Fall 2003

Undergraduate courses

2  Individual Morality and Social Justice. Wallace. TBA, TBA.

An introduction to some central issues in moral and political philosophy. The course will be structured around a discussion of objectivity, disagreement, and pluralism in the domain of value. We will begin by addressing arguments for and against the objectivity of moral judgments, and consider their implications for the interpretation of moral discourse and moral practice. Next we will take up a range of concrete moral issues (involving war, killing, sex, and our obligations to those in need), and consider the distinctive normative issues they raise. We will then look at the requirements of living a meaningful human life, and explore their relations to morality. In the final sections of the course we will turn to issues of social and political theory, looking at the nature of a just society and at the problems of pluralism and toleration. Texts will be taken primarily from contemporary sources, and will be collected in a course reader.

5  Science and Human Understanding. Bacciagaluppi. TBA, TBA.

The philosophy of science, including also the philosophies of the special sciences (physics, biology etc.), plays a crucial role at the interface between science and philosophy (or at least it ought to!): it feeds both into science by analyzing its conceptual foundations, and into large branches of philosophy by testing their practical applications. The course will both examine general issues and concrete examples from the philosophy of physics (no special background is required).

12A  Introduction to Logic. Mancosu. TBA, TBA.

The course will introduce the students to the syntax and semantics of propositional and first-order logic. Both systems of logic will be motivated by the attempt to explicate the informal notion of a valid argument. Intuitively, an argument is valid when the conclusion ‘follows’ from the premises. In order to give an account of this notion we wil introduce a deductive system (a natural deduction system), which explicate the intuive notion of ‘follow’ in terms of derivational rules in a calculus. This will be done in satges, first for propositional reasoning (only connectives such as ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘if… then…’ and later for the full first-order calculus (including expressions such as ‘for all…’ and ‘there exists…’. In addition, we will also develop techniques to show when a claim does not follow from the premisses of an argument. This is done by developing the semantics for the propositional and the predicate calculus. We will introduce truth-tables for the propositional connectives and ‘interpretations’ for sentences of first-order logic. At the end of the course, if time allows, we will also cover some metatheoretical issues, such as soundness and completeness of the propositional calculus. Textbook: J. Barwise, J. Etchemendy, Language, truth, and Logic, University of Chicago Press, 2002. (The text comes with a CD. Do not buy it used! If you do, you will not be able to submit your exercises on line, which you will be required to)

25A  Ancient Philosophy. Code. TBA, TBA.

An introduction to ancient philosophy primarily through major works of Plato and Aristotle. Plato and Aristotle set the agenda for many of the questions still thought fundamental to philosophic inquiry, but approached them in a spirit different from that typical of modern philosophy. They thought of philosophy as a way of life; indeed, the best way. The main topics to be covered are ethical virtue and its relation to happiness, the soul and its relation to the body, and the objects and nature of knowledge. We will also consider the writing of Plato and Aristotle in the light of early Greek philosophers before Plato, as well as later developments by Epicureans, Stoics and Skeptics. Readings from Plato will include Apology, Crito, Euthyphro, Protagoras Meno, Phaedo, and Republic; those from Aristotle will include selections from Categories, Posterior Analytics, Physics, Parts of Animals, Metaphysics, De Anima, Politics and Nicomachean Ethics.
Requirements: two four-page papers; final exam. All readings will be taken from: (1) Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy: From Thales to Aristotle (2nd edition), edited by S. Marc Cohen, P. Curd and C.D.C. Reeve. (2) Hellenistic Philosophy: Introductory Readings (2nd edition), edited and translated by Brad Inwood and Lloyd P. Gerson

100  Philosophical Methods. Broughton. TBA, TBA.

The course aims to help students improve their philosophical reading and writing. Students will write or revise papers weekly, and they will meet weekly with their GSIs to discuss their work. The instructor will hold two one-hour class meetings each week to discuss the philosophical issues (of personal identity) about which the students will be writing, and to offer general advice about reading and writing philosophy. Readings will be drawn from the works of Locke, Reid, Hume, and three or four contemporary philosophers. The course is required of philosophy majors, and enrollment is restricted to students who have declared the major.

109  Freedom and Responsibility. Wallace. TBA, TBA.

A systematic examination of freedom and responsibility. The following topics will be addressed (among others): the relations between freedom of will, freedom of action, and autonomy; moral responsibility and its conditions; naturalism, determinism, and their relevance for human freedom; practical deliberation and the structure of the will; weakness and strength of will. Readings may be drawn from both historical and contemporary sources. The goal of the course is to provide students with a comprehensive introduction to historical and contemporary philosophical debates about the issues of freedom and responsibility. Texts: G. Watson, ed., Free Will (Oxford, 2003): 0-19-925494-X Anselm, Three Philosophical Dialogues (Hackett, 2002): 0872206114 V. Chappell, ed., Hobbes and Bramhall on Liberty and Necessity (Cambridge, 1999): 0521596688

115  Political Philosophy. Sluga. TBA, TBA.

The course will examine basic concepts of politics from Plato to the present. Of particular concern will be the concept of the political itself as well as other related ideas.

125  Metaphysics. Fitelson. TBA, TBA.

Metaphysics is the study of the constitution of reality – of what there is and how things are – in the most general sense. This course will be a survey of contemporary metaphysics, covering realism & anti-realism, universals & particulars, propositions & facts, necessity & possibility, and time & causation. In exploring these and related issues, we will read the work of many contemporary philosophers, including Quine, Armstrong, Lewis, Loux, Kripke, Taylor, Smart, Prior, Mellor, Putnam, Dummett, van Inwagen, and others. Prerequisite: previous coursework in philosophy or permission of instructor.

146  Philosophy of Mathematics. Mancosu. TBA, TBA.

This is an introduction to the classics of philosophy of mathematics with emphasis on the debates on the foundations of mathematics. Topics to be covered: infinitist theorems in seventeenth century mathematics; the foundations of the Leibnizian differential calculus and Berkeley’s ‘Analyst’; Kant on pure intuition in arithmetic and geometry; the arithmetization of analysis (Bolzano, Dedekind); Frege’s logicism; the emergence of Cantorian set theory; Zermelo’s axiomatization of set theory; Hilbert’s program; Russell’s logicism; Brouwer’s intuitionism; Gödel’s incompleteness theorems. Prerequisites: Phil 12A or equivalent. Textbooks: Frege, The Foundations of Arithmetic, Northwestern University Press. Dedekind, Essays on the Theory of Numbers, Dover. Kenny, Frege, Penguin. Recommended: P. Mancosu, ed., From Brouwer to Hilbert, OUP, 1998.

176  Hume. Broughton. TBA, TBA.

We will study the first book of Hume’s Treatise and his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, aiming to understand the claims and arguments he makes about the nature, origin, and justification of our ideas and beliefs. We will examine with special care the philosophical issues he raises about causal inference, causal necessity, and our ideas of material objects, the self, and God. We will also address more general questions, including these: What are the explanatory goals and methods of a “scientist of man”? What lines of thought lead Hume to skeptical conclusions? How are Hume’s naturalism and skepticism related to one another?

178  Kant. Ginsborg. TBA, TBA.

We will discuss central themes in Kant’s metaphysics and epistemology, focusing on the first half of the Critique of Pure Reason. Required: Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, translated by Norman Kemp Smith
(St. Martin’s Press).
Recommended: Henry Allison, Kant’s Transcendental Idealism (Yale) Robert Paul Wolff, Kant’s Theory of Mental Activity (Peter Smith)

Graduate seminars

290  TBA. Noë. TBA, TBA.

290-1  Egalitarianism. Scheffler. TBA, TBA.

This seminar will examine recent debates within political philosophy about equality and egalitarianism. Topics to be considered may include: equality vs. sufficiency, equality vs. priority, the “currency” of egalitarian justice, the “site” of distributive justice, the division of moral labor, incentives and inequality, the need for an “egalitarian ethos,” equality and luck, equality as a social and political ideal. Readings will be drawn from the work of various contemporary philosophers, including some or all of the following: Elizabeth Anderson, Richard Arneson, Brian Barry, G.A. Cohen, Joshua Cohen, Ronald Dworkin, David Estlund, Harry Frankfurt, Timothy Hinton, Will Kymlicka, Liam Murphy, Thomas Nagel, Derek Parfit, Thomas Pogge, John Rawls, John Roemer, Amartya Sen, Seana Shiffrin, Andrew Williams, and Jonathan Wolff.

290-2  TBA. Bacciagaluppi. TBA, TBA.


290-4  Hume’s Naturalism. Broughton. TBA, TBA.

We will explore questions about Hume’s “naturalism” in several senses of that flexible term. These may include his anti-supernaturalism, his attitudes toward the assumption that sense perception acquaints us with bodies, the limits of his readiness to question the practice of causal inference, the explanatory character of a “science of man,” and the nature of his endorsement of inquiries into human nature. Our main text will be Book One of the Treatise. We will also read articles and book-chapters by Edward Craig, Louis Loeb, Don Garrett, P. F. Strawson, and others.

290-5  Leibniz. Warren. TBA, TBA.

We will begin by spending two weeks reading the “Monadology,” which gives an overview of Leibniz’s philosophical system. The rest of the seminar will focus on the New Essays on Human Understanding, a work in which Leibniz presents his philosophical views on the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics, in a detailed response to Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding. We will be especially interested in considering the significance of this work for the conflict between empiricism and rationalism, and for the development of Kant’s thought.

Required Texts: Leibniz, New Essays on Human Understanding, ed. by Remnant and Bennett (Cambridge U.P.) Leibniz, Philosophical Essays, ed. by Ariew and Garber (Hackett)

Recommended Texts: Leibniz’s Monadology , ed. by Nicholas Rescher (Pittsburgh U.P.) Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, (Oxford U.P.) Jolley, Nicholas, Leibniz and Locke (Oxford U.P.)