Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

42170 • Bonevac, Daniel
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM JGB 2.324
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This course introduces the central problems of philosophy. It considers solutions proposed by the greatest thinkers of the Western philosophical tradition, and some from non-Western traditions as well.

We will ask what it is to be human, and reflect on the importance of this question for how we live our own lives. Are we minds and bodies? Just minds? Just bodies? What difference does it make? What is it to lead a good human life?

We will address questions in the theory of knowledge: What is knowledge? How do we get it? What can we know?

We will also raise some of the basic questions of metaphysics: What is there? What is a thing? Do things have essences? Is reality independent of our minds? Is there a God?


Required Text:

Daniel Bonevac and Stephen Phillips (ed.), Introduction to World Philosophy. Oxford
University Press, 2009.




Quizzes 35%; Papers 40%; Final Exam 25%

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PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

42165 • Trees, Hannah
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM JES A215A
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An Introduction to Philosophy Through Food

Have you ever gotten into an argument about whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable? Do you wonder whether you should become a vegetarian? Have you ever binge-watched a cooking show while eating junk food and considered what makes some foods better than others

Food-related questions like these will be the focus of the discussions in this course; we will be concerned with bringing the overarching problems of philosophy to bear on what we eat, how we eat, and why we eat. Using food as our unifying theme will allow us to address major philosophic issues –  Does the external world exist, and can we have knowledge of it through our senses? What makes objects persist through time? Do we have obligations to other people? What makes something beautiful? – in a way that is more concrete and relevant to the choices we make every day.

We will be reading a wide variety of works from the Western philosophic tradition, with units on epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics. The assignments for the course are designed to improve students’ skills as writers and critical readers, and above all, the course will aim to teach students how to address complex issues in a philosophically rigorous manner.

There is no required textbook for this course. All reading material will be provided through Canvas. Assignments will include reading quizzes, short in-class essays, and a final paper. Regular participation in class discussion will be expected.

PHL 301K • Ancient Philosophy

42175 • Hankinson, Robert
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 302
(also listed as C C 304C, CTI 310)
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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.


Readings: C.D.C.Reeve, A Plato Reader: Eight Essential Dialogues (Hackett; ISBN: 978-1-60384-811-4)

Grading: 2 in-class exams (25%); 1 term paper (50%)

PHL 301L • Early Modern Philosophy

42180 • Martinich, Aloysius
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BEN 1.122
(also listed as CTI 310)
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Philosophy is the study of the most basic aspects of reality. We will begin to understand philosophy by studying some texts by early modern philosophers (1600 - 1800), who were also some of the greatest Western philosophers of all time. We have five major goals:

1. To learn what the major philosophers believed and what reasons or arguments they had for their beliefs

2. To learn how to understand and evaluate arguments and reasons.

3. To learn some of the ways that philosophy should be done.

4. To discover some actual philosophical truths.

5. To learn something about the early modern culture of Western Europe.



Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy

Gearge Berkeley, Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous

David Hume, Enquiry into Human Understanding

Immanuel Kant, Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics

A. P. Martinich, Philosophical Writing 4th edition



Two in-class tests: 15% and 20%     = 35%

Attendance and Assignments            = 25%

Participation                                    = 10%

Final Examination                             = 30%

PHL 303 • Human Nature

42185-42195 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MW 2:00PM-3:00PM WAG 420
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Theories of human nature, such as those of Plato, Christianity, Marxism, and existentialism. Modern phsychological and biological theories are included, as the interplay of nature and nurture in determining human conduct is explored. 

PHL 303M • Mind And Body

42200-42225 • Tye, Michael
Meets MW 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 214
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This course examines the relationship of the mind to the body. Topics covered include whether a machine could think, the Turing Test for intelligence, the reduction of the mind to the brain, whether consciousness can be captured materialistically, and the nature of persons and personal identity.We'll be thinking about immaterial spirits, futuristic computers and robots, Martians who behave like us but who have an internal structure very different from ours, brains in vats. We will consider whether these strange characters have thoughts and feelings. The point is not to consider bizarre cases just for the sake of it, but to see what light we can shed on our own nature as beings with mental lives.

PHL 304 • Contemporary Moral Problems

42230-42255 • Krecz, Charles
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:00AM WAG 101
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An introduction to ethics by way of an examination of a number of contemporary moral problems, including problems of abortion, sexual morality, capital punishment, pornography and hate speech.

PHL 304 • Contemporary Moral Problems

42260-42285 • Krecz, Charles
Meets MW 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 101
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An introduction to ethics by way of an examination of a number of contemporary moral problems, including problems of abortion, sexual morality, capital punishment, pornography and hate speech.

PHL 304 • Contemporary Moral Problems

42290 • Ingram, Andrew
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM WAG 308
show description

This course serves as a basic introduction to moral theory and a look at moral issues of current relevance. No prior knowledge of philosophy or ethical theory is assumed. We will begin by covering some basic approaches to thinking about what makes people and things good or bad and actions right or wrong. These will give us the tools to think about the concrete problems we will cover in most of the course. These problems include affirmative action, criminal justice, environmentalism/conservation, and global poverty. Finally, the end of the course will take an abstract turn to consider whether there are objective answers to moral questions.

For some topics, a special feature of the course will be the use of laws and Supreme Court cases as reading assignments. If you are thinking about a legal career, you will have a sampling of what work in law school and practice is like from reading these sources.

PHL 305 • Intro To Philos Of Religion

42295-42305 • Phillips, Stephen
Meets MW 2:00PM-3:00PM WAG 302
(also listed as CTI 310, R S 305)
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An examination of principal issues in contemporary philosophy of religion with special attention to religious pluralism. The views and arguments of Western theologians and philosophers will be taken up along with claims and concepts growing out of Eastern religions (Buddhism and Hinduism, in particular). Special topics include different views of the nature of a Divine Reality, arguments of rational theology, mysticism, and the theological problem of evil.

PHL 310 • Knowledge And Reality

42310 • Assaturian, Sosseh
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM WAG 308
show description

This course is an advanced introduction to contemporary epistemology and metaphysics. In the first half, we will focus on metaphysics, and we will deal with questions about the basic building blocks of reality. From there, we will shift our focus to epistemology, or the philosophical study of knowledge.

Topics to be discussed include: What things exist? What explains the fact that apples and fire engines have the same colour? What is causation? Is time real? What is knowledge? How is knowledge different from true belief? Is it possible to know anything at all?

PHL 312 • Introduction To Logic

42375 • Hankinson, Robert
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 302
show description

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; ISBN: 978-0-915144-50-1);


5 homeworks (10% each); 2 in class exams (25% each)

PHL 312 • Introduction To Logic

42380 • Haderlie, Derek
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM WAG 201
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In this course, we will study deductive reasoning. We will introduce and study formal systems for representing and evaluating sentences and arguments. Specifically, we will study sentential logic and predicate logic with quantifiers. We will also briefly introduce modal logic and deontic logic. No background in logic is required for this course.

PHL 313 • Introductory Symbolic Logic

42385-42395 • Barker, Matthias
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM WAG 302
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This course is an introduction to deductive symbolic logic. We’ll study formal languages, use these languages to precisely represent sentences, and become proficient at paraphrasing English sentences in formal terms. We’ll also investigate algorithms for evaluating the logical validity of arguments and learn about some of the surprising discoveries logicians have made concerning the tasks that such algorithms can and cannot perform. Note that the course carries the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) flag.  

PHL 313Q • Logic And Scientific Reasoning

42400-42410 • Dever, Joshua
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 201
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This course is an introduction to the use of formal logical techniques in the analysis of arguments and texts, with an eye to the applicability of such formal techniques in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. We will study formal propositional logic as a tool for extracting information from definite-information premises; modal logic as a tool for modeling reasoning situations involving multiple agents or information sources; probability and probabilistic decision theory as tools for reasoning under uncertainty; and game theory as a tool for making theoretical and practical decisions in multi-agent situations.

PHL 316K • Science And Philosophy

42415 • Juhl, Cory
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 308
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In this course we will examine some questions and problems that pertain to both science and philosophy.  Some of these questions pertain to science in general, such as the justification of induction or of logic, interpretations of probability, the nature of scientific explanation, or whether theories should be accepted as true versus merely useful instruments for predicting observations. Others pertain to particular scientific theories such as quantum mechanics, computational theories of mind, or evolution.  We will try to understand fundamental aspects of science and what it reveals about reality by thinking carefully about questions that are not seem to be straighforwardly answerable by appeal to scientific observations. 



TBD (3/15/17)



A mid-term exam (40%) and a final exam (50%).   Class participation will account for 10% of the grade.

PHL 317K • Intro To Philos Of The Arts

42420 • Blaesi, Zachary
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM MEZ 1.306
show description

While some of us may never have seen a play, attended a classical concert, or stepped foot inside a museum, it’s likely that almost all of us have seen a movie in the last year alone. But how many of us have stopped to think about the medium of film from a philosophical perspective? What is a philosophical perspective, anyway?

The purpose of this course is to get you asking philosophical questions and to help you develop the skills needed to address them. To this end, we will look at a number of central issues in the philosophy of art, with special focus on the medium of film. What makes a film a work of art? Is a film worse off as a work of art for having some negative moral impact? Is it possible to fear the characters we see in horror movies? Is film itself a way of doing philosophy?

In asking these questions, we will investigate a number of substantive works in the philosophy of art. By examining philosophical positions, we will both come to grasp what it is to do philosophy and learn how to do philosophy ourselves. We will also work toward developing a number of practical philosophical skills, such as:

- Understanding and expositing philosophical positions
- Critically evaluating arguments and viewpoints
- Communicating complex ideas in a clear and economical manner

You can also expect to develop self-awareness for the movies you love, the movies you hate, and why you bother watching movies in the first place.

PHL 318 • Introduction To Ethics

42430-42440 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:00AM WAG 302
show description

What sort of life should I live? What kind of person should I be? What sort of actions am I obligated to perform? Such questions are in the province of ethics. They ask not how you have lived, or who you are, or what you have done, but how you ought to live, what sort of person you should be, and what actions you are obligated to perform. Normative (or ethical) theory—the topic of this course—attempts to provide systematic answers to these questions. You may be wondering why we need such theories when the answers may initially seem obvious. Perhaps you feel as though you should bring about as much happiness for yourself as possible even if it means ignoring the happiness of others. But this would be to neglect the very things that make one happy; namely, friendship and other valuable relationships that require for their existence and maintenance caring about others and their interests, as well as acting on their behalf even when it is difficult or inconvenient to do so. Thus, in ethics we often find that what looks like an easy question to answer, raises puzzles instead. Normative theorists set out to resolve these puzzles. They also offer comprehensive ethical theories that, when applied to specific cases, specify a verdict about what one ought to do in that situation. In this course, we will critically evaluate competing theories, as well as asking questions about the nature of ethics itself.

PHL 318K • Intro To Political Philosophy

42445 • Gubler, Simone
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 214
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In this course, we will go hunting for the tools that we need to understand the world as it is, and, in so doing, gather and fashion some of the tools that we need to change it. We will read, think and talk about utopias, dystopias, power, property, revolution, sovereignty and war. We will walk side by side with some of the great chroniclers of the human political experience - with Frantz Fanon in colonized Algeria, with Hannah Arendt in totalitarian Germany, with Thucydides in democratic Athens. We will argue with each other, and with a rich cast of ghosts, about the meanings of freedom, equality, justice and rights. Some of us will storm the Bastille. Some will defend it. We will all, and I say this truthfully, be convinced that there is a place in political life for lying. And through all of this, in each of our inquiries, we will encounter insights into ourselves. For we are, as Aristotle says, political animals. And the work of this course will be the work of learning a little more about what that does - and might - mean.

PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge

42450 • Leon, Jeffrey
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 308
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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 322 • Science And The Modern World

42455-42465 • Juhl, Cory
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:00PM WAG 302
show description

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 323K • Metaphysics

42470 • Koons, Robert
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM WAG 208
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An examination of the classic problems and questions of metaphysics (change, composition, time, space, existence, possibility, causation, universals), using the tools of contemporary analytic philosophy.

PHL 323M • Philosophy Of Mind

42475 • Buchanan, Lawrence
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 208
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This course will focus on philosophical issues concerning the mind. Topics to be discussed will include, but will not be limited to, the folllowing: (1) the relationship between the mental and the physical, (2) the nature and function of consciousness, and (3) how our minds represents the world.  

Required Text: Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings, (ed.) David Chalmers. Oxford University Press 2002. Any additonal required readings will be posted on our course Canvas Site.

Grading: One 7-8 page term paper (worth 35% of the final grade); two in-class tests (30% each): Participation and attendance (5%). 

PHL 325K • Ethical Theories

42480 • Evans, Matthew
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM WAG 210
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Nearly all of us accept that there are things we morally ought to do, and other things we morally ought not to do. But only a few of us take the time to ask ourselves, in a serious and systematic way, what is it about these things that makes them the ones we morally ought, or ought not, to do. The aim of this class is to explore and evaluate the full range of different possible answers we might want to give to this question.

PHL 325L • Business, Ethics, And Publ Pol

42485 • Krecz, Charles
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 302
show description

This course is mainly an introduction to a number of ethical problems that arise in the world of business, including problems regarding economic justice, corporate responsibility, advertising, and consumer protection. We will consider general ethical theories as well as specific business ethical issues.

PHL 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

42490 • Leon, Jeffrey
Meets MWF 3:00PM-4:00PM GAR 0.102
show description

PHL 325M

Jeff Leon, Ph.D.



The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern medicine and public policy. We look at several approaches to ethics and several areas of medicine to gain insights into medical ethics. This course carries the ethics and leadership flag. Consequently, a substantial portion of the grade will involve ethical issues and reasoning.



Steinbock, Arras, London (eds.), Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine, eighth edition (McGraw-Hill, 2013).


Evaluation (+/- Grades will be recorded):

Five Quizzes: 10% total for all five.

3 Midterm Exams: 20% each.

Final Exam: 30%.

PHL 327 • Philosophy Of Race And Gender

42495 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM GAR 3.116
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The concepts of justice, rights, and equality have traditionally been the centerpiece of ethical and political theorizing. But are such concepts too “thin” to do the work theorists have traditionally tasked them with? A relatively recent trend—going back at least to Karl Marx’s emphasis on socioeconomic class structures—proposes a new framework in which identity is central to ethical and political theorizing. People often describe themselves or “identify” as members of a certain group: I am… working class, trans, latinx, black, disabled, conservative, a woman, and so forth. In normative theorizing, must we take these categories seriously? Here’s one reason you might think so. Social and political institutions should promote the general welfare, yet if this collective is not homogeneous, but composed of individuals who are differentially affected by our institutions according to their identity, then insofar as traditional political and ethical theories fail to recognize the moral relevance of these differences, they are incapable of pinpointing and critiquing when these institutions fall short of the ideal. “Identity politics,” as it has come to be known, promises to do better. It too, however, faces its own set of challenges. What is it to belong to a certain race or to be a certain gender or to have a certain sexuality? Once we address this and other foundational questions, much work needs to be done in fleshing out the normative implications of this framework. This course utilizes an interdisciplinary approach consulting biological, historical, philosophical, and psychological perspectives in elaborating and evaluating this alternative.



Bernasconi, R., and Lott, L.T. eds. (2000). The idea of race. Indianapolis: Hackett.
Roberts, Dorthy (2011). Fatal Invention. The New Press.
Haslanger  “Future Genders? Future Races?” Moral Issues in Global Perspectives, Vol 2.



Paper #1 (draft) 15%
Paper #1 (final) 20%
Paper #2 (draft) 15%
Paper #2 (final) 20%

PHL 329K • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

42500-42505 • Evans, Matthew
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM WAG 302
(also listed as C C 348)
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Western philosophy owes its birth to the ancient Greeks. In their care many of the fundamental questions in ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, and the philosophy of mind were raised for the first time and developed in striking and sophisticated ways. We will try to determine which questions they asked, what their answers were, and whether we should accept their answers as correct even now. Readings will be drawn primarily from the works of Plato and Aristotle, but will also include material from some important Pre-Platonic figures.

PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

42510-42515 • Hankinson, Robert
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 420
show description


The period of European philosophy standardly described as ‘early modern’ covers the 17th and 18th centuries. It was a time of great advances in natural science (Galileo, Kepler, Hooke, Huygens, Boyle, Newton, Cavendish, Priestley, Lavoisier), and considerable social and political ferment, including the English, the American, and the French revolutions, and the development of liberal political philosophy in the work of Locke in England and the enlightenment philosophes (Voltaire and Rousseau) in France. It was also a period of vigorous debate and development in more abstract philosophy. The ground-breaking work of Descartes, which placed the project of developing a secure epistemology in the face of a rigorous construction of philosophical skepticism, which laid the foundations of what we now characterize as continental rationalism (a tradition in which the great Franco-German philosopher and mathematician Leibniz is also a major figure), insisted that all genuine knowledge must be founded on secure truths knowable with complete certainty on the basis of rational intuition alone. This provoked a strong reaction from the so-called ‘British empiricists’ – Locke, Berkeley and Hume – who all, albeit in very different ways, insisted on the primacy of sense-experience and what can be inferred from it. Finally, at the end of the 18th century, Immanuel Kant sought to create a system that married what he saw to be the correct insights of both camps, a philosophy he called ‘transcendental idealism’. This course will attempt to give an overview of these developments, concentrating on the following questions (among others): How if at all is knowledge possible, and what sorts of things can be known? Can the existence of God be proved, and if so what role does such a proof play in the establishment of knowledge? What is the nature of the mind and what is its connection with (material) reality? Is there indeed even such a thing as material reality? What is the nature of our understanding of the laws of cause and effect? How far, an under what circumstances, do we have free will?


Grading Policy: 2 in-class tests (25% each); 1 term paper (40%); participation in discussion-sections (10%)


Text: Modern Philosophy: An Anthology of Primary Sources 2nd edn. Eds. R.Ariew and E.Watkins; Hackett Publishing Company. ISBN: 978-087220-978-7

PHL 332 • Philosophy Of Language

42520 • Sainsbury, Richard
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CAL 200
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“Communication” is everywhere (one billiard ball communicates motion to another, ants communicate by chemical messages), and in many or even most cases, it is not linguistic. So what’s special about linguistic communication? Although non-human animals cannot literally talk, they can certainly communicate. Might their way of communicating be essentially language-like? If not, does this mean that there’s a discontinuity in evolutionary development?

 As in many philosophical discussions, the presumption of human exceptionalism comes to the fore. Does our capacity for language-use make us special, setting us apart from “the brutes”? Is there a “language instinct”, and if so what bearing does this have on whether humans are special?

 Philosophers have taken different approaches to the nature of linguistic communication. We will consider the very different accounts made famous by Paul Grice and by Donald Davidson, and the relevance of Chomsky’s insistence on syntax. These considerations will lead us into questions about the nature of reference and truth, and these in turn into questions about how language can be used in fictional contexts, and how these relate to our emotions.



Main texts will include portions of the following, together with some more recent papers (available online):

A. Martinich and D. Sosa (eds) The Philosophy of Language

Stephen Pinker The Language Instinct



Numerical grades for essays and the term paper are based on philosophical quality: clarity of expression, appreciation of alternative views, persuasiveness of arguments. A presentation to the class is a required element. Failure to attend can result in deductions. (See Canvas for full details).When all the numerical grades are in, I will draw the letter grade boundaries, using decorated letters.


PHL 344K • Intermediate Symbolic Logic

42525 • Litland, Jon
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SZB 278
(also listed as M 344K)
show description

This course focuses on some of the most important results in 20th century metalogic: the study of logical systems, their powers and limitations. We will prove the completeness of classical predicate logic, the undecidability of the halting problem, the undecidability of classical predicate logic, the undefinability of truth,  the incompleteness of arithmetic and the unprovability of consistency.

While knowledge of particular mathematical results will not be presupposed the course is technically demanding and the students are well advised to have some familiarity with mathematical proofs.

PHL 347 • Philosophy Of Law

42530-42540 • Smith, Tara
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 201
show description

This course will examine fundamental questions about the nature, authority, and proper application of law. We will begin by considering the purpose and the authority of a legal system. What function is the law to fill? What does the ideal of the Rule of Law demand, and what is the role of a constitution in securing that ideal? Must laws meet certain moral criteria in order to carry genuine authority?


The second and third units will concentrate on questions concerning the application of law in the judicial system. Unit 2 will focus on judicial review – specifically, the methods by which courts should interpret the law and reason about the law in order to resolve disputes concerning law’s proper application in particular cases. What constitutes inappropriate judicial “activism?” What constitutes inappropriate passivism? We will consider several competing theories, such as those that urge adherence to lawmakers’ original intent, to text, to moral principles, popular will, and precedent.


Finally, Unit 3 will focus on juries. What, properly, is their role in the administration of justice? What are the reasons for having juries (as opposed to judges or other government officials) reach verdicts and determine sentences? How should juries be constituted? Is jury nullification ever a justifiable practice?




Grades will be determined on the basis of three exams, a paper, and a few brief written homework assignments.


Readings will be taken from:


Jeffrey Abramson, We the Jury

Antonin Scalia, A Matter of Interpretation

Possibly: John Arthur & William H. Shaw, Readings in the Philosophy of Law, 5th edition 

Possibly: a few additional readings, either in a course packet, posted as pdfs, or available online

PHL 354 • German Scholars: US Exile

42545 • Arens, Katherine
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GEA 114
(also listed as AMS 321, EUS 346, GSD 360)
show description

German-speaking scholars and professionals lost their worlds because of the 20th century's two great European Wars, but Europe's loss was the US's gain.  From philosophers, psychoanalysts, and sociologists through theorists of art, film, and power -- between the end of the First World War (1918) and the aftermath of the Second World Warm these scholars and professionals at the top of their intellectual games were displaced, deported, or sent into exile on a diasporic course.  No small number of them ended in the US.

This course will combine history with the study of disciplinary philosophies  in order to pursue the problem of what forced intellectual migration can imply for the disciplines to which these scholars belonged.  What is the responsibility, for example, of a scholar like Adorno when he brings a study from Weimar Germany and uses it to help support the myth of Hitler as a father figure, or like Siegfried Kracauer, who theorizes representations of the "mass ornament" in films to write From Caligari to Hitler,  or of Heidegger's followers who refuse to look Nazi complicity in the face? Or, looking back to WW I, what it meant to claim your work as the product of a national school of thought, when the nation that It purportedly belonged to did not exist before 1918 and had not educated or sponsored you? 

In pursuing these examples, students will learn not only new ways of reading philosophy and theories that were central to the 20th century and remain viable today, but also how to evaluate the costs for individuals caught between history, exile, and intellectual work. 


Readings will include:

Heidegger, Letter on Humanism

Erik Erikson, Identity and the Life Style

 Kracauer: From Caligari to Hitler

Arendt:  Origins of Totalitarianism

Adorno, et al.;  Authoritarian Personality

Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man

Cassirer, Myth of the State

Neurath, 1937. Die neue Enzyklopaedie des wissenschaftlichen Empirismus = .

---. The Departmentalization of Unified Science', Erkenntnis VII, pp. 240–46

---. 1940. Argumentation and action.

---. 1941. The danger of careless terminology

Joel Isaac, Working Knowledge:  Making the Human Sciences from Parsons to Kuhn (2012)

Klemperer:  LTI:  Language of the Third Reich

Neumann, ed.  Secret Reports on Nazi Germany.

Claus-Dieter Krohn and Rita Kimber.  Intellectuals in Exile: Refugee Scholars and the New School for Social Research

Martin Jay, Permanent Exiles

Franz L. Neumann and Peter Hayes.  Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism, 1933-1944



  • 4 précis situating texts into historical context to address the covert ethical / valuative assumptions of theory = 4 x 5% of course grades = 20 % of grade
  • 1 short essay (5- 8 pp) analyzing a selection of the readings as representing both an intellectual and an ethical problem = 20 % of Grade (will be done in groups)
  • 1 essay for the defense or prosecution of an immigration trial:  combing historical research in the history of a particular discipline with a systematic case for guilt or innocence, done in phases:  10% of grade= abstract/proposal;  20 % for bibliography and "history of" section, and 20% for the final essay presenting a case.

PHL 354 • Origins Of Liberalism

42550 • Martinich, Aloysius
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 308
(also listed as CTI 335)
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Liberal democracy is roughly the theory that individual human beings are free and equal. Freedom and equality are typically connected with the rights of individuals. Key concepts include liberty, democracy, the social contract, and the nature of authority and obligation to governments.

This course is interdisciplinary. It will cover the history, religion, and political philosophy of Stuart England (seventeenth-century England), the century of the English Civil War, the Commonwealth, The Restoration, the Exclusion Crisis, the Glorious Revolution, and the English Bill of Rights.

Thomas Hobbes's LEVIATHON and John Locke's TWO TREATISES OF GOVERNMENT will be discussed in detail along with other notable works by republican theorists, radical democrats, and divine right theorists.



Thomas Hobbes, LEVIATHON


Bucholz and Keys, EARLY MODERN ENGLAND 2nd ed

A. P. Martinich, Philosophical Writing



Class participation and assignments - 25%

Test (about October 15) - 20%

Final Examination (comprehensive) - 35%

Essay (due last class day of semester) - 20%

PHL 356 • Yoga As Philos And Practice

42555 • Phillips, Stephen
Meets MWF 3:00PM-4:00PM WAG 308
(also listed as ANS 372, R S 341G)
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This course surveys the origins of yogic practices in early Indian civilization and traces the development of Yoga philosophies through the Upanishads, BHAGAVAD GITA, YOGA-SUTRA, Buddhist, Jaina, and tantric texts, as well as works of neo-Vedanta. We shall try to identify a set of claims common to all classical advocates of yoga. We shall look at both classical and modern defenses and criticisms, especially of alleged metaphysical and psychological underpinnings of the practices. No previous background in Indian philosophy is necessary, but students with no previous course work in philosophy or in psychology should contact the instructor.

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42330-42340 • Leon, Jeffrey
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM PHR 2.114
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Problems of Knowledge and Valuation



Jeff Leon


What is moral philosophy? This course is an examination of ethical theory through major works in philosophical history, including Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, Hobbes’ Leviathan, Kant’s Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Mill’s Utilitarianism, and Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols. We will examine the nature of evaluation, prescription, and virtue; presuppositions in the study of value; and the relationships between ethics and other areas of philosophy. We will conclude with some recent pieces to help understand what some contemporary philosophical ethicists are up to.

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42360-42370 • Sainsbury, Richard
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PHR 2.114
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Moral theories and problems
The aim in this semester is to apply some ethical theories to current ethical problems The main theories come from David Hume, John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant. The problems include whether we have duties to people far away in space (e.g. sub-Saharan Africa) or time (i.e. future generations — climate change is relevant here); whether we have duties to non-humans, whether certain common practices, like abortion and the death penalty, are ethically permissible, and if so whether this has implications for their proper legal status.
We will try to improve our views on these problems and consider how theory and practice can interact constructively. Course materials and work will be channeled through Canvas. Students will be invited to give input concerning which additional applied topics to discuss.



Peter Singer's Practical Ethics provides good material on the more applied part of the course. We will also look at the original texts of Mill, Hume and Kant, and various contemporary articles.



Numerical grades for essays and the term paper are based on philosophical quality: clarity of expression, appreciation of alternative views, persuasiveness of arguments, knowledge and understanding of the relevant literature. When all the numerical grades are in, I will draw the decorated letter grade boundaries.

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42345-42355 • Proops, Ian
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 302
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Course description (Fall 2017)

This course examines some of the central problems of philosophy, drawing on both contemporary readings and historical texts. Students will be introduced to philosophy’s “tool kit” as well as to some of its “greatest hits.” Topics include: Arguments for and against the existence of God; human free will; moral responsibility; ethical theory (including issues of race and feminism); issues in applied ethics (for example, Is there a moral right to own a gun? What are the reasonable limits on free speech?). Metaphysics (including, for example, time travel) and some issues in the theory of knowledge (including the question whether we know we are not living in a computer simulation). There are no prerequisites for this class.

Grading Policy

The final grade will be based on four components: (1) section attendance and participation (there is no class-participation requirement) (15%); (2) a forty-five-minute in-class test in the final class (six questions will be assigned one week in advance; students will answer three in the test, which three being revealed on the day of the test) (25%); (3) one short paper (four pages, double-spaced, 12 point) due around mid-term (25%); and (4) a longer paper (five-six pages, double-spaced, 12 point; 35%) due at the end of the semester.  Note: plus and minus grades will be awarded.

Required Text

Reason and Responsibility, 16th edition, Joel Feinberg and Russ-Shafer Landau, eds. (Wadsworth).A small number of further articles, not included in this anthology, will be assigned.

Note: this edition of the text (the 16th) is required. Earlier editions will *not* be suitable. Also, this text will be used only in the Fall semester; in the Spring we will use another.

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42315-42325 • Dunlop, Katherine
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM BUR 130
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This semester we will consider ethical theory in the context of four classic texts: Plato's _Gorgias_, Aristotle's _Nicomachean Ethics_, David Hume's _Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals_, and Immanuel Kant's _Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals_.  We will consider these philosophers' views of well-being and ethical conduct towards others.  A main aim of the course will be understand each philosopher's account of virtue.



_Gorgias_, Plato; _Nicomachean Ethics_, Aristotle; _Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals_, Hume; _Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals_, Kant.



The course will be letter-graded.  Grading will be based mainly on written assignments (essays and in-class exams).  Attendance and participation will factor into the course grade.