Course Descriptions Spring 2006

CAS PH 100
Professor Diamandopoulos
The aim of the course is threefold: to describe what impelled thinkers of the highest intelligence to invent philosophy; to interpret what the invention of philosophy over its long history contributed to man’s understanding of himself and the world; and, last, to show why philosophy has since its inception been the most serious guide to truth, reason and knowledge.

For the purpose of clarity and intellectual economy, the instructor will selectively reconstruct some of the major periods of history and philosophy and then will proceed to interpret and evaluate the major figures of each period—their philosophies. By combining the history of philosophical ideas with the respective claims of each philosophy to be true, the lecturer will analyze what makes each select great philosopher, great; and what establishes the surpassing greatness of all philosophy.

The seminal philosophers to be studied are: Plato, Aristotle, Lucretious, Descartes, Hume, Nietzsche. The philosophical issues to be examined are: knowledge, method, language, reality, mind, virtue, death, the happy life, politics/ethics, meaning, purpose, God, wisdom—and some of the related topics.

It will be the conclusion of the course, the lecturer hopes, that all significant human pursuits—education, art, religion, literature, the life of action, the practical life and the life of reflection require philosophical understanding. Therefore, philosophy is indispensable to the aspiring life.

Requirements: Extensive and difficult readings, demanding lectures, intellectual seriousness and self-confidence.

CAS PH 150 A1
Professor Dahlstrom
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 Kuehn
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 Garrett
This class will focus on the problem of justice and the moral questions involved in crime and punishment or reward. We will discuss issues such as the moral basis for punishment, theories of justice, the legitimacy or illegitimacy of different types of sanctions, the death penalty, moral luck, historical reconciliation, the problem of bias in relation to the law, and numerous other questions. Readings will include literature, classic works of philosophy, contemporary philosophy articles, legal cases, and in some cases newspaper and print articles. For students considering this class for their divisional requirement, it may be an appropriate course for communications students insofar as we will discuss ethical issues involved in journalistic representation of crime, punishment and reward.

CAS PH 155
Professor 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
Professor 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
Professor 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 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.

CAS PH 244
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 PH 247
Professor 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 248
Professor Hopp
‘Existentialism’ is a term that designates what is perhaps the most self-consciously unsystematic and non-academic movement in recent intellectual history. As such, existentialism defies any tidy characterization. Nevertheless, the central philosophical and literary figures commonly regarded as existentialists seem united in their skepticism concerning the power of traditional philosophical or scientific analysis to render human thought and action intelligible, the value they place on individual authenticity, and the importance they assign to emotionally exceptional states of mind for the full disclosure of human reality. In this course we will examine works by, among others, Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Kafka, Jaspers, Camus, and Sartre. We will be especially concerned with what these thinkers have to say about the condition of modern humanity, the ability of science to explain human action, the authority of moral norms, and the “absurdity” of human life, either with or without God.

CAS PH 250
Professor 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 253
Professor Cao
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 271
Professor Clark
This course will look at some select aspects of the emergence and development of science as an intellectual system of thought. A major area of our attention will be directed towards philosophical implications and problems raised by its advent of science. Some questions to be raised regard the role and problems of inductive method, matters of scientific explanation, questions on observation and theory neutrality, and the progress of science.

To precede, we will chart the beginnings of the scientific enterprise in ancient Greece and move on to consider more recent developments from Ptolemy to Copernicus and Galileo. We will then move ahead to consider contributions of Newton, Darwin and Einstein. Some major philosophical figures we will consider are Democritus, Hippocrates,
Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Hemple, Popper, and Quine.

CAS PH 300 A1/HP
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 A1/HP
Professor 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
Professor 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
Professor Roochnik
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
Professor Floyd
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. Textbook: Warren Goldfarb, Deductive Logic.

CAS PH 405
Professor Roochnik
A careful study of Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

CAS PH 413/613
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 PH 418
Professor Cao
Prerequisite: PH 300 and two other PH courses. In this introductory course, Marxism will be treated mainly as a conceptual framework for understanding history and society (including economy, politics and culture), and also as a critique of capitalism and a program of transforming the capitalist society for human emancipation, with an analysis of both its philosophical and ethical presuppositions and its conceptions of a post-capitalist society. The evolution of its theoretical bases, through its three stages (classical Marxism of Marx and Engels; the Soviet orthodoxy and its critics; and contemporary Marxisms) will be critically examined, and its practical (political, economic and cultural) impacts on the historical course since its inception briefly outlined.

* The Marx-Engels Reader (ME) (ed. Robert C. Tucker)
* The Lenin Anthology (L) (ed. Robert C. Tucker)
* Western Marxism–A critical Reader (WM) (ed. NLR)
* The Retreat of Intellectuals (Socialist Register 1990) (RI) (eds. Ralph Miliband and Leo Panitch)
* Marxism in the Postmodern Age (MP) (eds. Antonio Callari, Stephen Cullenberg and carol Biewener)

CAS PH 430/630
Professor Kestenbaum
In The Metaphysical Club, Louis Menand says the pragmatists believed “that ideas are not ‘out there’ waiting to be discovered, but are tools—like forks and knives and microchips—that people devise to cope with the world in which they find themselves.” Is this all that philosophical pragmatism has to offer, i.e., ideas (and ideals) as tools, living as coping? Are not thinking and living capable of a loftier aspiration and perhaps a greater perfection that those envisioned by pragmatism? Stanley Cavell thinks so:
To repress Emerson’s difference is to deny that America is as transcendentalist as it is pragmatist, that it is in struggle with itself, at a level not articulated by what we understand as the political. But what Dewey calls for, other disciplines can do as well, maybe better, than philosophy.

Similar to many critics of pragmatism, Cavell believes it foreshortens human experience. Problematic situations and the tools to solve them are pragmatism’s main concern. What Cavell refers to as “spiritual disorder” is at stake for philosophers such as Emerson and Wittgenstein.

The course will examine the grounds for including William James and John Dewey in what Cavell calls “a tradition of perfectionist writing that extends in the West from Plato to Nietzche, Ibsen, Kierkegaard, Wilde, Shaw, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein.” What, ultimately, does pragmatism call for?

* John Dewey, Experience and Nature, Human Nature and Conduct
* John J. McDermott, ed., The Writings of William James
* Victor Kestenbaum, The Grace and the Severity of the Ideal: John Dewey and the Transcendent
* Morris Dickstein, ed., The Revival of Pragmatism: New Essays on Social Thought, Law, and Culture

CAS PH 441/641
Professor Speight
Prereq: PH310

Introduction to the post-Kantian development of German idealism through analysis and critical discussion of texts by Fichte, Schelling and Hegel. Particular focus on the idealists’ conceptions of freedom, with readings to include, among other works, Fichte’s Science of Knowledge, Vocation of Man and Foundations of Natural Right; Schelling’s System of Transcendental Idealism and Philosophical Inquiries into the Nature of Human Freedom; and Hegel’s essays on the Difference between Fichte’s and Schelling’s Systems of Philosophy and Scientific Ways of Treating Natural Law.

CAS PH 451
Professor Keller
Consequentialism is the view that an act’s rightness or wrongness solely is a matter of its consequences. We will trace the development of consequentialist thought from the early British utilitarians to the various versions of consequentialism defended today, and will examine several contemporary philosophical debates in which consequentialist principles are at stake.

CAS PH 452/652
Professor Clark
The focus of this course will be on the ethics of trust relations in the medical profession. Contemporary medicine is facing a major challenge referred to as the commodification movement. This movement seeks to view medical goods and services as commodities of the market.

Clearly, the dominant norm of the market is expressed in the phrase, caveat emptor: “Let the buyer beware.” In contrast to this market picture, many view the medical profession as a public trust. In these terms, when we enter the medical context as patients, rather than consumers, we tend to trust medical professionals to take our health care concerns first and foremost, and not to be viewing our medical needs as market commodities.

Defenders of commodification believe that this attitude of trust is both unrealistic and detrimental to advancing the field of health care. The trust model, critics say, is not only a lofty and unrealistic ideal, but if we continue chasing this unattainable dream we impede our chances at making the “real world” progress that the medical profession so desparately needs today.

This course thus will be animated by this tension over trust relations in medicine as we consider the ethics and economics of trust across three principal domains of the profession: Physician and patient relations, biomedical research, and public health.

CAS PH 459/659
Professor Baxter

Spring semester: Thursday, 10:40-12:40

Jürgen Habermas is perhaps the world’s most prominent living social theorist and philosopher. His recent work has turned to law and its relation to political democracy. This course, cross-listed with the School of Law, examines critically Habermas’s theory of law and democracy.

Students must attend and be fully prepared for each week’s meeting. With advance notice, 2-4 students will be selected each week for first-line responsibility in discussing the readings. But any student may be called on in class without advance notice. Attendance, preparation, and participation will be a significant factor in grading.

Each student will be required to produce substantial writing — both analytical and critical. The general expectation is at least 25 pages of written work. Particular requirements for the various members of the course — undergraduates, philosophy graduate students, other graduate students, and law students — will be determined later.

CAS PH 460/660
Professor Hopp
In this course we will examine some of the main controversies within and about the theory of knowledge by examining the works of some of the preeminent historical and contemporary authors within the field of epistemology.

The main questions within the theory of knowledge include the following: (1) What is the nature of knowledge? What elements must be in place, and what conditions must be satisfied, in order for an act of knowing to take place? Of what parts and pieces is an individual instance of knowledge composed, and how are they related? (2) What is the scope of knowledge? What kinds of objects can be known, and under what conditions? Is knowing a typical occurrence, or something that only takes place in special circumstances? (3) What are the sources of knowledge? Is sense perception a source of knowledge? Is it the only source of knowledge? How about memory and testimony? Rational intuition? (4) What is the structure of knowledge? Must a structure of knowledge rest on a foundation, or is mutual coherence among our beliefs sufficient?

We will also concern ourselves with some questions about the discipline of epistemology. What kind of discipline is epistemology? Is it a descriptive discipline like metaphysics or a normative discipline like ethics? Is it an empirical discipline? What is the relation between epistemology and metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and psychology? What role does “conceptual analysis” play in answering questions (1) – (4) above?

CAS PH 462/662
Professor 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%.


* Karel Hrbacek and Thomas Jech, Introduction to Set Theory, Third Edition (New York: Marcel Dekker 1999).

CAS PH 470/670
Professor Bokulich
This course is an introduction to philosophical issues raised by modern physics. Topics we shall address include the following: Is time travel possible? Is space a thing or a set of relations between things? Is the world deterministic? Does quantum theory require conscious minds? Is there instantaneous action-at-a-distance? Do all possible occurrences get played out in separate parallel universes? What is the relationship between information, descriptions, and physics? No specific background in physics or philosophy is required; the class will provide a rudimentary understanding of special relativity and quantum mechanics adequate for addressing these and other conceptual problems facing physicists and philosophers.

CAS PH 481
Professor Garrett
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 the scope and legitimacy of punishment; retributivist and utilitarian justifications for punishment; what should be criminalized; the insanity defense (with attention to the free will/ determinism debate); whether fortuity or “moral luck” justifies punishing completed crimes more than attempts; and justification (including self-defense) and excuse (including duress). The seminar is open both to law students and to undergraduate and graduate philosophy students.

The basic text will be Foundations of Criminal Law (Leo Katz, Michael S. Moore, and Stephen J. Morse, eds.), but many articles of a more philosophical nature will also be assigned.

CAS PH 483
Professor 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 485
Professor Griswold
This seminar will focus on the concepts of “sympathy” and “empathy,” and secondarily on associated notions such as “compassion,” “care,” and “pity.” Our object is to understand what these terms mean, and their relevance to ethics. Readings will be drawn from: Hume’s Treatise and second Inquiry; A. Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments; M. Scheler’s The Nature of Sympathy; Rousseau’s Second Discourse and Emile; Darwall’s Welfare and Rational Care; and various contemporary discussions (on reserve in the library). The student is permitted to count this course as a senior seminar. Prerequisites: absent permission from the instructor, every student must have completed at least four courses in philosophy

GRS PH 624
Professor Floyd
An intensive study of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. Themes covered include the nature of concept-possession, the scope and character of logic, Wittgenstein’s criticisms of mentalism and various forms of psychologism, questions about what it is to follow a rule, to understand a language, and to express a thought.

GRS PH 651
Professor Dahlstrom
Consequentialism is the view that an act’s rightness or wrongness solely is a matter of its consequences. We will trace the development of consequentialist thought from the early British utilitarians to the various versions of consequentialism defended today, and will examine several contemporary philosophical debates in which consequentialist principles are at stake.

GRS PH 858
Professor Speight
This course will focus on the status of art, poetry and philosophy in German Romanticism and Idealism. Seminar discussions and presentations will be devoted to the writings of Novalis, Schleiermacher, Schlegel, Hoelderlin, Schelling, and Hegel, as well as to the growing body of contemporary secondary literature on the philosophical and literary importance of the Jena Romantics.

GRS PH 871
Professor Hintikka
A number of well known paradoxes and semi-paradoxes (plus some new ones) are examined in most cases definitively solved. They include paradoxes of truth and meaning (e.g. the liar, the alleged undefinability of truth and the indeterminacy of radical translation), paradoxes of information (e.g. the tautological character of logical inference), set-theoretical paradoxes (both logical and semantical), paradoxes of vagueness (e.g. the sorites paradox), near-paradoxes of identity (e.g. the failures of substitutivity of identity and existential generalization and the mysterious “rigid designation”), apparent paradoxes of questioning, paradoxes of dependence (especially of mutual dependence), paradoxes of time and fatalism (e.g. Aristotle’s sea fight puzzle), as well as quantum-theoretical paradoxes (e.g. the collapse of the wave function and nonlocality).

GRS PH 880
Professor Rosen
A continuation of the Fall semester seminar on Hegel’s Science of Logic.