The Dennes Room

Fall 2022

Undergraduate courses

2  Individual Morality and Social Justice. Frick. TuTh 9:30-11, TBA.

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?

3  The Nature of Mind. Lee. MWF 12-1, TBA.

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, TBA.

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, TBA.

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

25A  Ancient Philosophy. Clarke. MWF 2-3, TBA.

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-1  Berkeley Connect. STAFF. M 5-6, TBA.

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

100  Philosophical Methods. Dasgupta. Tu 10-12, TBA.

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.

108  Contemporary Ethical Issues. Frick. TuTh 12:30-2, TBA.

This course will be devoted to in-depth discussion of a variety of problems in moral philosophy raised by real-life questions of individual conduct and social policy. Its contents will vary from occasion to occasion. Possible topics include philosophical problems posed by affirmative action, abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, terrorism, war, poverty, and climate change.

115  Political Philosophy. Munoz-Dardé. MWF 11-12, TBA.

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 11-12, TBA.

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, TBA.

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, TBA.

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, TBA.

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, TBA.

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, TBA.

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. MWF 1-2, TBA.

176  Hume. Bailey. MWF 1-2, TBA.

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, TBA.

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, TBA.

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. STAFF. Tu 5-6, TBA.

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

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

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

Graduate seminars

200  First Year Graduate Seminar. Campbell/Martin. TBA, Moses 302.

290-1  Graduate Seminar. Primus. M 10-12, Moses 234.

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

290-3  Graduate Seminar. Munoz-Dardé. M 2-4, Moses 234.

290-4  Graduate Seminar. Kolodny. Tu 12-2, Moses 234.

290-5  Graduate Seminar. Mancosu. Tu 2-4, Moses 234.

290-6  Graduate Seminar. Wallace. Tu 4-6, Moses 234.

290-7  Graduate Seminar. Lee. W 2-4, Moses 234.

290-8  Graduate Seminar. Yalcin. Th 2-4, Moses 234.

290-9  Graduate Seminar. Frick/Munoz-Dardé. F 12-3, TBA.