Course Descriptions Fall 2006

CAS PH100 A1
Introduction to Philosophy
Professor Hopp
An examination of some central philosophical themes, including free will, the existence of God, and the objectivity (or not) of moral values.

CAS PH110 A1
Great Philosophers
Professor Diamandopoulos
A comparative introduction to the life and thought of six preeminent philosophers from classical times in both the Western and Eastern traditions.

CAS PH150 A1
Introduction to Ethics
Professor Speight
What sort of life should I lead? Are there standards of ethics everyone must follow? This course will explore a wide range of ethical issues, including questions about human origins and reproduction raised by new cloning technology and stem cell research, as well as questions about animal rights, capital punishment and the justice and injustice of war and terrorist acts. Readings from both classical and contemporary philosophers. Open to all students; no prerequisites.

CAS PH150 B1
Introduction to Ethics
Professor Kuehn
Who ought we to be, what ought we to do, what ought we to strive for? Examination of our obligations to ourselves, to other humans, and to the natural world in light of ethical theory and contemporary problems. Readings from a wide range of texts in philosophical ethics.

CAS PH150 C1
Introduction to Ethics
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”? How do we determine what a “good person” is? 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? Can moral philosophy tell you what it is justified to do (or not do) in any specific situation?

This course has no prerequisites.

CAS PH160 A1
Reasoning & Argumentation
Professor Biletzki
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 PH160 B1
Reasoning & Argumentation
Professor Floyd
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 PH160 C1
Reasoning & Argumentation
Professor Webb
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 PH242 A1
Human Nature
Professor Kestenbaum
Consideration of ways in which questions about human nature have received philosophical formulation through analysis of such concepts as depth, courage, authority, intensity, possibility, transcendence, tradition, adventure, unity, sex, struggle, and peace. Discussion of past and recent work in philosophical anthropology.

CAS PH244 A1
Applied Ethics
Professor Keller
We will take a rigorous, critical approach to a number of ethical questions that arise in everyday life, including questions about life and death, moral responsibility, special duties to family and friends, our relationship to the environment, and the moral status of animals.

CAS PH248 A1
Professor Dahlstrom
This course analyzes existentialism as a movement and as an orientation in contemporary philosophy. Drawing principally on Sartre’s work, Being and Nothingness, the course focuses on such themes as bad faith, facticity, temporality, the body, freedom, and ethical implications.

CAS PH251 A1
Medical Ethics
Examination of a number of value problems arising within the context of medicine and health care. Particular ethical problems of euthanasia, abortion, human experimentation, reproduction, and allocation of scarce resources; critiques of contemporary medicine as an institution.

CAS PH253 A1
Social Philosophy
Professor Cao
Through a reading of some selected texts we will examine modern and contemporary theories of society, concerning its nature and the direction of its evolution. The philosophical and sociological discussions are framed in terms of the complicated relationship between individuals and society, and between civil society and the sovereign power.

CAS PH254 A1
Political Philosophy
Professor Michalski
A close reading of a selection of classics of modern political philosophy: Hobbes, Kant, Marx and Carl Schmitt.

CAS PH265 A1
Minds & Machines
Professor Webb
An examination of 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.

CAS PH270 A1
Philosophy of Science
Professor Alisa 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 cannot observe directly, such as electrons, really exist? What is an adequate scientific explanation? Could all of science in principle be explained by physics?

CAS PH277 A1
Philosophy and Method in Human Science
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 PH300 A1
History of Ancient Philosophy
Professor Brinkmann
The Greek philosophers of the time between ca. 600 through 300 B.C. were the first to do philosophy in its typical Western style. In studying their thought we will discover the original motives and puzzles which gave rise to their philosophical questioning. In a sense, these philosophers, among whom are to be found some of the greatest minds ever, defined the meaning of rational thought and argument in an exemplary manner while they also helped shape the basic conceptual tools for explaining the natural and the spiritual world. Thus it can also be said that they explored the potential of the human mind and enabled subsequent generations to define the moral and spiritual nature of the human being as well as to give expression to our fundamental ideas about truth, justice, and human happiness. We shall follow the gradual evolution of ancient Greek philosophical thought from its infancy to its culmination, beginning with the Milesian Presocratic thinkers Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes and ending with a discussion of some of Plato’s immortal dialogues and Aristotle’s fundamental contributions to natural philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics.

CAS PH300 B1
History of Ancient Philosophy
Professor Diamandopoulos
Classical Greek philosophy, with a concentration on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.

CAS PH310 A1
History Modern Philosophy
Professor Roochnik
An examination of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy from Descartes, with emphasis on the nature and extent of knowledge. Readings include Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Berkley, and Hume.

CAS PH350 A1
History of Ethics
Professor Garrett
A class on the main currents in moral philosophy in the modern period focusing on Hobbes, Mandeville, Hume, Bentham, Kant, Sidgwick, G. E. Moore and J. L. Mackie’s Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong.

CAS PH403 A1
Plato I
Professor Rosen
A close reading of the Symposium. Permission Required.

CAS PH405 A1/ 605 A1
Aristotle I
Professor Brinkmann
In this course we will study some of Aristotle’s fundamental contributions to theoretical philosophy (i.e. excluding writings belonging to his ‘practical philosophy’ such as the Nicomachean Ethics and the Politics). Even so, we will not have the time to cover all areas of Aristotle’s theoretical philosophy. Thus we will ignore Aristotle’s writings on logic and syllogistic inference. Instead we will focus on basic aspects of his ontology, his scientific methodology, his philosophy of nature, his psychology and theory of knowledge, and his metaphysics. Readings will include selections from: Categories, Posterior Analytics, Physics, On the Soul, and the Metaphysics. The class will be conducted in seminar style, with a mix of presentations by the instructor, close analysis of texts and discussion.

CAS PH411 A1/ 611 A1
British Empiricism
Professor Hopp
A critical study of major texts of British Empiricists, with emphasis on Locke and Hume.

CAS PH413 A1/ 613 A1
Professor Kuehn
Prereq: CAS PH 310 and three other philosophy courses. A single text constitutes the basis for this course — Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Some of the great scholars of the past have devoted a lifetime to analyzing, explicating, and evaluating this work. We, alas, have only one semester. In this, the first of three Critiques, Kant introduced the idea of a critical self-examination of reason, and in the execution of this program he developed a unique new type of philosophy, called transcendental philosophy, which forever revolutionized philosophical thought. We shall examine the text carefully from beginning to end. Because Kant’s thinking is enormously complex, intricate, and subtle, we shall make ample use of secondary sources and complement textual analysis by discussing helpful comments by some of today’s finest Kant scholars.

CAS PH422 A1/ 622 A1
Analytic Philosophy
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 PH424 A1/ 624 A1
Professor Hintikka
A survey of the leading ideas of Wittgenstein’s thought in the light of his development.

CAS PH440 A1/ 641 A1
Professor Keller
We will examine a set of fundamental questions about the nature of persons, the world, and the relation between the two. Topics will include existence, possibility, time, causation, and personal identity. Readings will come from contemporary sources, with an effort being made to engage in the debates as they are construed in the current philosophical literature.

CAS PH443 A1/ 643 A1
Philosophy of Mind
Professor Peter Bokulich
The topic of this course is the contemporary debate over the relationship between the mental and the physical. Our primary focus will be on the role of causation in mentality and physics, the place of conceptual analysis in scientific reduction, and the relationship between conceivability and possibility. Readings will include books by Chalmers, Kim, and Perry.

CAS PH446 A1
Philosophy of Religion
Professor Michalski
An examination of principal issues and topics in the modern philosophy of religion on the basis of selected texts of Pascal, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.

CAS PH455 A1/ 655 A1
Legal Philosophy
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)

CAS PH457 A1/ 657 A1
Professor Olson
What is the relationship between understanding behavior and understanding texts? What is the role of narrative in interpretation? Using philosophical reflections on narrative from Plato to MacIntyre, the course studies philosophy and tragedy as two perhaps antithetical traditions of interpretation.

CAS PH459 A1/ 659 A1
Political & Legal Philosophy
Professor Biletzki
Examination of the philosophical foundations of the concept of human rights. Is there a difference between rights in general and human rights in particular? Does the philosophical discussion of rights carry over immediately and automatically into the current praxis of human rights? Are human rights universal and can they be justified? The course will address these questions having to do with human rights, vigorously debated in politics and law, from a philosophical perspective.

CAS PH460 A1/ 660 A1
Professor Hintikka
An examination of the central problems of knowledge acquisition, conceived of as a questioning process. Among these problems there are the relation of discovery to justification, the role of knowledge and belief in guiding action, the quest of a definition of knowledge, the role of probability in epistemology, knowledge and information, the nature of truth, varieties of realism, the objects of knowledge, belief and perception, knowledge by induction and the role of priori knowledge.

CAS PH470 A1/ 670 A1
Philosophy of Physics
Professor Cao
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 theories; probability and irreversibility in thermodynamics and statistical mechanics; the understanding of measurement, locality, causality, reality and objectivity in quantum theory; ontology, virtual entities, and attitudes toward infinities in 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. The course is designed primarily for those who have a deep interest in philosophy of physics, or in theoretical physics, and plan to pursue advanced study in these areas. But it is also accessible to those who are interested mainly in the ideas of modern physics, or in the relevance of physics as a testing ground for general philosophical claims.

CAS PH482 A1
Topics in Modern & Contemporary Philosophy
Professor Tauber
“Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.” Novalis
The relationship of poetry and myth to philosophical discourse serves as our theme. We will explore how philosophy emerged from Greek myth and in the process kept some of its older religious heritage, then modified it, and finally radically exchanged that poetic discourse for an analytic one. Our readings are divided between a consideration of philosophy’s ancient origins and how those embedded concerns and methods have resurfaced in our contemporary era. After considering how Plato set the dichotomy of poetry and philosophy, we will explore the “buried” presence of the poetic in his dialogues and in philosophy’s contemporary expression.

CAS PH487 A1
Topics in the Philosophy of Science
Professor Alisa Bokulich
This course examines in depth three central themes in the philosophy of science: realism, reductionism and explanation.

GRS PH810 A1
Modern Philosophy
Professor Garrett
A close reading of Spinoza’s Ethics.

GRS PH827 A1
Professor Dahlstrom
This course involves a close reading of Being and Time, with the aim of paying particular attention to Heidegger’s conceptions of authenticity, time, and history.

GRS PH882 A1
Topics in Philosophy III
Professor Rosen
A close reading of the Nicomachean Ethics.

GRS PH993 A1
Philosophy Proseminar
Professor Speight