Summer 2017 1st 6wks

Undergraduate courses

2  Individual Morality & Social Justice. Kaplan. MTuWTh 12-2, Hearst Field Annex B5.

Questions of individual morality and social justice are questions not about how things are, but about how they ought to be. We will study some of these questions, and traditional attempts to answer them. In addition to studying philosophy, we will also do philosophy. That is — while being informed by the answers and arguments given by Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Bentham, Mill, Nietzsche, and others — we will attempt to state and defend our own answers to these questions. Here are some examples of the questions will will discuss: What is the morally right thing to do? Why should I do the morally right thing? Is there a moral law that applies to everyone, or is it relative in some way? Why, if at all, should I obey the law? Why, if at all, should I tolerate beliefs and practices other than my own? There are no prerequisites for taking this course.

3  The Nature of Mind. Bradley. MTuWTh 10-12, Dwinelle 182.

What is it like to be a roomba, humming across the floor? Nothing. Of course, the little vacuum cleaner detects things—walls, for example. And it reacts accordingly—by turning, for example. This is, to be sure, a cute dance. But there is nothing it is like to be the dancer. The roomba doesn’t, for example, feel itself bump against the wall, or see itself turn away from it. (Go ahead and try to put yourself in the roomba’s shoes—try to imagine what it is like to be the roomba. There is nothing there to be imagined.) What is it like to be you? Here there is more to say. Of course, like the roomba, you detect things and react accordingly. But, unlike the roomba, you also experience what’s around—you see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. What’s more, you have a rich inner life, full of thoughts, moods, and bodily sensations. You are, in short, conscious. The roomba is not. This difference between conscious and unconscious things seems deep and important. But how does it arise? What exactly is it about you that makes you conscious? And what’s missing in unconscious things, like the roomba? In this course, you will grapple with these and related questions about consciousness, and learn about philosophical (and some scientific) attempts to answer them. Along the way, you will learn how to read and write philosophy. This is an introductory course, with no prerequisites.

12A  Introduction to Logic. Lawrence. TuWTh 1-3:30, GPBB 107.

An introduction to the use and study of deductive logic with particular emphasis on foundational concepts and formal competence. The primary project of the course will be a full, modern development of first-order logic alongside discussion of its relationship to intuitive ideas of proof, truth, and implication. While a requirement for philosophy majors, this course is appropriate for anyone interested in proper reasoning, especially those intending to pursue computer science or mathematics.

25A  Ancient Philosophy. Vlasits. MTuWTh 10-12, Hearst Field Annex B5.

In this course, we will survey the beginnings of philosophy in the Western tradition with special attention to Socrates (469-399), Plato (427-347), Aristotle (384-322), and the Epicurean, Stoic, and Skeptical schools that flourished in the subsequent centuries. In particular, we will discuss their approaches to scientific knowledge, the structure of the world, and the good human life. Since the ancient Greeks identified many of the philosophical problems (and models for their resolution) we are still concerned with today, the course also serves as an introduction to philosophical thinking generally.

25B  Modern Philosophy. Crockett. TuWTh 10-12:30, Dwinelle 215 .

In this course we will study the philosophical views of the most important and influential thinkers in early modern philosophy (roughly, the 17th and 18th centuries). This period in western thought was nothing short of extraordinary in that it saw the overthrow of a philosophical and scientific worldview that had dominated the west for over one thousand years. Prior to the 17th century, philosophy had been a blend of church doctrine and classical philosophy, and its methodology had been quite narrowly defined. The unfortunate effect of both the church’s influence on scholarly endeavors and the strictly defined methodology was that philosophical and scientific creativity was largely stifled. By the 17th century, however, the medieval worldview was beginning to crumble due in large part to a variety of subversive scientific discoveries. Advances in physics, astronomy and chemistry undermined central assumptions of classical science, which resulted in the wholesale abandonment of medieval philosophy more generally. Thus the scientific revolution of the 17th century set off an explosion of inspiration and creativity in the world of philosophy. It forced thinkers to make a new start in answering fundamental questions about the world such as: What is the nature of mind? What are the limits of human knowledge? What is a person? What is the basic stuff in the world? These thinkers were the radicals of their day, and their views have shaped the way we practice contemporary philosophy. In fact, many of the philosophical questions we ask today could not have been formulated before these thinkers began to challenge philosophical orthodoxy. For that reason, studying the moderns is of central importance for understanding contemporary philosophy, and for understanding the nature of philosophical revolutions more generally.

135  Theory of Meaning. Khatchirian. TuWTh 10-12:30, Dwinelle 223.

What distinguishes meaningful sounds and marks from meaningless ones? Are the meanings of our words to be explained in terms of the intentions with which we use them? Or are meanings determined in some other way? In what ways, if any, do the meanings of our words depend on features of our environment? Is the meaning of a word a thing in the world for which it can be said to stand? What is the relation between the meaning of a word and the meanings of sentences in which it occurs? What role, if any, should the notion of truth play in explaining what it is for our sentences to mean what they do? All of these questions presuppose that there are facts of the matter about what our words mean, or at least a difference between meaningful utterances and meaningless noises. But we will also examine arguments questioning these assumptions. Are there any determinate facts of the matter about what our words mean? If not, is there, after all, any real difference between meaningful utterances and meaningless noises? Readings will include work by Frege, Grice, Putnam, Burge, Quine, Kripke, Davidson, Searle, Strawson, Lewis, and others.

170  Descartes. Crockett. TuWTh 1-3:30, GPBB 103.

An intensive introduction to Descartes’s views on physics, metaphysics and epistemology through examination of Descartes’ early works on method, physics and physiology. This includes an in-depth study of the Meditations, focusing on both Descartes’ epistemological project and his anti-scholastic metaphysics supplemented by readings from the Objections and Replies, the Principles, and several important pieces of secondary literature. Issues discussed include the method of doubt, the Cartesian circle, Descartes’ mode of presentation in the Meditations, the creation and ontological status of the eternal truths, the status of the human being, the nature of substance, mind-body dualism and Descartes’ physics as presented in the Principles.