Course Descriptions Spring 2005

PH 100 A1
INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
Prof. Diamandopoulos
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 150 A1
INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Prof. Caswell
The course provides a systematic introduction to major questions 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 outcomes, or the one that is in accordance with conscience and duty, or the one that is the expression of virtue?

CAS PH 150 B1
INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Prof. Garrett
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
INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS
Prof. Winkler
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 155 C1
POLITICS AND PHILOSOPHY
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
REASONING AND ARGUMENTATION
Prof. 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
REASONING AND ARGUMENTATION
Prof. Bokulich
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
REASONING AND ARGUMENTATION
Prof. Caswell
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 247
CHINESE PHILOSOPHY
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 250
ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS
Prof. Brinkmann
This course will focus on two aspects of environmental theory, the scientific facts and theories about the development of our environment (e.g., the development of energy and food consumption, pollution, population growth, species loss, global warming, cost-benefit analysis) and the philosophical foundations for an environmental ethics. Here we will be discussing questions concerning the relationship between man and nature, the sustainability of economic growth, the major positions in environmental ethics from biocentrism to deep ecology to the stewardship of the environment. We will conclude with questions concerning the nature of the good life and the compatibility of life-styles with the preservation of a healthy environment. Our major text (but not the only one) will be David Schmidtz and Elizabeth Willcott (eds.), Environmental Ethics. What Really Matters, What Really Works, Oxford University Press 2002.

CAS PH 258
PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE
Prof. Kestenbaum
“ Let us suppose for the moment that both our Russells and our Becketts are engaged in telling us how it is, that the novelist and the philosophers are companions in a common enterprise, though they go about it in different ways” (Willian H. Gass, “Philosophy and the Form of Ficton”)

Is the supposition that the novelist and the philosopher are engaged in a “common enterprise” defensible? Ought we to have different expectations of the novelist and the philosopher? Is telling (or showing) us how it is equivalent to telling us the acts and truths? What are we to make T. S. Eliot’s assertion that “the poet is occupied with frontiers of consciousness beyond which words fail, though meanings still exist”? What sort of frontier is wordless? Does literature have a different kind of frontier than Philosophy?
The intent of the course is to examine the sorts of demands literature places upon reason, language and experience.
Henry James, Tales of Henry James
John Updike, The Same Door
Robert Frost, Robert Frost: Poetry and Prose
Wallace Stevens, The Palm at the End of the Mind
Anne Sexton, The complete Poems

Additional readings to be placed on reserve at Mugar Library
Two, possibly three, papers. Please contact Professor Kestenbaum for more information (353-4580 or vkestenb@bu.edu)

CAS PH 266
MIND, BRAIN, AND SELF
Prof. Webb
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 270
PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
Prof. Parker
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?

CAS PH 272
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND THE VALUES
Prof. Bokulich
With new scientific and technological developments we are confronted with new ethical questions and challenges for our society. As citizens, business people, and policy makers we cannot afford to be ignorant of the developments in science and technology. As scientists, doctors and engineers we cannot afford to be ignorant of the ethical, social and political implications of our work. In this course we shall examine some of the important ways in which science, technology, society, and values are interconnected. Examples of technologies we may discuss include cloning, nuclear power, and the internet.

CAS PH 277
PHILOSOPHY AND METHODS IN HUMAN SCIENCE
Prof. 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*

CAS PH 300 A1
HISTORY OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY
Prof. Diamandopoulos
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. One in-class written exam, a midterm and a final paper.

CAS PH 310 A1
HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY
Prof. Cirulli
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 310 B1
HISTORY OF MODERN PHILOSOPHY
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 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
HISTORY OF ETHICS
Prof. Speight
What does it mean to live a good life? What is virtue and how does it relate to happiness? This course will explore answers to these questions from philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche and MacIntyre.

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

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

Ancient Philosophy
*Prerequisites: PH300 and 2 other PH courses*

CAS PH 406
ARISTOTLE II
Prof. Roochnik
“Saving the World: How Aristotle’s ‘Errors’ Can Guide Us Today.” This course will explore several of Aristotle’s claims that today we are certain are wrong. For example: the earth is the center of the universe, life has meaning, nature has purposes, plants have souls, slavery is justified, the best knowledge is useless, religion and science are not at odds with one another. We will see that these apparently outlandish claims are not only defensible, but can in fact help us in the effort to save the world (which desperately needs saving).

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

CAS PH 412/612
PHILOSOPHY OF ENLIGHTENMENT
Prof. Winkler
A close study of Locke’s Essay concerning Human Understanding, and of Leibniz’s section-by-section commentary, the New Essays on Human Understanding. Among the topics to be addressed: innate ideas; the concept of substance and its role in metaphysics; mechanism and its limits; freedom; personal identity; the scope and limits of human knowledge; the possibility of a scientific ethics. The course will begin with a reading of Leibniz’s Discourse on Metaphysics, along with one or two summaries, written late in his life, of his mature philosophical outlook.

CAS PH 413
KANT
Prof. 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.

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

CAS PH 444/644
PERSONS AND HUMAN NATURE
Prof. Tauber
The relation of persons to nature is a complex array of epistemological, moral, and metaphysical relationships. Indeed, the very definition of “persons” and “nature” pre-determines philosophical discussions of this question. This course will examine the roots of a dominant romantic formulation that has given rise to modern environmentalism and its various conceptual, aesthetic, and spiritual progeny. To understand the persistent influence of German Idealism we will explore how Kant, Fichte, and Schelling influenced American Transcendentalism (Emerson and Thoreau, in particular) and thereby framed our own neo-Romantic notions of Man and Nature.

CAS PH 446/646
PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
Prof. Speight
A seminar devoted to important issues in the philosophy of religion: the existence and knowledge of God, including the traditional proofs of God’s existence; the question of evil and human suffering, from Augustine to Arendt; the relation between reason and belief; the varieties of religious experience; and the relation between religious and philosophical conceptions of morality and the good.

CAS PH 447/647
ASIAN PHILOSOPHY
Prof. Eckel
A study of the major issues, personalities, and texts in the Buddhist philosophical tradition, including early Buddhist scriptures, intellectual developments in classical India, China, Japan, and Tibet, and the encounter with modernity in Asia and the West.

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

CAS PH 452/652
EHICS OF HEALTHCARE
Prof. Schei
While it is easy to agree that the purpose of medical activities is to do that which is “the good and the right” for the patient, it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine what may constitute ”good and right” decisions in the individual case. The rise of high-tech medicine in postmodern society poses a number of moral challenges to physicians, researchers, health policy makers and, increasingly, to individual patients and relatives. The success of biotechnology has been paralleled by an increasing demand for medical ethics, negative attention to medical issues in the media, legal controversies, increasing costs, a growing market for alternative medicine in Western societies, and increasing dissatisfaction and psychological problems among doctors.

Over the last century, Western medicine has increasingly identified itself with science. The triumphs of medical technology, including antibiotics, anesthetics, imaging techniques, transplantations, and molecular biology, placed modern medicine above criticism of its methods and worldview. Today, however, awareness of ethical complexity in health care is increasing, accompanied by critical questioning of fundamental epistemological (“how do we know that our methods of gaining knowledge are adequate?”) and ontological (“how do we know that our understanding of reality is adequate?”) assumptions in medicine.
The course will address the ethical issues involved in questions like ‘What is health and illness?’ ‘What is a person, and how do conceptions of personhood inform medical ethics?’ ’What are the roles of science and individual judgment, respectively, in medical practice?’ ‘What is good help, what is healing?’ and ‘What are the roles of empathy, autonomy and power in helping relationships?’

CAS PH 453/653
THEORIES OF POLITICAL SOCIETY
Prof. Ophir
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.

CAS PH 458/658
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Prof. Simons
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 justifications for punishment; what should be criminalized; the death penalty; whether fortuity or “moral luck” justifies punishing completed crimes more than attempts; justification (including self-defense) and excuse (including duress); and feminist perspectives on some criminal law topics. The seminar is open both to law students and to philosophy students.

The basic text will be Foundations of Criminal Law (Leo Katz, Michael S. Moore, and Stephen J. Morse, eds.). Additional articles will also be assigned.

Students will be asked to submit written questions and comments about the readings on a regular basis. Students will be required to write a single draft of a 15-page paper. For those students wishing to satisfy the writing requirement, a 25-page paper is required.

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

CAS PH 462/662
FOUNDATIONS OF MATHEMATICS
Prof. Kanamori
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 482/682
TOPICS IN MODERN CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY
Prof. Keating
Norms, Normality, Normativity and Nature.
This course will examine the concept of normal and the related concepts of abnormal and pathological and their use in the natural and social sciences. We will begin with the classic study by the French philosopher Georges Canguilhem, On the Normal and the Pathological (1943). We will then examine the ramifications of Canguilhem’s thesis among his students and followers such as Michel Foucault and Ian Hacking. We will address a series of questions that the concepts raise including, Is the pathological qualitatively different from the normal? Is the normal natural or historical? Are there normal and pathological genes? Is science normative?
*The following courses are open to Graduate Students ONLY*

GRS PH 812
KANT II
Prof. Kuehn
The seminar will study the Transcendental Dialectic. Open for students who took the Fall seminar or receive permission of the instructor.

PH 880
TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY I
Professor Floyd
A study of Wittgenstein’s philosophy as a whole, with special attention to the distinction between logic and psychology in his early and later work. Topics and texts covered will include the TRACTATUS and its notions of sense and of logical analysis, including the distinction between showing and saying, and texts concerned with privacy, certainty, the paradoxes, and first-person authority in PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATIONS, Part II and connected passages in REMARKS ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 1 and REMARKS ON THE FOUNDATIONS OF MATHEMATICS.

GRS PH 881
TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY II
Prof. Rosen
A continuation of my interpretation of Plato’s Republic.

GRS PH 882
TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY III
Prof. Hintikka
The most basic concepts of metaphysics are examined in the light of their history. The main ideas studied are being and necessity. The topics related to being include the alleged “Frege-Russell” ambiguity of verbs for being between being in the sense of identity, existence, predication and subsumption; the nature of Aristotle’s metaphysics in the light of his notion of being; the genesis of the Frege-Russell ambiguity thesis; the history of the idea of being in the sense of identity; the connection between identity and functional dependence, as well as the role of this connection in the history of thought; and the failure of Frege and Wittgenstein to understand the connection. The topics related to necessity include the relation of natural, metaphysical and conceptual necessity, the idea of logical necessity; the so-called “principle of plenitude” and its history; the idea of mathematical law of nature and its role in the thought of Galileo and Leibniz; the leading ideas of Leibniz’ philosophy; and the notion of substance in Aristotle and the seventeenth century.

GRS PH 883
TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY IV
Prof. Garrett
Hume is today the most influential moral philosopher of the Scottish Enlightenment, and yet his philosophy was more exception than rule among his contemporaries. This seminar will focus on Hume’s moral philosophy and some of his philosophical descendents. We will begin by examining the early work of Francis Hutcheson to understand the dominant trends in eighteenth-century Scottish moral philosophy, as well as extracts from the works of a number of authors who influenced both Hutcheson and Hume: Butler, Shaftesbury, and Mandeville. We will then read selections from the second book and the entirety of the third book of Hume’s Treatise, the Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and some of the Essays. We will conclude by examining two great works deeply influenced by Hume: Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments and John Millar’s Origin of the Distinction of Ranks.

Although this is a great deal of reading, it will be undertaken with the goal of understanding both Hume’s greatness as a moral philosopher and those aspects of his theories that distinguished him from his contemporaries.