Course Descriptions Spring 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. Garrett
An introduction to ethics through class texts and contemporary articles. The class will focus both on understanding the major positions in moral theory and on applying ethical theories to contemporary moral issues: punishment, abortion, and others.

CAS PH 150 C1
Prof. Ivanhoe
This course is designed to introduce students with little or no background in philosophy to the study of ethics. We will begin by reading a variety of classical works from the Western tradition and exploring several prominent and influential ethical theories, focusing on issues such as the nature of the good life, virtue, right and wrong. In the latter portion of the course, we will work to apply these theories and concepts to several contemporary ethical problems, including specific problems like abortion, the ethical status of animals, and the environment and more general issues such as the nature of moral agency. We also will consider the problem of ethical relativism and study some of the ways ethical problems have been approached in East Asian traditions.

CAS PH 155
Prof. Rosen
An introduction to modern political philosophy, with special emphasis on the most important differences between ancient and modern political thought, and in particular on the problem of enlightenment.

CAS PH 160 A1
Prof. 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 B1
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 C
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 241
Prof. Kestenbaum
Consideration of the nature and problems of self-understanding and self-realization. Psychological and philosophical perspectives on pattern, growth, and maturity in personality. Particular attention to philosophical issues associated with the place of emotion in healthy personality: rationality, freedom, and responsibility.

Texts: Plato, Five Dialogues
Kant, Lectures on Ethics
Carl Gustav Jung, Modern Man in Search of Soul
Sigmund Freud, An Outline of Psychoanalysis
Victor E. Frankl, The Doctor and the Soul
Gordon W. Allport, Becoming: Basic Considerations for a Psychology of Personality

CAS PH 244
Prof. 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, morally responsible healthcare, special duties to family and friends, our relationship to the environment, and the moral status of animals.

CAS PH 245
Prof. 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 246
Prof. Eckel

CAS PH 247
Prof. Berthrong
“The Confucian Way” examines the intellectual history of the Confucian tradition. The primary focus will be on the development of Confucianism in China, Korea, and Japan. The course will emphasize the classical (the Zhou and Han founders) and the Neo-Confucian (the Song, Yüan, Ming, Choson, Tokugawa, and Qing masters) periods; we will also deal briefly with development of contemporary New Confucianism. The course will also briefly review the permutations of Confucian-Christian dialogue as an illustration of the interaction of religious traditions and with New Confucianism’s dialogue with global philosophy.

CAS PH 251
Prof. Schwartz
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 259
Prof. Speight
Philosophy and the Theater: This course will consider a wide range of questions in aesthetics, but will place particular stress on the philosophical significance of the performing arts, especially drama. What are tragedy and comedy as genres? Do the notions of the “tragic” and the “comic” have a wider philosophical significance beyond their existence as dramatic genres? Are there other dramatic genres besides them? Close reading of important philosophical and literary texts.

CAS PH 260-Al & HP
Prof. Dahlstrom
This course will examine basic questions regarding the nature and possibility of empirical and a prior knowledge; the roles of perception, imagination, memory, experience, experimentation, language, belief, rationality, and truth in knowledge; theories of justification; various skeptical challenges; debates between “internalists” and “externalists” and between “relativists” and “absolutists”; efforts to naturalize and socialize epistemology; the relation between theories of knowledge and theories of reality; and the significance of science as an institution presenting a standardized knowledge of reality.

CAS PH 266
Prof. Ivanhoe
This course is designed to introduce students with some background in philosophy to a range of issues concerning the mind, the brain, and the self. We will explore several classical accounts of the mind and the self and a number of contemporary views on the adequacy of these accounts. We will spend a considerable portion of the class studying the problem of personal identity and psychological descriptions of the self.

CAS PH 271
Prof. Cao
This course is designed not only for those with a scientific background, but also for students whose primary interests or competence are in the humanities and social sciences.

Texts: Anthony Alioto, A History of Western Science (A);
Barbara Cline, Men Who Made a New Physics (C);
Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (K);
James Watson, The Double Helix (W).

Considering the centrality of science in our world today, it is essential that students in all fields– including the sciences and engineering as well as the social sciences and the humanities– appreciate both the role of science in society and its nature as an intellectual system. One way to acquire this perspective is through studying the history of science. In this course we will examine key events in the history of science and the historiographical problems as to how the evolution of the history of science is to be explained. The seminal discoveries in the rise of modern science will be surveyed, special attention will be given to the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, both to assess its reaction to ancient modes of thought, and to define the conceptual foundations of subsequent progress in physics and biology. In addition, various views on the nature of scientific progress, offered by Sarton, Koyre, Popper, Merton, Kuhn, Lakatos, as well as the social constructivist and the postmodernist, will be briefly examined. Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to understand the nature of the conceptual developments in modern science and society, and to appreciate the philosophical, religious, and other cultural issues involving science. The student will thus be in a position to understand how science has become a dominant social, cultural, and intellectual force in the modern world.

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

CAS PH 300
Prof. Speight
Survey of Greek philosophy, from its pre-Socratic origins, through Plato, Aristotle and the Hellenistic schools.

CAS PH 310 A1 & HP
Prof. Brinkmann
The history of modern philosophy begins with a revolution in thought, viz. the shift from a contemplative attitude towards nature and the world so typical of ancient philosophy to a practical, utility oriented view of theoretical knowledge. At the same time, man’s purpose on earth is no longer understood as determined by human nature as with Plato or Aristotle or by divine providence in accordance with Christian faith. Rather, man is declared to be “the maker and molder” of himself and “a creature of indeterminate nature” (Pico della Mirandola, ca. 1480). One of the most influential protagonists of this new way of thinking was Francis Bacon, an English philosopher and politician of the 17th century. Our point of departure will be a discussion of Bacon’s ideas. However, the implications of Bacon’s critical re-assessment of the traditional ways of thinking will lead us to an investigation into the presuppositions connected with the idea that man is capable of understanding the fundamental structure of nature and reality in general. How much of reality is really within reach of human cognition? Must all knowledge be based on sense-experience? If so, is metaphysics at all possible? Various questions as to how far human knowledge may extend need to be raised. We shall pursue this line of inquiry traditionally called epistemological form Descartes through Kant. A discussion of the bold metaphysical interpretations of reality to be found in the writings of Spinoza and Leibniz as well as the more cautious and skeptical estimations of the scope and reliability of human knowledge advocated by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume will be included.

CAS PH 310 B1
Prof. Webb
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 form 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. Diamandopoulos
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.

CAS PH 360
Prof. Briscoe
Study of methods characteristic of modern deductive logic including truth tables, Boolean normal forms, models, and indirect and conditional proofs within the theory of truthfunctions and quantifiers.

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

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

CAS PH 411/611
Prof. 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 419/619
Prof. Dahlstrom
An examination of the work of the nineteenth century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Our aim will be to gain a perspective on the range of his concerns by focusing on early and late phases of his thinking.

CAS PH 427
Prof. Brinkmann
We will confront the famous metaphysical question “Why does anything exist at all rather than nothing?” by taking Martin Heidegger’s 1953 publication of his earlier lecture course “Introduction to Metaphysics” as our guide. This will give us the opportunity to analyze and discuss some of the chief metaphysical ideas in the history of philosophy by looking at selected texts from Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz, Kant, and Hegel as well as develop an understanding of the particular perspective Heidegger brought to this question and why he thought that it continues to be a fundamental question even today. Students will be expected to have a working knowledge of and familiarity with the major figures in the history of Western philosophy as taught in our PH 300 and PH 310 history of philosophy courses.

Speculative Philosophy
*Prerequisites: PH300, 310, and 1 other PH course*

CAS PH 440
Prof. Keller
This course is organized around the problem of time travel. Our question is, “Is time travel possible?”, and in trying to find an answer we will confront a number of puzzles concerning time, change, possibility, free will, personal identity and causation. The course will hence serve as an introduction to some central issues in metaphysics.

CAS PH 447/647
Prof. Eckel
A study of the major issues, personalities, and texts in the Buddhist philosophical tradition, from its origin in India, to its elaboration in China, Japan, and Tibet, and its encounter with modernity in Asia and the West. The course will consider the nature of philosophy and its relationship to Buddhist practice, the nature of the self and its relationship to the world, what it means to be free, and what it means to transmit an inexpressible form of awareness from one person or culture to another.
The course will locate these issues historically in the Indian Abhidharma, the Madhyamaka and Yogacara schools in India, China, and Tibet, the major Chinese schools of the Tang Dynasty, and the Kyoto School in Japan. Students will have an opportunity to trace these questions in the work of contemporary Buddhist teachers and scholars, such as Thich Nhat Hanh, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and the Fourteenth Dalai Lama.
The course is open to undergraduates and graduate students who have completed RN 103 or the equivalent. It will meet in seminar format on Mondays from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Philosophy of Value
*Prerequisites: PH350 and 2 other PH courses*

CAS PH 452/652
Prof. Tauber
The most interesting fact about contemporary medical ethics is that it exists at all. Born as a formal discipline about thirty years ago, its initial concerns reflected complex social factors, all of which seemed to converge on a new-found suspicion of authority. To address the suspicions raised in this climate of mistrust, medical ethics became the articulation of both an ancient moral philosophy governing the doctor-patient relationship, beneficence, and a new demand concerning the respect of patient autonomy in the guise of informed consent. In the explicit elaboration of these principles, their interaction and balance, bioethicists found themselves embroiled in debate as to what, indeed, medicine’s ethics might be. The dominant voice became those advocating patient autonomy, not only because it was the most easily extrapolated from our rights-based politico-judicial culture, but because it best captured what was missing: trust. The dominant theme of the course is to examine how autonomy and trust are often placed in moral competition and how this tension may be resolved by re-configuring autonomy; the latter portion of the course treats other moral principles that vie with autonomy for dominance.

CAS PH 455/655
Prof. Baxter
This course addresses two central concerns of general jurisprudence–the nature of law and its relations to moral principle. Topics will include law as coercive command, the foundations of legal authority, the open texture of law, value-free versus value-based interpretation of law, and the idea of an obligation to comply with law. The final examination will be given in the form of a paper on an assigned topic.

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

CAS PH 462/662
Prof. Kanamori
(cross-listed with MA532)
The course begins, if necessary, with a review of first-order logic and formal systems. It then focuses on axiomatic set theory as the basic framework for mathematics, and as a distinctive field of mathematics. With emphasis on the historical context, the theory is developed from its beginnings in the work of Cantor and Zermelo through to modern preoccupations. Proceeding through the basic axioms, the algebra of classes, and the set vs. class distinction, mathematical concepts of number from integers to reals are discussed. Then Cantor’s transfinite numbers and Continuum Hypothesis are considered, and Zermelo’s Axiom of Choice and its role in mathematics surveyed. Finally, recent results and current problems are broached.

Grading: Exercises, 50%; midterm, 16.7%; and final exam 33.3%.
Required text: Karel Hrbacek and Thomas Jech, Introduction to Set Theory, Third Edition (New York: Marcel Dekker 1999).

CAS PH 465/665
Prof. Cao
Prereq: CAS PH 310, 360, and one other philosophy course; or consent of instructor.
An introduction to philosophical issues in cognitive science (computer science and neuroscience in particular) with special attention to the issue of emergence of cognitive activities from non-cognitive processes: the condition and nature of the emergence and its bearings to the mind-body problem. This course is for advanced undergraduates and graduate students; students from related departments (e.g., Cognitive & Neural Systems) are welcome.

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

CAS PH 472
Prof. Schwartz
Darwinism is at the core of contemporary philosophy of biology and we will consider this theory’s evolution from Darwin’s writings, through the synthesis with genetics, to modern dynamic theories. Over-arching our particular consideration of Darwinism is the structure of scientific theory more generally and the nature of its development.

Topic Courses

CAS PH 483
Prof. Zank
Cross-listed with RN 329 Modern Jewish Thought
Reading philosophical sources from the late 17th to the early 20th century, we will explore modern perspectives on reason, liberty, and the authority of tradition. Major authors: Spinoza, Lessing, Mendelssohn, Maimon, Kant, Schleiermacher, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Cohen, Buber, and Rosenzweig.
Requirements: The course taps two major canons of modern literature. On the one hand there are the Christian, post-Christian, and non-Christian (Spinoza!) philosophers usually included in the canon of Continental thought, and on the other hand there are Jewish and post-Jewish (Spinoza!) thinkers usually included in courses on modern Jewish thought. Students of philosophy may need to go the extra mile in making themselves knowledgeable in European social and political history, as well as in background information on Judaism, while religion students may need to learn how to master philosophical reading and reasoning.

CAS PH 484/684
Prof. Griswold
This seminar will consist in a philosophical discussion of the ancient and ever-pressing theme of reconciling oneself with an imperfect world. The course is open to upper level undergraduate students who have completed at least five philosophy courses (however, students who have not satisfied this requirement may petition the instructor for admission to the course) and to graduate students.

It will fall into four main parts (our emphasis will be on the second and third):
I: Perfectionism. — A study of several seminal Platonic texts that famously argue for a perfectionist position in matters political as well as erotic; the difficulties of accounting for “evil” on a perfectionist scheme.
II: The “Ethic of Sympathy”. — An exploration of an alternative stance that attempts to reconcile us with a world and self in such a way as to enable us to live with and in the world rather than flee from it. We will seek to distinguish carefully between sympathy, empathy, commiseration, and pity.
III: The Virtues of Sympathy. — What virtues mesh with the ethic of sympathy? One important candidate is forgiveness, and we will analyze its nature and its complicated relationship to sympathy in detail.
IV: The Politics of Imperfection. — We conclude by returning to the political level, and considering the character of a politics premised on the ineradicability of imperfection. The “Truth and Reconciliation” commissions will warrant our attention.

Texts will include but not be limited to the following (in many cases, only selections from these texts will be read):

Plato, Phaedrus, Symposium, Republic, Parmenides, Phaedo (Hackett edition)
David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, ed. D. F. Norton and M. J. Norton (Oxford, 2000).
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, ed. A. L. Macfie and D. D. Raphael (Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1982).
Edith Stein, On the Problem of Empathy, trans. W. Stein. The Hague: M. Nijhoff, 1964.
Max Scheler, The Nature of Sympathy, trans. P. Heath. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1954.
Jacques Derrida, J. Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness, trans. M. Dooley and R. Kearney. Routledge, 1997.
T. Govier, Forgiveness and Revenge. Routledge, 2002.
Murphy, J. G. and Hampton, J. Forgiveness and Mercy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Desmond Tutu, No Future without Forgiveness. Random House, 1999.
John Passmore, The Perfectibility of Man. 3rd ed. Rpt. Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 2000.
Thomas Hurka, Perfectionism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

*The following courses are open to Graduate Students ONLY*

GRS PH 810
Prof. Allison
Seminar will focus on Hume’s theoretical philosophy in the Treatise, when some attention to his psychological theoretical views.

GRS PH 840
Prof. Rosen
A detailed study of Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

GRS PH 850
Prof. Haakonssen
A study of Thomas Hobbes’ moral theory and its connection with his political and religious thought. The central text will be Leviathan which will be related to Hobbes’ other main works and to some of his main critics, especially Samuel Pufendorf.

GRS PH 882
Prof. Roochnik
In The Birth of Tragedy, Nietzsche characterizes Plato as the theoretical optimist par excellence. He separates the soul from the body, which he despises. He believes “the nature of things can be fathomed,” and “ascribes to knowledge and insight the power of a panacea.” Armed with these convictions, Plato destroys the power of myth, of music, and of tragedy. Nietzsche identifies the Phaedo as the key dialogue. “The image of the dying Socrates,” he says, is that of a “human being whom knowledge and reason have liberated from the fear of death,” and it reminds everyone of the (life-denying) mission of Philosophy: “namely, to make existence appear comprehensible and justified.”

After a quick read of The Birth of Tragedy, we will enter this debate by devoting the semester to a careful study of Plato’s Phaedo.