Fall 2016

Undergraduate courses

2  Individual Morality & Social Justice. Sluga. MWF 9-10, 50 Birge.

The course deals with fundamental ethical issues and is intended, at the same time, as an introduction to philosophy. It seeks to addresses questions concerning the self, our relations to others and our commitment to various human communities. It asks, thus: How can I lead a good life? Are there rules for my relations with others? How are we to settle questions of social living together?

We will examine these issues with the help of writings from both Western and Non-Western sources, both classical and modern authors. All the required readings will be made available in a Class Reader.

In addition to the lectures there will be weekly one-hour sections to provide a space for a discussion of the issues that have come up. Participation in these sections is essential for success in the class.

There will be three, one hour in-class exams and a regularly scheduled three hour final.

3  Nature of Mind. Noë. MWF 12-1, 100 GPB.

6  Man, God, & Society in Western Literature. Dreyfus. TuTh 2-3:30, 141 McCone.

This course will compare and contrast the Greek, Medieval and Modern worlds as expressed in their greatest literature. We will follow in detail how in the West polytheism gradually became more and more monolithic until everything was understood in relation to a single God, and then how this synthesis fell apart and left our culture with a choice between nihilism and a return to polytheism.

The goal of the course is both to illustrate how to read difficult texts and to provide an understanding of the cultural paradigms that have formed and focused our shared beliefs and practices.

Reading: Homer, Odyssey; Dante, Divine Comedy; Melville, Moby Dick.

Requirements: An average of 100 pages of reading per week, two 7-8 page papers, a final exam, and attendance at weekly discussion sections.

12A  Introduction to Logic. Yalcin. MWF 1-2, 50 Birge.

18  Confucius for Today. Shun. MWF 3-4, 106 Moffitt.

The teachings of Confucius (6th to 5th century B.C.) have had a profound influence on Chinese and East Asian cultures, and have attracted significant interest throughout the world. In what ways are they still of relevance to life in the twenty-first century? The course will consider the contemporary relevance of Confucius’ teachings for a number of selected topics. For this semester, the selected topics will revolve around the theme ‘no self’ or ‘losing the self’. In addition to reading passages from the Analects of Confucius, we will also consider elaborations on Confucius’ ideas by later Confucians, including Mencius (4th century B.C.) and Zhu Xi (1130-1200), as well as contemporary philosophical discussions of related topics such as: compassion, sympathy, empathy; humility, modesty; anger, resentment, forgiveness; detachment, tranquility. The goal is to provide an introduction to Confucius’ teachings and to key ideas in Confucian thought, as well as an understanding of the philosophical implications and contemporary relevance of Confucian ideas.

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

This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. Most of the course will be devoted to the thought of Socrates (469-399 BCE), Plato (427-347), and Aristotle (384-322). We will also look briefly at the Presocratics and the Sophists, and at the major philosophical movements of the Hellenistic period: the Epicureans, Stoics, and Sceptics.

Prerequisites: None.

98BC-1  Berkeley Connect. Sethi. M 5-6, 80 Barrows.

98BC-2  Berkeley Connect. Sethi. M 6-7, 80 Barrows.

100  Philosophical Methods. Warren. W 2-4, 3 Le Conte.

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

104  Ethical Theories. Kolodny. TuTh 11-12:30, 101 Barker.

This course will survey major treatments of the foundational questions of moral philosophy. We will discuss the work of some or all of the following philosophers: Aristotle, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Sidgwick, Moore, Scanlon and Korsgaard.

115  Political Philosophy. Munoz-Dardé. MWF 9-10, 182 Dwinelle .

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.

125  Metaphysics. Lee. MWF 2-3, 150 D Moffitt.

This course will be a survey of some ongoing debates in metaphysics. Questions we will consider will include: Why does the universe exist? Is time’s passage an illusion? Is space a container and the world its contents? What is it for an object to exist at more than one time? Do other possible worlds exist?

135  Theory of Meaning. Perry. TuTh 2-3:30, 3111 Etcheverry.

Smoke means fire. Dark clouds mean rain. Global warming means huge populations shifts. That extended arm means the driver is turning left. When she said it was to my left, she really meant was to my right. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do that. “Tangible” means perceivable by though.

Do all these phenomena that we use “means” to describe, have something in common? What have philosophers taken meaning to be? How does the phenomenon of meaning, or the phenomena of meaning, fit into a naturalistic account of the world? If there is smoke, but no one around to perceive it, does it still mean fire?

We will discuss all of these questions and more, in the context of trying to develop a unified account of meaning based on the concept of information.

138  Philosophy of Society. Searle. TuTh 9:30-11, 170 Barrows.

How does human society differ from that of other social animals? How is it possible that there can be an objective reality of such things as money, property, government, marriage, and universities, even though such things exist only because we believe they exist? What is the role of language in constituting human reality, and what is language anyhow? These and other related questions will be discussed in this course. The course deals with the foundations of the social sciences and the differences between social science explanations and natural science explanations. We will cover a large number of topics such as these: Why is the nation state such a powerful form of social organization? Why did socialism fail? Are there human rights, and if so what are they and where do they come from?

140B  Intermediate Logic. Mancosu. TuTh 11-12:30, 140 Barrows.

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).

155  Medieval Philosophy. Crockett. TuTh 12:30-2, 140 Barrows.

As taught this semester, this course satisfies the 160-187 (but not the 160-178) requirement for the major. This course will be a study of some of the major philosophical texts from the Medieval Period with a focus on issues in metaphysics and epistemology. Special attention will be paid to the ways in which the philosophers in this period assimilate Aristotelian and Platonic philosophy into religious thought and how they anticipate certain aspects of modern philosophy. Topics will include the nature of universals, individuation, the nature and existence of God, faith and reason, skepticism, freedom, human nature and human cognition.

160  Plato. Long. TuTh 12:30-2, 240 Mulford.

This course will be an in-depth study of Plato’s philosophy, focusing on two of his greatest dialogues, Republic and Theaeteus. After an introduction on Plato’s intellectual and social context, we will spend eight weeks exploring the themes and structure of the Republic. The work begins as a typical Socratic attempt to define a controversial term (in this case justice), and then morphs into a gigantic thought experiment involving education, theology, utopian politics, psychology, metaphysics, and eschatology. How are we to evaluate this extraordinary project, taking it both in part and as a whole? In the last weeks of the semester, we will study Plato’s path-breaking epistemology in the Theaetetus, paying particular attention to his refutation of epistemic relativism and Socrates’ systematic failure to define empirical knowledge.

Completion of Philosophy 25A is strongly advised. The course will be examined by in-class mid-term and final papers, and a 5-7 page take-home essay.

Required books: Plato The Republic, ed. G.R.F. Ferrari (Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521484435; and Myles Burnyeat, The Theaetetus of Plato (Hackett ): 9780915144815.

176  Hume. Martin. MWF 1-2, 140 Barrows.

178  Kant. Warren. TuTh 2-3:30, 150 D Moffitt.

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 25B [History of Modern Philosophy (17th&18th centuries) Texts: Required: Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, translated by Norman Kemp Smith; Kant, Prolegomena, translated by Gary Hatfield; Recommended: Henry Allison, Kant’s Transcendental Idealism, 2nd edition (Yale Univ. Press, 2004)

190-1  Proseminar: Feminism and Philosophy. Crockett. TuTh 9:30-11, 234 Moses.

This seminar will be an examination of various topics at the intersection of feminist theory and philosophy. We will begin by considering some conceptual questions in feminist theory, such as: What is feminism? What is sexism and oppression? What is gender? With this background in hand we will then explore some of the contributions that feminist philosophy has made to areas of traditional philosophical interest, especially epistemology, value theory and ontology. Readings will be drawn primarily from the writings of contemporary scholars.

This seminar is intended for philosophy majors who have had at least two philosophy courses. In special cases, however, permission to take the seminar may be granted by the instructor.

198BC-1  Berkeley Connect. Khatchirian. Tu 5-6, 235 Dwinelle.

198BC-2  Berkeley Connect. Khatchirian. Tu 6-7, 235 Dwinelle.

198BC-3  Berkeley Connect. Carey. W 5-6, 80 Barrows.

198BC-4  Berkeley Connect. Carey. W 6-7, 80 Barrows.

Graduate seminars

200  First-Year Graduate Seminar. Buchak/Lee. W 10-12, 234 Moses.

290-2  Graduate Seminar: Aristotle’s Metaphysics Gamma. Clarke. M 2-4, 234 Moses.

The fourth book of Aristotle’s Metaphysics. We will read the text in translation. Topics include: Aristotle’s conception of metaphysics (the science of being qua being); the doctrine that ‘being is said in many ways’; the principle of non-contradiction as the firmest of all principles; Aristotle’s defence of the principle of non-contradiction; refutations of Protagorean relativism and of the Heraclitean theory of flux.

290-3  Graduate Seminar: Intuitionistic Logic and Meaning. Holliday. F 1:30-3:30, 234 Moses.

Graduate seminar on intuitionistic logic. Focus will be on different semantics for intuitionistic and intermediate logics—their mathematical features and philosophical significance. Readings from Dummett, Rumfitt, and work in progress by Bezhanishvili and Holliday.

290-5  Graduate Seminar Objective and Subjective in Experience. Martin. W 4-6, 234 Moses.

This seminar will look at PF Strawson’s discussions of ‘objective experience’ in Individuals and The Bounds of Sense, together with related material by Gareth Evans and Tyler Burge and back at some historical antecedents in Hume and in Moore and Russell.

290-6  Graduate Seminar: Hegel, the Philosophy of Right. Sluga. W 2-4, 234 Moses.

Hegel’s Philosophy of Right contains a comprehensive statement of his mature political philosophy. It is also one of the best introductions into Hegel’s thinking as a whole. The Philosophy of Right begins with reflections on the concepts of freedom and the human person and proceeds from there, in a second part, to a discussion of morality, and then, in part 3, to a detailed examination of the family, civil society, and finally the state. Throughout the work, Hegel’s view is developmental and historical. The text ends therefore appropriately with a politically oriented view at “world history.” The goal of the seminar is a careful reading of crucial sections of Hegel’s text. It will be preceded by a discussion of two related texts: Kant’s essay “Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View” and Hegel’s own “Reason in History” (the introduction to his Lectures on the Philosophy of History). The seminar will conclude with a discussion of Karl Marx’s critical notes on the Philosophy of Right.

Text: G.W.F. Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, translated by H.B. Nisbet, edited by Allen Wood, Cambridge University Press

290-7  Graduate Seminar: Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory. Munoz-Dardé/Cohen. F 12-3, 141 Boalt Hall.

This course is designed as a workshop for the presentation and discussion of work-in-progress in moral, political, and legal theory. The central aim of the course is to provide an opportunity for students to engage directly with philosophers, political theorists, and legal scholars working on normative questions. Another aim is to create a space that brings together people from different disciplines who have strong normative interests or who speak to issues philosophers and theorists should know something about.

The format of the course will be as follows. For the first two hours of the course, a student will lead off with a 15-minute comment on the presenter’s paper and the presenter will have 5-10 minutes to respond before we open up the discussion to the entire assembled group. The first two hours will be open to non-enrolled students and faculty who wish to participate in the workshop discussion. At the end of the two hours, those who are not enrolled will leave, and for the third hour of the course, the guest presenter will continue the discussion with students enrolled in the course. Enrolled students must serve as a discussant for at least one presenter’s work-in-progress and write several short response papers and a final paper of 15-20 pages.

The course is room-shared with the Law School and the Political Science Department. This course will follow the Law academic calendar. The first class meeting is August 26 and the final class meeting is December 2.

290-8  Graduate Seminar: Nonfactual Thought and Discourse. Yalcin. Tu 4-6, 234 Moses.

We will examine fragments of thought and talk that seem to fail to be ‘fully factual’ in character.

290-9  Graduate Seminar: Descartes, Hobbes, and Spinoza. Primus. Tu 6-8, 234 Moses.

295  Dissertation Seminar. Warren. TBA, TBA.

375  Teaching Seminar. Buchak. TBA, TBA.