Course Descriptions Fall 2005

CAS PH 100
Professor Bokulich
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
Professor Tauber
What is philosophy? We will approach this question by examining the works of representative philosophers from Socrates to the 20th century. By studying various autobiographical accounts and formal essays, students will have the opportunity to witness philosophy “in action,” i.e., the nature of philosophical discourse and how philosophers engage one another.

CAS PH 150 A1
Professor Speight
An introduction to philosophical ethics, by way of an exploration of three important normative philosophical approaches (utilitarianism, deontology and virtue ethics) and frequent discussion of contemporary ethical issues, including cloning, stem cell research, the moral status of animals, and war and terrorism.

CAS PH 150 B1
Professor Keller
We use moral language all the time; we say that an act is wrong, that a person is virtuous, that we have the right to certain sorts of treatment, and so on. Such language, however, can be puzzling. It is difficult to say exactly what we are referring to when we speak of such things as the rightness and wrongness of acts, and it can be just as difficult to say which acts really are right and which really are wrong. This course will begin with an investigation into the nature of moral judgments. We will ask, for example, whether morality is just a matter of opinion or emotion, whether there is a single true morality, and whether morality depends upon the existence of God. In the second part of the course, we will look at various views about what it takes for an act to be right or wrong. Is acting morally fundamentally a matter of promoting happiness, respecting rights, exercising the virtues, or what? Finally, we will examine some practical moral issues, perhaps including the morality of abortion, our obligations to people in distant parts of the world, and our obligation to tell the truth. The course will be organized around thematic concerns, rather than the works of particular great philosophers, but the reading will include a mixture of contemporary and historical texts.

CAS PH 150 C1
Professor Griswold
This course is an introduction to major questions and themes in moral thought, such as: is moral value “relative”? is it “absolute”? What is a moral or normative reason? What is “virtue”? If God exists, how do we explain evil? If God does not exist, what foundation is there for good? What is the relationship between egoism and altruism?

CAS PH 160 A1
Professor Hopp
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 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
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*

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, reason, extremes.

Selected readings include Soren Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death, Karl Jaspers’ Philosophy of Existence, Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good, Richard Selzer’s Letters to a Young Doctor, Plato’s Five Dialogues, and Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie.

CAS PH 245
Professor Lobel
Intersections between philosophy and religious thought. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Bible, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Augustine, Maimonides, Ghazzali. Cross listed with RN 245: “Introduction to Religious Thought.”

CAS PH 251
Professor Clark
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 258
Professor Speight
Exploration of the “ancient quarrel” between philosophy & poetry as it concerns the modes of tragedy and comedy. The course will consider a number of famous philosophical theories of or complaints about drama, as well as the comic and tragic works which inspired those reflections. Philosophical texts to be considered include Aristotle’s Poetics, Hegel’s Aesthetics, Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy, Max Scheler’s “On the Phenomenon of the Tragic,” Rousseau’s “Lettre a d’Alembert”; dramatic works will include Sophocles’ Antigone and Philoctetes, Euripides’ Bacchae, Diderot’s Rameau’s Nephew, Aristophanes’ Clouds, and Moliere’s Misanthrope.

CAS PH 270
Professor Cao
Additional 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 277
Professor Devlin
Analysis of basic concepts relevant to the social sciences: causal and functional explanation, prediction, bracketing, statistical methods, reductionism, objectivity and values. Role of methodology and the relation of science to materialism, determinism, and atheism. Consideration of philosophical problems of the special sciences: psychology, economics, history, social science.

CAS PH 278
Professor Michalski
A close reading of Nietzsche’s “On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life” and related texts.

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

CAS PH 300 A1
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
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, Sceptics, 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
Professor Kuehn
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
Instructor TBA
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.

400/600 Level
Undergraduate Students should register for 400-level courses
Graduate Students should register for 600-level courses

Ancient Philosophy
*Prerequisites: PH 300 and 2 other PH courses*

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

CAS PH 406
Professor Diamandopoulos
A careful study of Aristotle’s practical philosophy conducted primarily through a close reading of his Politics. Aristotle’s overall conception of a practical philosophy as it is developed in Book I of Nicomachean Ethics and the transition from the ethical to the political point of view as described in the last chapter of Nicomachean Ethics will be considered. A seminar format will be used.

Modern and Contemporary Philosophy
*Prerequisites: PH 310 and 2 other PH Courses*

CAS PH 411/611
Professor Garrett
Close reading of Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Berkeley’s Dialogues, and Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature.

**Please read the “Epistle to the Reader,” I. 1-2 of Locke’s essay for the first class.**

CAS PH 415
Professor Brinkmann
19th-century philosophy is characterized by the collapse of the great systems of the philosophy of German idealism, especially the Hegelian system of the absolute self-knowledge of spirit, and a growing skeptical attitude about the Enlightenment ideals. This is the century of the relativization of reason in the name of forces that are thought to be beyond reason’s control. After a brief look at the Hegelian system, we will follow the development of the critique of reason from Schopenhauer to Kierkegaard to Marx and Nietzsche. The course will consist of a close reading of selections from the works of these authors. One mid-term and one final paper.

CAS PH 420/620
Professor 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
Professor 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.

CAS PH 426/626
Professor Hopp
Phenomenology is above all else a method of acquiring knowledge through an immediate acquaintance or “seeing” of “the things themselves.” The main task of the present course is to understand and assess the merits of that method by closely considering the development of phenomenology in the works of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. We begin with Husserl’s Logical Investigations, paying particularly close attention to his account of the general structure of the mental act and his theory of knowledge. Next, we will examine Husserl’s turn to transcendental phenomenology and his method of “bracketing” everything that cannot be strictly given to consciousness. We will then look at Husserl’s notion of the life-world (Lebenswelt) and his account of how our consciousness of and involvement with it is presupposed by the natural sciences. Finally, we will turn to Heidegger’s Being and Time, focusing especially on his conception of phenomenology as fundamental ontology and the manner in which he incorporates, alters, and rejects various central Husserlian doctrines. Throughout the course we will be mindful of the similarities and differences between each of Husserl’s and Heidegger’s central ideas, on the one hand, and various historically prominent doctrines concerning the nature of the mind, knowledge, and reality on the other.

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

CAS PH 440/640
Professor Keller
Many popular science fiction stories are about people who travel to distant times: think of ‘The Time Machine,’ ‘Back to the Future,’ and ‘Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.’ But is time travel possible? This is not to ask whether anyone has traveled in time or will ever do so. The question is rather about whether or not someone *could* travel in time. To put it another way, we will not be asking about how to build time machines, but about whether or not time travel stories inevitably involve deep inconsistencies or impossibilities. In investigating this question, we will confront various puzzles about time, God, change, possibility, causation, personal identity, and free will. The course will therefore serve as an introduction to several of the central problems in metaphysics.

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
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. Second, 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 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 and perhaps the most influential lectures on this topic in the history of philosophy.

Requirements: Several position papers on the readings (2-3 pages each) by undergraduate students and graduate students, and a research paper.

Texts: Steven Cahn, Ten Essential Texts in the Philosophy of Religion (Oxford, 2005); G.W.F. Hegel, 1827 Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, California, 1988. On-Line edition available at New edition forthcoming from Oxford in 2006.

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

CAS 455/655
Professor Lyons
What is law? How does law differ from orders backed by threats? What is justice? This course addresses the central concerns of jurisprudence by focusing on works by leading theorists: H.L.A. Hart on the nature of a legal system, Ronald Dworkin on the interpretation of law, and John Rawls on justice. There will be a mid-term exam plus either a final take-home exam (for 455) or a term paper (for 655). PLEASE NOTE: As this course is a cross-listing of LAW JD 853, it follows the Law School’s calendar and time schedule. It meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:10-3:35, September 6-December 8.

Philosophy of Knowledge, Language, and Logic
*Prerequisites: PH 310, 360, and 1 other PH course*

CAS PH 461/661
Professor Kanamori
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. Cross-listed with MA 531.

Required Texts:
Herbert B. Enderton, A Mathematical Introduction to Logic (New York: Academic Press, 1972).

CAS PH 463/663
Professor Hintikka
The most representative problem areas in contemporary philosophy of language are discussed, criticized, and put into a new perspective. They include Frege’s sense-reference theory, quantification and anaphora, theory of truth, the semantics of intensional and epistemic concepts, strategic aspects of language use, identification and individuation, metaphor, demonstratives and idexicals, discourse and dialogue theory, and selected language disturbances (dyslexia, autism).

Topics in Philosophy

CAS PH 482/682
Professor Tauber
The realism/anti-realism debate in its contemporary expressions has focused on the claims of naturalism versus constructivism of various kinds. This philosophical discourse has spilled over into historical and sociological characterizations of scientific investigation and its truth claims. The course is divided between 1) a historical review of this debate (Quine, early anti-positivist critics, e.g. Kuhn, more recent constructivist positions, e.g., the Strong Program, feminists), and 2) an examination of efforts to adjudicate the claims of realists and anti-realists with the general intent of seeking a balanced (perhaps even a synthetic) epistemology.

CAS PH 484
Professor White
Many of the most prominent “continental” philosophers of the past two centuries, including Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Heidegger, have attempted to develop defensible “big-picture” (comprehensive or systematic) accounts of what there is (including, broadly, both thinking and being, subject and object, etc.). The “analytic” counterparts of these thinkers have generally focused on particular areas or problems rather than on the whole, but have aimed (or claim to have aimed) to treat those areas and problems with clarity and precision – features often scarcely detectable in the “continental” accounts. This course will study central parts of a book that attempts to combine the comprehensive scope of the continental thinkers mentioned above (as well as of such earlier thinkers as Aristotle and Aquinas) with the clarity and precision lauded in the analytic tradition. The book, Structure and Being. A Theoretical Framework for a Systematic Philosophy, is co-authored by Lorenz Puntel (Munich) and Alan White (the instructor for this course). Among other things, the book presents new and indeed revolutionary understandings of thinking and being, and of their interrelation.

Graduate Courses in Philosophy
600- and 800-level courses are open to Graduate Students ONLY

GRS PH 614
Professor Kuehn
This course will study Book I of Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature in its proper historical context (or at least in some of such contexts). When one of Hume’s friends offered to read the Treatise before publication (in order to give him advice), Hume responded that he would welcome such a reading, but that Ramsey should first prepare himself by reading right through Malebranche’s Recherche, Berkeley’s Principles, Descartes’s Meditations, and some of the more metaphysical articles in Bayle. We will follow his advice (to some extent) by recapitulating (very) briefly Descartes’s Meditations and Berkeley’s Principles and looking more closely at selected passages from Malebranche and some of the more metaphysical articles of Bayle before engaging in a thorough reading of the first book of the Treatise.

During the last third of the course we will consider Reid’s Inquiry into the Human Mind as a critique of the Treatise. We will see that Reid was well aware of the British and French background of Hume’s philosophy.

GRS PH 619
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.

GRS PH 801
Professor Roochnik
A thorough study of Plato’s Theaetetus.

GRS PH 816
Professor Rosen
The first of two semesters devoted to understanding Hegel’s Science of Logic.

GRS PH 820
Professor White
This course will study selected sections of a book that aspires to be philosophically revolutionary. The book, Structure and Being. A Theoretical Framework for a Systematic Philosophy, is co-authored by Lorenz Puntel (Munich) and Alan White (the instructor for this course). Among the book’s theses the course is likely to examine are the following: (1) comprehensive scientific (truth-seeking) theorization requires that there be, in addition to various particular sciences (physics, biology, etc.), a universal science whose most appropriate designation is “(systematic) philosophy”; (2) all truths are relative to the theoretical frameworks within which they emerge, truths emerge within all theoretical frameworks, but one framework can rationally be determined to be superior to another with respect to its adequacy as theoretical; (3) the truths presented within systematic philosophy are relative only to its framework, thus not, in any significant sense, to human subjectivity or to ordinary language(s); (4) semantics and ontology are two sides of the same coin; (5) ontologies involving objects (or substances or things) that have properties and are interrelated are untenable; (6) the world is the totality of facts identical to true propositions expressible by sentences of the form “It’s F-ing” (e.g., “It’s raining”, “It’s redding”, “It’s Platoing”); (7) no natural-scientific theory can adequately thematize human beings; (8) human beings are free; (9) among the facts in the world are ethical values; (10) among the facts in the world are aesthetic values; (11) being includes an absolutely necessary dimension that provides subject matter for philosophical theorization.

GRS PH 870
Professor Cao
Examination of some of the central conceptual issues in the philosophy 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.