The Dennes Room

Fall 2012

Undergraduate courses

R1B  Reading & Composition through Philosophy. Barnes. TuTh 2-3:30, 222 Wheeler.

R1B  Reading & Composition through Philosophy. Barnes. TuTh 3:30-5, 108 Wheeler.

2  Individual Morality & Social Justice. Sluga. MWF 9-10, 160 Kroeber.

3  The Nature of Mind. Campbell. MWF 2-3, 2060 Valley.

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.

12A  Introduction to Logic. Roush. MWF 10-11, 159 Mulford.

This is a first course in logic. We study first-order logic: boolean connectives and conditionals, formal proof, logical consequence, validity and soundness of arguments, quantification. We learn how to argue for logical properties using models and formal proof methods.

24  Freshman Seminar. Wallace. W 12-1, 107 Mulford.

25A  Ancient Philosophy. Corcilius. MWF 12-1, 145 Dwinelle.

This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. It provides an overview of the classical currents of ancient Greek philosophical thinking from the pre-Socratic beginnings to the hellenistic period. The bulk of the course will be spent on the analysis of the philosophical motives, methods and views of Socrates (469 – 399 BC), Plato (427-347 BC), and Aristotle (384-322 BC). Since the ancient Greeks identified many of the philosophical problems (and models for their resolution) we are still concerned with today, the course may also serve as an introduction to philosophical thinking generally.

39M  Freshman&Sophomore Seminar: Free Will. Clarke. W 2-5, 206 Wheeler.

This seminar is an introduction to the problem of free will, i.e. the problem of how to justify our belief that we are free to choose between alternative courses of action. In the first half of the semester we will look at the history of the problem, paying special attention to its origins in antiquity. In the second half of the semester we will turn to the lively contemporary debate. Questions to be considered include: When and why did concerns about free will emerge? What does free will consist in? Is it possible for us to act freely if our behavior is determined by factors beyond our control? Is human freedom compatible with the existence of an omniscient God? What is the relation of free will to moral responsibility and to ethics?

100  Philosophical Methods. Warren. W 2-4, 166 Barrows.

THIS COURSE IS RESTRICTED TO PHILOSOPHY MAJORS. It is intended to improve the student’s ability to read and write philosophy. Special emphasis will be placed on developing analytic skills. This term we will be examining a number of philosophical texts on the problem of personal identity. There will be short written assignments each week, as well as a longer final paper, which will focus on the essays we are reading. In addition to two hours of lecture, students will meet in tutorials with a teaching assistant in order to discuss the reading, their weekly writing assignment, and the preparation for the final paper.

Text: Personal Identity, edited by John Perry, University of California Press

108  Contemporary Ethical Issues. Kolodny. TuTh 9:30-11, 220 Wheeler.

Note: As taught this semester, Philosophy 108 will satisfy the Ethics requirement.

As a thoughtful person, living in this country, at this time, you have at some point asked yourself some of the following questions. Should torture be allowed? Is there any difference between terrorism and “collateral damage”? May we kill enemy soldiers or even civilians to protect ourselves? Is capital punishment moral? Is abortion? Whether or not it’s moral, should it be legal? Should we let the majority or the courts decide? Is the government allowed to take your money and use it in ways you don’t want? If you have better grades and higher test scores, do you deserve a spot at UC more? Are you allowed to buy yourself an iPod when you could use the money to save people from starving? Should you buy a hybrid, rather than an SUV, when your individual choice is just “a drop in the bucket” and won’t really affect global warming?

These questions can be difficult for many different reasons. Self- interest, prejudice, and fear can cloud our judgment. Religious authorities that we accept on faith, such as the Bible, can give unclear or conflicting directions. Finally, it can be hard to be sure of relevant facts: for example, whether information gained through torture tends to be reliable, whether the justice system applies the death penalty consistently, or whether burning fossil fuels leads to climate change.

This course, however, is about another set of difficulties, which persist when we set aside our personal feelings, we see how far we can get without relying on faith, and we assume that we know the relevant facts. We may not be able to decide, by our own reflection and reasoning, which answers are correct, and even when we are sure that certain answers are correct, we may not be able to justify them. Our ethical ideas may seem not up to the task. Our aim in this course is to come to terms with these difficulties and to see to what extent they can be overcome.

115  Political Philosophy. Munoz-Dardé. MWF 10-11, 126 Barrows.

This course is devoted to some of the central questions in contemporary political philosophy: liberty, justice and equality. The course is focused particularly on the work of John Rawls.

119  Feminism & Philosophy. Madva. TuTh 9:30-11, 201 Wheeler.

Is there an essential difference between women and men? If so, what is the nature of this difference and what are its moral, social, and political implications? If not, what explains the apparent differences? How do considerations of race, class, religion, and nationality speak to these questions? Can a psychological account of how we tend to sort people into distinct social categories illuminate how we understand these categories? Can assumptions about gender compromise the science of gender and sex, or scientific objectivity in general? This course introduces philosophy students to these and related questions in feminist thought, concluding with analyses of a few specific debates in contemporary feminist epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics.

Required Readings:

  • Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity
  • Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud
  • Michael Foucault, The History of Sexuality, Volume I: An Introduction
  • Jennifer Saul, Feminism: Issues and Arguments

All other readings and assigned material will be available on bSpace.

Course Grading and Requirements: Participation (20%); Papers (80%)

Attendance & Participation (20%): This includes attendance, participation, and pop quizzes. Attendance is mandatory, as is arriving on time. Excused absences require signed documentation from a doctor or dean. Participation and preparation are crucial. There are a variety of ways to participate, including: actively contributing to discussions, demonstrating reflection on the readings, listening carefully to others’ contributions (which includes not dominating discussion), showing respect toward classmates, and talking with me during office hours. There will also be a number of pop quizzes to make sure students are keeping up with the assignments.

3 Papers: 1st: 3 pages (15%); 2nd: 5-7 pages (30%); 3rd: 5-7 pages (35%)

132  Philosophy of Mind. Martin. MWF 11-12, 20 Barrows.

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.

135  Theory of Meaning. Campbell. MWF 10-11, 213 Wheeler.

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.

136  Philosophy of Perception. Noë. TuTh 12:30-2, 100 Wheeler.

The philosophy of perception is a microcosm of the metaphysics of mind. Its central problems – What is perception? What is the nature of perceptual consciousness? How can one fit an account of perceptual experience into a broader account of the nature of the mind and the world? – are problems at the heart of metaphysics. It is often justifiably said that the theory of perception (and especially vision) is the area of psychology and neuroscience that has made the greatest progress in recent years. Despite this progress, or perhaps because of it, philosophical problems about perception retain a great urgency, both for philosophy and for science.

143  Modal Reasoning. Holliday. TuTh 2-3:30, 123 Wheeler.

An introduction to the logical study of modality in its many forms: reasoning about necessity, knowledge, obligation, time, counterfactuals, provability, and other modal notions. Covers core concepts and basic metatheory of propositional modal logic, including relations to first-order logic; basics of quantified modal logic; selected philosophical applications ranging from epistemology to ethics, metaphysics to mathematics.

Prerequisite: 12A (or equivalent) or consent of instructor.

156A  Foundations of Analytic Philosophy: Frege. Sluga. MWF 1-2, 110 Barrows.

Note: As taught this semester, Philosophy 156A can count towards the 160-187 History requirement (not the 160-178 requirement).

160  Plato. Corcilius. MWF 3-4, 213 Wheeler.

In this course we will examine the main currents within Plato’s philosophy. This will include his conceptions of philosophy, the good life, the soul, causes and explanation, the hypothesis of the Forms, his account of human knowledge and some of the later developments and revisions of these conceptions. The focus will lie on Plato’s Dialogues Euthyphro, Republic, Meno, Phaedo, Symposium, Phaedrus, Parmenides, Sophist and Philebus. The discussion will focus largely on Plato’s texts. Important secondary literature will be made available on bspace. No previous knowledge of Plato required. Required text: Plato. Complete Works. Ed. J. M. Cooper Indianapolis 1997. Hackett Publishing Company. ISBN 0–87220–349–2

172  Spinoza. Crockett. TuTh 12:30-2, 210 Wheeler.

This course is a close examination of the structure of Spinoza’s philosophical system. Most of our time will be spend on a careful reading of Spinoza’s Ethics Demonstrated in Geometric Order, in which Spinoza argues for a comprehensive philosophical system that encompasses metaphysics, epistemology, psychology and ethics. Our primary goal will be to come to an understanding of Spinoza’s philosophical views, the relation of these views to those of his contemporaries, and the relevance of his views to contemporary philosophical theories.

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 transcendental idealism and the contrast between appearances and things in themselves. Several short papers and two longer papers will be required.

Prerequisite: Philosophy 25 [History of Modern Philosophy (17th&18th centuries)]

Texts: Required: Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, transl’d by Norman Kemp Smith; Kant, Prolegomena, transl’d by Gary Hatfield; Recommended: Henry Allison, Kant’s Transcendental Idealism 2nd ed’n (Yale Univ. Press, 2004mm

189  Topics in Recent European Philosophy: Heidegger. Kaiser. TuTh 11-12:30, 234 Moses.

Note: As taught this semester, Philosophy 189 can count towards the 160-187 History requirement (not the 160-178 requirement).

Though Heidegger’s opus magnum Being and Time (1927) has made major contributions to existential thought, hermeneutics, and post-structuralism its main concern is a revolution in what Heidegger regarded as the central term of philosophy since antiquity: the concept of being. Because he viewed the traditional understanding of this concept as fatally superficial and misguided, his plan was to work out a new fundamental ontology. Its design was (1) to uncover the true meaning of being on the basis of temporality as its transcendental horizon and (2) to point out the crucial steps in the tradition (Aristotle, Descartes and Kant) that led to the misconception. Heidegger never finished this ambitious project, but the work’s first published part Being and Time (1927) still counts as one of the most challenging and important works of the 20th century. The course will focus on the connection between the question of being, the analysis of human nature, and the phenomenological method that Heidegger presents as the necessary foundation of his project in Division I of Being and Time. We will also cover the first three chapters of Division II including the analysis of death, conscience, resoluteness and Dasein’s authentic potentiality for being ‘whole’.

Participants are required to give one short presentation (10-15 minutes, including a brief hand-out) and to write a final paper of 15 pages at the end of the semester.

Text to be used: Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie/Edward Robinson, paperback reprint 2008, Harper Perennial Modern Thought Series. However, we will also extensively consult the revised 2010 edition by Dennis J. Schmidt of the Joan Stambaugh translation (Suny Series in Contemporary Philosophy).

The course will be taught in a seminar format. Enrolment is limited to 19 and is by application only. Preference will be given to junior and senior philosophy majors. To apply to enrol students should write a brief email to the instructor (kuk@berkeley.edu) by May 24th describing their background in philosophy (courses taken) and their interest in the course. All applicants will be notified soon afterwards and those accepted will be given a course enrolment code via email.

Graduate seminars

200  First-Year Seminar. Ginsborg/MacFarlane. W 12-2, 234 Moses.

290-1  Graduate Seminar: Recent Work on Political Coercion. Kolodny. Tu 2-4, 234 Moses.

It is generally thought to be wrong to use force against a person without their consent. I may not constrain, invade, or damage your body, for example, not even with the aim of providing you or others with what would otherwise be significant benefits. Nor may I coerce you, by threatening to use force. But states do this as a matter of routine. And they are often thought to be permitted to do so.

Why is this? What is force? What makes its use wrong, when it is wrong? It is just that force often has bad effects (e.g., it hurts)? What is wrong about threatening to use force, even when the force never eventuates? Why does consent affect whether force is permissible? May force ever be used without consent? May force ever be used for ends other than to respond to (e.g., defend against or punish) uses of force? Is there some difference between states and individuals that licenses states to use force where individuals would be forbidden from using force? Do democracies, or states enjoying “the rule of law,” have better title to use force?

We will touch on a number of bordering topics in moral and political philosophy: the nature and value of freedom, property and contracts, liberalism and libertarianism, democratic theory, the justification of self-defense and punishment, and the limits of the criminal law.

We will begin with A. J. Simmons, John Rawls, and Joshua Cohen, and then turn to more recent work by Philip Pettit, Arthur Ripstein, Japa Pallikkathayil, and A.J. Julius.

290-2  Graduate Seminar: Social Choice Theory: Social Welfare&Individual Preferences. Buchak. W 4-6, 234 Moses.

This seminar explores connection between social welfare and individual preferences. What bearing does preference satisfaction have on well-being? Which normative principles are important to respect in social distributions, and how are these principles represented in formal theories about determining social welfare? In particular, we will consider how equality matters to the value of a social distribution; and whether a social distribution should respect Pareto optimality, the idea that if everyone prefers x to y then x is socially preferred to y. We will also consider the question of how interpersonal considerations in picking a social distribution relate to individual considerations in picking a gamble, and the question of what individual preferences in decision-making under risk reveal about social preferences. Finally, we will consider the distribution of value over time.

This course is intended for graduate students in philosophy, but advanced undergraduates may enroll with permission. No background in decision, game, or social choice theory is required, but a general facility with technical material is assumed.

290-3  Graduate Seminar: Uncovering Appearances: Perception, Object & Content. Martin. M 2-4, 234 Moses.

The seminar is principally concerned with framing and developing philosophical accounts of perception in response to the arguments from illusion and hallucination. The issues to be discussed fall into three broad topics:

Object, Experience & Content: Framing the Problem

(1) Direct v Indirect Perception: What is the basis of this distinction in the traditional debate, how does this map on to concerns with sensory awareness and sense experience?

(2) Sensation & the Argument from Illusion: What picture of sense experience derives from a sense-datum account of sensory illusion? How does this inform a representational or intentional theory of perception?

(3) Intentionality & the Causal Argument: How does the Causal Argument, or the Argument from Hallucination, constrain the options for a theory of sense experience?

Why be so Naïve? Reasons for a Relational Approach to Sensory Awareness

(4) Intentional v Relational pictures of sensory awareness I: the case of singular thought; applications to the particularity of sensory awareness & episodic memory

(5) Two-level approaches to phenomenal episodes: embedding sense experience – sensory imagination & episodic memory; explanatory challenge to intentional accounts.

Disjunctivism: Formulation & Consequences

(6) Saving Appearances: disjunctivism as a response to the Causal Argument; the minimal form of disjunctivism so motivated; application of notions of indiscriminability to the case; consequences for non-transitivity of just noticeable difference; particularity of sensory awareness; impossible perception.

(7) Inner Awareness & Outer Knowledge: the unacceptability of disjunctivism concerning appearances, and differing views of our access to the inner realm.

290-4  Graduate Seminar: A Theory of Justice, Forty Years On. Munoz-Dardé. W 2-4, 234 Moses.

John Rawls radically altered the ways in which philosophers think about the question ‘How should we live together?’ when he published A Theory of Justice in 1971. Few philosophers would question that this work is the most ambitious and influential work on political philosophy produced during the twentieth century. The aim of this seminar is to engage with this work which has become a classic of philosophical and social thought.

Course readings: A Theory of Justice (revised edition), by John Rawls (Harvard). Justice as Fairness: a Restatement, by John Rawls (Harvard). Lectures on the History of Political Philosophy, by John Rawls, Samuel Freeman ed., (Harvard). The Cambridge Companion to Rawls, Samuel Freeman, ed., (Cambridge).

This course is intended for graduate students in philosophy, but advanced undergraduates may enroll with permission.

290-5  Graduate Seminar: Art and the Limits of Neuroscience. Noë. Tu 4-6, 234 Moses.

This is a seminar on art and human nature. What is art? Why does it matter to us? What does it tell us about ourselves?

We begin with a survey and critical examination of approaches to art that make use of methods and ideas from neuroscience. This approach, which is sometimes called “neuroaesthetics,” is increasingly popular not only in neuroscience, but also in fields of art (such as painting and choreography), as well in art history and criticism. We will also consider writings about art that draw heavily on Darwinian evolution (so-called “evolutionary psychology”).

In the next part of the course, we will turn to new work that treats art as an “organizational practice.” This new approach holds out the promise of a more plausible account of art, its importance, and the origins of art in human biology. Art, according to this new approach, is a kind of philosophy (and philosophy is a kind of art).

Our discussions will range over different fields, with special consideration of choreography, picture-making arts, writing, and the nature of technology.

This is a graduate-level philosophy seminar, however students with different backgrounds will be welcome (but only with the instructor’s approval). Students will be required to write a term paper on a topic to be developed with the instructor.

290-6  Graduate Seminar: Plato’s Sophist. Clarke. Th 2-4, 234 Moses.

In this seminar we will read (in translation) Plato’s dialogue the Sophist, a central work for his later metaphysics and philosophy of language. Major themes include: the definition of sophistry; the nature of being and non-being; the possibility of false statement and false belief. We will also look at a selection of recent work on the dialogue by authors such as Brown, Crivelli, Gill, and Leigh.

290-7  Graduate Seminar: Epistemic Logic & Epistemology. Holliday. F 12-2, 234 Moses.

Once conceived as a single formal system, epistemic logic has become a general formal approach to the study of the structure of knowledge, its limits and possibilities, and its static and dynamic properties. Recently there has been a resurgence of interest in the relation between epistemic logic and epistemology. Some of the new applications of epistemic logic in epistemology go beyond the traditional limits of the logic of knowledge, either by modeling the dynamic process of knowledge acquisition or by modifying the representation of epistemic states to reflect different theories of knowledge. In this seminar, we will explore a number of topics at the intersection of epistemic logic and epistemology, centered around epistemic closure, higher-order knowledge, and paradoxes of knowability.

295  Dissertation Seminar. Roush. F 2-3:30, 234 Moses.

302  Teaching Seminar. Ginsborg. Tu 11-12:30, 107 Mulford.