The Dennes Room

Summer 2018 2nd 6wks

Undergraduate courses

2  Individual Morality & Social Justice. French. MTuWTh 10-12, 122 Barrows.

What’s involved in living a good life? What makes an action right or wrong, good or bad? What does a just society look like, and how should we respond to injustice? In this course we will try to answer these questions through interrogating classic texts in the Western philosophical tradition, as well as some contemporary work. The first part of the course focuses on questions about how individuals ought to live; the second part of the course focuses on questions about the justice of social arrangements. The goals of the course are (1) to introduce students to philosophical methods of inquiry, and (2) to familiarize students with some of the major thinkers, views, and questions in the Western tradition of moral and political philosophy. No prior experience in philosophy is required.

3  The Nature of Mind. Abid. MTuWTh 12-2, 56 Barrows.

This interdisciplinary course will explore topics in philosophical psychology at an introductory level. Each week, we will focus on a debate which cuts across both philosophy of mind and contemporary cognitive science. Some relevant questions include: Are our perceptual experiences influenced by our beliefs, desires, or intentions? Are certain concepts innate, and what might it mean for a concept to be “innate”? Can we draw any conclusions about the nature of the mental representations underlying visual imagery? Is consciousness within the purview of science? Are higher order thoughts necessary for conscious experiences? No prior background in either philosophy or cognitive science is necessary.

12A  Introduction to Logic. Khokhar. MTuW 1:00-3:30, 247 Cory.

This is an elementary course on symbolic logic. We will cover a range of topics including symbolization, truth tables, the syntax and semantics of basic formal languages, and the construction of proofs. The course is a requirement for philosophy majors, but will be useful to anyone interested in the principles which underlie sound reasoning.

25A  Ancient Philosophy. Arsenault. MTuWTh 10-12, 140 Barrows.

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). 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. Pickering. TuWTh 1-3:30, Hearst Field Annex B5.

In this course we will study classic arguments from Descartes, Locke, Hume, Berkeley, and Kant, among others. The questions raised by philosophers in this period still drive a great deal of philosophical thought today. Here are some examples of the questions we will discuss: Is there an external world? What is its nature? Is there a God? How can we learn anything? What kinds of things are we? What is time? What is space? Is the world fundamentally good? What is beauty? Our study will lean heavily on close reading and textual analysis.

110  Aesthetics. Klempner. TuWTh 1-3:30, 215 Dwinelle.

This course will be about two related things: the nature of aesthetic judgments, such as the judgment that something is beautiful, and the nature of art. Questions we will explore include: Do aesthetic judgments make any claim to objectivity? What is art? Why is it important? What is aesthetic experience? How do we interpret and evaluate artworks? Aesthetic judgments can be made about many things besides artworks, such as natural objects and events (e.g. animals, sunsets) and décor. What, then—if anything—does art have to do with such judgments in the first place?

133  Philosophy of Language. Khatchirian. TuWTh 10-12:30, 151 Barrows.

This course is an introduction to the philosophy of language. We will explore the relation between meaning and reference, meaning and truth, language and communicative acts. Topics may include: what is knowledge of a language, and what role does it play in explaining successful communication? What is knowledge of meaning, and are there sentences that we know to be true simply by virtue of knowledge of meaning? Are there idiolects, and if so, what is the relation between idiolects and communal languages?

188  Phenomenology. Suarez. TuWTh 3:30-6, Hearst Field Annex B5.

Phenomenology calls for a return to the phenomena — the ‘things themselves’ as they show up for us in experience. Our aim in this course will be to develop an understanding of the central motivations, concepts, and controversies of phenomenology by reading texts by Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Beauvoir. We will begin by examining Husserl’s attempt to explain the objectivity of logic, mathematics, and the sciences. His strategy is to transform intentionality from a psychological notion, describing the way our mental states are directed towards various features of the world, into an account of the structure of meaning in experience. This meaning-structure makes it possible for things to be experienced and understood by us as the kinds of things they are. Husserl argues that these encounters with things take shape in a cultural, historical, and bodily context which is essentially lived, and explanatorily prior to all objective knowledge. Husserl’s ideas about the origins of meaning are crucial for existentialism, and we will trace their appropriation and critical reception in works by Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, and Beauvoir.