Fall 2006

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  Nature of Mind. Noë. MWF 2-3, 100 GPB.

This course is an introduction to themes in the philosohy of mind and cognitive science. Readings will be taken from philosophy and cognitive science. The course will explore a radical proposal: that the mind is not in the head, that the brain is not the mind, that you are not your brain. A wealth of findings in empirical science and philosophy point in this direction. This course is organized around this issue.

4  Knowledge & Its Limits. Roush. TuTh 11-12:30, 2 LeConte.

In this course we think about knowledge: How do we know we’re not in a Matrix? Is our knowledge built on a foundation or are we floating on a raft, or does our knowledge have the structure of a teepee? What are the requirements for knowledge? How much do we need to trust others in order to know? Can we trust ourselves? Do animals have knowledge?

12A  Introduction to Logic. Fitelson. MWF 1-2, 390 Hearst Mining.

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.

24  Freshman Seminar: The Ethics of Mortality. Wallace. M 11-12, 234 Moses.

This seminar will consider whether and under what conditions it might be morally permissible to kill another person. We will consider a variety of situations in which killing has been thought to be morally justified, such as self-defense, the conduct of a just war, the administration of justice (capital punishment), and the alleviation of acute suffering (euthanasia). In considering the permissibility of killing under these various circumstances we will be forced to address fundamental questions about the nature of morality and the value of human life. Readings will be taken from contemporary philosophical discussions (available in a course reader). Students will be expected to attend all seminar meetings and to participate in seminar discussions. In addition, there will be two short papers (1-2 pages). 1 unit; P/NP.

25A  Ancient Philosophy. MacFarlane. MWF 11-12, 100 Lewis.

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 Socrates (469-399 BC), Plato (427-347 BC), and Aristotle (384-322 BC), with a passing glance at pre-Socratic and Hellenistic philosophers. Our primary goal will be to understand each philosopher’s characteristic methods and views, and (more importantly) his reasons for holding these views.

100  Philosophical Methods. Stroud. Th 2-4, 122 Wheeler.

A course to encourage in philosophy majors the practice and development of the skills of reading and writing in philosophy. Readings will be drawn from recent essays on a variety of subjects in different areas of philosophy. These will be discussed in one two-hour classroom meeting each week. Students will be expected to read and discuss the essays in class and to write clearly and accurately about them and about the questions they raise. Each student will meet individually each week with a graduate student instructor for close assessment and discussion of the student’s writing with special attention to how it could be improved. There will be a final paper on a topic of the student’s choice.

Required reading: Joseph M. Williams, Style: Toward Clarity and Grace
                            (U. Chicago Press)
            READER: PHILOSOPHY 100

115  Political Philosophy. Sluga. MWF 10-11, 4 LeConte.

The course will seek to examine fundamental features of politics by considering the basic concepts we employ for this purpose. It will focus, in particular, on the concept of the political and argue that our traditional understanding of that concept has now disintegrated and that we must endeavor to conceive of politics in new ways.

In the course of this undertaking we will look at the writings of a number of political philosophers, including specifically Plato and Aristotle as well as Carl Schmitt, Hannah Arendt, and Micheal Foucault.


Plato Protagoras and Meno.
Plato The Statesman.
Aristotle Politics.
Schmitt, Carl The Concept of the Political.
Arendt, Hannah The Human Condition.
Foucault, Michael Power-Knowledge.

125  Metaphysics. Code. MWF 3-4, 213 Wheeler.

Course Requirements: two papers and a final exam. Required Text: : Contemporary Readings in the Foundations of Metaphysics, edited by S, Lawrence & C. Macdonald (Blackwell: 1998). This course will survey some of the main issues discussed by contemporary analytic philosophers in connection with fundamental questions about ontological commitment. We will start by considering what it is for a person or a theory to be committed to the existence of something. This will lead naturally to an inquiry into the status of possible objects and worlds, abstractions and properties, substances, events and individual nonrecurrent unit properties (tropes). The lectures will assume familiarity with the following readings from the text:


Introduction: Metaphysics and Ontology [Laurence & Macdonald, 1-7] The Nature of Metaphysics [van Inwagen, 11-21 Descriptive & Revisionary Metaphysics [Haack, 22-31] On What There Is [Quine, 32-45] Ontological Commitments [Alston, 46-54] Quantifiers [Haack, 55-68]


Possible Worlds & Possibilia [Lycan, 83-95] Possible Worlds [Lewis, 96-102] Possible Worlds [Stalnaker, 103-116] Ways Worlds Could Be [Forrest, 117-127]


Universals & Properties [Bealer, 131-147] On Properties [Putnam, 148-162] New Work for a Theory of Universals [Lewis, 163-197] Against Structural Universals [Lewis,198-218] A Theory of Structural Universals [Bigelow & Pargetter, 219-229]


Beyond Substrata & Bundles [Loux, 233-247] Bare Particulars [Allaire, 248-254] Particulars Re-Clothed [Chappell, 255-258] Another Look at Bare Particulars [Allaire, 259-263] Three Versions of the Bundle Theory [Van Cleve, 264-274]

(V) EVENTS: Ontologies of Events [Lombard, 277-294] The Individuation of Events [Davidson, 295-309] Events as Property Exemplifications [Kim, 310-326]

(VI) TROPES: Tropes & Other Things [Macdonald, 329-350] The Metaphysics of Abstract Particulars [Campbell, 351-363] Three Trope Theories of Substance [Simmons, 364-384]

132  Philosophy of Mind. Searle. TuTh 8-9:30, 120 Latimer.

The single most important question in philosophy – and in intellectual life generally – at the present time is this: How, if at all, can we reconcile a certain conception that we have of ourselves as conscious, free, rational, ethical, language using, social and political human beings in a world consisting entirely of mindless, meaningless physical particles?
This course is directed to the most essential part of that question, the nature of the human mind. What is consciousness and how can it be caused by brain processes? How does it function causally in our behavior? How do we represent reality to ourselves in our mental processes? What is the nature of perception, memory, knowledge and action? Do we have free will? Does the existence of unconscious mental processes threaten our free will? Can cognitive science extend our understanding of ourselves as human beings? Are our brains really just digital computers? How exactly do our mental processes underlie society and our construction of social institutions, such as money, property, marriage and governments? This course will be concerned with these and other such fundamental questions in the foundations of philosophy, cognitive science and psychology.

135  Theory of Meaning. Campbell. TuTh 2-3:30, 159 Mulford.

This course reviews central issues in theory of meaning, in particular the relation between meaning and reference to objects. What explains our ability to refer to objects? Is the ability to think about an object a matter of standing in an appropriate causal relation to it? And if we take this view, does it help us to understand how thought might be in the end a biological phenomenon? We will look at basic lines of thought set out here by Kripke and Putnam, and theorists such as Dretske and Fodor who have built on their ideas. We will also look at the contrasting view of meaning and reference presented by the later Wittgenstein. We will begin, however, with the classical views of Frege and Russell. Prerequisite: two previous courses in philosophy.

142  Philosophical Logic. Mancosu. TuTh 9:30-11, 210 Wheeler.

The course aims at introducing students to the basic topics in philosophy of logic. Topics to be covered will be selected from among the following: theories of truth, logical consequence, modal notions (necessity/possibility) and possible world semantics, vagueness, quantification, existence and descriptions, first vs second-order logic, extensionality vs intentionality, realism and antirealism in logic.

Prerequisites (no exceptions!): Phil 12A (or equiv) and at least another course in philosophy.

160  Plato. Frede. TuTh 12:30-2, 2 LeConte.

This course will be devoted to a close examination of the development of Plato’s theory of Forms from itd first traces in early dialogues to possible revisions in later dialogues. The examination will also include questions of the development in Plato’s epistemology and method of dialectic. We will discuss the treatment of these topics in Plato’s Euthyphro, Meno, Phaedo, Republic, Parmenides, Sophist, and the Philebus.

167  Introduction to Chinese Philosophy. Heller. MWF 12-1, 30 Wheeler.

This course will acquaint students with key thinkers from the Zhou dynasty through the end of the Qing dynasty. While the course is arranged chronologically, we will also take up more thematic considerations, such as the development of statecraft, the idea of the self, and the discourse on kinship. Much of class time will be devoted to careful readings of primary sources in translation, with attention to major themes and modes of argument. In addition to preparing for class discussion, students will be asked to write three short papers (approximately three pages each). The first of these will be a close reading of a short passage selected by the student. The second short paper will compare the treatment of an idea or theme in two sources, and the third paper will examine the historical trajectory of a key term or theme. In addition there will be an in-class midterm and a final exam.

178  Kant. Warren. TuTh 2-3:30, 110 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

Graduate seminars

200  First-Year Graduate Seminar. MacFarlane/Searle. Tu 2-4, 234 Moses.

290-1  “Knowledge and its Limits”. Fitelson/Roush. W 4-6, 234 Moses Hall.

290-2  Reasons and Rationality. Kolodny. M 2-4, 234 Moses.

You seem to be subject to two different kinds of “ought”: two different kinds of normative demand. On the one hand, you are subject to demands that the world makes on you. Some fact of your situation, we might say, is a /reason /for you to believe or do something. Because the hunter was caught red handed, you have reason to believe that he was poaching. Because Moses Hall is on fire, you have reason to leave. On the other hand, you are subject to demands that your attitudes make on one another, however the world may be. Some attitude that you have, we might say, makes it /irrational /of you to have or fail to have some other attitude, whether or not you have reason for or against any of those attitudes. Because you believe that Berkeley is west of San Francisco, it would be irrational of you to believe that Berkeley is east of San Francisco. Because you intend to vote for Nader, it would be irrational of you to fail to intend to go to the polling station. The topic of this seminar is the relation between these two kinds normative demand.

290-3  The Philosophy of Mathematical Practice. Mancosu. Th 2-4, 234 Moses.

Contemporary philosophy of mathematics offers us an embarrassment of riches. Among the major areas of work one could list developments of the classical foundational programs (neo-logicism, modified Hilbert’s program, varieties of constructivism etc.), analytic approaches to epistemology and ontology of mathematics (nominalism, platonism etc.), and developments at the intersection of history and philosophy of mathematics (Lakatos and others). But anyone even partially familiar with contemporary philosophy of mathematics will not have failed to notice a loud call for approaches to the philosophy of mathematics that will pay closer attention to mathematical practice than has hitherto been the case. The seminar will focus on this latter direction of work. It will be divided into two parts. The first part will cover some approaches to the philosophy of mathematical practice from the 1960s to the 1990s (Lakatos, Kitcher, and Maddy, among others). The second part will consist of readings from a new generation of philosophers of mathematics whose appeal to mathematical practice differs in significant ways from those studied in the first part of the seminar. Most of the readings for the second part will come from a forthcoming volume, “The Philosophy of Mathematical Practice”, which I am editing for Oxford University Press. Among the topics to be covered are diagrammatic reasoning, visualization, explanation, purity of methods, fruitfulness of concept, etc. Time permitting, some attention will be devoted to the philosophical problems emerging from developments in category theory, computer science, and mathematical physics.

290-4  Meaning, Understanding, and the Attribution of Attitudes. Stroud. Tu 4-6, 234 Moses.

A seminar devoted to discussion of the questions:

What is involved in (a) a person’s meaning something determinate by an expression? (b) a person’s understanding an expression in a determinate way? © our attributing such a meaning or understanding to someone?

The goal is to explore the capacities for meaning and understanding that we implicitly attribute to those to whom we attribute propositional and other attitudes. A large part of the seminar (as much as is needed) will be devoted to detailed discussion of most of Saul Kripke’s Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. Close reading of that book will be presupposed. Other readings will be drawn from some of the many responses to that book and from elsewhere.

The intention of the seminar is to carry on a general, focussed discussion of these questions and their implications wherever they seem interesting. Active participation by all those in attendance is expected. Suggestions of topics to be discussed, or presentations suggested by participants, are welcome. There is no fixed agenda for the seminar. These issues have been at the center of much philosophical discussion for some years, and this seminar is an opportunity to discuss them as things stand now.

Required reading: Saul A. Kripke, Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language, Harvard University Press, 1982

290-5  Aristotle’s Ethics. Frede. W 2-4, 234 Moses.

The course will work out the basic principles of Aristotelian ethics. It will focus on the con-cept of happiness or well-being and the requisite virtues. It will also elucidate the Aristotelian explanation for the phenomenon called ‘weakness of the will’, his conception and evaluation of pleasure, the importance of friendship, and take up the controversy whether Aristotle’s ex-planation of the supreme good represents a tension in his system.
Course-requirements: two to three presentations in the seminar, one final research-paper.

290-6  McDowell and Merleau-Ponty. Dreyfus/Ginsborg. F 3-5, 116 Haviland.

Our focus will be on McDowell’s and Merleau-Ponty’s views on perception and action. We will spend the first third of the semester focussing on McDowell’s Mind and World (1994) and on readings immediately related to it. In the middle part of the semester we will read extracts from Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception (1945/1962). Readings for the third part of the semester are still to be determined but will probably include some of McDowell’s more recent writings, and also some recent work and draft writings by one or both of the instructors.

295  Dissertation Seminar. Warren. Tu 11-12:30, 115 Barrows.

302  Teaching Seminar. Sluga. TBA, TBA.