Summer 2006 Session A

Undergraduate courses

2  Individual Morality & Social Justice. Callard. TuWTh 10-12:30, 185 Barrows.

In this course, we will read three philosophical works about the relationship between individual morality and social justice: Plato’s Republic, Hobbes’ Leviathan, and Rawls’ Theory of Justice. We will ask: What is the purpose of society? What makes a society a just one? What makes individuals just? What can the “state of nature” tell us about how societies are or ought to be formed? What aspects of the moral life of a human being are independent of his status as a citizen, and what ought to happen if there is a conflict between the two roles?

12A  Introduction to Logic. Rao. MTuW 12-2:30, 220 Wheeler Hall.

This course is an introduction to the concepts and principles of deductive logic. We will begin by learning how to symbolize English language sentences and arguments in a way that shows their logical structure; we will next address, e.g., what it is for a statement to be valid, for one or more statements to imply another, or for two statements to be equivalent (in both truth-functional and quantificational contexts); we will end by learning a formal system of deductive proof.

Requirements: Lecture and section attendance, weekly problem sets, a midterm, and a final.

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

25A  Ancient Philosophy. Yurdin. MTuWTh 12-2, 2320 Tolman.

This course is an introduction to the doctrines and arguments of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. We will consider topics in ethics, metaphysics, and epistemology, including human virtue and the good life, the relation between knowledge and virtue, the possibility of weakness of will, the nature of the soul, the relation between knowledge and belief, the nature of forms and particulars, and the structure and character of scientific explanation. This course serves both as an introduction to Ancient Philosophy and as an introduction to philosophy in general; the course does not presuppose any background in philosophy.

132  Philosophy of Mind. Khatchirian. WThF 10-12:30, 136 Barrows.

What does it take to be a bearer of mental properties? In this course, we will survey different philosophical accounts of the nature of the mind and of the relation between mental properties and physical properties. We will examine the extent to which we can think of being in a certain mental state (such as having a headache, seeing a color, or hoping to win a race) as a matter of being in a certain physical state, exhibiting a certain kind of behavior, or realizing a functional state.

We will focus mostly, though not exclusively, on mental states that have content, such as beliefs, desires, hopes and experiences. To say that these states have content is to say that we can describe them by specifying what they are about. What does it take to have mental states that are about something or other? We will be particularly concerned with mental states that are about objects in one’s environment and their properties. Can one’s capacity for thought about the external world be explained in terms of more primitive sorts of mental states or more basic sorts of content?

We will contrast two approaches to thought. The first takes the contents of one’s thoughts to be inner items of which one is immediately aware, while the second takes them to be constituted by one’s relations to objects and properties in the environment. We will examine the extent to which either of these opposing conceptions can give us a satisfying picture of the relation between our thoughts and the environment we live in.

Throughout the course, we will pay special attention to a peculiar feature of mental states, or at least of our conception of mental states. This is the difference between the sort of knowledge each of us has of his or her own mental states and the sort of knowledge each of us has of the mental states of others. It is very tempting to think that any knowledge of other people’s mental states has to be derived from a more immediate awareness of one’s own mental states. If this is right, can one ever really gain knowledge of other people’s mental states? If not, what is the relation between knowledge of one’s own mental states and knowledge of others’ mental states?

The readings will include texts from Descartes, Ryle, Strawson, Putnam, Nagel, Davidson and Burge.