The Dennes Room

Spring 2022

Undergraduate courses

2  Individual Morality and Social Justice. Frick. MWF 12-1, 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?

7  Existentialism in Literature and Film. Novakovic. TuTh 9:30-11, Dwinelle 88.

In this course, we will explore central themes in Existentialism as a postwar philosophical movement and how these themes are reflected in works of literature and film. Of special interest will be the relationship between social context and individual freedom. Included will be selections from Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon, and Simone Weil.

12A  Introduction to Logic. Holliday. MWF 2-3, Hearst Annex A1.

Logical reasoning is essential in most areas of human inquiry. The discipline of Logic treats logical reasoning itself as an object of study. Logic has been one of the main branches of philosophy since Aristotle; it revolutionized the foundations of mathematics in the 20th century; and it has been called “the calculus of computer science,” with applications in many areas. Logic has also played an important role in the investigation of language and the mind, as the basis for formal semantics in linguistics and automated reasoning in artificial intelligence. Today, Logic is an interdisciplinary subject with many applications.

PHILOS 12A is intended as a first course in logic for students with no previous exposure to the subject. The course treats symbolic logic. Students will learn to formalize reasoning in symbolic languages with precisely defined meanings and precisely defined rules of inference. Symbolic logic is by nature a mathematical subject, but the course does not presuppose any prior coursework in mathematics—only an openness to mathematical reasoning.

The Spring 2019 installment of 12A will concentrate on three systems of symbolic logic: propositional logic (also known as sentential logic); syllogistic logic; and predicate logic (also known as first-order logic). Propositional logic formalizes reasoning involving “propositional connectives” such as ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘not’, ‘if…then’, and ‘if and only if’, as these words are used in mathematics. Syllogistic logic formalizes reasoning involving basic patterns of “quantification” such as ‘all whales are mammals’ or ‘some animals are carnivores’. Finally, predicate logic formalizes reasoning involving a greater variety of patterns of quantification, plus the attribution of properties to objects, both of which are on display in a statement such as ’for every number that is prime, there is a larger number that is prime’.

Students from philosophy, mathematics, computer science, and linguistics will find important connections between the symbolic logic covered in 12A and their other coursework.

18  Confucius for Today. Shun. MWF 3-4, Wheeler 222.

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 range of selected topics. The first three weeks will be devoted to an introduction to the historical background of Confucius’ teachings, the key terms in Confucian thought, and important themes in the Analects of Confucius. The remainder of the semester will be devoted to a range of topics related to contemporary life such as: family relations, etiquette and good manners, compassion, humility and modesty, confronting hardship and loss, death, anger, tranquility, learning and liberal education, as well as the idea of spirituality. In addition to the Analects of Confucius, we will read some contemporary works on related topics (including selected philosophical articles), and will also consider elaborations on Confucius’ ideas by later Confucians, including Mencius (4th century B.C.), Zhu Xi (1130-1200) and Wang Yangming (1472-1529), as well as (time permitting) related ideas from Buddhist and Daoist thought.

25B  Modern Philosophy. Primus. MWF 11-12, Dwinelle 145.

In this course, we will study works by central figures in 17th and 18th century philosophy, including Descartes, Elisabeth, Spinoza, Locke, Conway, Leibniz, Hume, and Kant. Topics will include the relation of the self to the world, the possibility and extent of one’s knowledge, the nature of bodies and causation, and the relationship of theology to philosophy.

98BC-2  Berkeley Connect. Khokhar. M 6-7, Wheeler 126.

98BC-1  Berkeley Connect. Khokhar. M 5-6, Wheeler 126.

100  Philosophical Methods. Lee. Tu 4-6, Social Sci 110.

This course 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

107  Moral Psychology. Bailey. MWF 10-11, Wheeler 204.

An investigation of central issues in moral psychology, such as: free will, weakness of will, self-deception, moral motivation, emotions, virtues, moral education.

117AC  Philosophy of Race, Ethnicity and Citizenship. Crockett. MWF 1-2, Wheeler 204.

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.

121  Moral Questions of Data Science. Kolodny. MWF 9-10, Social Sci 126.

This course explores, from a philosophical perspective, ethical questions arising from collecting, drawing inferences from, and acting on data, especially when these activities are automated and on a large scale. Topics include: bias, fairness, discrimination, interpretability, privacy, paternalism, freedom of speech, and democracy.

132  Philosophy of Mind. Lee. TuTh 12:30-2, Wheeler 204.

This course will focus on the philosophy and science of conscious experience. What is consciousness? Can it be explained scientifically, and if so, what would a mature science of it look like? Optimistic philosophers and scientists have proposed theories of consciousness, while pessimists argue that there are fundamental philosophical obstacles to achieving a fully satisfactory theory. We will consider a number of proposed theories, and assess some of the alleged obstacles, including the notorious “hard problem” of consciousness.

133  Philosophy of Language. Yalcin. TuTh 2-3:30, McCone 141.

An advanced introduction to the philosophy of language. We will consider questions like: What is distinctive of language as a system of representation and communication? In virtue of what can pieces of language be true or false? How do we model the way the meaning of a whole sentence depends on the meanings of its parts? What is information? How can we model its transfer in conversation? How does language-specific knowledge interact with general reasoning in communication and action? How do meaning and communication depend on context? What is it, in general, to know a language? What kind of limits, if any, does language place on our conception of reality?

This should not be your first or second course in philosophy. Phil 12A is strongly recommended.

140A  Intermediate Logic. Warren. MWF 2-3, Wheeler 222.

Prerequisite: PHIL 12A or equivalent. 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. The text being used is Metalogic, by Geoffrey Hunter, University of California Press.

All classes at Berkeley this semester are meeting online for the first two weeks of the semester. Anyone currently enrolled, or wishing to attend to the first meeting of this seminar with the intention of possibly auditing or enrolling, is welcome to attend the first meeting using this Zoom link:

https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/4079995736

If there are any questions about this, please email the instructor: dmwarren@berkeley.edu

154  Arabic Philosophy. Clarke. TuTh 11-12:30, Wurster 102.

An examination of philosophy in the Islamic world from the 9th to the 12th centuries CE, covering topics in metaphysics, natural philosophy, epistemology, and the philosophy of religion.

161  Aristotle. MacFarlane. TuTh 11-12:30, Social Sci 20.

This course is an in-depth introduction to the philosophy of Aristotle. We will study selections from each of his major works. Since Aristotle was a remarkably wide-ranging philosopher, this means that we will cover a wide variety of philosophical topics.

Prerequisites: Philos 25A or an equivalent lower-level course in ancient Greek philosophy.

170  Descartes. Crockett. MWF 10-11, Wheeler 222.

181  Hegel. Novakovic. TuTh 12:30-2, Social Sci 56.

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?

H196  Senior Seminar. Ginsborg. W 4-6, Moses 302.

A collaborative writing workshop. Students in the honors program will develop their thesis, which they will have started to write in the Fall in Philos H195. Other students will develop a paper from a previous course into a form suitable for a writing sample for applying to graduate school. Students will present drafts, followed by comments by an assigned respondent, and open discussion. As time permits, philosophical background for the work in progress may be read and discussed.

Enrollment is by instructor approval. Students who are not in the honors program, but who are interested in enrolling, should email Hannah Ginsborg (ginsborg@berkeley.edu) with: (1) a list of courses taken or in progress in philosophy, together with grades received (or an unofficial transcript); and (2) a draft, outline, or description (as much as possible at this admittedly early stage) of the paper to be developed. Students who are in the honors program should email Hannah Ginsborg (ginsborg@berkeley.edu) for an enrollment code, but do not need to give any additional information about courses or thesis topic.

198BC-1  Berkeley Connect. Paris. Tu 5-6, Wheeler 106.

198BC-2  Berkeley Connect. Paris. Tu 6-7, Wheeler 126.

198BC-3  Berkeley Connect. Dolan. W 5-6, Wheeler 106.

198BC-4  Berkeley Connect. Dolan. W 6-7, Wheeler 124.

Graduate seminars

290-1  Graduate Seminar: Individual, Social, and Ethical Choice. Holliday. M 11-1, Moses 234.

In this seminar, we will discuss axiomatic theories of rational individual choice and social choice and their connections with ethical theories. For individual choice, we will discuss axioms on choice functions, preference relations, and utility representations. For social choice, we will discuss axiomatic characterizations of utilitarianism, Rawlsian leximin, and other social welfare functionals, as well as the status of interpersonal comparisons of utility and welfarist assumptions.

Prerequisites: 12A (or equivalent) or consent of the instructor.

All classes at Berkeley this semester are meeting online for the first two weeks of the semester. Anyone currently enrolled, or wishing to attend to the first meeting of this seminar with the intention of possibly auditing or enrolling, is welcome to attend the first meeting using this Zoom link:

https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/94121642671?pwd=b2NCVjNySlFqdUlFUnhjVThNTVRuUT09

If there are any questions about this, please email the instructor: wesholliday@berkeley.edu

290-2  Graduate Seminar: Art, Philosophy, and Entanglement. Noë. Tu 12-2, Moses 234.

“At the very beginning of history we find the extraordinary monuments of Paleolithic art, a standing problem to all theories of human development, and a delicate test of their truth. (Collingwood 1924, 52)” Collingwood wrote these words almost a hundred years ago. His challenge is clear. If we’ve been making art since the dawn of our history, then art is not merely a product of that history, but one of its conditions. In this seminar I encourage us to take this challenge seriously. Art is a not an add-on, a mere cultural extra, but a basic and central part of what makes culture possible. “Art,” as Collingwood also wrote, “is the primary and fundamental activity of the mind.” (1925, 14) This is at once a statement about art, and a statement about the mind: art is not a late-addition to the human repertoire, and the work of art, its making and uses, belongs to our basic character as human beings.

This idea — exploring it, testing it — is at the heart of a new book — unpublished, still in progress — by Alva Noë called The Entanglement: Art Before Nature. The first part of the seminar will be devoted to working through this text. In the second part of the class we will turn to some of this work’s still unfinished business. Among the key questions we will ask: What does the entanglement of art and life, explored in the book, imply about the nature of nature itself? What are the prospects for scientific psychology? Authors we may read in this second part of the course may include Hubert Dreyfus and Charles Taylor, Thomas Kuhn, Merleau-Ponty, and Hilary Putnam..

All classes at Berkeley this semester are meeting online for the first two weeks of the semester. Anyone currently enrolled, or wishing to attend to the first meeting of this seminar with the intention of possibly auditing or enrolling, is welcome to attend the first meeting using this Zoom link:

https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/4627888973?pwd=QlZuWXFmS3V0Qk1udGxvc1VMdjRLQT09

If there are any questions about this, please email the instructor: noe@berkeley.edu

290-3  Graduate Seminar: Thought, Character, and Action in Aristotle. Clarke. Tu 2-4, Moses 234.

In his ethics Aristotle distinguishes two kinds of virtue relevant to eudaimonia – ethical virtue and intellectual virtue. The topic of this seminar is the psychology that underlies this distinction. Our aim will be to try to understand the respective roles of character and practical reason in Aristotle’s theory of action. Primary readings will be drawn from the Nicomachean and the Eudemian Ethics; we will also look at a range of contemporary secondary literature on the topic.

All classes at Berkeley this semester are meeting online for the first two weeks of the semester. Anyone currently enrolled, or wishing to attend to the first meeting of this seminar with the intention of possibly auditing or enrolling, is welcome to attend the first meeting using this Zoom link:

https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/92289051580

If there are any questions about this, please email the instructor: tclarke@berkeley.edu

290-4  Graduate Seminar: Sense and Sensibility: the British Moralists. Bailey. M 2-4, Moses 234.

Readings will cover debates about the nature, sources, and authority of morality in early modern Britain (and, to some extent, beyond), with a focus on the sentimentalist tradition. Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Hume, and Smith will be our primary authors, but we will also read bits of Mandeville, Balguy, and Sophie De Grouchy. Will satisfy the history requirement, given the focus on Hume’s moral theory. Focal questions to include: How does the notion of moral sense evolve over the course of the 18th century? Is the idea of a moral sense or senses ultimately defensible? Do the British moralists successfully respond to the “morality critics” who preceded them? Is sentimentalism compatible with radical criticism of contemporary mores?

Please note that there is some reading for the first meeting, namely Shaftesbury’s “An Enquiry Concerning Virtue and Merit, Book I” (pp. 45-100, Volume II of Characteristicks). Available in free PDF facsimile online here: https://oll-resources.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/oll3/store/titles/812/0096-02_LFeBk.pdf

All classes at Berkeley this semester are meeting online for the first two weeks of the semester. Anyone currently enrolled, or wishing to attend to the first meeting of this seminar with the intention of possibly auditing or enrolling, is welcome to attend the first meeting using this Zoom link:

https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/97778919462?pwd=dzRyUlF2Z0hYdTRaaFN1YzBtaFhLUT09

If there are any questions about this, please email the instructor: obailey@berkeley.edu

290-5  Graduate Seminar: Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. Sluga. Th 12-2, Moses 234.

Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, published just over 100 years ago, remains a key text of 20th century philosophy. The book has exerted a significant influence on the development of early analytic philosophy (especially Russell and the Vienna Circle), it has fascinated artists and writers, and it is essential for understanding Wittgenstein’s own later philosophy. Its dense formulations call, however, for close study. The seminar aims at a systematic reading of the book from its metaphysical beginnings, through its theory of representation and its account of logic, to its devastating concluding reflections on ethics and philosophy.

All classes at Berkeley this semester are meeting online for the first two weeks of the semester. Anyone currently enrolled, or wishing to attend to the first meeting of this seminar with the intention of possibly auditing or enrolling, is welcome to attend the first meeting using this Zoom link:

https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/93891919899?pwd=aDlCOTRaY0pTT0FyWjgvUmpNcFVJQT09

If there are any questions about this, please email the instructor: sluga@berkeley.edu

290-6  Graduate Seminar: Topics in Kant’s Theoretical Philosophy - The Transcendental Deduction. Warren. Th 2-4, Moses 234.

We will discuss some of the central themes of Kant’s metaphysics and epistemology by examining the argument of the “Transcendental Deduction of the Categories” and related texts in the Critique of Pure Reason and the Prolegomena, as well as Kant’s earlier work leading up the to the Deduction. The seminar will be structured around a close reading of the primary texts, and a number of important pieces of secondary literature, including works by Henry Allison, Dieter Henrich, and Béatrice Longuenesse. The topics in Kant that I will be most concerned with include consciousness and apperception, the unity of the self, the character of conceptual representation, the notions of a category, of judgment and of the form of a judgment, and the concept of an object.

All classes at Berkeley this semester are meeting online for the first two weeks of the semester. Anyone currently enrolled, or wishing to attend this seminar with the intention of possibly auditing or enrolling, is welcome to attend the first meeting using this Zoom link: https://berkeley.zoom.us/j/4079995736

If there are any questions about this, please email the instructor: dmwarren@berkeley.edu

290-7  Graduate Seminar: Workshop in Law, Philosophy & Political Theory. Cohen/Grewal. F 12-3, UCB Law 141.

295  Dissertation Seminar. Primus. Th 6-8, Moses 234.