Course Descriptions Spring 2009

PH100 A1 – Introduction to Philosophy
Professor Hopp

An examination of some of central philosophical topics, including free will, the relationship between mind and body, and the nature of personal identity.

PH110 A1 – Great Philosophers
Professor Devlin

A comparative introduction to the life and thought of six preeminent philosophers from classical times in both the Western and Eastern traditions.

PH150 A1 – Introduction to Ethics
Professor Garrett

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 – Introductions to Ethics
Professor Star

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 Dahlstrom

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.

PH160 A1 – Reasoning and Argumentation
Professor Hintikka

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 – Reasoning and Argumentation
Professor Ganea

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 – Reasoning and Argument
Professor Bokulich

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.

PH242 A1 – Human Nature
Professor Kestenbaum

In Moby Dick, Ahab says:

“All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks. But in each event–in the living act, the undoubted deed–there, some unknown but still reasoning thing puts forth the mouldings of its features from behind the unreasoning mask. If man will strike, strike through the mask!”

Is human nature a “visible” object, a mask concealing “some unknown but still reasoning thing”? Can human nature be known like any other “visible” object? If there is something necessarily invisible about human nature, how is it to be known or thought? Can we—should we–”strike through the mask”?

The course will examine selected ideas or concepts which might help make human nature more visible while at the same time respecting its tendency to withdraw from inspection, i.e., to remain invisible. These concepts include: reason, meaning, wholeness, death.

For additional information, please see Professor Kestenbaum (STH 512)or leave a message (353-2571).

CAS 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.

CAS PH247 A1 – Chinese Philosophy
Professor Berthrong

An introduction to the Chinese philosophical tradition, including a study of classical Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Mohism, Legalism, and modern developments.

CAS PH256 A1 – Philosophy of Sexuality & Gender
Professor Sreedhar

An analysis of the notions of gender and sexuality, with readings from Plato, Rousseau, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Sartre, Levinas, Scruton, Bloom. Questions include: are gender and sexuality natural, or are they social constructions? How are they related to love and desire?

CAS PH258 A1 – Philosophy & Literature
Professor Speight

This course will consider a wide range of questions concerning the relationship between philosophy and literature, but will place particular stress on the philosophical significance of the dramatic arts. How should philosophy divide and compare genres of performance? 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? Is there a difference between ancient and modern forms of tragedy and comedy? What role does history play in shaping the relation between drama and philosophy? Does drama take up themes that are recognizably philosophical?

CAS PH266 A1 – Mind Brain & Self
Professor Webb

Philosophical introduction to cognitive science. A consideration of the historical and intellectual background from which cognitive science has emerged, as well as the philosophical issues concerning the mind, brain, and self that arise from contemporary scientific research.

CAS PH270 A1 – Philosophy of Science
Professor Ganea

Main features of the scientific enterprise are illustrated by examples in the study of physics, biology, and mind: the aims of scientific activities, the nature of scientific understanding and procedures, the structure and interpretation of scientific theories, and the development of science.

CAS PH300 A1 – History of Ancient Philosophy
Professor Roochnik

The course will begin with a review of Presocratic thought and its contributions to the founding of natural philosophy. The influence of the Presocratics on the Sophists and Socates will then be probed. Plato’s transformative philosophical vision will subsequently be brought to bear on the whole of Greek philosophy. And the story will end with an interpretation of Aristotle’s pivotal philosophical systematizations, as the culmination of the whole of Greek philosophy. Select citations from Hellenistic thought will underscore, in conclusion, this assessment.

Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

CAS PH300 A1 – History of Ancient Philosophy
Professor Rorty

The course will begin with a review of Presocratic thought and its contributions to the founding of natural philosophy. The influence of the Presocratics on the Sophists and Socates will then be probed. Plato’s transformative philosophical vision will subsequently be brought to bear on the whole of Greek philosophy. And the story will end with an interpretation of Aristotle’s pivotal philosophical systematizations, as the culmination of the whole of Greek philosophy. Select citations from Hellenistic thought will underscore, in conclusion, this assessment.

Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

CAS PH310 A1 – History of Modern Philosophy
Professor Kuehn

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

Prereq: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

CAS PH310 B1 – History of Modern Philosophy
Professor Griswold

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

Prereq: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

CAS PH350 A1 – History of Ethics
Professor Lockwood

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

Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

CAS PH350 B1 – History of Ethics
Professor Star

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

Prerequisite: one philosophy course or sophomore standing.

CAS 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.

CAS PH406 A1 – Aristotle II
Professor Roochnik

We will read Aristotle’s POLITICS, as well as some background material in the ETHICS and the PHYSICS. Our goal is not simply to understand Aristotle, but also to use his political theory as a means of criticizing contemporary liberalism (as reflected in Rawls) as well as communitarianism (as reflected in Sandel).

CAS PH412 A1 – Philosophy of the Enlightenment
Professor Griswold

This seminar is a critical examination of one member of the family of philosophical and political movements that is now called “the Enlightenment” (a term often used synonymously with “modernity”). Our focus is Rousseau (1712-1778), a figure who is both a critic and defender of the Enlightenment. We will read several of his major texts (including the Social Contract, Discourses, Emile, Reveries, and selections from Julie as well as the Confessions). We will also consider the replies to Rousseau’s criticisms of the Enlightenment offered by Hume and Adam Smith.

Among the questions to be discussed are these: what is Rousseau’s theory of “freedom” (not just political, but personal or spiritual)? What is his theory of “the self,” and in what sense does he historicize the self? Why is Rousseau so attracted to narratives of various sorts (he was, inter alia, a great novelist), and in particular, why does he cast his famous discussion of social inequality in terms of a genealogical story about the decline of the state of nature into the corrupt condition of “civilization”? How successful are the avenues for redemption offered by Rousseau–such as education (as in Emile), self-examination (as in the Confessions), and love (as in Julie)?

Prerequisite: two other philosophy courses, or consent of instructor. This is a seminar for undergraduate students only. This course is eligible for Honors Program credit.

CAS PH413 A1 – Kant
Professor Kuehn

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

CAS PH424 A1 – Wittgenstein
Porfessor Floyd

An intensive (line by line) study of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations.

CAS PH430 A1 – American Philosophy
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, not James and Dewey.

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 Nietzsche, Ibsen, Kierkegaard, Wilde, Shaw, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein.” What, ultimately, does pragmatism call for?

Texts:
* 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
* Emerson, Essays

CAS PH446 A1 – Philosophy of Religion
Professor Zank

An examination of principal issues and topics in the philosophy of religion in the following two stages: first, a historical overview of the philosophy of religion as a discipline or subdiscipline of philosophy and theology; second, attention to the problems and challenges facing this discipline in the context of the comparative study of religions.

CAS PH452 A1 – Ethics of Health Care
Professor Fialova

This course explores the notion of suffering and examines the origins of ethics as a response to other’s suffering (Levinas). Drawing on both biographical literature (Murphy, Gudmundsson, Kane) and scholarly work (Cassell, Illich, Kleinman, Tauber), we shall follow various meanings and contexts of this experience, as well as their transformations by medicine. We shall explore the practices of medicine shaping life from conception to death. Also, focusing on the utopias of the world without suffering (Huxley), we shall examine the legitimacy of medical research justified in these terms.
Prerequisite: (CASPH350) and two other philosophy courses, or consent of instructor (PH 150 and PH 251 are recommended).

CAS PH460 A1 – Epistemology
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 PH462 A1 – Foundations of Math
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.

CAS PH463 A1 – Philosophy Language
Professor Hintikka

Critical survey of the main issues in the philosophy of language and the foundations of linguistics, including the ideas of logical form and the universality of languages as well as the basic ideas of generative grammar, possible-worlds semantics, Wittgenstein, and speech-act theories.

CAS PH470 A1 – Philosophy of Physics
Professor Bokulich

Philosophical problems concerning the interpretation of physical discoveries. Elementary particles, the anomalies of quantum mechanics, some modern problems of space and time, and the problem of wholes and parts.

CAS PH 481 – Topics in the Philosophy of 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 likely 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.

CAS PH484 A1 – Topics in Speculative Philosophy
Professor Webb

Perception and Cognition. How– if at all– do we come to know things by way of perceiving them? This course explores this and similar questions by investigating contemporary accounts of the topics of perception, cognition, and their relationship.
Prerequisite for PH484: any one philosophy course from CAS PH 440-447, or consent of instructor.

GRS PH606 A1 – Aristotle II
Professor Roochnik

We will read Aristotle’s POLITICS, as well as some background material in the ETHICS and the PHYSICS. Our goal is not simply to understand Aristotle, but also to use his political theory as a means of criticizing contemporary liberalism (as reflected in Rawls) as well as communitarianism (as reflected in Sandel).

GRS PH613 A1 – Kant
Professor Kuehn

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

GRS PH624 A1 – Wittgenstein
Professor Floyd

An intensive (line by line) study of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations.

GRS PH630 A1 – American Philosophy
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, not James and Dewey.

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 Nietzsche, Ibsen, Kierkegaard, Wilde, Shaw, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein.” What, ultimately, does pragmatism call for?

Texts:
* 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
* Emerson, Essays

GRS PH633 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.

GRS PH646 A1 – Philosophy of Religion
Professor Zank

An examination of the principal issues and topics in the philosophy of religion in the following two stages: first, an historical overview of the philosophy of religion as a discipline or subdiscipline of philosophy and theology; and, second, attention to the problems and challenges facing this discipline in the context of the comparative study of religions.

GRS PH660 A1 – Epistemology
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?

GRS PH662 A1 – Foundations of Math
Professor Kanamori

Axiomatic set theory as a foundation for, and field of, mathematics through to the consistency results.

GRS PH663 A1 – Philosophy of Language
Professor Hintikka

The most representative problem areas in contemporary philosophy of language are discussed, criticized, and put into a new perspective. They include Frege’s sense-reference theory, quantification and anaphora, theory of truth, the semantics of intentional and epistemic concepts, strategic aspects of language use, identification and individuation, metaphor, demonstratives and indexical, discourse and dialogue theory, and selected language disturbances (dyslexia, autism).

GRS PH670 A1 – Philosophy of Physics
Professor Bokulich

Philosophical problems concerning the interpretation of physical discoveries. Elementary particles, the anomalies of quantum mechanics, some modern problems of space and time, and the problem of wholes and parts.

GRS PH681 A1 – Topics in the Philosophy of 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 likely 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.

GRS PH684 A1 – Topics in Speculative Philosophy
Professor Webb

Perception and Cognition. How– if at all– do we come to know things by way of perceiving them? This course explores this and similar questions by investigating contemporary accounts of the topics of perception, cognition, and their relationship.

GRS PH810 A1 – Modern Philosophy
Profeesor Sreedhar

GRS PH883 A1 – Topics in Philosophy IV (meets with LAW JD916: THE LEGITIMACY OF THE COERCIVE STATE)
Professor Garrett/Professor Lyons

This seminar (for both law and non-law students) will consider the legitimacy of the coercive political state and related issues such as philosophical anarchism, the idea of an obligation to obey the law, the problem of property rights and the possibility of reparations for historical injustice. We will read A. John Simmons’ Justification and Legitimacy: Essays on Rights and Obligations and other writings.

GRS PH994 A1 – Philosophy Pro Seminar 2
Professor Sreedhar

Continuation of PH 993, offering continuing support and opportunities for professionalization for students as they complete dissertations and present their research in professional settings. Class meetings involve workshops on a graduated series of placement tasks and mock paper presentations by each student.