Department of Classics

Robert J Hankinson


ProfessorPhD, Cambridge

Professor of Philosophy and Classics

Contact

Interests


Ancient Philosophy and Medicine, Philosophy of Science

Biography


FieldAncient Philosophy and Medicine, Philosophy of Science

A classical philosophy scholar, he has a special interest in ancient medicine and philosophy of science. He is author of The Sceptics (1995) in the Routledge 'Arguments of the Philosophers' Series, and Cause and Explanation in Ancient Greek Thought (Oxford, 1998). He has edited Method, Medicine, and Metaphysics (1988). His editions and translations, with philosophical commentary, include Galen's On the Therapeutic Method (Oxford, 1991), Galen on Antecedent Causes (Cambridge, 1998), Aristotle's de Caelo (Oxford, forthcoming in two volumes), and Simplicius' Commentary on de Caelo. (Volume I, Simplicius: On Aristotle On the Heavens 1.1-4 (Duckworth/Cornell, 2002) has appeared; two more volumes are forthcoming.) He is the editor of Apeiron.

Courses


C C 304C • Ancient Philosophy

32955 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 302
(also listed as PHL 301K)

A.N.Whitehead remarked, about a hundred years ago, that “all of Western Philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato”. That is an exaggeration, but a pardonable one. Plato is the earliest European philosopher of whom complete texts survive. He was enormously influential not only in the Ancient World, but also in the early Christian tradition as well as the Renaissance. Even today his work is studied as part of a living tradition and not just as a historical document. For these (and other) reasons, it makes sense to orient a very basic introduction to Ancient Philosophy around his work, and that is what we are going to do. The primary focus of this class will be on argument, the practice of giving reasons for complex and abstract philosophical positions. We will be considering and assessing, among other things, Plato’s account of the nature of goodness and virtue; his theory of knowledge; his commitment to the existence of abstract objects (‘Forms’) in terms of which the ordinary properties of ordinary objects in the world around us can be (allegedly)  understood; his arguments for the soul’s immortality, and its general nature.

PHL 312 • Introduction To Logic

42340 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WEL 2.304

This is a course in the basic principles of formal logic. The student will come out of this course with an understanding of deductive inference and of argument generally, as well as the notions of logical consequence, validity, soundness, and logical truth; and should come to have an appreciation for reasoning and argument work in ordinary language by translating ordinary language arguments into formally-evaluable logical forms. Specifically, we will be looking at sentential logic (which treats the inferential relations among simple sentences) and predicate logic. Predicate logic is distinguished from sentential logic by its use of quantifiers (roughly speaking ways of saying ‘all’ and ‘some’).

 

Readings / Texts:

The text is E.J.Lemmon Beginning Logic (Hackett);

 

Assessment:

4 homeworks (10% each); 2 in class exams (30% each)

 

PHL 316K • Science And Philosophy

42375 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 210

Science tries to explain the world. The philosophy of science tries to explain how it does so. This course will examine key issues and debates in the philosophy of science (specifically the philosophy of physics) against the background of central episodes in the development of modern science from the 17th century to the present day. Topics covered will include: what is the nature of the scientific enterprise, and how does it differ from other forms of inquiry? What is the relation between reason and experience in the construction and evaluation of scientific theories? Does science have a distinctive method (or methods), and a particular criterion of truth?  How does science progress? What are the relations between theory and evidence – how does empirical evidence confirm (or disconfirm) theories? Should scientific theories aim at the truth about the world, or simply at effective means of predicting events within it? How does (and/or should) science go about collecting, organizing and extrapolating from data? Among the scientists studied will be Descartes, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Young, and Perrin; among the philosophers of science those, as well as Bacon, Whewell, Mill, Duhem, Popper, van Fraassen, Kuhn and Feyerabend. Among the controversies examined will be that between the geocentric and the heliocentric models of the solar system, Newtonian mechanics and its rivals, wave- versus particle-theories of light, and the real existence of atoms. No background in either math or physics will be presupposed  - but a little wouldn’t hurt.

PHL F312 • Introduction To Logic

84890 • Summer 2016
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM WAG 308

This is a course in the basic principles of logic. The student will come out of this course with an understanding of deductive inference and of argument generally, as well as the notions of logical consequence, validity, soundness, and logical truth. Specifically, we will be looking at sentential logic (which treats the inferential relations among simple sentences) and predicate logic. Predicate logic is distinguished from sentential logic by its use of quantifiers.

C C 304C • Ancient Philosophy

32157 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WEL 3.402
(also listed as PHL 301K)

A.N.Whitehead remarked, about a hundred years ago, that “all of Western Philosophy is a series of footnotes to Plato”. That is an exaggeration, but a pardonable one. Plato is the earliest European philosopher of whom complete texts survive. He was enormously influential not only in the Ancient World, but also in the early Christian tradition as well as the Renaissance. Even today his work is studied as part of a living tradition and not just as a historical document. For these (and other) reasons, it makes sense to orient a very basic introduction to Ancient Philosophy around his work, and that is what we are going to do. The primary focus of this class will be on argument, the practice of giving reasons for complex and abstract philosophical positions. We will be considering and assessing, among other things, Plato’s account of the nature of goodness and virtue; his theory of knowledge; his commitment to the existence of abstract objects (‘Forms’) in terms of which the ordinary properties of ordinary objects in the world around us can be (allegedly)  understood; his arguments for the soul’s immortality, and its general nature.

 

C C 304C • Ancient Philosophy

32165 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM UTC 3.102
(also listed as PHL 301K)

C C 304C Topics in the Ancient World:

An introductory survey of the highlights of Greek and Roman civilization and early Christianity. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

C C 348 • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

32220-32230 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CLA 1.104
(also listed as PHL 329K)

C C 348 Topics in Ancient Civilization:

The development and progress of ancient civilization, including history, philosophy, literature, and culture. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

 

PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge

41560 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 0.104

This class will be a general survey of epistemology, the philosophical theory of knowledge, both

throughout the history of western philosophy, and contemporary developments and debates.

Given the time constraints imposed by the nature of the class, it will necessarily be selective; but

among the topics to be considered will be the following: What is the nature of knowledge? How

(if at all) does it differ from true belief? Are there different types of knowledge? If so, what are

their relations and how are they to be characterized? What if anything can human beings know?

If we can know things, do we also need to know that we know them? In what does the

justification of knowledge claims consist? Can there be a purely intellectual route to knowledge,

or must all knowledge be based on immediate experience? To mention only a few.

C C 304C • Ancient Philosophy

33230-33235 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:00AM PAR 203
(also listed as PHL 301K)

An introduction to the philosophical achievements of the ancient world, concentrating on Plato and Aristotle.

PHL 301L • Early Modern Philosophy

42585-42595 • Fall 2014
Meets MW 12:00PM-1:00PM PAR 203

As its title suggests, this course provides an introduction to ‘early modern philosophy’, the philosophy of 17th and 18th century Europe, with an emphasis on epistemology, the study of the possibility and nature of knowledge. Beginning with Descartes’ attempt to found all of human understanding on firm foundations by refuting skepticism and proving the existence of God by reason alone, we will proceed by way of Berkeley’s challenging picture of a world entirely composed of minds and their contents, to Hume’s skeptical empiricism, and finally to Kant’s attempt at a reconciliation between the rationalist and empiricist pictures of the nature of human knowledge.

PHL 312 • Introduction To Logic

43235 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 0.120

This is a course in the basic principles of logic. The student will come out of this course with an understanding of deductive inference and of argument generally, as wells as the notions of logical consequence, validity, soundness, and logical truth. Specifically, we will be looking at sentential logic (which treats the inferential relations among simple sentences) and predicate logic. Predicate logic is distinguished from sentential logic by its use of quantifiers.

PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge-Phl Majors

43285 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 420

What is knowledge? What are the principal types of knowledge, and what does a person's knowing a claim or proposition p amount to? Philosophers have commonly supposed that a person's having justification, or warrant, for
believing that p is a necessary condition of his/her knowing that p. Accordingly, this course will be concerned with theories of justification as well as of knowledge, along with the question of whether there can be knowledge without what is called epistemic justification. Views in ancient, early modern, and contemporary philosophy—also one Eastern view—will be surveyed.

LAT 390 • Attitudes: Love In Repub/Augus

33775 • Fall 2013
Meets T 2:00PM-5:00PM WAG 10

Attitudes to Love in late Republican and Augustan poetry

PHL S321K • Theory Of Knowledge

87087 • Summer 2013
Meets MTWTHF 11:30AM-1:00PM WAG 302

This course will consider several major ethical theories in the Western and Chinese philosophical traditions as guides to practical living.  The primary question to be addressed is:  What is the good life for human beings, in theory and in practice?

 

This course carries the Ethics and Leadership flag. Ethics and Leadership courses are designed to equip you with skills that are necessary for making ethical decisions in your adult and professional life. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments involving ethical issues and the process of applying ethical reasoning to real-life situations.

PHL 301L • Early Modern Philosophy

42375-42385 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 12:30PM-1:30PM WAG 302

An introduction to the philosophical achievements of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, concentrating on such figures as Descartes, Hume, and Kant. 

PHL 316K • Science And Philosophy

42660 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SZB 416

This course will examine the growth and development of science in modern times
through the history of certain crucial debates and breakthroughs that have taken place
since the beginnings of modern science in the 17th century. Topics considered will
include: what is the nature of science? Does it have a distinctive method (or methods)
that distinguish it from other forms of inquiry? What are its criteria of truth? Can science
ever achieve certainty, and if not, does it have any distinctive claims on our belief, and if
so why? What are the mechanisms of scientific progress and change? How does science
relate to, and differ from, other forms of intellectual inquiry?

PHL 322 • Science And The Modern World

42680-42690 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 3:30PM-4:30PM WAG 201

Scientific discoveries have profoundly altered the way we see the world and our
place within it. Three branches of science that have dramatically changed the way humans see themselves
are cosmology, the science that deals with the large-scale structure of the universe, quantum theory, which
deals with the small-scale structure, and evolutionary biology.
In this course we will accomplish two main goals. First, we will learn the history and content of a
few of the most revolutionary theoretical developments in human history. Second, we will consider aspects
of the broader philosophical significance that these developments are supposed to have.
The first part of the course will concentrate on general philosophy of science issues. Then we will
study the Copernican Revolution, how it came about and some of its explosive consequences.
We will then briefly describe the revolutionary implications of Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Next will be an overview of the bizarre discoveries about the basic nature of matter, quantum theory. We
will study various relevant historical developments, and think about different interpretations of the theory
that have been proposed. A fundamental question will haunt us in this part, the question whether we are
doomed to ignorance about the ultimate nature of reality.
Next we will consider the work of a physicist who attempts to explain why, and in what sense,
science as we came to know it did not develop anywhere except in Europe. His view is that the ancient
Greeks invented the sort of logical, systematic thinking that science requires. Relevant facets of Chinese
culture, Hebrew culture and others will be examined and contrasted with Greek and later European cultures
with respect to their fostering scientific developments.
The last third to half of the course will focus on evolutionary biology since the nineteenth century.
We will first read some of Dawkins’ and then Dennett’s summary of the conceptual core of modern
evolutionary theory, from their own compelling, if perhaps disturbing, perspectives. Then we will spend
time on more recent developments and controversies that have swirled around evolutionary theory.
The matters that we will deal with in the course are fascinating at a purely intellectual level. But
these are not merely intellectual curiosities; they provide pictures of how we humans ‘fit into the cosmic
scheme’. Since matters of fundamental importance hinge on a proper understanding the universe and our
place in it, no thinking person can afford to neglect to examine these pictures with care.

GK 390 • Ancient Philosophy

33290 • Fall 2012
Meets W 6:30PM-9:30PM WAG 312
(also listed as PHL 381)

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

 

Course Description

 Hellenistic philosophy, that is of the period between the death of Aristotle and (traditionally at least) 31 BC, was for centuries unjustly neglected. Over the past thirty years or so much has been done to remedy that neglect, and the distinctive schools of the period (Epicurean, Stoic, Academic, Pyrrhonian) are now recognized as continuing much of enduring and intrinsic interest. Study of the period is hampered by the fact that, with rare exceptions, their works are known only through later citations and attestations, which complicates the process of interpretation. But it is still a project well worthwhile. This course will examine key ideas and arguments from all of these schools, and the contributions they made (and debates they engaged in) concerning epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, logic and mind (among other things).

 

Grading

1 term paper (90%)

participation and/or presentation (10%)

 

Texts

A.A. Long, D.N. Sedley The Hellenistic Philosophers Vol. 1 (1987)

Cambridge University Press ISBN: 0521275563

 

This course satisfied the History requirement.

PHL F329K • History Of Ancient Philosophy

87250-87260 • Summer 2012
Meets MTWTHF 11:30AM-1:00PM CBA 4.344

This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. We’ll focus on three major thinkers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; and we’ll examine their views and arguments on some central questions about human conduct, the natural world, and our knowledge of both. We’ll begin with a brief look at some influential earlier figures known as Pre-Socratics and Sophists, and we’ll end with a brief look at some enduring ideas of Epicurus. The emphasis throughout will be on analyzing both what these thinkers say and their reasons for saying it. The main goal is not to memorize information but to develop a critical understanding of some problems and arguments that remain very much alive today.

GK 390 • Aristotle's Metaphysics

33288 • Spring 2012
Meets W 2:00PM-5:00PM WAG 312
(also listed as PHL 381)

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

 

Course Description

The metaphysical and epistemological views of Descartes, Hobbes, and Locke. Topics include the proper foundation for a philosophical system, the nature of knowledge, emotions, (free) will, personal identity (and religious toleration). 

 

Grading

Class participation: 20% (A class presentation will constitute part of this grade.)

Major Essay:                           80% (3,500-6,000 words; due on the last day of lectures.)

Texts

Descartes’s Meditations on First Philosophy, with Objections and Replies,

Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, Part I

Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (selections, mostly from Book II)

Locke, A Letter on Toleration

Hobbes, The Elements of Law Natural and Politic (selections from the part on natural philosophy and epistemology.

 

C C 348 • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

32960-32970 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM MEZ B0.306
(also listed as PHL 329K)

C C 348 Topics in Ancient Civilization:

The development and progress of ancient civilization, including history, philosophy, literature, and culture. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

 

PHL 316K • Science And Philosophy

42422 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM GAR 2.128

This course will examine the growth and development of science in modern times
through the history of certain crucial debates and breakthroughs that have taken place
since the beginnings of modern science in the 17th century. Topics considered will
include: what is the nature of science? Does it have a distinctive method (or methods)
that distinguish it from other forms of inquiry? What are its criteria of truth? Can science
ever achieve certainty, and if not, does it have any distinctive claims on our belief, and if
so why? What are the mechanisms of scientific progress and change? How does science
relate to, and differ from, other forms of intellectual inquiry?

PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge

42470 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 208

What is knowledge? What are the principal types of knowledge, and what does a person's knowing a claim or proposition p amount to? Philosophers have commonly supposed that a person's having justification, or warrant, for
believing that p is a necessary condition of his/her knowing that p. Accordingly, this course will be concerned with theories of justification as well as of knowledge, along with the question of whether there can be knowledge without what is called epistemic justification. Views in ancient, early modern, and contemporary philosophy—also one Eastern view—will be surveyed.

PHL 381 • Philos & Sci In Sci Revolution

43190 • Spring 2011
Meets T 12:30PM-3:30PM WAG 210

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

Course Description

In 1610, Galileo published his Starry Messenger, the record of his first celestial telescopic observations. This is often held to mark the beginning of the Scientific Revolution, and indeed the beginning of modern science. In this class we will be less concerned with whether or not such an assessment is justified in this case, much less whether science is essentially revolutionary or evolutionary in nature, than with examining the nature of the philosophical underpinnings that underlay this development. To this end we will be looking principally at selections from the writing of Galileo, Descartes and Newton, although we may also make excursions into, e.g., Kepler, Bacon, Huygens and Boyle.

Grading

1 term paper (90%)

Participation and/or presentation: 10%

 

Texts

S.Drake (ed.) Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo (Anchor Books: 0-385-09239-3)

S.Drake (trans.) Galileo: Dialogue concerning the Chief World Systems (Modern Science Library: 0-375—75766-X)

J.Cottingham, R.Stoothoff, D.Murdoch (eds.) The Philosophical Writings of Descartes Vol. I (CUP: 9780521288071)

H.S.Thayer (ed.) Newton’s Philosophy of Nature (Hafner Publishing

 

This course satisfies the History requirement

 

C C 348 • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

32240-32250 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM WAG 302
(also listed as PHL 329K)

C C 348 4-HIST OF ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

32240

TTH
M

800 to   930a
800 to   900a

WAG  302
WAG  307

HANKINSON, R

open


32245

TTH
M

800 to   930a
900 to  1000a

WAG  302
WAG  307

HANKINSON, R

open


32250

TTH
M

800 to   930a
1000 to  1100a

WAG  302
WAG  307

HANKINSON, R

closed

 

 

After brief introductory forays into selected contexts of early Greek philosophy (esp. Parmenides, Empedocles, and the Sophist Gorgias), we shall concentrate on the three great figures of classical ancient Greek philosophy (fifth and fourth century B.C.E.), Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.  In our readings of selected dialogues of Plato, our concerns will be fourfold:  (a) to identify and survey themes of the fifth-century "Sophistic movement," against which Socrates and Plato significantly react; (b) to articulate a conception of the philosophy of Socrates (who wrote nothing himself); (c) to grasp the origins of Plato's philosophy; (d) to study Plato's mature metaphysics (account of reality) and epistemology (theory of knowledge).  Our discussion of Aristotle will emphasize metaphysics, cosmology, natural philosophy, and theory of the soul.
The course is required of philosophy majors.  It has no special prerequisites; and given its concern with ideas that are central in the Western tradition, it can thus also serve as an upper-division introduction to philosophy.

REQUIRED WORK AND COURSE PRECEPTS
(FULLER STATEMENT WILL BE DISTRIBUTED DURING FIRST WEEK OF CLASSES.)

Written examinations:  Two or three mid-term examinations.

Papers: Two papers of about 1,600 words each.  Instructions and suggested questions will be furnished.

Contribution to discussion:  Bonus points will be awarded to those students who will have made the most effective use of opportunities for discussion in the weekly discussion sections (up to +4 points on a 100-point grading scale).

Attendance: Required at the weekly discussion sections.  (Maximum of two absences will be excused.)

PHL 316K • Science And Philosophy

42415 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 302

This course will examine the growth and development of science in modern times
through the history of certain crucial debates and breakthroughs that have taken place
since the beginnings of modern science in the 17th century. Topics considered will
include: what is the nature of science? Does it have a distinctive method (or methods)
that distinguish it from other forms of inquiry? What are its criteria of truth? Can science
ever achieve certainty, and if not, does it have any distinctive claims on our belief, and if
so why? What are the mechanisms of scientific progress and change? How does science
relate to, and differ from, other forms of intellectual inquiry?

PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

42490-42500 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 302

This course is an introduction to early modern philosophy. The objectives of the class are to identify and analyze arguments in philosophical texts of the early modern period, and to become familiar with central themes and problems. Topics include causation, substance, and the possibility of knowledge. The relationship of philosophical theories to contemporary science will be an ongoing theme.

PHL S329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

86910-86920 • Summer 2010
Meets MTWTHF 11:30AM-1:00PM WAG 302

This course is a survey of modern philosophy. It covers Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. The class will be conducted in three lectures and one discussion session every week.

GK 390 • Aristotle's Philosophy Of Mind

32766 • Spring 2010
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM WAG 312
(also listed as PHL 381)

GK 390 Seminar in Classical Studies:

Selected topics in Greek studies. Topics given in recent years include Mycenaean documents, Aristotle's ethics, Archaic poetry, and Plato's Symposium.

PHL 329M • Descartes

43197 • Spring 2010
Meets TW 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 2.124

Intensive study of one or two important philosophers or philosophical works. 

C C 348 • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

32680-32690 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 302
(also listed as PHL 329K)

C C 348 Topics in Ancient Civilization:

The development and progress of ancient civilization, including history, philosophy, literature, and culture. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

 

PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

43405-43415 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM UTC 3.102

This course is an introduction to early modern philosophy. The objectives of the class are to identify and analyze arguments in philosophical texts of the early modern period, and to become familiar with central themes and problems. Topics include causation, substance, and the possibility of knowledge. The relationship of philosophical theories to contemporary science will be an ongoing theme.

PHL S322 • Science And The Modern World

86625 • Summer 2009
Meets MTWTHF 11:30AM-1:00PM WAG 302

Scientific discoveries have profoundly altered the way we see the world and our place within it.  Three branches of science that have dramatically changed the way humans see themselves are cosmology, the science that deals with the large-scale structure of the universe, quantum theory, which deals with the small-scale structure, and evolutionary biology.

In this course we will accomplish two main goals.  First, we will learn the history and content of a few of the most revolutionary theoretical developments in human history.  Second, we will consider aspects of the broader philosophical significance that these developments are supposed to have.

The first part of the course will concentrate on general philosophy of science issues.  Then we will study the Copernican Revolution, how it came about and some of its explosive consequences.

We will then briefly describe the revolutionary implications of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Next will be an overview of the bizarre discoveries about the basic nature of matter, quantum theory.  We will study various relevant historical developments, and think about different interpretations of the theory that have been proposed.  A fundamental question will haunt us in this part, the question whether we are doomed to ignorance about the ultimate nature of reality.

Next we will consider the work of a physicist who attempts to explain why, and in what sense, science as we came to know it did not develop anywhere except in Europe.  His view is that the ancient Greeks invented the sort of logical, systematic thinking that science requires.  Relevant facets of Chinese culture, Hebrew culture and others will be examined and contrasted with Greek and later European cultures with respect to their fostering scientific developments.

The last third to half of the course will focus on evolutionary biology since the nineteenth century. We will first read some of Dawkins’ and then Dennett’s summary of the conceptual core of modern evolutionary theory, from their own compelling, if perhaps disturbing, perspectives.  Then we will spend time on more recent developments and controversies that have swirled around evolutionary theory.

The matters that we will deal with in the course are fascinating at a purely intellectual level.  But these are not merely intellectual curiosities; they provide pictures of how we humans ‘fit into the cosmic scheme’.  Since matters of fundamental importance hinge on a proper understanding the universe and our place in it, no thinking person can afford to neglect to examine these pictures with care.

PHL 381 • Aristotle's Philos Of Science

43533 • Fall 2008
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 210

Past topics include major figures and movements in ancient, medieval, early modern, and nineteenth- and twentieth - century philosophy. 

C C 348 • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

32740-32750 • Spring 2008
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 201
(also listed as PHL 329K)

C C 348 Topics in Ancient Civilization:

The development and progress of ancient civilization, including history, philosophy, literature, and culture. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

 

PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge-W

43235 • Spring 2008
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 2.108

What is knowledge? What are the principal types of knowledge, and what does a person's knowing a claim or proposition p amount to? Philosophers have commonly supposed that a person's having justification, or warrant, for
believing that p is a necessary condition of his/her knowing that p. Accordingly, this course will be concerned with theories of justification as well as of knowledge, along with the question of whether there can be knowledge without what is called epistemic justification. Views in ancient, early modern, and contemporary philosophy—also one Eastern view—will be surveyed.

LAT 365 • Horace

33590 • Fall 2007
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 10

LAT 365 Seminar in Latin:

Critical study of authors such as Horace, Livy, Lucretius, and Tacitus.

Prerequisites: Latin 323 with a grade of at least C.

This course carries Writing and Independent Inquiry flags

PHL 381 • Hume

44415 • Fall 2007
Meets T 12:30PM-3:30PM WAG 210

Past topics include major figures and movements in ancient, medieval, early modern, and nineteenth- and twentieth - century philosophy. 

C C 348 • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

32005-32020 • Spring 2007
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 420
(also listed as PHL 329K)

C C 348 Topics in Ancient Civilization:

The development and progress of ancient civilization, including history, philosophy, literature, and culture. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

 

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42805-42820 • Spring 2007
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 1

The aim of this semester is to introduce topics in epistemology and metaphysics, initially through the works of two major philosophers, Ren Descartes (f. 1640) and David Hume (f. 1745). They will serve to introduce two main themes: the nature of knowledge and skepticism; and the nature of the human mind and action.

Descartes is known for two highly influential ideas. His skepticism arises from his reflection that we might be deceived by an “evil demon” who makes it seem as if our ordinary world exists whereas in reality there is nothing. Although Descartes hoped to defuse skepticism, it has lived on, inspiring not only generations of philosophers, but also leaving its mark in such movies as Matrix and Solaris.

Descartes’ dualism is his view that mind and body are entirely distinct. This view has been supported by religious thinkers, by many philosophers impressed by the distinctive character of consciousness, and by some defenders of free will.
Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding is famous for supposedly arguing for a form of skepticism that Descartes did not explicitly consider: skepticism about whether the future will resemble the past. His discussion of this issue is closely intertwined with a remarkable theory of causation, a theory which led him to hold that an action can be free, and so can merit praise or blame, even though it is causally determined. We will also discuss some aspects of Hume’s philosophy of religion, notably his section on miracles, and his presentation of the problem of evil. 

GK 390 • Aristotle's Metaphysics

32940 • Fall 2006
Meets M 12:30PM-3:30PM WAG 210
(also listed as PHL 381)

GK 390 Seminar in Classical Studies:

Selected topics in Greek studies. Topics given in recent years include Mycenaean documents, Aristotle's ethics, Archaic poetry, and Plato's Symposium.

PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

44135-44150 • Fall 2006
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM CBA 4.328

This course is an introduction to early modern philosophy. The objectives of the class are to identify and analyze arguments in philosophical texts of the early modern period, and to become familiar with central themes and problems. Topics include causation, substance, and the possibility of knowledge. The relationship of philosophical theories to contemporary science will be an ongoing theme.

LAT 365 • Horace

31515 • Spring 2006
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 112

LAT 365 Seminar in Latin:

Critical study of authors such as Horace, Livy, Lucretius, and Tacitus.

Prerequisites: Latin 323 with a grade of at least C.

This course carries Writing and Independent Inquiry flags

PHL 310 • Knowledge And Reality

41800-41825 • Spring 2006
Meets TTH 9:30AM-10:30AM GSB 2.126

This course is an advanced introduction to philosophical issues concerning the nature of
belief, truth, and knowledge with an emphasis on the latter. Topics to be discussed include,
but are not limited to, the following:
• What is knowledge? For example, what is the difference between knowledge and
mere true belief?
• What are the basic sources of knowledge (i.e., perception, memory, testimony of
others)?
• Why, if at all, should we value the acquisition of knowledge?
• Is it really possible to know anything at all?

PHL 381 • Descartes

42340 • Fall 2005
Meets M 12:30PM-3:30PM WAG 210

Past topics include major figures and movements in ancient, medieval, early modern, and nineteenth- and twentieth - century philosophy. 

PHL F329K • History Of Ancient Philosophy

87140 • Summer 2005
Meets MTWTHF 8:30AM-10:00AM WAG 302

This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. We’ll focus on three major thinkers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; and we’ll examine their views and arguments on some central questions about human conduct, the natural world, and our knowledge of both. We’ll begin with a brief look at some influential earlier figures known as Pre-Socratics and Sophists, and we’ll end with a brief look at some enduring ideas of Epicurus. The emphasis throughout will be on analyzing both what these thinkers say and their reasons for saying it. The main goal is not to memorize information but to develop a critical understanding of some problems and arguments that remain very much alive today.

PHL 381 • Aristotle & Greek Biomed Sci

40830 • Spring 2005
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 210

Past topics include major figures and movements in ancient, medieval, early modern, and nineteenth- and twentieth - century philosophy. 

C C 348 • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

30355-30370 • Fall 2004
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 214
(also listed as PHL 329K)

C C 348 Topics in Ancient Civilization:

The development and progress of ancient civilization, including history, philosophy, literature, and culture. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

 

PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge-W

41675 • Fall 2004
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM JES A218A

What is knowledge? What are the principal types of knowledge, and what does a person's knowing a claim or proposition p amount to? Philosophers have commonly supposed that a person's having justification, or warrant, for
believing that p is a necessary condition of his/her knowing that p. Accordingly, this course will be concerned with theories of justification as well as of knowledge, along with the question of whether there can be knowledge without what is called epistemic justification. Views in ancient, early modern, and contemporary philosophy—also one Eastern view—will be surveyed.

PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

41735-41750 • Fall 2004
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 302

This course is an introduction to early modern philosophy. The objectives of the class are to identify and analyze arguments in philosophical texts of the early modern period, and to become familiar with central themes and problems. Topics include causation, substance, and the possibility of knowledge. The relationship of philosophical theories to contemporary science will be an ongoing theme.

PHL S329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

87175 • Summer 2004
Meets MTWTHF 11:30AM-1:00PM WAG 302

This course is a survey of modern philosophy. It covers Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. The class will be conducted in three lectures and one discussion session every week.

PHL 381 • Ancient Philosophy

40310 • Fall 2003
Meets T 12:30PM-3:30PM WAG 210

Past topics include major figures and movements in ancient, medieval, early modern, and nineteenth- and twentieth - century philosophy. 

PHL 354 • Phil/Sci Age Of Humanism-Itl-W

40172 • Fall 2002

While North Americans and Europeans believe that liberal democracy is the best form of government, this was not always true. (Many people throughout the world today do not think it is true.) Liberal democracy is the theory that the individual person has certain rights, not dependent on the existence of government. Key concepts of liberalism include liberty, democracy, contract, and obligation.

The theory behind liberalism developed from several traditions (republicanism, democracy, and limited sovereignty) influenced by various religious, economic and political beliefs and values, over a long period of time. Perhaps the most crucial period in this development was seventeenth-century England.

This course is interdisciplinary. It begins with the religious and political history of the seventeenth century (which includes the Gunpowder Plot, the Long Parliament, the English Civil War, the Rump Parliament, the execution of King Charles I, the establishment of the Commonwealth, the restoration of the Monarchy, the Exclusion Crisis, and the Glorious Revolution.) Then some crucial works in political philosophy by some of the greatest political philosophers in history, such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke will be discussed. Parts of two books written by John Milton, no political slouch, will be read, one in defense of the beheading of the king. The political relevance of some literary works will also be discussed.

A large part of this course will consist of working on a research paper, either alone or in partnership with one or two other students, as the topic and student interest dictates.

PHL 310 • Knowledge And Reality

38865-38880 • Spring 2002
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:00AM WAG 302

This course is an advanced introduction to philosophical issues concerning the nature of
belief, truth, and knowledge with an emphasis on the latter. Topics to be discussed include,
but are not limited to, the following:
• What is knowledge? For example, what is the difference between knowledge and
mere true belief?
• What are the basic sources of knowledge (i.e., perception, memory, testimony of
others)?
• Why, if at all, should we value the acquisition of knowledge?
• Is it really possible to know anything at all?

PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge-W

39205 • Spring 2002
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM RAS 215

What is knowledge? What are the principal types of knowledge, and what does a person's knowing a claim or proposition p amount to? Philosophers have commonly supposed that a person's having justification, or warrant, for
believing that p is a necessary condition of his/her knowing that p. Accordingly, this course will be concerned with theories of justification as well as of knowledge, along with the question of whether there can be knowledge without what is called epistemic justification. Views in ancient, early modern, and contemporary philosophy—also one Eastern view—will be surveyed.

GK 390 • Aristotle's Metaphysics

29235 • Fall 2001
Meets T 7:00PM-10:00PM WAG 210
(also listed as PHL 381)

GK 390 Seminar in Classical Studies:

Selected topics in Greek studies. Topics given in recent years include Mycenaean documents, Aristotle's ethics, Archaic poetry, and Plato's Symposium.

C C S306M • Intro To Medcl & Scientif Term

82615 • Summer 2001
Meets MTWTHF 10:00AM-11:30AM WAG 101

This course provides a systematic introduction to medical and scientific terminology. In this course you will acquire a working knowledge of the Greek and Latin roots, prefixes and suffixes which are fundamental to understanding ‘medspeak’, i.e. the specialized language of healthcare. You will learn the principles of word analysis, synthesis, and pronunciation. To help you both memorize and gain a better appreciation of the origins of medical terminology, this course will introduce you to some of the relevant elements of ancient Greek and Roman medico-scientific culture. There are no prerequisites. Although we will be working with Latin and Greek terms, no background knowledge of these languages is required.

This course carries the Global Cultures flag. Global Cultures courses are designed to increase your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States. You should therefore expect a portion of your grade to come from the course material on ancient Greek and Roman medico-scientific culture.

C C 348 • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

28555-28570 • Spring 2001
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 302
(also listed as PHL 329K)

C C 348 Topics in Ancient Civilization:

The development and progress of ancient civilization, including history, philosophy, literature, and culture. No knowledge of Greek or Latin is required.

 

PHL 322 • Science And The Modern World

38990-39005 • Spring 2001
Meets TTH 3:30PM-4:30PM WAG 201

Scientific discoveries have profoundly altered the way we see the world and our
place within it. Three branches of science that have dramatically changed the way humans see themselves
are cosmology, the science that deals with the large-scale structure of the universe, quantum theory, which
deals with the small-scale structure, and evolutionary biology.
In this course we will accomplish two main goals. First, we will learn the history and content of a
few of the most revolutionary theoretical developments in human history. Second, we will consider aspects
of the broader philosophical significance that these developments are supposed to have.
The first part of the course will concentrate on general philosophy of science issues. Then we will
study the Copernican Revolution, how it came about and some of its explosive consequences.
We will then briefly describe the revolutionary implications of Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Next will be an overview of the bizarre discoveries about the basic nature of matter, quantum theory. We
will study various relevant historical developments, and think about different interpretations of the theory
that have been proposed. A fundamental question will haunt us in this part, the question whether we are
doomed to ignorance about the ultimate nature of reality.
Next we will consider the work of a physicist who attempts to explain why, and in what sense,
science as we came to know it did not develop anywhere except in Europe. His view is that the ancient
Greeks invented the sort of logical, systematic thinking that science requires. Relevant facets of Chinese
culture, Hebrew culture and others will be examined and contrasted with Greek and later European cultures
with respect to their fostering scientific developments.
The last third to half of the course will focus on evolutionary biology since the nineteenth century.
We will first read some of Dawkins’ and then Dennett’s summary of the conceptual core of modern
evolutionary theory, from their own compelling, if perhaps disturbing, perspectives. Then we will spend
time on more recent developments and controversies that have swirled around evolutionary theory.
The matters that we will deal with in the course are fascinating at a purely intellectual level. But
these are not merely intellectual curiosities; they provide pictures of how we humans ‘fit into the cosmic
scheme’. Since matters of fundamental importance hinge on a proper understanding the universe and our
place in it, no thinking person can afford to neglect to examine these pictures with care.

PHL 329M • Descartes-W

39095 • Spring 2001
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 420

Intensive study of one or two important philosophers or philosophical works. 

GK 390 • Hellenistic Philosophy

29285 • Fall 2000
Meets TH 12:30PM-3:30PM WAG 210
(also listed as PHL 381)

GK 390 Seminar in Classical Studies:

Selected topics in Greek studies. Topics given in recent years include Mycenaean documents, Aristotle's ethics, Archaic poetry, and Plato's Symposium.

PHL S329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

86805 • Summer 2000
Meets MTWTHF 1:00PM-2:30PM WAG 302

This course is a survey of modern philosophy. It covers Descartes, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. The class will be conducted in three lectures and one discussion session every week.

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