Courses for Spring 2020

  • The Place of Persons

    We’ll concentrate on some fundamental moral and metaphysical issues concerning ourselves as persons: What (if anything) gives us a moral status different from that of other animals? Do we have the sort of free will required for us to be morally responsible for our actions? What makes you one individual person or self at a particular time? What makes you today the same individual person as that obnoxious 5-year old who went by your name a few years back?
    PHIL 0010 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Christensen
  • Critical Reasoning

    This course will teach students critical reasoning skills needed to analyze a diverse range of challenging arguments, as well as the tools required to develop compelling arguments of one’s own. Together we will investigate the following broad topics: validity and soundness, argument decomposition and construction, deductive and inductive arguments, evidential assessment, and fallacious reasoning. We will also consider the various ways our critical reasoning faculties can breakdown and be impeded by bias (in explicit and implicit forms), stereotypes, and prejudice, as well as potential mitigation strategies.
    PHIL 0100 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Guindon
  • The Nature of Fiction

    This course is concerned with philosophical questions arising from the concept of fiction. Topics will include: What makes a story a fiction? What are fictional characters? Are fictions "created"? Are fictions physical things, like books? How do fictions make us care about things we don't even believe in? How do fictions affect our moral beliefs.
    PHIL 0110 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Bjurman Pautz
  • Introduction to Aesthetics

    This is an introductory course on aesthetics, giving an overview of the history of (western) aesthetics and of contemporary debates in analytic aesthetics. Among the historical figures to be read are Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche, and Adorno. Some of the contemporary debates concern the right theory of art (representationalism, the expression theory, formalism), the definition of art, and the ontology of works of art. We will consider some general criticisms of western aesthetics. Students will be introduced to prominent positions in aesthetics, but they will also learn how to engage in rigorous philosophical argumentation in the face of those positions.
    PHIL 0206 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Meister
  • Nothingness

    Many philosophers have written a great deal about nothing: whether there can be nothing, why there isn’t only nothing, whether can talk about nothing, and what it is like to experience nothing. Can there be any meaning to this sort of talk? Is there some important metaphysical role to be played by nothing or nothingness? Is such questioning merely a confusion resulting from misuse of language? This course will survey writings on nothing, with particular attention to the problem of ineffability. We will develop necessary skills to come to terms with and rationally argue about obscure topics and challenging texts.
    PHIL 0209 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Kenny
  • Early Modern Philosophy

    An introduction to central themes in Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Major topics include: reason, experience, and knowledge; substance and the nature of the world as it really is; induction, causation, and the origin of our ideas; skepticism, realism, and idealism. Connections are made with the scientific revolution of the 17th century. There will be discussion and advice on ways to approach philosophical reading, research and writing.
    PHIL 0360 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Larmore
  • Moral Philosophy

    What is the right thing to do? What should a good person be like? More generally, what determines what is right and wrong, good and bad, virtuous and vicious? In this course, we will consider three greatly influential moral theories – utilitarianism, Kantianism, and Aristotelian virtue ethics — as well as feminist perspectives on morality.
    Towards the end, we'll also consider more general questions that any moral theory faces. For instance: Does morality depend on God? Is morality relative or subjective (whatever that's supposed to mean)? And why should we care about being moral in the first place?
    PHIL 0500 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Arpaly
  • Free Speech

    Freedom of speech is a challenging and controversial ideal. Legal questions are central, but the issues range into moral and political philosophy as well. We will study John Stuart Mill’s influential 19th century treatment of the idea, and then concentrate mostly on discussions within the last fifty years, including much that is on the cutting edge of current thinking about freedom of speech. Topics will vary, including such things as: political speech, art and offense, pornography, hate speech, protest, copyright, internet and new media, and campaign finance laws.
    PHIL 0550 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Estlund
  • Introduction to Philosophy of Physics

    An introductory survey of topics relevant to the study and practice of physics, with a particular focus on the structure of space and time.
    PHIL 0600 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Miller
  • Ethical Themes in the Contemporary American Short Story

    Consideration of contemporary American short stories in terms of their treatment of such philosophical themes as love, loyalty, envy, belief, despair, and charity. Focuses on themes in moral philosophy, rather than themes in social and political philosophy. This course has no prerequisites.
    PHIL 0880 S01
    Overrides will not be given in this course.
    Primary Instructor
    Ackerman
  • Paradox and Infinity

    This course will focus on several important paradoxes that arise within philosophy and mathematics. We will use these paradoxes to investigate central issues in metaphysics, the philosophy of language, decision theory, physics, mathematics, and logic. Among the paradoxes we will discuss are Zeno's paradoxes of space, time, and motion; the paradoxes of set theory; the paradoxes of truth and reference; the sorites paradox; and paradoxes of rational action and rational belief. Enrollment limited to 20.
    PHIL 0990T S01
    Primary Instructor
    Schechter
  • Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics

    An examination of philosophical issues informed by elementary quantum mechanics; topics include the measurement problem, superposition, non-locality, and competing "interpretations" of the textbook formalism.
    PHIL 0990Y S01
    Primary Instructor
    Miller
  • The Meaning of Life

    The seminar examines in detail recent philosophical work on the concept of meaningfulness. We will a range of questions including: What is it for a life to be 'meaningful'? What are the prospects of having a meaningful life? What is a 'crisis of meaning' and in what forms does it come? Philosophers to be considered include Susan Wolff, Jay Wallace, Jonathan Lear, Guy Kahane, and others.
    PHIL 0991O S01
    Primary Instructor
    Reginster
  • The Philosophy of Augustine

    This course will focus on Augustine's most important philosophical work, the Confessions, though some of his other writings will also be discussed. Topics covered will include his views about freedom, the will, interiority, language, evil, sin, conversion, time, memory, and skepticism. Attention will also be given to his influence on medieval (Anselm, Scotus) and modern (Descartes, Wittgenstein) philosophy.
    PHIL 1281 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Larmore
  • Philosophy of Sex

    What is sex? What are 'sexual' desires? Does sexually desiring someone necessarily objectify them? Is objectifying someone always bad? What makes some act (solo or partnered) sexual? Are all 'consensual' sexual acts morally unexceptionable? Or are some sexual acts so 'perverse' that even consent cannot excuse them? Is it all right to fantasize about cheating? or bestiality? or rape? Are literary, photographic, or cinematic presentations of such fantasies (i.e., certain sorts of pornography) always morally or politically problematic? Students should have taken at least one prior philosophy (or other related) course.
    PHIL 1490 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Heck
  • Decision Theory: Foundations and Applications

    Decision theory is a formal apparatus for analyzing preferences and choices. Students learn the formal theory and then examine its foundations and philosophical implications. Specific topics: the role of causation in decision problems, the status of the axioms of the theory, problems of infinite utility, rudimentary game theory, social choice functions, utilitarianism as a theorem.
    PHIL 1550 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Dreier
  • Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason

    We will cover the main topics of Kant's masterpiece, including his third way between rationalism and empiricism, his approach to skepticism and idealism, his foundational approach to science and everyday experience, and his limitation of knowledge to leave room for practical faith. Prerequisites: PHIL 0360, 1700, 1710 or instructor permission.
    PHIL 1720 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Guyer
  • Epistemology

    We’ll concentrate on several issues involving knowledge and rational belief: What is knowledge, and how does it relate to rational or justified belief? Does a person’s knowing something depend on non-evidential factors such as the practical importance of the person’s being correct? Does the justification of a person’s belief depend just on facts internal to the person—or might it depend on her environment? And what can we learn from thinking about the skeptical position which claims that we’re not justified in believing even the most ordinary things about the world around us? Pre-req: Must have taken one course in Philosophy.
    PHIL 1750 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Hill
  • Philosophy of Mind

    Questions concerning the nature of mentality and its relation to the body. Selections from the following topics: mind and behavior, mind as the brain, mind as a computing machine, thought and language, action and mental causation, intentionality and consciousness. Prerequisite: at least one course in philosophy (2 or more preferred).
    PHIL 1770 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Pautz
  • Philosophy and Psychoanalysis

    The course proposes a philosophical examination of a variety of psychoanalytical theories beginning with classical Freudian theory and including ego psychology, various relational theories (object relations, intersubjectivity, and attachment theories), and self psychology. The course might also consider some of the philosophical sources of psychoanalytic theory, its interaction with recent developmental research, and its applications in literary and cultural studies.
    PHIL 1820 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Reginster
  • Advanced Deductive Logic

    This course provides an introduction to the metatheory of first-order logic. We will prove the completeness of first-order logic. We then move on to the major "limitative" results, including the undecidability of first-order logic, the Gödel incompleteness theorems, and the undefinability in arithmetic of arithmetical truth. Prerequisite: PHIL 0540 or instructor's permission.
    PHIL 1880 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Guindon
  • Independent Studies

    An elective for students with at least six previous courses in philosophy. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.
    PHIL 1990 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Ackerman
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S02
    Primary Instructor
    Hill
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S03
    Primary Instructor
    Gill
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S04
    Primary Instructor
    Heck
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S05
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S06
    Primary Instructor
    Schechter
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S07
    Primary Instructor
    Reginster
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S08
    Primary Instructor
    Broackes
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S09
    Primary Instructor
    Dreier
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S10
    Primary Instructor
    Christensen
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S11
    Primary Instructor
    Estlund
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Pautz
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Larmore
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Arpaly
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S15
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S16
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S17
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1990 S18
    Primary Instructor
    Guyer
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Senior Thesis

    An elective for students writing a thesis. Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.
    PHIL 1995 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Ackerman
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S02
    Primary Instructor
    Arpaly
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S03
    Primary Instructor
    Broackes
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S04
    Primary Instructor
    Christensen
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S05
    Primary Instructor
    Dreier
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S06
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S07
    Primary Instructor
    Estlund
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S08
    Primary Instructor
    Gill
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S09
    Primary Instructor
    Guyer
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S10
    Primary Instructor
    Heck
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S11
    Primary Instructor
    Hill
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Larmore
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Pautz
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Reginster
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 1995 S15
    Primary Instructor
    Schechter
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Mental Representation

    Discussion of contemporary philosophical and scientific work on intentionality and mental representation. Topics will include: types of mental representation (language of thought, spoken language, perceptual states, images, cognitive maps, trees, object files, etc.), relations between mental representations and the world (reference, informational semantics, teleological semantics), the nature of perceptual content, the differences between perceptual representation and conceptually grounded representation, philosophical theories of concepts, psychological theories of concepts, theories of belief, ethological work on animal beliefs and concepts, and the nature of conscious thought (particularly, evidence pro and con the theory that thought consists of auditory imagery and articulatory imagery).
    PHIL 2060J S01
    Primary Instructor
    Hill
  • Idealism in the Twentieth Century

    After attacks on Bradley and Royce at the beginning of the twentieth century, "idealism" largely became a dirty word. But while both Berkeleian and Hegelian versions of metaphysical idealism indeed passed out of fashion, versions of Kantian epistemological idealism, the view that what we know of reality is inescapably formed by our own perceptual and conceptual frameworks, continued to underlie both analytic and continental philosophy. This course will pursue this thesis through works by Carnap, Cassirer, Collingwood, Blanshard, Sellars, Davidson, McDowell, and Brandom.
    PHIL 2080L S01
    Primary Instructor
    Guyer
  • Protest and Dissent

    Description to follow.
    PHIL 2100O S01
    Primary Instructor
    Estlund
  • Skepticism about the A Priori and A Posteriori

    Skepticism about the A Priori and A Posteriori TBD
    PHIL 2140I S01
    Primary Instructor
    Christensen
  • Ethical and Political Issues in George Orwell's Essays and Novels

    Many discussions of Nineteen Eighty-Four suffer from an almost exclusive focus on political issues. This seminar will consider the book in terms of its devastating non-political insights about love, self-deception, guilt, betrayal, and moral transformation. We will also discuss the political aspects of the book as well as the moral and political issues in three of Orwell's lesser-known novels and a selection of his essays. In order include students with a wide range of interests and backgrounds, this seminar has no prerequisites.
    PHIL 2160R S01
    Overrides will not be given in this course.
    Primary Instructor
    Ackerman
  • Graduate Proseminar

    Will cover classics of philosophy from the end of the 19th century to the end of the 20th; including ethics as well as metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of language.
    PHIL 2200 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Arpaly
  • Aristotle's Psychology

    An investigation into Aristotle’s account of psychological phenomena in his De Anima (On the Soul) and Parva Naturalia (especially On Dreams, On Memory, and Sense and Sensibilia). Topics include perception (both the “special” perceptibles—like colour, sound, and smell—and also more complex perceptual experiences), thought, desire, emotion, memory, imagination, and dreaming. Additional questions include how these phenomena fit into Aristotle’s metaphysical theory and challenges they might be thought to offer to contemporary approaches in the philosophy of mind.
    PHIL 2201 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Kress
  • Third Year Workshop

    Students will receive training and practice in writing papers for publication in philosophy journals. Each student will complete a paper that has significantly greater scope and depth than a normal seminar paper. The paper will normally have some relevance to an envisioned dissertation, but there will be more emphasis on the quality of work than on relevance to future projects.
    PHIL 2700 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Dreier
  • Dissertation Workshop

    No description available. Course for graduate students during their 4th year or above.
    PHIL 2800 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Pautz
  • Preliminary Examination Preparation

    For graduate students who have met the tuition requirement and are paying the registration fee to continue active enrollment while preparing for a preliminary examination.
    PHIL 2970 S01
    Schedule Code
    E: Grad Enrollment Fee/Dist Prep
  • Research in Philosophy

    Section numbers vary by instructor. Please check Banner for the correct section number and CRN to use when registering for this course.
    PHIL 2980 S01
    Primary Instructor
    Ackerman
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S02
    Primary Instructor
    Hill
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S03
    Primary Instructor
    Gill
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S04
    Primary Instructor
    Heck
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S05
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S06
    Primary Instructor
    Schechter
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S07
    Primary Instructor
    Reginster
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S08
    Primary Instructor
    Broackes
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S09
    Primary Instructor
    Dreier
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S10
    Primary Instructor
    Christensen
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S11
    Primary Instructor
    Estlund
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S12
    Primary Instructor
    Pautz
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S13
    Primary Instructor
    Larmore
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S14
    Primary Instructor
    Arpaly
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S15
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
    PHIL 2980 S16
    Primary Instructor
    Guyer
    Schedule Code
    I: Independent Study/Research
  • Thesis Preparation

    For graduate students who have met the residency requirement and are continuing research on a full time basis.
    PHIL 2990 S01
    Schedule Code
    E: Grad Enrollment Fee/Dist Prep