The Dennes Room

Summer 2006 2nd 6wks

Undergraduate courses

3  Nature of Mind. Beattie. MTuW 2-4:30, 229 Dwinelle.

This course will serve as an introduction to philosophical thinking about the mind. As with any good introduction to philosophical thinking, it will raise many more questions than it will answer. These questions will include the following: What is the mind? What do we mean when we say someone is thinking, or experiencing something? Is our conception of the mind compatible with a scientific outlook? Could a computer think? Can animals?

The course will draw primarily on short readings from contemporary philosophers such as Nagel, Dennett, Searle, Fodor, etc. 

4  Knowledge & Its Limits. Marusic. TuWTh 10-12:30, 229 Dwinelle.

This course will be concerned with the problem of philosophical skepticism. The course will begin and end with a reading of Descartes’s Meditations, and it will be built around the skeptical arguments of the First Meditation. We will study several responses to those arguments, and we will consider how those responses shape our understanding of what knowledge is. Finally, we will consider how Descartes himself understood the import of those skeptical arguments. Readings will be from Descartes, Stroud, Austin, Moore, Broughton, and others. We will also consider the role of skeptical scenarios in contemporary movies such as The Matrix, Fight Club, and The Truman Show.

25A  Ancient Philosophy. Barnes. MTuWTh 12-2, 151 Barrows.

Ancient Greek philosophy unearthed an enormous number of enduring philosophical problems. In this class we will look at some of those problems in their original context, with an eye to understanding not only what the problems are, and why they arose, but also why many of them persist. To the extent possible, the class will be a philosophy class with ancient textbooks, rather than a class on the history of philosophy.

25B  Modern Philosophy. Smalligan. MTuWTh 2-4, 20 Wheeler.

This course will provide an introduction to six of the major philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries. Particular focus will be on close, critical reading of philosophical texts, written in a variety of philosophical genres. Students will examine a number of metaphysical and epistemological problems, and lectures will seek to locate these problems within a broader historical context, particularly emphasizing the influence of the Scientific Revolution on the development of modern philosophy. Topics covered will include: the debate about innate ideas, arguments for the existence of God, the nature of material substance, the relation between mind and body, the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, causation, induction, skepticism and the use of skeptical arguments in philosophical reflection, the nature of space and time, and the possibility of metaphysics. The philosophers to be studied are Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Leibniz, Hume, and Kant.

104  Ethical Theories. Wallace. MTuW 10-12:30, 175 Barrows.

This course offers a survey of some of the main systematic approaches to issues in moral philosophy. We will look at several exemplary texts from the modern history of the subject (by Hobbes, Hume, Sidgwick, and Kant), as well as some influential work by contemporary philosophers (including Korsgaard, Nagel, Scanlon, and Williams). NB: This is an upper-division course, which presupposes some background in philosophy at the university level!