Course Descriptions Fall 2004

CAS PH 100 A1
Prof. Roochnik
Introduction to such fundamental questions as: Is truth relative? Are values relative? Is knowledge necessary to lead a good life? What is knowledge, and how is it attained?

CAS PH 110 A1
Prof. Diamandopoulos
Introduction to some basic questions of human existence, with particular reference to the relationship between man and nature, and 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
Prof. Caswell
The course provides a systematic introduction to major question in moral thought, such as: are there any absolute moral standards or are all values relative? Is morality “constructed” by people? Is morality necessarily dependent upon religion? What is the relationship between morality and egoism? Is the morally right action the one that achieves the best ourcomes, or the one that is in accordance with conscience and duty, or the one that is the expression of virtue?

CAS PH 150 B1
Prof. Speight
An introduction to the field of ethics, exploring major philosophical approaches (utilitarianism, Kantianism, virtue ethics) through the reading of classic texts and consideration of important contemporary issues (human cloning and bioethics, environmental ethics, war and terrorism, etc.).

CAS PH 150 C1
Prof. 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 160 A1
Prof. 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.

CAS PH 160 B1
Prof. 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.

CAS PH 160 C1
Prof. 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*

CAS PH 242
Prof. 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 244
Prof. Parker
We will take a rigorous, critical approach to a number of ethical questions that arise in everyday life, including questions about life and death, morally responsible, special duties to family and friends, our relationship to the environment, and the moral status of animals.

CAS PH 251
Prof. Schwartz
Prereq: one philosophy course or sophomore standing. Modern medicine confronts some of the same moral questions that faced Hippocrates: how to treat the sick and dying with dignity, how to structure the relationship between patient and doctor, how to define the proper scope of medicine. But modern circumstances have refracted these questions and added new ones. In this class, we’ll focus on the philosophical and ethical issues related to death and dying, informed consent in research and treatment, healthcare policy and reform, abortion, cloning, and stem cell research.

CAS PH 253
Prof. Caswell
A philosophical examination of classical and contemporary theories of modern society. Readings will include the work of Hobbes, Rousseau, Mill, Weber, as well as later thinkers.

CAS PH 254
Prof. Haakonssen
The course analyses the philosophical ideas behind major political ideologies and theories in the twentieth century, especially, liberalism, conservatism, libertarianism, communitarianism, and socialism. We will be looking at central issues such as liberty and equality, rights and responsibilities, toleration, justice and the rule of law, democracy and representative government.

CAS PH 270
Prof. Bokulich
This course is an introduction to contemporary issues in the philosophy of science. We will explore questions such as the following: What distinguishes science from pseudoscience? Can there be crucial experiments? What is the nature of scientific change? Are scientific theories converging on the truth? How do we know things we can not observe directly, such as electrons, really exist? What is an adequate scientific explanation? Could all of science in principle be explained by physics?

Intermediate Level II
*Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing*

CAS PH 300 A1
Prof. 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
Prof. 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 professor 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, Sceptics, Epicureans and Cynics).

Through a close reading and interpretation of selected texts, the professor 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
Prof. 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
Prof. Ivanhoe
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: PH300 and 2 other PH courses*

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

Modern and Contemporary Philosophy
*Prerequisites: PH310 and 2 other PH courses*

CAS PH 410/610
Prof. Garrett
This class will focus on the central figured in the development of seventeenth-century rationalism: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, and Malebranche. Topics covered will include the metaphysics of substance, truth and certainty, the role of proofs of God in early modern philosophy, and the passions. We will read Descartes’ Meditations and the Objections and Replies, the first two books of Spinoza’s Ethics, and selections from the works of Malebranche and Leibniz.

CAS PH 416/616
Prof. Speight
The last several years have seen a renewed philosophical interest in Hegel’s 1807 Phenomenology of Spirit, from recent work by McDowell and Brandom to the publication of a number of important new commentaries (Pinkard, Forster, Harris). This seminar-format course will center on a close reading of the Phenomenology, with attention to Hegel’s developing systematic thought and to important recent philosophical literature. (Prerequisites for PH416: open to junior or senior undergraduates who have taken at least PH310; some additional previous study of Kant or Hegel is highly desirable.)

CAS PH 419/619
Prof. 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 420/620
Prof. Hintikka
This course does not only present briefly some of the main figures of contemporary philosophy, among them Frege, Husserl, Wittgenstein and Heidegger, and some of the important developments, such as hermeneutics, logical empiricism, existentialism, the new philosophy of science (Kuhn, etc.), the new theory of reference (Marcus, Kripke, etc.), neurophilosophy, and the realism controversy. It also seeks to answer the question: What’s in them for us? Which ideas of these thinkers are helpful in guiding philosophical thought to the next century and which ones are not?

CAS PH 422/622
Prof. Floyd
An investigation of discussions of scepticism (primarily about knowledge claims concerning, e.g., other minds and the external world) in twentieth century philosophy, and how they are affected by theories of meaning. We will begin discussing claims that have been made about the role of scepticism in early modern philosophy, and then focus on efforts to refute scepticism in the twentieth century — efforts rooted in various attempts 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 Sensibility and “Other Minds”, Wittgenstein’s On Certainty, and related works by such contemporary philosophers as Quine, Grice, Putnam, Cavell and Williams.

Speculative Philosophy
*Prerequisites: PH 300, 310, and 1 other PH course*

CAS PH 443/643
Prof. Webb
Issues in contemporary philosophy and psychology reflecting traditional concerns in both fields, whether conceptual or methodological.

Philosophy of Value
*Prerequisites: PH 350 and 2 other PH courses*

CAS PH 455/655
Prof. Lyons
What is law? How does law differ from orders backed by threats? What is justice? How are law and justice related? This course addresses the central concerns of jurisprudence by focusing on works by leading theorists: H.L.A. Hart’s The Concept of Law, Ronald Dworkin’s Taking Rights Seriously, and John Rawls’s Justice as Fairness. (Please note: This course originates in the Law School and follows its calendar and time schedule. Arrangements can be made for non-law students who are unable to attend the first week’s meetings.)

CAS PH 459/659
Prof. Lyons
What is democracy, and why is it valued? Legislation is enacted, decisions are rendered, wars are fought in its name but there’s no consensus, among nations or even among theorists in the West, about what democracy is or why it’s worth the price. This seminar will address these questions by examining a wide range of mostly contemporary writings about democracy. (Please note: This seminar originates in the Law School and follows its calendar and time schedule. Arrangements can be made for non-law students who are unable to attend the first week’s meeting.)

Philosophy of Knowledge, Language, and Logic
*Prerequisites: PH310, 360, and 1 other pH course*

CAS PH 460/660
Prof. Hintikka
A systematic examination of some of the main problems of epistemology. Knowledge-seeking and knowledge-justification is conceptualized as a questioning procedure not unlike Socrates’ questioning method. Different aspects of such interrogative “games” are studied and related to traditional problems in the theory of knowledge.

CAS PH 461/661
Prof. Kanamori
The course provides 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 Godel’s Completeness Theorem. A sketch is then given of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem.

If there is time left, Turing’s Halting Problem and the beginnings of the theory of computability are discussed: computable functions and Church’s Thesis, enumeration and parametrization theorems to Kleene’s Recursion Theorem.

Required Texts: Herbert B. Enderton, A Mathematical Introduction to Logic Second Edition, Harcourt Academic Press. Perhaps readings at the end from Assaf J. Kfoury, Robert N. Moll, and Michael A. Arbib, A Programming Approach to Computability (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1982).

Philosophy of Science
*Prerequisites: PH310, 360, and 1 other PH course*

CAS PH 470/670
Prof. Bokulich
This course is an historical and philosophical introduction to some of the puzzles and paradoxes raised by Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. No prior background in physics or philosophy is required; the requisite scientific and philosophical background material will be presented in the course. Topics to be covered include:
– Is the world deterministic or indeterministic?
– Schrodinger’s cat and the measurement problem
– Bell’s theorem, non locality, and the EPR paradox
– Is space(-time) a thing or simply a relation?
– Block universe and time travel

Topic Courses

CAS PH 482/682
Prof. Tauber
Personal identity comprises a major epistemological and moral theme of 20th century philosophy. We will consider the historical development of selfhood in both domains, with an emphasis on Romantic conceptions, which have had a major influence on current thinking. Beginning with the early modern conception of the self as an entity, we will explore how a dialectical model replaced a more static conception, and finally how contemporary philosophers have replaced the epistemological construction with one built as a moral category. Historical overviews will be supplemented by readings of Emerson, James, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, and Moran.

CAS PH 483/683
Prof. Olson
A philosophical analysis of the problem of evil with special attention to Paul Ricoeur’s The Symbolism of Evil and the source materials with which he deals: (a) Evil as “stain” or “defilement” in the “ritual vision of the world” as contained in the Mesopotamian Enuma Elish, the oldest recorded creation epic; (b) Evil as “transgression” or “sin” as found in the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible; (c) Evil as “tragic” as depicted in the Prometheus legends of Hesiod and Aeschylus; and (d) Evil as “guilt” and the result of “exile” from God or the Absolute One in Plato, Plotinus, and Augustine. Comparative analysis of selected Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim texts. Attention will also be given to the problem of theodicy in selected Rationalist and Enlightenment thinkers such as Leibniz and Kant, and to the manner in which the problem of evil is handled in selected literary and cinematic works. Students will write several short position papers, make at least one oral presentation, and graduate students will write a research paper.

CAS PH 484/684
Prof. Freundenthal
Moses Mendelssohn and Salomon Maimon mark opposite poles within the philosophy both of Jewish Enlightenment in Berlin and in German Enlightenment in general. In their respective interpretations of Spinoza and of Judaism, we witness the struggle of modern philosophy interpreting religious traditions.

*The following courses are open to Graduate Students ONLY*

GRS PH 801
Prof. Roochnik
“Theory and practice” in Aristotle. We will begin with Nicomachean Ethics X.7-8, the praise of the “theoretical” (“contemplative”) life, and Politics VII, where Aristotle argues on behalf of the practical value of theory. We will then attempt to determine what “theory” (theoria) actually means for Aristotle by studying De Anima II and III.

PH 811
Kant I
Prof. Kuehn
Kant characterized his Critique of Pure Reason as “the explication of Hume’s problem in its widest possible extent”. This course will be an attempt to understand what precisely was “Hume’s problem” for Kant and why it became so important for him. We will see that it cannot simply be reduced to “the problem of skepticism.” It is a deeper problem that cannot be reduced to what is usually discussed as his “answer to Hume,” if only because it is also a continuation of Humean concerns in theoretical and moral philosophy

GRS PH 826
Prof. Dahlstrom
The purpose of this seminar is to examine the theme of nihilism as it figures in Heidegger’s thinking and, in particular, in his reading of Nietzsche. To this end, the course focuses on Heidegger’s 1939 lectures on “The Will to Power as Knowledge” as well as other lectures and essays of the early 1940s, especially, “European Nihilism” and “Nietzsche’s Metaphysics.”

GRS PH 840
Prof. Rosen
We will study Heidegger’s charge that Plato is the father of productionist metaphysics and by extension, that western European philosophy is Platonism.

Text: Plato’s Republic