response to both Rousseau and Burke. This is the political philosophy of the first great anarchist, William Godwin (1756-1836), whose Political Justice gave a searching criticism of the central civic institutions, government, private property, criminal law, and established churches.

CAS PH 454/654
Professor Ivanhoe
This seminar explores the movement in practical or normative ethics generally referred to as Virtue Ethics (VE). Most philosophers point to Elizabeth Anscombe’s 1958 article “Modern Moral Philosophy” as the beginning of this revival of an approach to ethics that is characteristic of ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle and critical of the modern deontology and consequentialism. The aim of the seminar is to trace the history of the revival of VE, to understand its criticism of modern approaches to ethics, and to evaluate the positive claims advocates of VE make.

CAS PH 457/657
Professor Speight
Are we free? What makes us responsible for actions that are good or evil? This course will focus on the development of the concept of moral responsibility, with particular attention to the famous problems of freewill and determinism and of the origin of evil. Readings will include important sources from the tradition (Aristotle, Augustine, Kant, Hegel) but also more recent discussions of the topics of responsibility and freedom (Frankfurt, Dennett, Fischer and Ravizza, Velleman, and Libet, among others).

CAS PH 458/658
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: Philosophical Perspectives
Professor Simons
(cross-listed JD 928 -A1)– Under the law school calendar, the class meets beginning August 28, through Monday December 1.

This seminar will explore a broad range of issues concerning both the philosophy of punishment and the substantive criminal law. Topics are likely to include retributivist and utilitarian rationales for punishment; what should be criminalized; the death penalty; the proper role of fortuity or luck in determining criminal sanctions; justification (including self-defense) and excuse (including insanity and duress); racial generalizations, profiling and stereotypes; and feminist perspectives on some criminal law topics. The seminar is open both to law students and to philosophy students.

The basic texts will be Foundations of Criminal Law (Leo Katz, Michael S. Moore, and Stephen J. Morse, eds.); and George Fletcher, Basic Concepts of Criminal Law. Additional articles will also be assigned.

Students will be asked to submit brief written questions and comments about the readings on a regular basis, and will be required to write a single draft of a 20-page paper.

Philosophy of Knowledge, Language, and Logic
*Prerequisites: PH 310, 360, and 1 other PH course*
(Unless Otherwise Indicated)

CAS PH 461/661
Professor Kanamori
(cross-listed MA 531)
The course begins with a treatment of first-order logic as the basis for mathematical logic and an underlying language for mathematics. The syntax and semantics of quantifiers are analyzed, leading to Gödel’s Completeness Theorem. A sketch is then given of Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem. This leads to Turin’s Halting Problem and the beginnings of the theory of computability. After describing the class of computable functions and Church’s thesis, the theory is developed through the enumeration and parameterization theorems to Kleene’s Recursion Theorem.

Required Texts: Herbert B. Enderton, A Mathematical Introduction to Logic (New York: Academic Press, 1972); and if available, Assaf J. Kfoury, Robert N. Moll, and Michael A. Arbib, A Programming Approach to Computability (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1982).

Philosophy of Science
*Prerequisites: PH 310, 360, and 1 other PH course*
(Unless Otherwise Indicated)

CAS PH 470/ 670
Professor Cao
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.

Tian Yu Cao, Conceptual Development of 20th Century Field Theories (CD)
Alastair, Illusion or Reality (QP)
Lawrence Sklar, Philosophy of Physics

Topic Courses
*Prerequisites: 1 other 400 level PH course or Professors Approval*

GRS PH 801
Professor Rosen
A detailed study of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.

GRS PH 811
Professor Ferrarin
An examination of the themes of reflection, power of judgment, and imagination in Kant’s first and third Critiques. We will focus especially on the Transcendental Analytic (Schematism, Principles, Amphiboly) and the Dialectic (Book 1, and Appendix) of the Critique of Pure Reason, as well as the First Introduction and select chapters from the Critique of Judgment. Prior thorough acquaintance with the first Critique is a prerequisite for this course.

GRS PH 827
Professor Dahlstrom
The purpose of this seminar is to give a close, critical reading of Heidegger’s Being and Time.

GRS PH 883
Professor Neville
After some centuries of modern philosophy operationalizing a distinction between facts and values, with the result that nature was conceived to be value-neutral, several twentieth century philosophers have developed metaphysical conceptions of nature as value-laden. This course will examine the systems of John Dewey, Alfred North Whitehead, George Allan, Frederick Ferre, Joseph Grange, and Robert Neville. Questions such as whether there is an intrinsic nature of value, how value is experienced, how it is institutionalized or ritualized in groups, how it shapes moral reflection, and how it bears on environmental concerns will be discussed.