PHIL C1010x Methods and Problems of Philosophical Thought 3 pts. Critical introduction to philosophical problems, ideas and methods.
PHIL V1401x Introduction to Logic 3 pts. Explicit criteria for recognizing valid and fallacious arguments, together with various methods for schematizing discourse for the purpose of logical analysis. Illustrative material taken from science and everyday life.
PHIL V2101x The History of Philosophy I: Presocratics to Augustine 4 pts. Corequisites: PHIL V2111 Required Discussion Section/ 0 points Exposition and analysis of the positions of the major philosophers from the pre-Socratics through Augustine. This course has unrestricted enrollment. Recitation Section Required.
PHIL V2201y History of Philosophy II: Aquinas to Kant 4 pts. Corequisites: PHIL V2211 Required Discussion Section 0 points PHIL V2101 is not a prerequisite for this course. Exposition and analysis of the metaphysics, epistemology, and natural philosophy of the major philosophers from Aquinas through Kant. Authors include Aquinas, Galileo, Gassendi, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. This course has unrestricted enrollment. Recitation Section Required.
PHIL V2301x History of Philosophy III: 19th and 20th Century Philosophy 4 pts. Corequisites: PHIL V2311 Required Discussion Section 0 points PHIL V2101 and V2201 are not prerequisites for this course. Exposition and analysis of major texts and figures in European philosophy since Kant. Authors include Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. Required discussion section. Unrestricted enrollment. Discussion Section Required.
PHIL V2702x and y Contemporary Moral Problems 3 pts. In this class, we will discus the moral dimensions of several contemporary issues, including (but not limited to) affirmative action, abortion, poverty, the treatment of non-human animals, punishment, and pornography. As we delve into these specific issues, we will also explore different conceptions of morality and justice, and the presuppositions about human nature and value that underlie them.
PHIL V2800y Special Topics in Ethics: Animals and Eating 3 pts. This course aims to convince students that thinking about food will make their lives better, and to equip them to articulate reasoned, confident conclusions, both alone and in collaboration with others. The course design reflects these goals: classroom time will revolve around discussion and student presentation; written work will pass through rigorous peer review before it receives a grade; students will co-author a piece of written work and practice writing for a variety of audiences.
PHIL V3251x Kant 3 pts. Explores the connections between theoretical and practical reason in Kant's thinking with special attention to the Critique of Pure Reason and the project of "transcendental" philosophy.
PHIL W3264y Ninteenth Century Philosophy: Hegel 3 pts. Prerequisites: PHIL V 2201 or W 3251. An examination of major themes of Hegel's philosophy, emphasizing his social and political thought. Topics include Hegel's critique of Kant, the possibility of metaphysics, the master-slave dialectic and the role of freedom in rational social institutions.
PHIL V3274y Nietzsche 3 pts. Prerequisites: One prior course in the History of Philosophy (either ancient or modern). An examination of major themes in Nietzsche's thought. Topics include the philosophical significance of Greek tradegy, the nature of truth, the possibility of knowledge, the moral and metaphysical content of Christianity, the death of God, perspectivism, eternal recurrence, and the power to will.
PHIL V3352x Twentieth Century European Philosophy 3 pts. Prerequisites: One prior philosophy course. Reading and discussion of selected texts by central figures in phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, critical theory, and recent Continental philosophy. Authors may include Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Gadamer, Horkheimer, Adorno, Foucault, Bourdieu.
PHIL V3411x and y-G4415x an Symbolic Logic 4 pts. Corequisites: PHIL V3413 Required Discussion Section 0 points Advanced introduction to classical sentential and predicate logic. No previous acquaintance with logic is required; nonetheless a willingness to master technicalities and to work at a certain level of abstraction is desirable. This course has unrestricted enrollment. Recitation Section Required. Science Requirement: Partial Fulfillment.
PHIL W3551y Philosophy of Science 3 pts. Prerequisites: One philosophy course or permission of the instructor. Philosophical problems within science and about the nature of scientific knowledge in the 17th-20th centuries. Sample problems: space, time, and motion; causes and forces; scientific explanation; theory, law, and hypothesis; induction; verification and falsification; models and analogies; scientific realism; scientific revolutions. This course will be capped at 40 students.
PHIL V3552x Philosophical Problems of Climate Change 3 pts. The debate about climate change, its impact, and the implications for policy raise many philosophical questions. What is the evidence for anthropogenic global warming? Why does debate persist? How should we assess the risks of various options? What are our obligations to distant people and to future generations? In what ways does climate change require us to assess our economic, social, and political institutions? By taking up these question, the course will explore a range of important issues in philosophy of science, philosophy of economics, ethics, and social and political philosophy. Open to Juniors and Seniors.
PHIL V3601x Metaphysics 4 pts. Corequisites: PHIL V3611 Required Discussion Section 0 points Systematic treatment of some major topics in metaphysics (e.g. modality, causation, identity through time, particulars and universals). Readings from contemporary authors. Discussion Section Required.
PHIL V3701y Ethics 4 pts. Prerequisites: One course in philosophy Corequisites: PHIL V3711 Required Discussion Section 0 points An exploration of the content and foundations of ethics via the major moral theories--rational egotism, deontology, consequentialism and virtue nethics--followed by a consideration of some skeptical and relevist views as well. Required Discussion Section. Recitation Section Required.
PHIL V3710x Law, Liberty, and Morality 3 pts.
PHIL V3716x Topics in Ethics 3 pts. Classic justtifications of normative ethical positions through appeals to Nature in Aristotle, Reason in Kant, Sentiment in Hume, and History in Hegel. Twentieth-Century Analyses of ethical statements from G.E. Moore's intuitionism through A.J. Ayer and C.L. Stevenson on Logical Positivism, J.P. Sarte's Existentialism, John Dewey's Progmatism, and cognitive rationality in Stuart Hampshire and Philippa Foot. This course will be capped at 40 students.
PHIL V3751x and y Political Philosophy 3 pts. Six major concepts of political philosophy including authority, rights, equality, justice, liberty and democracy are examined in three different ways. First the conceptual issues are analyzed through contemporary essays on these topics by authors like Peters, Hart, Williams, Berlin, Rawls and Schumpeter. Second the classical sources on these topics are discussed through readings from Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Marx, Plato, Mill and Rousseau. Third some attention is paid to relevant contexts of application of these concepts in political society, including such political movements as anarchism, international human rights, conservative, liberal, and Marxist economic policies as well as competing models of democracy.
PHIL V3752x Philosophy of Law 3 pts. This course explores philosophical reflection on the relationship between law, society and morality. We discuss the nature of law, the nature of legal reasoning, the relationship between law and social policy, and central concepts in civil and criminal law. Readings are drawn from such sources as the natural law tradidion, legal positivism, legal realism, and Critical Legal Theory. Readings will be supplemented by analysis of classic cases.
PHIL C3912y (Section 004) Seminar: Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein 3 pts. Prerequisites: Required of senior majors, but also open to junior majors, and junior and senior concentrators who have taken at least four philosophy courses. This seminar will focus on basic conceptions of meaning in the writings of the three major figures at the turn of, and the first half of the twentieth century. Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein grappled with the same foundational questions about the relation between language, thoughts and the world, and they commmunicated with each other. Frege's notions of sense, thought, object and concept will be represented by excerpts from "Sense and Reference", "Concept and Object" and "The Thought". Russell's theory of knowledge, propositions, and the nature of reality will be represented by excerpts from his book Problems of Philosophy and from "On Denoting". Wittgenstein's early theory of propositions and facts, the distinction between saying and showing and the conception of "what cannot be said" will be addressed through passages from the Tractatus. The later themes of meaning as use, rule following, and the private language argument will be addressed through passages from Philosophical Investigations. The time devoted to various topics may depend on students' interest. Since original foundational works are often hard for undergraduates some reading assignment will be preceded by lectures. There will be homework, usually in the form of very short papers, during the course and a final paper at the end.
PHIL C3912y (Section 010) Seminar: Self-Knowledge & its Relation to Value, Agency, & Mentality 3 pts. This seminar will explore four questions that are closely interrelated: What is the relation between values and the properties of nature that the natural sciences study? What is the relation between the mind and the central nervous system? What is the relation between human freedom and a deterministic universe? and, What makes self-knowledge different from all other forms of knowledge?
PHIL C3912x (Section 014) Seminar: Liberalism & Its Critics 3 pts. Contemporary liberal political philosophy presumes that governments should protect a fair distribution of liberties and material resources so that autonomous individuals may live as they choose. This course will examine some influential examples of this view, in the work of philosophers such as Rawls, Dworkin and Rorty, along with important criticisms of the values and assumptions that underwrite the view. For instance, does liberalism rest on a mistaken conception of the person? Does it emphasize the soverign individual at the expense of community. Does its commitment to toleration embody an unrealizable and even morally problematic ideal? This course will consider influential versions of these critiques, and ask whether any genuinely liberal political philosophy can accomodate them.
PHIL W3953y Philosophy and Literature: Shakespeare 3 pts. The seminar will consider seven plays by Shakespeare, devoting two sessions to each, and pairing each with other textsw (typically with philosophical texts). Among the plays considered will be Merchant of Venice, All's Well that Ends Well, Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry IV Part I, and King Lear. The readings will also include extracts from the writings of Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, Anthony Appiah, Plato, Camus, Schopenhauer, and Stanley Cavell. Open to studnets majoring either in Philosophy or in English and Comparative Literature.
PHIL W3960y Epistemology 4 pts. Corequisites: PHIL W3963 Required Discussion Section 0 points What can we know? What is knowledge? How is it different from belief? Are there irrational beliefs? Are false beliefs a mark of irrationality? These are just some of the topics that we will explore as we read various classical works in epistemology. Discussion Section Required.
PHIL C3996x and y-C3997x an Supervised Senior Research 3 pts. Supervised research usually with the goal of writing a senior thesis, under the direction of individual members of the department.
PHIL W3996x and y-W3997x an Supervised Senior Research 3 pts.Supervised research under the direction of individual members of the department.
PHIL W3997y-W3998y Supervised Individual Research 3 pts.
PHIL G4089y Aristotle 3 pts. Prerequisites: Undergraduate students must get permission of instructor. The course will focus on some central issues in Aristotle's metaphysics and contemporary treatment of them--to that end, we will be reading Metaphysics, books 7-8 (and parts of book 9, time permitting) and Met., book 12, as well as some selections from the Physics and De anima. Secondary readings will be drawn both from the philosophical and scholarly literature devoted to Aristotle himself, as well as from writings by contemporary philosophers, such as Kit Fine, Mark Johnston, and Kathrin Koslicki. Issues to be covered will include: The substance/ feature distinction. Change vs. replacment, and the persistence of objects through time. Matter and form--material constitution, the 'parts' of substance, the nature of Aristotelian forms, and questions about what the 'principle of individuation' is for Aristotle. Artifacts vs. living organisms. And the role of potentiality and actuality for understanding some of these other notions. The course will be most suitable for those students who have a strong background in the history of philosophy or in contemporary metaphysics. The primary texts will be read in English translation, thus no knowledge of Greek is required. (Those students who have had even a little Greek will, however, find this to be helpful.) All the secondary readings will be in English as well.
PHIL G4095x Medieval Hebrew Philosophical Texts 3 pts. Selected readings in major medieval Hebrew philosophic texts. Works discussed include: Maimonides' Book of Knowledge, Shemtob Falaquera's Epistle of the Debate, Gersonides' War of the Lord, Hasdai Crescas' Light of the Lord, and joseph Albo's Book of Principles. Focus will be on basic problems concerning reason and religion; ethics, politics, and law.
PHIL G4170x Medieval Philosophy 3 pts. Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew philosophy from the 4th to the 14th century, including Augustine, Alfarabi, Avicenna, Anselm, Ibn Gabirol, Averroes, Maimonides, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and Crescas.
PHIL G4260x Kant's Ethics 3 pts. The course will trace (and evaluate) central themes in Kant's ethical theory through his major texts, the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, The Critique of Practical Reason, the Metaphysics of Morals, and relevant parts of Religion within the Bounds of Mere Reason. Themes include the role of reason in moral evaluation and decision, freedom and autonomy, moral egalitarianism, moral idealism, moral dilemmas, and Kant's idea of the good.
PHIL G4424x Modal Logic 3 pts.
PHIL G4451y History of Philosophy: From De Morgan to Frege 3 pts. Prerequisites: One term of Symbolic Logic The roots of logic may be traced to Aristotle, who systematized and codified the subject in a way that was not significantly surpassed for over two millennia. As we know it today, however, logic stems largely from certain advancements that took place in the mid-ninteenth century, when the subject developed into a rigorous discipline whose exemplar was the exact method of proof used in mathematics. Tha aim of this course is to provie a critical reconstruction of such advancements along with an assessment of their philosophical significance.
PHIL G4455y (Section 001) Special Topics in Logic: Modal Logic 3 pts.
PHIL G4490x Language and Mind 3 pts. This course will survey some fundamental issues about the relation between language and thought, and whether and why the former is necessary for the latter. Readings will consist of selections from Descartes, Frege, major pragmatists, Wittgenstein, Quine, Davidson, Kripke, Chomsky, McDowell, Burge and others.
PHIL G4561 Probability and Decision Theory 3 pts.Not offered in 2013-2014. Examines interpretations and applications of the calculus of probability including applications as a measure of degree of belief, degree of confirmation, relative frequency, a theoretical property of systems, and other notions of objective probability or chance. Attention to epistimological questions such as Hume's problem of induction, Goodman's problem of projectibility, and the paradox of confirmation.
PHIL G4675x The Direction of Time 3 pts. A survey of the various attempts to reconcile the macroscopic directionality of time with the time-reversibility of the fundamental laws of physics. The second law of thermodynamics and the concept of entropy, statistical mechanics, cosmological problems, the problems of memory, the possibility of multiple time direction.
CSPH G4802y Math Logic II: Incompletness 3 pts. The course covers Godel's two theorems: (1) In any formal deductive system, which is adequate for doing a minimum of basic mathematics, there are statements that are neither provable nor disprovable. (2) The consistency of any minimally adequate system is not provable within the system itself. Those theorems are often regarded as the most philosophically significant results in mathematics, giving rise to foundational questions about human cognition. Besides their philosophical significance, Godel's technique involved basic notions of computability, leading to the standard impossibility results in theoretical computer science, and to counterparts in complexity theory. The course aims at presenting Godel's proof in a transparent intuitive way, while adhering to the usual standards of rigor. It also covers the basic notions of computable (or recursive) functions, and computably enumerable sets. The plan is to discuss some philosophical questions that emerge from the results. Also planned are undecidability results for some well-known systems - that is, the impossibility of deciding, by means of a computer algorithm whether a given sentence is a theorem. The course relies on detailed couse notes developed over the years. It requires acquaintance with first-order logic, but will be technically self-contained; the required knowledge is provided as a chapter in the course notes. Students who are good at it can get it by themselves, but should consult the instructor and get the required approval.
PHIL G4900 Topics in Early Modern Philosophy 3 pts.Not offered in 2013-2014. Prerequisites: Open to undergraduates with previous work in the history of philosophy and to graduate students. Focuses either on an important topic in the history of early modern philosophy (e.g., skepticism, causation, mind, body) or on the philosophy of a major figure in the period (e.g., Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Gassendi, Conway).
ECPH W4950y Economics and Philosophy Seminar 3 pts. Prerequisites: ECON W3211, W 3213, and STAT W1211 Explores topics in the philosophy of economics such as welfare, social choice, and the history of political economy. Sometimes the emphasis is primarily historical and sometimes on analysis of contemporary economic concepts and theories.
Study Abroad: Reid Hall, Paris
PHIL H3550 Aspects of Contemporary French Thought Not offered in 2013-2014.
PHIL H3551 Aesthetics: the Arts In a Comparative Perspective Not offered in 2013-2014.