Fall 2007

Undergraduate courses

2  Individual Morality & Social Justice. Kolodny. MWF 9-10, 145 Dwinelle.

In this course, we will survey the basic questions of moral and political philosophy, as well as some classic attempts to answer them. The questions that we will ask include: What is the morally right thing for me to do? Why should I do it? Is there a fact of the matter what it is, or does it just depend on my feelings or upbringing? Why should I do what the government tells me to? Why should I tolerate alien moral beliefs and practices? The philosophers whose work we will read include Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Bentham, Mill, and Nietzsche.

3  The Nature of Mind. Campbell. TuTh 2-3:30, 120 Latimer.

In this course we will be looking at the relation of psychological states, such as desires or memories, to the physical world. There are five units in the course: Foundations (Dualism, Behaviorism and Central-State Materialism), Personal Identity, Functionalism, Consciousness, and Causation. The books required for the course are: David Chalmers (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002). John Perry (ed.), Personal Identity, (Berkeley and Los Angeles, University of California Press 1975).

What is the mind? Are mental states, such as beliefs and desires, memories and hopes, characteristics of a non-physical substance, or are they configurations of the physical world? And if we think that mental states are entirely physical, should we think of them as relating to the ways in which a person tends to behave, or are they rather states of the person’s brain? We shall begin the course by looking at these fundamental questions about the nature of the psychological. What is a person? Is a person merely a biological entity, and the identity of a person just the identity of a physical thing? Do psychological states enter into the identity of the self, or can we explain the continued existence of the self in terms that do not appeal to psychological states? And what is the importance of personal identity? Recently some theorists have argued that we should give it much less weight than we seem to ordinarily; we will look at those arguments. One of the most powerful ideas in contemporary philosophy of mind is functionalism, the idea that the character of a mental state is constituted by its potential for causal relations with other mental states and with behavior. In the third unit we look at the strengths and limitations of this idea. One limitation of functionalism is its trouble in providing an analysis of consciousness. What is the relation between conscious experience and the brain? Is consciousness something over and above the ordinary biological functioning of the brain, or can it somehow be explained in biological terms? We will try to identify the aspects of conscious experience that make it difficult to explain this characteristic of the mental life in physicalist terms. In one way or another, throughout this course we will be going over the relation of the psychological life to the physical. Finally, we will look at how psychological states can be said to have causes and effects. Do we in fact ordinarily take it that psychological states do have causes and effects? And can they do so, if the whole causal story of the world can be told entirely in terms of physics?

12A  Introduction to Logic. Fitelson. MWF 2-3, 120 Latimer.

Logic is about reasoning, the difference between good and bad reasoning, and how to tell the difference between good and bad reasoning.

In this course, we will develop techniques for laying bare the structure of arguments (“reasonings”). This will enable us then to characterize, in some precise ways, the difference between good and bad reasoning, and to formulate rules of correct reasoning. These three things — a conception of structure of arguments, a precise characterization of good and bad arguments in terms of their structure, and a system of rules of correct reasoning — constitute a “system of logic.” We will actually consider several systems of logic. After all this, students should be in a better position to properly formulate and evaluate logical arguments.

The course will focus on deductively correct reasoning. That is, we will consider “good reasoning” to be reasoning in which the truth of the premises absolutely guarantees the truth of the conclusion (as in typical correct mathematical reasoning). This will briefly be put into perspective in relation to inductively good reasoning, in which the premises give significant, but not conclusive, support for a conclusion.

Textbook: Modern Logic by Graeme Forbes, Oxford University Press, 1994.

25A  Ancient Philosophy. MacFarlane. MWF 11-12, 145 Dwinelle.

This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy–and, for the uninitiated, to philosophy itself. We will spend almost all of our time on the three most important Greek philosophers–Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle–with a passing glance at pre-Socratic and Hellenistic philosophers. Our primary goal will be to understand these philosophers’ characteristic methods and views, and (more importantly) their reasons for holding these views. It is often said that we should study ancient Greek philosophy because it is the intellectual basis for all later western philosophy and natural science. That is true, but it is only half the story. We should also study ancient Greek philosophy to become familiar with a worldview so alien that it throws our own into sharp relief. As you are outraged by some of the things these philosophers say, you will come to see more clearly what your own views are, and you will be forced to ask what justifies them. You will not just be studying the history of philosophy; you will be doing philosophy. Prerequisite: None.

100  Philosophical Methods. Anagnostopoulos. F 2-4, 122 Wheeler.

104  Ethical Theories. Scheffler. MWF 10-11, 50 Birge.

A systematic introduction to the philosophical study of morality. Topics to be considered will include: traditional vs. consequentialist moral outlooks; contractualism; the nature of moral motivation; the rationality of morality; the objectivity or subjectivity of ethics; moral relativism; the explanatory role of morality; the compatibility of morality with a purely naturalistic understanding of human beings. Readings will be drawn from a variety of classical and contemporary sources.

107  Moral Psychology. Wallace. MWF 11-12, 213 Wheeler.

This course will examine a variety of psychological phenomena and psychological ideals, as they impinge on our understanding of morality as a source of distinctive values and requirements. Topics to be discussed include the following: the nature and significance of character; reason, emotion, and moral motivation; regret and remorse; caring, love, and personal attachment; identification and alienation; weakness of the will; and practical necessity. Readings will be drawn from a range of contemporary sources, including articles and books by Frankfurt, Moran, Velleman, Watson, and Williams.

116  Special Topics in Political Philosophy: Equality and Needs. Munoz-Dardé. W 2-5, 2519 Tolman.

This course will be taught in seminar format, with one weekly three-hour meeting and enrollment limited to twenty students. The topic of the seminar is equality and needs. Issues that will be raised include the following: How should we understand the political ideal of equality? Is there is something which justice requires people to have equal amounts of? If so, what? If not, is what matters that we have sufficient resources for flourishing? Should we give priority to the least well-off? What is the connection between the values of equality and fairness?

The course is intended for juniors and seniors with substantial background in philosophy. Philosophy 115 or the equivalent is a prerequisite, and the course will presuppose familiarity with Rawls’ A Theory of Justice. Readings will be drawn from a range of historical and contemporary sources: Rousseau, G. A. Cohen, Temkin, Dworkin, Raz, Frankfurt, Scanlon, Nagel, Scheffler, Parfit, Griffins, Foot and Wiggins.

122  Theory of Knowledge. Roush. TuTh 12:30-2, 170 Barrows.

By any (reasonable) account, human beings have more knowledge today than ever before due to the progress of science, but there is still philosophical disagreement about what knowledge is, how we should respond to radical skepticism, and how much science itself can tell us about knowledge. In this problem-oriented course we will study contemporary classics of epistemology on the topics of tracking, closure, relevant alternatives, reliabilism, internalism, externalism, and contextualism, among others. We will take epistemology to be responsible for understanding scientific cases of knowledge, and also consider the implications for epistemology of results in experimental psychology suggesting human beings’ lack of awareness of their true reasons for belief.

132  Philosophy of Mind. Martin. MWF 1-2, 160 Kroeber.

From the earliest point in our lives we mark a distinction between the social world of animate beings and the inanimate objects about us. The distinctions we make are fundamental to our ways of finding out about the world and responding to what we discover there. But do the distinctions we mark reflect ultimate differences in the nature of the world around us? These are the questions addressed in this course. We will be looking at some of the oldest and most fundamental questions about the mind: the nature of consciousness, knowledge of our own minds and of others’; physicalism and dualism; functionalism.

140B  Intermediate Logic. Mancosu. TuTh 9:30-11, 130 Wheeler.

This course covers some of the most important metalogical results that are of interest to philosophers. It is divided into three parts. The first two parts are mathematical in style whereas the last part is philosophical. In the first part we will cover the basic notions of computability theory and study in detail the Turing machine approach to computability. The second part of the course will give a detailed presentation of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems and related results. Finally, we will look at the philosophical relevance of these logical results to various areas of philosophy. Prerequisite: 12A (or equivalent) or permission from the instructor. Course requirements: exercise sets approximately every ten days (counting for 60% of final grade) and a philosophical paper due at the end of the semester (40% of final grade).


Boolos, Burgess, Jeffrey,_ Computability and Logic_, 4th ed., Cambridge University Press, 2003 (2nd printing; check corrections at http://www.princeton.edu/~jburgess/addenda.htm)

Reader on the philosophical significance of Turing’s computability and Gödel’s incompleteness theorems for several areas of philosophy (to be chosen among philosophy of mind, philosophy of logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics).


160  Plato. Ebrey. TuTh 9:30-11, 126 Barrows.

How should we be living our lives? We will begin the class with this basic question raised by Plato’s teacher, Socrates. Trying to answer this question will eventually lead Plato to make some quite strange claims: the sensible world is fundamentally unintelligible on its own, definitions are not to be found in the sensible world, our souls are immortal and contain within them all knowledge, and we should be ruled by philosopher-kings. How does Plato start with such a simple question about how to live our lives and end with such radical claims about politics and the universe as a whole?

Plato’s intellectual development begins with his teacher, Socrates, searching for definitions of the things found in the best lives – things such as courage, justice, piety and temperance. After examining this Socratic project, we will follow Plato as he develops the project in his own directions. One way he develops it is by thinking, not just about how we should live our individual lives, but also about how we should organize ourselves politically. Plato also thinks that non-ethical concerns arise from Socrates’ search for definition in ethics. A basic concern Plato has is: how can we acquire this knowledge that Socrates is searching for? Further, what are these definitions that Socrates seeks – where in the world could one find such a thing? Moreover, Plato becomes interested in how we can make sense, not of our own lives, but of the world we observe around us. The course will focus on close reading skills to try to unearth how Plato argues for such strange and radical answers to these questions.

Prerequisite: Philosophy 25A

174  Locke. Ayers. TuTh 11-12:30, 210 Wheeler.

Locke’s Essay concerning Human Understanding, published in 1689, is one of the few most influential works in general philosophy that have ever been written. Locke’s was a leading voice in favor of a reasonable, tolerant, and anti-dogmatic (more or less ‘modern’) approach to the natural world, to society and to religion. His theory of knowledge, part of this wider campaign, was supported by shrewd and subtle philosophical argument that was highly respected throughout Europe for well over a century – even by such opponents and critics as Leibniz and Kant. Since then it has often been underrated and misrepresented, but his thought is of great philosophical as well as historical interest and importance.

The Essay is a long book, and is constructed in an order that would have been more familiar to his first readers. Ayers’ Locke follows a rather different order, but is also regrettably long. Students who take this course will not be expected to read either ‘required’ book from beginning to end (though they won’t be discouraged from doing so). We will start by reading a selection of passages taken from different parts of the Essay, not necessarily with the aim of explaining the structure and philosophical motivation of Locke’s theories – an overall grasp of his strategy. Then we shall look at specific arguments and questions of interpretation in greater detail, as well as exploring the wider philosophical issues that they raise. The latter include the nature of knowledge and its relation to belief, the basic role of the senses, what thinking is, the relation between physical and logical necessity, the relations between language, thought and reality (for example, how far our classifications have an objective basis in reality), and what the identity of things and persons consists in. (A lot of work has been done on Locke since I wrote about him, and I expect to have to revise some earlier views.)

A student unfamiliar with the Essay might usefully look first at the following passages (about 190 pages in all). They do not include some very important topics (eg identity, classification, estimation of probability, the relation between faith and reason), but should give an overall idea of what Locke is about.

Book I ch I, ch ii, and ch iv sections 1-3 and 22-25;
Book II ch I sects 1-10 and 20-25, chs ii-viii, ch xiii 1-5, ch xiv sects 1-5, ch xvi, ch xvii sects 1-3 and 22, chs xix and xx, ch xxi sects 1-4, ch xxii, ch xxiii sects 1-12 and 37, ch xxv and ch xxxi. Book IV chs i-vi, ch xi, chs xv and xvi.

178  Kant. Warren. TuTh 2-3:30, 100 Wheeler.

In this course we will examine some of the major metaphysical and epistemological themes of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. We will be focusing particularly on Kant’s views on the following topics: a priori knowledge and how it is possible, space and time, objectivity and experience, self-knowledge, and the contrast between appearances and things in themselves. Several short papers and a longer paper will be required. Prerequisite: Philosophy 25B

185  Heidegger. Dreyfus. TuTh 11-12:30, 159 Mulford.

One of the most important philosophical works of the twentieth century, Being and Time is both a systematization of the existential insights of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche and a radicalization of Husserl’s phenomenological account of intentionality. What results is an original interpretation of the human condition and an account of the nature and limitations of philosophical and scientific theory. This account has important implications for all those disciplines that study human beings.

Required text: Heidegger, M Being and Time, trans Macquarrie & Robinson (Harper and Row) Recommended texts: Carman, T. Heidegger’s Analytic, (Cambridge University Press) Dreyfus, H. Being-in-the-World (MIT Press) Guignon, C., Heidegger and the Problem of Knowledge (Hackett) Heidegger, M., Basic Problems of Phenomenology (Indiana University Press) Heidegger, M History of the Concept of Time (Indiana University Press) Heidegger, M The Metaphysical Foundations of Logic (Indiana U. Press) Polt, Richard, Heidegger: An Introduction, (UCL Press) Wrathall, Mark How to Read Heidegger (Granta Press) (In press.) Requirements: Two 7- 8 page papers, and about 20 pages of very difficult reading per week. Attendance at weekly discussion section. Prerequisites: History of Modern Philosophy (25B) or an equivalent course is required. It would also help to take Searle’s Philosophy of Mind (132) and/or to take Kant (178).

url: http://courseweb.berkeley.edu/courseweb/pub/courses/2007/FL/PHILOS/185/001

Graduate seminars

200  First-Year Graduate Seminar. Campbell/Ginsborg. F 2-4, 205 Wheeler.

Enrollment is limited to first-year Philosophy Ph.D. students only.

290-1  Graduate Seminar: Confirmation Theory. Fitelson. W 4-6, 234 Moses Hall.

This seminar will trace the historical and philosophical development of confirmation theory (aka., pure and applied inductive logic) from 1900-2007. The main historical figures will include (among others): Johnson, Keynes, Nicod, Hempel, Carnap, Goodman, Quine, Salmon, Skyrms, Joyce, and yours truly. All readings will be provided on the seminar website. [There are no prerequisites for this seminar, but it will presuppose some basic propositional logic and high-school algebra.]

290-2  Graduate Seminar: Plato’s Sophist. Frede. M 4-6, 223 Wheeler.

The Seminar will study Plato’s Sophist, one of his latest works. In the search of the definition of the sophist the participants of the dialogue focus on central concepts such as being and not-being, on the nature of language, and on questions of methodology. The Sophist is by general consent one of Plato’s hardest, but also most rewarding works for the understanding of his philosophy. The seminar will provide a careful analysis of the arguments and a study of the dialogue’s unity and its relation to other Platonic works. At the same time a series of articles will be included that have contributed most to a better understanding of this complex dialogue in recent years.

290-3  Graduate Seminar: Early Wittgenstein/ Tractatus. Mancosu/Sluga. Th 2-4, 234 Moses Hall.

The seminar will be devoted to a detailed reading and analysis of some major topics in Wittgenstein’s_ Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. In addition to the Tractatus_, we will also take into account Wittgenstein’s earlier Notebooks, Notes on logic, and Notes dictated to G. E. Moore.

Texts: L. Wittgenstein,* Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus*, Translated by D. F. Pears and B. F. McGuinness, Routledge, London 2001.

L. Wittgenstein,* Notebooks 1914-1916*, 2nd edition, The University of Chicago Press

290-4  Graduate Seminar: Appearance and Expression. Martin. W 4-6, 283 Dwinelle.

Tomatoes have a characteristic look. Some tomatoes lack this look, and other entities – fake tomatoes – can possess the look and thereby mislead someone about what they are. Nonetheless when you see a tomato in plain view you can see it for what it is, a tomato: that something is a tomato would seem to be a perceptible aspect of it. When someone feels resentful, that attitude may be expressed in the way they look at others, how they move, or in the manner of their speech. A skilled actor can mimic such expressions so as to appear resentful too. This doesn’t rule out our coming to know in propitious circumstances that someone is resentful just by looking at them or listening to them. Yet many think that the person’s resentment is not itself a perceptible aspect of the scene: our access to it is mediated through the person’s behaviour or what is expressive of this feeling.

Why should one suppose that there is this difference between the appearance of kinds of fruit and the expressions of feeling or emotion? That is the question we shall be pursuing in this seminar. The aim will be to look at some of the traditional discussions of the problem of other minds; the elusive status of appearance; and the relation between emotional states and their expression.

290-5  Graduate Seminar: Rawl’s Theory of Justice. Munoz-Dardé. M 2-4, 234 Moses Hall.

The purpose of the seminar is to present and assess Rawls’s seminal book in its entirety, as a single project, placing it in its historical and ethical wider context. This will allow us a.) to highlight the importance of Rawls’s ambition to rival classical utilitarians in shaping the form of his theory; and b.) to bring to light how TJ constitutes a systematic theory embracing moral doctrines and social and economic facts, at the same time placing them in a contractualist framework.

The seminar will focus on Rawls’s conception of justice, as developed in the revised edition of A Theory of Justice (TJ), and Justice as Fairness a Restatement (JRF). JFR is a succinct, revised statement of the idea of justice as fairness. In it, Rawls recasts the basic arguments for the two principles central to his conception of justice, responds to common objections, but also corrects what he came to see as mistakes in TJ. By going back and forth between TJ and the mature statement of the theory in JRF, the seminar will address interpretative questions regarding the very idea of Justice as Fairness, the Original Position and the knowledge that the parties are in possession of or deprived from, the idea of Reflective Equilibrium, the Basic Structure as subject, the Difference Principle, Reasonable Overlapping Consensus, and the difference between Political Liberalism and Comprehensive Liberalism.

290-6  Graduate Seminar: Self-monitoring and Rationality. Roush. Tu 4-6, 234 Moses Hall.

We examine the thesis that justified belief requires not access to one’s own mind but rather the distinct, and often non-conscious, capacity of self-monitoring, and that the purpose of self-monitoring is self-correction. We discuss notions of justified belief in epistemology and Bayesianism, consider a new self-monitoring notion of justified belief based on second-order tracking, and relate it to the notion of calibration in Bayesianism, statistics, and psychologists’ studies of human beings’ confidence/accuracy ratios. We apply the new self-monitoring rationality requirements proposed for the relation between first- and second-order beliefs to the Preface Paradox, Moore’s Paradox, the Commitment Paradox, the Paradox of Entailment, and the problem of formulating fallibilism, in order to explain both why there is a tension in each of these cases and why there is nevertheless no contradiction

290-7  Graduate Seminar: Global Justice. Scheffler. W 2-4, 234 Moses Hall.

Global Justice

There is a vigorous debate among political philosophers about whether there are norms of distributive justice that apply to the world as a whole. The primary aim of the seminar will be to take stock of this debate. In order to do this, we will need to consider a number of related issues, including the moral legitimacy of partiality toward those with whom one has special ties, the moral significance of shared citizenship in particular, the question whether principles of justice apply primarily to individuals or to institutions, the relations between justice and beneficence, and the extent to which affluent individuals have a responsibility to help alleviate poverty and suffering in distant lands. We will read the works of a number of contemporary authors, including most or all of the following: John Rawls, Thomas Nagel, Charles Beitz, Peter Singer, Richard Miller, Onora O’Neill, Thomas Pogge, Samuel Freeman, A.J. Julius, Michael Blake, Kok-Chor Tan, Garrett Cullity, Andrea Sangiovanni, Joshua Cohen and Charles Sabel, Ronald Dworkin, Mathias Risse, Brian Barry, Allan Buchanan, and Liam Murphy.

290-8  Graduate Seminar. Ayers. Tu 2-4, 234 Moses Hall.

The intention is to consider three closely related philosophical topics :

1, the identity and individuation of material objects; 2, the content and objects of perception and perceptual knowledge;
3, the nature and content of self-knowledge and self-awareness.

Argument will be advanced, from a realist point of view, in supportive explanation of ordinary ways of thinking and talking about people, things, and perception. A sceptical view will be taken of attempts by analytic philosophers to improve on these basic ways of thinking, for example by proposing surprising ‘analyses’ of natural language, or radically alternative ontologies and logics. The idea that intentionality and content are primarily properties of linguistic items of some kind will also be subjected to criticism. We are animals, and language has evolved on the back of animal experience of the world, including experience of ourselves in the world. To understand how this is so (it will be suggested) is to begin to understand the structure of natural language.

295  Dissertation Seminar. Ginsborg. Th 12:30-2, 129 Barrows.

302  Teaching Seminar. Kolodny. F 2-4, 234 Moses Hall.