Fall 2022

Undergraduate courses

R1B  Reading and Composition Through Philosophy. Gooding. TuTh 3:30-5:00, Dwinelle 262.

2  Individual Morality and Social Justice. Frick. MWF 10-11, Valley Life Sci 2040.

This course aims to introduce you to a range of philosophical debates in clinical and population-level bioethics. Among the topics in clinical bioethics that we will discuss are

· Abortion

· Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia

· Pre-commitment in bioethics

· Genetic enhancement

· The Non-Identity Problem

In population-level bioethics, questions we will discuss include

· The concept of disability

· The measurement and valuation of health

· Cost-effectiveness and disability-discrimination

· Bioethics in a Time of Pandemic: Quarantine, Triage, Drug Trials

· Health inequalities and justice

· Personal and social responsibility for health

· Paternalism, nudges, and incentives

· Standards of care in clinical trials in the US and abroad.

3  The Nature of Mind. Lee. MWF 12-1, Li Ka Shing 245.

This course will be an introduction to some of the major debates in Philosophy of Mind. Is consciousness a purely physical phenomenon? Is the brain a computer and the mind its software? Are our common-sense ideas about how to explain people’s behavior compatible with contemporary scientific views about the structure of the brain? How can the mind represent the external world? This course will be an introduction to some of the major debates in Philosophy of Mind. Is consciousness a purely physical phenomenon? Is the brain a computer and the mind its software? Are our common-sense ideas about how to explain people’s behavior compatible with contemporary scientific views about the structure of the brain? How can the mind represent the external world?

11  Philosophy of Religion. Crockett. MWF 10-11, Physics Bldg 3.

he 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. Yalcin. MWF 12-1, Dwinelle 145.

Syntax, semantics, and proof theory of sentential and predicate logic.

25A  Ancient Philosophy. Clarke. MWF 2-3, Hearst Annex A1.

This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. Most of the course will be devoted to the thought of Socrates (469-399 BCE), Plato (427-347), and Aristotle (384-322). We will also look briefly at the Presocratics and the Sophists, and at the major philosophical movements of the Hellenistic period: the Epicureans, Stoics, and Sceptics.

Prerequisites: None.

98BC-2  Berkeley Connect. Dolan. Tu 6-7, Evans 35.

98BC-1  Berkeley Connect. Dolan. Tu 5-6, Evans 51.

100  Philosophical Methods. Dasgupta. Tu 10-12, Social Sci 126.

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.

106  Bioethics: Clinical and Population-Level. Frick. MW 6:30-8, Dwinelle 88.

This course aims to introduce you to a range of philosophical debates in clinical and population-level bioethics. Among the topics in clinical bioethics that we will discuss are • The ethics of killing • Abortion • Physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia • Pre-commitment in bioethics • Genetic enhancement • The Non-Identity Problem In population-level bioethics, questions we will discuss include • The concept of disability • The measurement and valuation of health • Cost-effectiveness and disability-discrimination • Bioethics in a Time of Pandemic: Quarantine, Triage, Drug Trials • Health inequalities and justice • Personal and social responsibility for health • Paternalism, nudges, and incentives • Standards of care in clinical trials. As taught this semester, Phil 106 satisfies the ethics requirement for the Philosophy major and minor.

115  Political Philosophy. Munoz-Dardé. MWF 11-12, Wheeler 102.

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:

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?

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.

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.

116  Special Topics in Political Philosophy. Sluga. MWF 9-10, Haviland 12.

The course will examine some of the basic concepts of politics such as that of politics itself, the state, government, political conflict and cooperation, and power. It will focus, in addition, on technology and its role in politics, asking how governmental practices, forms of government, the conduct of war, and, indeed, the meaning and function of politics are affected by technological developments and what political challenges those developments pose.

As taught this semester, Phil 116 satisfies the ethics requirement for the philosophy major.

117AC  Philosophy of Race, Ethnicity and Citizenship. Crockett. MWF 3-4, Wheeler 222.

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.

128  Philosophy of Science. Dasgupta. TuTh 2-3:30, Wheeler 222.

This course will investigate how our concepts of space, time, and chance have been shaped by developments in modern science. Topics may include: (1) What does physics teach us about the structure of space? (2) Is there a scientific explanation of the flow of time? (3) Are physical chances objective or just measures of subjective ignorance? (4) How do high-level sciences like biology and economics relate to physics? Along the way, we’ll use these discussions as gateways into more general issues in the philosophy of science such as realism vs anti-realism, the nature of scientific laws, and the demarcation problem. By the end, we’ll have worked our way towards a certain picture of how the different sciences hang together as a unified whole.

As taught this semester, Phil 128, can satisfy group A of the Epistemology/Metaphysics requirement.

135  Theory of Meaning. Campbell. MWF 2-3, Wheeler 222.

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, Dwinelle 88.

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.

140B  Intermediate Logic. Mancosu. TuTh 9:30-11, Dwinelle 370.

This course covers the most important metalogical results that are of interest to philosophers. It is divided into three parts. The first two parts are mathematical in style whereas the last part is philosophical. In the first part we will cover the basic notions of computability theory and study in detail the Turing machine approach to computability. The second part of the course will give a detailed presentation of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems and related results. Finally, we will look at the philosophical relevance of these logical results to various areas of philosophy.

Prerequisite: 12A (or equivalent) or permission from the instructor.

Course requirements: exercise sets approximately every ten days (counting for 60% of final grade) and a philosophical paper due at the end of the semester (40% of final grade).

171  Hobbes. Primus. TuTh 12:30-2, Wheeler 222.

This course will focus on understanding the philosophical and political thought of Thomas Hobbes within the context of his larger intellectual enterprise. After studying Hobbes’s “Elements of Philosophy” [Elementa philosophiae] project, we will turn to Hobbes’s account of the human being and his science of politics as presented in his Elements of Law, De cive, and Leviathan.

176  Hume. Bailey. MWF 1-2, Wheeler 102.

This course is devoted to the theoretical and practical philosophy of David Hume (1711-1776). Topics include: the science of human nature, the theory of impressions and ideas, causation and necessary connection, belief and rules of reason, the self, the existence of external objects, skeptical despair, the nature of the will and its freedom, the foundations and character of morality, natural and artificial virtues, the grounds of political obligation, natural religion. Our principal text will be the monumental A Treatise of Human Nature, supplemented with other readings from Hume’s Essays and Enquiries. Emphasis throughout will be on close examination of the primary texts. No strict prerequisites, but the course is designed for upper division undergraduates with some prior experience of philosophy.

Required texts: A Treatise of Human Nature, edited by David Fate Norton and Mary J. Norton, OUP; Enquiries Concerning Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals, edited by L. A. Selby-Bigge, 3rd ed. revised by P. H. Nidditch, OUP.

178  Kant. Warren. TuTh 12:30-2, Wheeler 20.

In this course we will examine some of the major metaphysical and epistemological themes of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. We will be focusing particularly on Kant’s views on the following topics: a priori knowledge and how it is possible, space and time, objectivity and experience, self-knowledge, and transcendental idealism and the contrast between appearances and things in themselves. Several short papers and two longer papers will be required.

185  Heidegger. Kaiser. MW 6:30-8, Social Sci 166.

Since its publication in 1927, Heidegger’s major work Being and Time has been many things to its various recipients. Although the work became enormously important for the development of phenomenology, hermeneutics, existential thought, and post-structuralism, its main concern was a revolution in what Heidegger regarded as the central concept of philosophy since antiquity: that of being. Because he viewed the traditional understanding of this concept as superficial and misguided, his plan was (in part) to work out a new fundamental ontology. Its design was (I) to reveal the proper meaning of being on the basis of temporality as its transcendental horizon and (II) to point out the crucial steps in the philosophical tradition (Aristotle, Descartes, and Kant) that led to the deeply problematic contemporary conception of being. Heidegger never finished this ambitious project, but the work’s first part—with its extensive analysis of ‘Dasein’ and human understanding as the basis of the conception of being—was sufficient to make Being and Time an essential text for friend and foe alike.

The course will be devoted to a close study of this challenging, influential, and fascinating work. We will focus on the connection between the question of being, the analysis of human nature, and the phenomenological method that Heidegger presents as the necessary foundation of his project in Division I of Being and Time. We will also cover his analysis of death, conscience, resoluteness, and Dasein’s authentic potentiality for being ‘whole’, i.e. the first three chapters of Division II. In light of the recent publication of his ‘Black Notebooks’ and the renewed debate of his political views and engagement during the National Socialist years in Germany, special attention will be paid to potentially problematic concepts within his early philosophy.

Main text: Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie/Edward Robinson, paperback reprint (Harper Perennial Modern Thought Series, 2008). However, we will also consult the revised edition by Dennis J. Schmidt of the Joan Stambaugh translation of Being and Time (SUNY Series in Contemporary Philosophy, 2010).

198BC-1  Berkeley Connect. Paris. W 5-6, Evans 35.

198BC-2  Berkeley Connect. Paris. W 6-7, Dwinelle 189.

Graduate seminars

200  First Year Graduate Seminar. Campbell/Martin. W 4-6, Moses 234.

290-1  Graduate Seminar: Du Châtelet’s Foundations of Physics. Primus. M 10-12, Moses 234.

This seminar will be devoted to understanding du Châtelet’s contributions to natural philosophy. We will study her Institutions de Physique (1740) alongside works by Descartes, Locke, Wolff, Leibniz, and Newton.

290-2  Graduate Seminar: Uncovering Appearances. Martin. M 12-2, Moses 234.

This seminar will be concerned with the traditional problems of perception. We’ll be asking how to frame the terms of the general debate, and the question of continuity between the traditional disputes and current discussion. We’ll look at the arguments from illusion and hallucination, and what might motivate a so-called disjunctivist approach to perceptual experience.

290-3  Graduate Seminar: Proof Theory and Proof-Theoretic Semantics. Mancosu. Tu 2-4, Moses 234.

The most familiar semantics for formal or natural languages are those expressed in terms of Tarskian reference conditions connecting linguistic expressions (individual constants, predicates etc.) to extra-linguistic entities (objects, sets of objects etc.). This “referential” conception of semantics is captured by model-theoretic notions. An alternative type of semantics, motivated by a view of “meaning as use”, tries to account for the semantic properties of expressions by means of rules of use which govern linguistic expressions. An especially significant approach has focused on the role of inferences. In this approach, sometimes referred to as inferential semantics, the roles of inferences in the practice of inferring plays a central role in explaining the meaning of various parts of language. The logical constant “and”, for instance, is explained in terms of the inferential behavior governing it. This leads to the study of the rules of introduction and elimination for “and”, which govern the way in which we infer sentences containing “and” and draw consequences from such sentences. Proof-theory (hence the name proof-theoretic semantics) has developed formalisms that are quite suitable for the formulation of such semantics. In particular, the system of natural deduction introduced by Gentzen in the 1930s has been a major tool in proof-theoretic semantics. In this seminar we will first study some basic results in proof-theory that are needed in the study of proof-theoretic semantics (such as for instance the natural deduction formalization of logic, the normalization of proofs in natural deduction, the sub-formula property for normal proofs etc.). Then we will explore some interesting issues concerning what properties (harmony, conservativity etc.) logical constants should satisfy if the rules of introduction and elimination for such constants can be said to fix their meanings. We will also pursue the topic of “bilateralism”, i.e. whether assertion alone should be the primary modality of inferring or whether assertion and denial should both play an independent role. For the proof-theory part of the seminar we will use chapters 3 and 4 of Mancosu et al. An Introduction to Proof Theory (OUP 2021). For the second part of the seminar we will read articles by, among others, Prior, Belnap, Dummett, Prawitz, Steinberger, Read, Rumfitt, and Tennant.

290-4  Graduate Seminar: Agency, Value, and the Moral Status of Animals. Wallace. Tu 4-6, Moses 234.

A close study of some recent work on the differences and similarities between animal and rational agency and their bearing on questions about the moral status of animals. The primary texts to be discussed will be Christine Korsgaard’s Fellow Creatures: Our Obligation to the Other Animals and Shelly Kagan’s How to Count Animals, More or Less.

290-5  Graduate Seminar: Consciousness. Lee. W 2-4, Moses 234.

This seminar will have two parts. The first part will be an opinionated overview of some of the philosophical problems thought to be obstacles to an explanatory theory of conscious experience, including the notorious “hard problem”, and the methodological puzzle. With this background in place, in the second part we will discuss some questions related to the distribution and significance of consciousness. How do we tell which non-human creatures and physical systems have conscious experiences? What does it mean to imaginatively empathize with another being? What can we say about the evolution of consciousness? Does consciousness come in degrees or is it an all-or-nothing phenomenon? And in what sense is consciousness something that matters? Readings will be chapters from a book on consciousness I’m working on, plus readings by other authors.

290-6  Graduate Seminar: Privacy. Kolodny. Th 12-2, Moses 234.

The ever-present surveillance of our lives, insofar as our lives are linked to the internet or the “internet of things,” naturally gives rise to a disquiet about privacy. Our primary aim in this seminar will be to understand better the interests that underlie the right to privacy, as well as the contours of the right itself. A secondary aim will be to evaluate, in light of this understanding, whether or not the disquiet about online surveillance is appropriate. We will read articles by Warren and Brandeis, Thomson, Scanlon, Fried, and Marmor, among others, along with some work in progress by the instructor.

290-7  Graduate Seminar: Information and Knowledge. Yalcin. Th 2-4, Moses 234.

This course will focus on approaches to the metaphysics of knowledge that give information a central place. We’ll start with Dretske’s classic work — both his idea that knowledge is information-caused belief, and his broader picture of the role of information in explaining behavior — and then move on to some contemporary developments and applications.

I am especially interested to ask what an information-centric model of knowledge has to teach us about what it is to possess probabilistic knowledge, about what it is to possess conditional knowledge, and about what it is to possess common knowledge.

Some further things we’ll probably get into: the idea that knowledge is relative; the idea that knowledge is contrastive; the metaphysics of belief; luminosity and the KK principle; the question to what extent knowledge ascription is normative or not fully factual; the interpretation of probability; factivity and presupposition; intentionality. Issues about the semantics and pragmatics of knowledge ascription will come up throughout. Readings will come from some or all of the following: Dretske, Lewis, Stalnaker, Greco, Berker, Lederman, Skyrms, Moss, Harman, MacFarlane, Holliday, Stanley, Schaffer.

290-8  Graduate Seminar: “Structural Injustice,” Workshop in Law, Philosophy & Political Theory. Frick/Munoz-Dardé. F 12-3, Moses 234.

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 legal scholars, philosophers, and political theorists 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 normative interests.

The theme for the Fall 2022 workshop is “Structural Injustice”.

This semester the workshop is co-taught by Johann Frick and Véronique Munoz-Dardé.

The format of the course is as follows: for the sessions with guest presenters, 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 at 2:00 and those not enrolled in the course will leave. Enrolled students will continue the discussion with the guest until 3:00.

This is a cross-listed/room-shared course with the Philosophy and Political Science Departments. Students may enroll through Law (Law 210.2A), Philosophy (Philosophy 290-07), or Political Science (PS 211). The first class will be on Friday, August 26th - 12PM-3PM, and the final class meeting is December 2nd.

375  Teaching Seminar. Bailey. W 4-6, Moses 302.