The Dennes Room

Fall 2019

Undergraduate courses

R1B  Reading and Composition Through Philosophy: Mind and Cognition. Winning. TuTh 8-9:30, Dwinelle 262.

The goal of this course is to teach students how to read and understand complex philosophical texts, how to articulate that understanding in writing, and how to analyze and critically assess philosophical arguments. Students will be expected to devote significant time and effort to writing. The topic for Fall 2019 will be mind and cognition. This course satisfies the second half of the Reading and Composition requirement.

2  Individual Morality & Social Justice. Sluga. MWF 10-11, Lewis 100.

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.

3  The Nature of Mind. Lee. MWF 1-2, Lewis 100.

11  Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. Crockett. MWF 4-5, Barrows 56.

The aim of this course is to apply the concepts and methodology of contemporary philosophy to basic questions in the philosophy of religion, with an emphasis on the Western philosophical and religious traditions. This includes questions concerning the nature and existence of God, the contrast between faith and reason, the nature of religious experience, the possibility of life after death, the incomprehensibility of God, and the relationship between God and morality. The course readings will primarily be contemporary, though there will be some historical readings, and the course material will be arranged topically rather than chronologically. This is a lower division course and so no prior experience in philosophy is required.

12A  Introduction to Logic. Mancosu. MWF 9-10, Lewis 100.

The course will introduce the students to the syntax and semantics of propositional and first-order logic. Both systems of logic will be motivated by the attempt to explicate the informal notion of a valid argument. Intuitively, an argument is valid when the conclusion ‘follows’ from the premises. In order to give an account of this notion we will introduce a deductive system (a natural deduction system), which explicate the intuitive notion of ‘follow’ in terms of derivational rules in a calculus. This will be done in stages, first for propositional reasoning (only connectives such as ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘if… then…’ and later for the full first-order calculus (including expressions such as ‘for all…’ and ‘there exists…’. In addition, we will also develop techniques to show when a claim does not follow from the premises of an argument. This is done by developing the semantics for the propositional and the predicate calculus. We will introduce truth-tables for the propositional connectives and ‘interpretations’ for sentences of first-order logic. At the end of the course, if time allows, we will also cover some metatheoretical issues, such as soundness and completeness of the propositional calculus.

25A  Ancient Philosophy. MacFarlane. MWF 12-1, Lewis 100.

This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy–and, for the uninitiated, to philosophy itself. We will spend almost all of our time on the three most important Greek philosophers–Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle–with a passing glance at pre-Socratic and Hellenistic philosophers. Our primary goal will be to understand these philosophers’ characteristic methods and views, and (more importantly) their reasons for holding these views. It is often said that we should study ancient Greek philosophy because it is the intellectual basis for all later western philosophy and natural science. That is true, but it is only half the story. We should also study ancient Greek philosophy to become familiar with a worldview so alien that it throws our own into sharp relief. As you are outraged by some of the things these philosophers say, you will come to see more clearly what your own views are, and you will be forced to ask what justifies them. You will not just be studying the history of philosophy; you will be doing philosophy. Prerequisite: None.

98BC-1  Berkeley Connect. STAFF. M 5-6, Barrows 50.

98BC-2  Berkeley Connect. STAFF. M 6-7, Barrows 50.

100  Philosophical Methods. Dasgupta. Tu 4-6, Wheeler 102.

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 semester we will first discuss questions about the ethics of AI and other future technologies, and then examine a number of philosophical texts on the foundations of ethical theory. 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.

115  Political Philosophy. Munoz-Dardé. TuTh 11-12:30, Cory 241.

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

The course will be organized around three basic themes:

  1. Problems of Authority: Consent and Membership We will look at the significance of obedience to the law in political theory. Are we obliged to obey the laws of a state because we have offered our (tacit) consent by residing within the borders of this state? What, if any, is the force of hypothetical consent? Is there a relation between valuing one’s membership in the political society to which one belongs, and one’s obligations to obey the laws of that society?

  2. Rawls’s Political Liberalism Rawls offers a conception of justice and of the contractualist outlook in his A Theory of Justice and Justice as Fairness a Restatement. We shall examine the basic elements of Rawls’s approach: the role of the Original Position in justifying the account; the significance of the Basic Structure; the priority of liberty; the Difference Principle; the contrast with utilitarianism; the importance of reflective equilibrium; the idea of Political Liberalism.

  3. Egalitarianism Rawls presents his political liberalism as a version of egalitarian theory. Various political philosophers have questioned whether political liberalism is genuinely a form of egalitarianism. We will look at this egalitarian critique. We will also examine the question of whether equality matters, and if so how.

117AC  Philosophy of Race, Ethnicity, and Citizenship. Crockett. MWF 1-2, Lewis 9.

This course explores philosophical questions of race, ethnicity, and citizenship, with special attention to the experiences of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino Americans, and indigenous peoples of the United States. Topics include the meaning of “race,” “ethnicity,” and “citizenship,” border control and immigration, reparations for past wrongs, discrimination and affirmative action, civic obligation and group solidarity, and the right to vote.

122  Theory of Knowledge. Winning. MWF 3-4, Barrows 126.

By any reasonable account, human beings have more knowledge today than ever before due to the progress of science, but there is still philosophical disagreement about what knowledge and justified belief are, how we should respond to radical skepticism, and how much science itself can tell us about knowledge. In this course we will study contemporary classics of epistemology (a.k.a. the theory of knowledge) on the topics of skepticism, justification, foundationalism, the relation between epistemology and other areas of philosophy, tracking, closure, reliabilism, internalism, and externalism, among others.

135  Theory of Meaning. Campbell. TuTh 9:30-11, Barrows 110.

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.

Please note that lectures and discussions will assume that everyone present has completed one course in logic (in this the 135 course is different to the 135 course given in previous years).

136  Philosophy of Perception. Noë. TuTh 11-12:30, Wheeler 204.

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.

140A  Intermediate Logic. Holliday. TuTh 11-12:30, 222 Wheeler.

Major concepts, results, and techniques of modern logic. Basic set-theoretic tools. Model-theoretic treatment of propositional and first-order logic (completeness, compactness, Lowenheim-Skolem). Philosophical implications of these results. Prerequisite: completion of Philos 12A.

146  Philosophy of Mathematics. Mancosu. MWF 11-12, Dwinelle 88.

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.

153  Chinese Philosophy. Shun. TuTh 2-3:30, Wheeler 204.

The course will provide an understanding of the three main traditions of thought in China through a careful study of selected texts. We will begin with a study of early Chinese thought, with focus on Confucianism (Confucius, Mencius, Xunzi) and Daoism (Zhuangzi), and then move on to a study of Chan (or Zen) Buddism (The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch). While we will attend closely to the primary texts (in English translation), including a discussion of the connotations of key terms and analyses of important passages, the emphasis is on ideas in the texts. The overall goal is to provide an understanding of key ideas in these traditions of thought in their proper historical and cultural contexts. Given the time limitation, we will not relate these ideas to contemporary philosophical discussions, but will do so as part of another course Philosophy 107: Moral Psychology.

176  Hume. Martin. TuTh 12:30-2, Barrows 56.

Passion, Doubt & Justice: Hume & the 18th Century Origin of the Social Sciences

We will be reading through David Hume’s A Treatise of Human Nature (1739/40). The intention is for us to gain some sense of how the three books that comprise the Treatise fit together (or fail to fit together). Since we cannot read through the complete Treatise in one semester, we will focus on four themes (passions, causation, body, justice), having first looked at some basic elements of Hume’s system.

This is a lecture course designed primarily for upper division undergraduate students who have taken at least one course in philosophy.

Texts needed are David Hume, A Treatise concerning Human Nature and the preferred edition is: Selby-Bigge OUP. Recommended reading is Barry Stroud, Hume, Routledge.

181  Hegel. Novakovic. MWF 2-3, Wheeler 102.

This course will be an introduction to Hegel’s philosophy. We will read selections from the Phenomenology of Spirit, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, Lectures on the Philosophy of History, and others. Hegel is a notoriously difficult writer, so one aim of this course is to teach you how to read Hegel, how to interpret his texts so that you can do it on your own. Another aim is to address central questions in his work: What is his “dialectical” method? What are the relationships between consciousness, self-consciousness, reality, and recognition? Why is he so critical of morality? Why does he consider history to be a rational process? What does a fully rational society look like? And why are the family, the market, and the state essential institutions in such a society?

190  Proseminar: Avant-Garde Art in the Mirror of Philosophical Aesthetics. Kaiser/Grosser. M 9-12, Moses 234.

Against the background of classical (from G. W. F. Hegel to Arthur Danto) and contemporary (from S. Sonntag to G. Pollock) aesthetic theories, we will examine the role and meaning of avant-garde phenomena in the arts. Paradigmatic philosophical approaches to be discussed cover ontological, phenomenological, structural formalist, psychological, and socio-political accounts. Topics and questions to be pursued include the potential of avant-garde art to foster new forms of experience and sense-making; to profoundly modify our understanding of what counts as works of art; and to shed light on the significance of both creativity and receptivity.

Drawing mostly on selected examples from the artistic movements of the 19th through 21st centuries (e. g., Impressionism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, Guerrilla Girls, Net art) and individual artists (e. g. Gertrude Stein, Mina Loy, Frida Kahlo, Marina Abramovic, Zhang Huan, Bahia Shebab, Jelili Atiku), we will critically assess both the promise and the dangers inherent to avant-garde art. Particular attention will be paid to neglected, marginalized, or suppressed perspectives and positions in the context of avant-garde practice and theory.

Despite the many obituaries that have been written about the avant-garde, we will argue that its analysis is key to a proper contemporary understanding of art itself.

Students should be willing to make some extra time for visits to the museum and for film screenings. Texts and other materials will be made available on bCourses.

Course Requirements: • regular attendance and active participation in seminar discussions • a short 20-minute presentation on an assigned topic [If you would prefer not to give a presentation, you could instead submit a 5-page (1500-1800 words) paper] • a final 15-page (4000-4500 words) term paper on a topic developed by the student

Enrollment is limited to 15 students and requires the instructor’s permission. In order to enroll, please send a brief email to and I’ll send you your course entry code.

198BC-4  Berkeley Connect. STAFF. W 6-7, Barrows 54.

198BC-3  Berkeley Connect. STAFF. W 5-6, Dwinelle 183.

198BC-1  Berkeley Connect. STAFF. Tu 5-6, Barrows 50.

198BC-2  Berkeley Connect. STAFF. Tu 6-7, Barrows 50.

Graduate seminars

200  First Year Graduate Seminar. Lee/Campbell. M 2-4, Moses 234.

290-1  Voting and Democracy. Holliday. Tu 2-4, Moses 234.

Seminar on logical and normative analysis of voting methods. Tentative outline (subject to change depending on participants’ interests):

Part 1: The Landscape of Voting Methods

Exploration of alternative voting methods and axioms used to evaluate them. Readings include selections from Dummett’s Voting Procedures and Principles of Electoral Reform.

Part 2: Strategic Voting

Discussion of proofs and normative significance of results showing that every reasonable voting method is susceptible to strategic voting (e.g., the Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem, the Duggan-Schwartz Theorem, and more). Recent work on potential “barriers” to strategic voting (e.g., Faliszweski and Procaccia, “AI’s War on Manipulation: Are We Winning?”; Holliday and Pacuit, “Strategic Voting Under Uncertainty About the Voting Method”).

Part 3: Implications for Democracy

The debate about the relevance of impossibility results in social choice theory to democratic theory: Riker’s Liberalism against Populism; Mackie’s rejoinder to Riker in Democracy Defended; and Patty and Penn’s critique of Riker and Mackie in Social Choice and Legitimacy.

No previous familiarity with social choice or voting theory will be assumed.

290-2  Graduate Seminar: Images, Memory & Perception: Dependence & Relations. Martin. Tu 4-6, Moses 234.

Some representations embed or include in their content other representations.

One aspect of the seminar this semester is to look at two kinds of examples of this: photographs of photographs, and episodic memories which involve earlier recollections of past events.

An ulterior motive for this examination is a concern with the debate in the philosophy of perception between so-called relational and representational approaches to perceptual experience. It is common to take there to be an opposition between these, but are the approaches really exclusive? The most salient disagreements are over the dependence or independence of mental phenomena on environmental factors. Embedded representations offer us examples of representations which are dependent on other representations, potentially distant in space and time. If there are such dependent representations, then dependence is not a distinctive mark of relationalism as opposed to representationalism.

There will be four broad topics to be covered over the semester: first, the notion of object-dependent thought, its relation to notions of acquaintance, and the commonest objections to the existence of object-dependence; second, embedded images and photographs of photographs; third, episodic memory, and recollections of recollections; fourth, John Foster’s arguments against representationalism, focusing on the case of imagery and memory.

Useful preparatory reading would be Gareth Evans, The Varieties of Reference, Chs 1 – 3 and Ch. 5.

290-3  Graduate Seminar: Equality and Identity. Munoz-Dardé. Th 2-4, Moses 234.

This seminar will be focused on the political ideal of equality. We will pay special attention to

  1. the relation between ideas of equality, priority and sufficiency, or needs,
  2. the notion of equality of opportunity,
  3. the relation between equality, responsibility and desert; and
  4. discrimination of given social groups or identities.

Readings will include selections from the following authors: Elizabeth Anderson, Paula Casal, G.A. Cohen, Roger Crisp, Ronald Dworkin, Thomas Nagel, John Rawls, Joseph Raz, Thomas Scanlon, Sam Scheffler, Seana Schiffrin, Gina Schouten, Tommy Shelby, and Bernard Williams. We’ll also have a guest speaker: Niko Kolodny.

290-4  Graduate Seminar: Wittgenstein, The Philosophical Investigations. Sluga. W 4-6, Moses 234.

290-5  Graduate Seminar: Anger, Resentment, Forgiveness, Trust: On Blame and its Normative Assessment. Wallace. M 12-2, Moses 234.

In “Freedom and Resentment”, P. F. Strawson influentially argued that our responsibility practices should be understood in terms of the reactive attitudes, including centrally such emotions as resentment, indignation, and guilt. In this seminar we will look at recent work that has been inspired broadly by this approach, as well as some critical perspectives on it.

Questions to be addressed include the following: What are the reactive attitudes? Insofar as they involve forms of angry disapprobation, can then be defended against critical challenges to anger, such as the claim that it does not make evaluative sense? Is there a constructive role for reactive blame within the context of the unfolding relationship between wrongdoers and their victims? What scope is there for the normative assessment of reactive blame? How is reactive blame overcome in the process of forgiveness? What bearing might the reactive account of blame have on traditional debates about freedom and responsibility?

Readings will include work by Agnes Callard, Miranda Fricker, Pamela Hieronymi, Martha Nussbaum, T. M. Scanlon, Amia Srinivasan, Jay Wallace, Susan Wolf, and others.

290-6  Graduate Seminar: Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory. Cohen/Song. F 12-3, Boalt 141.

This course is a workshop for discussing work-in-progress in moral, political, and legal theory. The central aim is to enable students to engage directly with philosophers, political theorists, and legal scholars working on important normative questions. Another aim is to bring together scholars from different disciplines and perspectives, such as economics, history, sociology, and political science, who have strong normative interests. In Fall 2019, the workshop will focus on the theme of “identities.” A list of confirmed presenters is below.

The format of the course will be as follows. For the sessions with guest presenters, lunch will be served starting at 12:00. A designated student commentator will lead off with a 15-minute comment on the paper. The presenter will have 5-10 minutes to respond and then we will open up the discussion to the group. The first part of the course will be open to non-enrolled students, faculty, and visitors who wish to participate in the workshop discussion. We’ll stop for a break around 1:45 and those not enrolled in the course will leave. Enrolled students will continue the discussion with the guest from 2:00 to 3:00.

This is a cross-listed/room-shared course with the Philosophy and Political Science Departments. Students may enroll through Law (Law 210.2), Philosophy (Philosophy 290-6), or Political Science (PS 211). The first class will meet on Friday, August 30.


Aug 30 Introductory session (for enrolled students only)

Sep 6 Brandon Terry, African & African American Studies and Social Studies, Harvard University

Sep 13 Robert Gooding-Williams, Philosophy and African American & African Diaspora Studies, Columbia University

Sep 20 Julie Suk, Sociology and Law, CUNY Graduate Center

Sep 27 Paula Moya, English, Stanford University

Oct 4 Kathryn Abrams, Law, UC Berkeley

Oct 11 Taeku Lee, Law and Political Science, UC Berkeley

Oct 18 Rachel Kranton, Economics, Duke University

Oct 25 Francis Fukuyama, Freeman Spogli Institute, Stanford University

Nov 1 Elizabeth Barnes, Philosophy, University of Virginia

Nov 8 Desmond Jagmohan, Political Science, UC Berkeley

Nov 15 Lisa Garcia Bedolla, School of Education, UC Berkeley

Nov 22 Will Kymlicka, Philosophy, Queen’s University

295  Dissertation Seminar. Dasgupta. W 5-7, Barrows 180.

Presentations by graduate students of dissertation research in progress.

375  Teaching Seminar. Noë. F 3-4:30, TBA.

A hands-on training seminar for new philosophy GSIs that addresses both practical and theoretical issues.