Course Descriptions Spring 2008

PH100 A1 – Introduction to Philosophy
Professor Hopp

An overview of some of the central problems of philosophy, including the nature and status of moral laws and values, the problem of free will, and the relationship between the mind and the body (or brain).

PH150 A1 – Introduction to Ethics
Professor Vanderschraaf

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.

PH150 B1 – Introduction to Ethics
Professor Sreedhar

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.

PH150 C1 – 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.

PH155 A1 – Politics & Philosophy
Professor Garrett

The first half of the course will give a general introduction to political philosophy. The second half of the course will treat issues in the philosophy of law and just war theory.

PH160 A1 – Reason & Argument
Professor Kelly

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.

PH160 B1 – Reason & Argument
Professor Devlin

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.

PH160 C1 – Reason & 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.

PH244 A1 – Applied Ethics
Professor Kelly

A rigorous, critical approach to a number of difficult ethical questions that arise in everyday life, including questions about life and death, morally responsible healthcare, special duties to family and friends, and the moral status of animals.

PH245 A1 – Philosophy & Religion
Professor Lobel

Introduction to religious thought, exploring the aims of human life, the place of God in the good life, and the role of contemplation and action in the spiritual quest. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Bible, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Augustine, Maimonides, Ghazzali.

PH248 A1 – Existentialism
Professor Kelly

Introduction to religious thought, exploring the aims of human life, the place of God in the good life, and the role of contemplation and action in the spiritual quest. Readings from Plato, Aristotle, Bible, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Augustine, Maimonides, Ghazzali.

Prerequisite: One philosophy course or sophomore standing.

PH260 A1 – Knowledge and Reality
Professor P. Bokulich

Introduction to important issues in ancient, modern, and contemporary theories of knowledge; examination of related metaphysical questions, including first principles or foundations; necessity vs contingency; materialism, dualism, idealism; the positivist challenge to metaphysics.

Prerequisite: sophomore standing and one philosophy course or consent of instructor.

PH271 A1 – History of Science
Professor Cao

The origin and development of modern science, including Galileo, Newton, and the new physics; Lavoisier and the birth of modern chemistry; Darwin and evolution; Mendel and genetics; Einstein and relativity; and Watson, Crick, and the double helix.

Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

PH 272 A1 – Science, Technology, and Values
Professor A. Bokulich

Examination of some of the important ways in which science, technology, society, and human values are interconnected. Includes case studies of some the social and ethical challenges posed by cloning, GM crops, computers, and other technologies.

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.

PH300 A1 – History of Ancient Philosophy
Professor Roochnik

Classical Greek philosophy, with a concentration on the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle.

Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

PH310 A1 – History of Modern Philosophy
Professor Griswold

An examination of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy from Descartes to Kant, with emphasis on the nature and extent of knowledge. Readings include Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Berkley, Hume, and Kant.

Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

PH310 B1 – History of Modern Philosophy
Professor Brinkmann

An examination of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophy from Descartes to Kant, with emphasis on the nature and extent of knowledge. Readings include Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Berkley, Hume, and Kant.

Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

PH350 A1 – History of Ethics
TBA

A critical and comparative examination of the ideas of representative moral philosophers from Plato to Nietzsche.

Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

PH350 B1 – History of Ethics
Professor Kuehn

A critical and comparative examination of the ideas of representative moral philosophers from Plato to Nietzsche.

Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

PH360 A1 – Logic
Professor Floyd

Study of methods characteristic of modern deductive logic including use of truth tables, Boolean normal forms, models, and indirect and conditional proofs within the theory of truth-functions and quantifiers.

Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

PH406/606 A1 – Aristotle II
Professor Diamandopoulos

A close reading of the Nicomachean Ethics and Politics and their implication for Aristotle’s doctrine of Practical Philosophy. A seminar course.

Prerequisite: CASPH300

PH413/613 A1 – Kant
Professor Kuehn

An in-depth reading of several of Kant’s works.

Prerequisite:CASPH310 and two other philosophy courses, or consent of instructor.

PH415 A1 – 19th Century Philosophers
Professor Brinkmann

Study of the important themes in the philosophy of Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche.

Prerequisite:CASPH310 and one other philosophy course.

PH420/620 A1 – Contemporary Philosophy
Professor Dahlstrom

The theme of this course is contemporary philosophical debate about the nature of perception and its relation to sensation, movement, imagination (and mirror neurons), conception, and knowledge. Among the issues driving this debate are charges, thrown back and forth, that a specific, unsubstantiated set of commitments or, more colorfully, a mythology underlies a respective approach (the myths of the given, the mental, the disembodied mind, the mental given, and so on). Following a review of certain classical positions on the subject (e.g., those of Kant, Caird, C. I. Lewis, and Sellars), the course concentrates on current debates between representatives of conceptualist (or proto-conceptualist) approaches and representatives of sensori-motor (or embodied, phenomenological) approaches to perception. The authors whose works we shall read in this connection include Merleau-Ponty, John McDowell, Hubert Dreyfus, Alva Noe, Sean Kelly, and Samuel Todes.

Prerequisite:CASPH310 and two other philosophy courses, or consent of instructor.

PH421/621 A1 – Frege, Moore, Russell
Professor Floyd

An in-depth reading of works by Frege, with some attention to reactions to his work by a variety of philosophers, including Husserl, Russell, Quine and Wittgenstein.

Prerequisite: CASPH310, CASPH160 or CASPH360, and two other philosophy courses, or consent of instructor.

PH424/624 A1 – Wittgenstein
Professor Hintikka

A comprehensive examination of Wittgenstein’s thought in the light of his development and his personality.

Prerequisite: CASPH310 and two other philosophy courses, or consent of instructor.

PH430 A1 – American Philosophy
Professor Speight

Close reading of important texts from three philosophers of the “golden age” of American philosophy: William James, Josiah Royce and George Santayana. Comparative topics to be discussed include central questions that arise in a consideration of the three thinkers: the relation between free will and determinism, religion and philosophy, pragmatism and idealism, and between moral action and aesthetic contemplation.

PH440/640 A1 – Metaphysics
Professor P. Bokulich

This course covers key themes in contemporary metaphysics including being, causation, universals, time, change, the mind, and free will.

PH443/643 A1/HP – Philosophy of Mind
Professor Cao

The aim is to provide a comprehensive philosophical background as well as a neuroscientific perspective in the understanding of the mind. Various positions on the nature of mind, such as dualism, materialism, functionalism, will be reviewed; debates on the mental content and mental causation will be critical examined; the nature of consciousness, qualia and subjectivity, as well as the explanatory gap, will be explored from a neuroscientific perspective.

Prerequisite: two courses in philosophy or consent of instructor.

PH453/653 A1 – Theories of Political Society
Professor Sreedhar

This course seeks to provide an in-depth look at Western political thought in the early modern and Enlightenment eras. More particularly, we will focus on the development of “modernity” in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the development of social contract theory in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Among the authors we will read are: Machiavelli, Luther, Bodin, Grotius, Hobbes, Pufendorf, Spinoza, and Locke. There are several critical themes that make these works of significance to contemporary theories of political society: the legitimacy of political authority, the justification of rights in a political society, the normative content of equality, toleration and the pursuit of individual forms of the good, and the relationship between rationality and morality.

Prerequisite: CASPH350

PH457 A1 – Action, Interpretation, Narrative
Professor Griswold

We are story-telling, narrating beings, in both our individual and communal lives. Our stories give an account of, interpret, and perhaps seek to legitimate our lives. Depending on the context, they may take the form of political or religious mythology. Why is story-telling so important and useful? What are the principles of sound (textual) interpretation? What do those principles assume about the nature of a well composed account? What is narrative, and in what ways may it be an illuminating way of understanding the unity, value, and meaning of a life? We shall discuss in detail the notion of being the “author” of one’s life (as distinguished from, say, a character in a play whose overall plot one cannot understand). Drawing on such thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Gadamer, MacIntyre, Velleman, and Goldie, as well as on contemporary work in the philosophy of law and of medicine, we will explore these and related issues.

Prerequisite: senior standing, or four previous philosophy courses, or consent of instructor.

PH459/659 A1 – Political & Legal Philosophy
Professor Vanderscraaf

This course will focus on game theory and the social contract. Philosophers have discussed contractarian accounts of social institutions since at least Plato’s time. In the 20th century social scientists established game theory, a formal analysis of interactive decisions, as an important field that continues to develop rapidly. Beginning in the 1950s, some philosophers have used game theory to develop exciting new analyses of the social contract. In this course we will discuss and critically evaluate the interplay between game theory and the social contract. While we will be discussing some advanced topics in both social contract theory and game theory, this course has no formal prerequisites. To motivate our discussion, we will be studying David Gauthier’s Morals By Agreement, Ken Binmore’s Natural Justice and Brian Skyrms’ Evolution of the Social Contract and The Stag Hunt and the Evolution of Social Structure.

PH460/660 A1 – Epistemology
Professor Hopp

This course will focus principally on the many philosophical questions concerning perception. What are the proper objects of perception? How do perceptual experiences justify beliefs? Can perceptual experiences provide us with knowledge of a mind-independent world? Do veridical perceptual experiences have the same nature as illusions and hallucinations?

Prerequisite:CASPH310 & CASPH360

PH462/662 A1 – Foundations of Mathematics
Professor Kanamori

Axiomatic set theory as a foundation for, and field of, mathematics: Axiom of Choice, the Continuum Hypothesis, and consistency results.

Prerequisite: CASPH461/661 or consent of instructor.

PH468/668 A1 – Logic & Mathematics
Professor Webb

Selected traditional metaphysical and epistemological problems in the light of modern logic and various studies in the foundations of mathematics, including the nature of the axiomatic method, completeness in logic and mathematics, and the nature of mathematical truth.

Prerequisite:CASPH310 & CASPH360 and one other philosophy course; or consent of instructor

PH472/672 A1 – Philosophy of Biology
Professor Miller

Philosophical issues in leading fields of biology today (such as evolutionary-developmental biology, molecular genetics, metabolic regulation and stem cell research) are compared with corresponding problems analyzed by Aristotle in originally founding the science of biology. Conceptual issues considered include: reductionism vs. holism, hierarchical systems theory and homeostasis, teleology vs. genetic preformationism, and evolutionary theory.

Prerequisite: One course in the history of philosophy (preferably ancient) and one course in natural science or consent of the instructor.

PH480 A1 – Topics in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
Professor Diamandopoulo

A close reading of Plato’s later Dialogues of Theaetetos and Sophist with special empasis on the relation between Epistimology (a theory of knowledge) and Ontology (a theory of existence and being). A seminar course.

PH481/681 A1 – Topics in the Philosophy of Law: Philosophical & Policy Perspectives on Tort Law
Professor Simons

This seminar will explore a range of topics in tort law (civil liability for harm caused through negligent, intentional or faultless conduct), with an emphasis on underlying philosophical and policy perspectives. Perspectives will include fairness or corrective justice, distributive justice, and economic analysis (and other deterrent theories). Among the topics that we will consider are: the Learned Hand test of negligence; private necessity and other strict liability rules; the duty to rescue; victim fault and assumption of risk; causation and loss of a chance; recovery for emotional harm; damages (including compensation for pain and suffering and punitive damages); psychology, risk, and tort law; and regulatory alternatives to tort law.

The texts will include two paperbacks: Torts Stories (Foundation Press) and Abraham, The Forms and Functions of Tort Law (Third Ed. Foundation Press). Additional articles will also be assigned and available on the CourseInfo web site.

The class will be open to a limited number of philosophy graduate students and upperclass undergraduates, as well as to law students. Students will be asked to submit short written reaction papers (containing questions and comments about the readings) on a weekly basis and to write a single draft of a 15-page paper.

Class will meet Thursdays 2:10-4:10 with LAW JD792.

PH483 A1 – Topics in the Philosophy of Religion
Professor Zank

Focus on a specific topic in the philosophy of religion. Possible topics include a particular thinker, e.g., Kierkegaard, historical period, e.g., the Enlightenment, or problem, e.g., the existence of God or evil.

Prerequisite: junior standing and any one philosophy course from CAS 440-447, or consent of instructor.

PH485/685 A1 – Topics in the Philosophy of Value: Political Resistance and Responsibility
Professor Lyons

This seminar (which originates and will meet in the Law School, on the Law School’s calendar and time schedule) will critically examine the idea of a moral obligation to obey the law and its relation to the notion of principled resistance to law, including civil disobedience.

Prerequisite: consent of the instructor.

PH487/687 A1 – Topics in Philosophy of Science
Professor A. Bokulich

This is a discussion-based introduction to core issues in the philosophy science, focusing on the topics of scientific realism, theory change, reductionism, explanation, and natural kinds. This course satisfies the “20th Century” graduate requirement, and is strongly recommended for all graduate students who are considering listing philosophy of science as an area of specialization or competence.

PH802 A1 – Ancient Philosophy II
Professor Roochnik

A study of several of Plato’s “Socratic” or “elenchic” dialogues, with special emphasis on
the CHARMIDES and the question of self-knowledge. Readings will include the
LACHES, EUTHYPHRO, LYSIS, and Book I of the REPUBLIC.

PH871 A1 – Contemporary Issues in Philosophy of Science
Professor Hintikka

A selection of major problem complexes in philosophy of science will be discussed. They include the interrogative approach to scientific inquiry, a new perspective on the problem of induction, the logic of experimental inquiry, probabilistic inference, the concept of information, the structure of psychological explanation and of explanation in general, the notions of cause and causation and last but not least the foundations of quantum theory. The selection among these depends on the interests of potential participants.

PH882 A1 – Topics in Philosophy: Hume’s Moral Philosophy
Professor Garrett

This course will provide a close reading of Hume’s moral philosophy as found in A Treatise, the Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals, Hume’s essays and the History of England. For context we will also read some of the figures who most influenced Hume: Mandeville, Shafesbury, Hutcheson, and Butler and some influenced by him, notably Adam Smith.