Spring 2006

Undergraduate courses

3  Nature of Mind. Campbell. MWF 12-1, 50 Birge.

In this introductory course we will be looking at the relation of psychological states, such as desires or memories, to the physical world. There are five sections in the course: Foundations (Dualism, Behaviorism and Central-State Materialism), Functionalism, Consciousness, Intentionality, and Personal Identity. 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? Can a mental state be explained by its potential for causal relations with other mental states and with behavior? 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? How can we explain our ability to think about the world? What is a person? These questions will be explored in the course of beginning to understand the nature of the mind.

7  Existentialism in Literature and Film. Dreyfus. TuTh 3:30-5, 145 Dwinelle.

The course will be organized around various attempts to reinterpret the Judeo/Christian God, and to determine in what sense, if at all, such a God is still a living God. We will study Dostoyevsky’s and Kierkegaard’s attempts to preserve a non-theological version of the God of Christianity, as well as Nietzche’s attempt to save us from belief in any version of God offered by our tradition. We will view and discuss three films that deal with related issues.

12A  Introduction to Logic. Warren. MWF 1-2, 2040 Valley.

This course is intended to introduce the student to the concepts and principles of deductive logic: symbolizing English language sentences and arguments in terms of formalized languages; validity, implication, and equivalence in truth-functional and quantificational logic; systems of deduction, and their soundness and completeness. In addition to the three lectures, each student will attend two sections per week.

Requirements: Lecture and section attendance, weekly problem sets, several in-section quizzes, a midterm and a final.

Text: Warren Goldfarb’s Deductive Logic , Hackett, 2003.

25B  Modern Philosophy. Ginsborg. MWF 11-12, 10 Evans.

The course will cover some of the main metaphysical and epistemological views of five important early modern philosophers: Descartes, Spinoza, Berkeley, Hume and Kant. We will be concerned with their views on the existence of God, on the nature of the human mind and its relation to the body, on the possibility of knowledge about the external world, on the nature of bodies, on causation and induction, and on other related topics. We will try to understand these views in the context of the scientific developments of the time, in particular that of the “new science” which supplanted the Aristotelian view of nature in the seventeenth century. But we will also be concerned with whether or not these views are plausible in their own right. The course will require close reading of the texts, and careful analysis and evaluation of the philosophical arguments presented in them.

100  Philosophical Methods. Hoffman. W 2-4, 122 Wheeler.

The course is designed to acquaint students with the techniques of philosophical reasoning through detailed study of selected philosophical texts and through extensive training in philosophical writing, based on those texts. Restricted to students in the major

109  Freedom and Responsibility. Vargas. TuTh 9:30-11, 110 Wheeler.

Examination of the nature of free will and moral responsibility. Topics may include: whether free will is incompatible with determinism, various conceptions of free will, the empirical evidence for and against these conceptions, the justification of moral responsibility, the status of various forms of impaired agency (e.g., psychopathy, addiction), and the relationship of moral responsibility to normative ethical theories.

125  Metaphysics. Stroud. TuTh 11-12:30, 3108 Etcheverry.

A wide-ranging lecture-and-discussion course on the nature and prospects of a Kantian or “transcendental” metaphysical investigation of the necessary conditions of the possibility of human thought and experience. Can some such conditions be discovered, and can metaphysical conclusions about how the world is or must be drawn from them? Particular topics to be explored in this setting include: the problem of metaphysics, the independence of physical objects, the objectivity of causal modality, mind and body, persons and first-person thought, self-consciousness and thought of an objective world, conditions of the attribution of psychological attitudes, agency and the attribution of value, perceptions of colour and the colours of objects. Familiarity with the history of modern philosophy, especially the philosophy of Kant, is recommended. Required course work includes extensive reading of sometimes difficult material and careful writing of focused critical papers. Not for beginners in philosophy.

A reader containing required and supplementary readings will be available. Required books: P. F. Strawson, Individuals: An Essay in Descriptive Metaphysics P. F. Strawson, The Bounds of Sense: An Essay on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason B. Stroud, Understanding Human Knowledge B. Stroud, The Quest for Reality

128  Philosophy of Science. Skokowski. TuTh 11-12:30, 200 Wheeler.

132  Philosophy of Mind. Noë. TuTh 2-3:30, 3 LeConte.

142  Philosophical Logic. MacFarlane. TuTh 12:30-2, 30 Wheeler.

An introduction to the philosophy of logic and to philosophical applications of logic. The bulk of the course will be devoted to discussion of two notions that play a central role in logical theory: truth and logical consequence. We will pay special attention to the philosophical significance of Tarski’s formal definitions of both notions. At the end of the course we will consider how logical theory can be brought to bear on philosophical problems, focusing on the sorites paradox (or “paradox of the heap”). Topics to be covered include theories of truth, facts and propositions, the slingshot argument, Tarski’s truth definitions, objectual and substitutional quantification, proof-theoretic and model-theoretic definitions of logical consequence, relevance logics, dialetheism, the sorites paradox, many-valued logics, and supervaluations.

Prerequisites: Philosophy 12A (or equivalent) and at least one other course in philosophy. The course covers some technical material, but knowledge of logic beyond what is taught in 12A will not be presupposed.

Requirements will include both papers and occasional problem sets.

Books: John Etchemendy, The Concept of Logical Consequence (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990); course reader.

146  Philosophy of Mathematics. Mancosu. TuTh 9:30-11, 200 Wheeler.

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.

170  Descartes. Hoffman. MWF 10-11, 126 Barrows.

This course will focus on a close reading of Descartes’ most important work: his Meditations. We will, however, begin with readings from the earlier Discourse and occasionally draw upon his other works and extensive correspondence. Topics will include skepticism and our knowledge of our self, God and the world, the mind and its relation to the body, the roles of the senses and the intellect, and the relation between Descartes’ scientific and philosophical projects. We will also take up some of the more specific issues for which Descartes’ discussion was to frame later philosophical debates, e.g., perception and the theory of ideas, the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, and the nature of space. Depending upon time and interest, we may close by considering interpretive debates surrounding Descartes among his successor “Cartesians,” especially the vitriolic exchange between Malebranche and Arnauld.

READINGS: Required: Descartes, Philosophical Writings of Descartes, translated by Cottingham, Stoothoff and Murdoch, Vols. 1 & 2 (paperback)

Recommended: Descartes, Philosophical Writings of Descartes, Vol. 3 (paperback)

183  Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. Sluga. TuTh 9:30-11, 110 Barrows.

In The Will to Power, Nietzsche speaks of Schopenhauer as his most important precursor adding that he has deepened Schopenhauer pessimism and “by devising its extremist antithesis first really experienced it.” In this course I propose to examine Schopenhauer’s and Nietzsche’s metaphysical, epistemological, and moral doctrines with a view to their similarities and differences.

READINGS: Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, Vol. 1 Dover Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy, trans. Whiteside, Penguin Books Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, trans. Breazeale and Hollingdale, Cambridge Nietzsche, The Will to Power, trans. Kaufmann and Hollingdale, Vintage

186B  Later Wittgenstein. Sluga. TuTh 2-3:30, 9 Lewis.

An examination of the thought of the later Wittgenstein focusing on his Philosophical Investigations.

READINGS: Wittgenstein, The Blue and Brown Books Wittgenstein, The Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein, On Certainty David Stern, Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations

Graduate seminars

290-1  Leibniz. Warren. W 4-6, 234 Moses.

We will begin by quickly going through the “Monadology,” which gives an overview of Leibniz’s philosophical system. The rest of the seminar will focus mostly 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 Leibniz’s views about knowledge and representation, and in the significance, for the development of Kant’s thought, of Leibniz’s complex and interconnected views about apperception, perception, concepts, thought, reflection, memory, and innate ideas.

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

Recommended Texts: Leibniz, Leibniz’s Monadology, ed. by Nicholas Rescher (Pittsburgh U.P.) Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding, (O.U.P.) Robert McRae, Leibniz: Perception, Apperception, and Thought (U. of Toronto Press)
Mark Kulstad, Leibniz on Apperception, Consciousness, and Reflection (Analytica)

290-2  Concepts. Ginsborg. W 2-4, 234 Moses.

We will read some recent work on concepts, focussing especially on Fodor and his critique of “pragmatic” views of concept-possession. We will be concerned in particular with the question of how (or indeed whether) concepts can be acquired on the basis of experience. We will also consider the related question of whether perceptual experience has nonconceptual content.

290-3  Practical Necessities. Wallace. M 2-4, 234 Moses.

The normative reasons at the center of moral life have distinctive features that encourage us to think of them as sources of practical necessity. In this seminar we will look at three different ideas that contribute to this sense of the special rational force of moral considerations: inescapability (the idea that morality provides reasons to all agents, without regard to their special preferences and tastes and interests); deontic structure (the sense that moral considerations enter the deliberative field, as it were, in the guise of requirements); and importance (the idea that moral reasons are significant enough to prevail against the kinds of personal consideration with which they might come into conflict). Readings will be drawn from the contemporary literature on morality, normativity, and practical reason, including some work in progress by the instructor.

290-4  Predicativity. Mancosu. Th 2-4, 234 Moses.

The foundational program known as “predicativity” took its start from the debate between Poincaré and Russell on the nature of logic and received already in 1918 an impressive formulation and systematization in Weyl’s The Continuum. By the 1950s the logical tools required for a logical analysis of the notion had been developed. In the last two decades reflection on predicativity has prospered not only from the foundational point of view but also from the philosophical point of view. Recent work by, among others, Parsons, Burgess, Wright, Dummett, Feferman, and Hellman has revived the discussion on predicativity and its connections to issues such as neologicism, indispensability arguments etc. In the seminar we will begin by looking at the classical positions by Poincaré and Weyl and after a brief interlude on the logical characterization of predicativity given by Feferman and Schütte in the sixties we will focus on some of the most recent philosophical discussions mentioned above.

290-5  Brandom’s Making It Explicit. MacFarlane. Tu 5-7, 234 Moses.

We will read Bob Brandom’s 1994 book Making It Explicit: Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment, with the aim of understanding and evaluating its sophisticated version of a “use theory of meaning.”

Books: Robert Brandom, Making It Explicit: Reasoning, Representing, and Discursive Commitment (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994).

290-6  Language and Consciousness. Searle. Tu 2-4, 234 Moses.

The subject of the seminar will be Language and Consciousness. I want to approach a series of traditional problems in the Philosophy of Language from a new angle. I want to adopt a more “naturalistic” approach than I have done in my published work or than is common in the tradition of the Philosophy of Language. I want to develop the idea that we can explain a lot of features of language by developing the idea that language evolves as an extension of more biologically primitive forms of intentionality in perception, action and consciousness generally. The structure of the proposition, and particularly the unity of the proposition as well as the use of language to create a social and institutional reality have, I believe, profound biological bases.

I want to begin the seminar with these issues and then branch out further into questions about consciousness generally and other problems in the philosophy of language.

290-7  Heidegger’s Being & Time Division II. Dreyfus. F 2-4, 116 Haviland.

Extradepartmental courses

LAW 210-2  Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory. Scheffler/Rakowski. Tu 2:20-4:10, Th 1-4, 123 Boalt (Tu), JSP Seminar Room 2240 Piedmont Ave. (Th).

The Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory provides an opportunity for students to engage with the work of leading scholars in moral, legal, and political theory. Each week a different visitor will offer for the seminar’s evaluation a manuscript of work in progress. This year’s speakers, in order of appearance, are Meir Dan-Cohen, Charles Beitz, Lawrence Sager, Kent Greenawalt, Tommie Shelby, Rae Langton, Hans Sluga, Wendy Brown, Ian Shapiro, Philip Pettit, Julie Tannenbaum, and Ruth Chang. On Tuesdays from 2:20-4:10, students enrolled in the seminar will meet with Professors Scheffler and Rakowski, without the visitor present, to discuss the week’s manuscript. Students will be asked to write short papers for these sessions assessing the weekly manuscripts. On Thursdays from 1:00 to 4:00, each visitor will present his or her work to the class. The Thursday meetings are open to the campus community.