Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

Robert H Kane


Professor EmeritusPhD, Yale

Robert H Kane

Contact

  • Phone: 512-573-5099
  • Office: WAG 225
  • Office Hours: By Appointment
  • Campus Mail Code: C3500

Interests


Free Will, Moral Responsibility, Ethics, Contemporary Moral Problems, Philosophy of Religion, Mind & Action, Knowledge & Valuation, Ideas & Social Change in the 21st Century, Intro to Philosophy

Biography


University Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy Emeritus (Ph. D. Yale University) He is author of seven books and sixty articles on the philosophy of mind and action, ethical theory and social ethics, the theory of value and philosophy of religion, including Free Will and Values (1985), Through the Moral Maze (1994), The Significance of Free Will (1996), A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will (2005). Editor of The Oxford Handbook of Free Will (2002) among other anthologies and a multiple contributor to the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. His lecture series, The Quest for Meaning: Values, Ethics and the Modern Experience, appears in The Great Courses on Tape Series (The Teaching Company, chantilly, Virginia). He is generally regarded as one of the world's leading defenders of an incompatibilist and libertarian view of free will. The Significance of Free Will was the first annual winner of the Robert W. Hamilton Faculty Book Award. He has been the recipient of fifteen major teaching awards at the Unviersity of Texas and was named in 1995 as one the first twelve members of the University's Academy of Distinguished Teachers. His latest work on wisdom, values and ethics entitled Ethics and the Quest for Wisdom. is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. Listings: Marquis' Who's Who in the World (Millennial Edition).

Courses


PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

43640-43715 • Fall 2007
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:00PM WEL 1.316

A survey of principal topics and problems in areas such as ethics, theory of knowledge, and philosophy of religion. 

PHL 375M • Values, Ethics, Responsibil-W

44380 • Fall 2007
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 112

Topic 1: Philosophy and Feminism

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

43330-43405 • Fall 2006
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:00PM WEL 1.316

A survey of principal topics and problems in areas such as ethics, theory of knowledge, and philosophy of religion. 

PHL 375M • Values, Ethics, Responsibil-W

44190 • Fall 2006
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM CAL 21

Topic 1: Philosophy and Feminism

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41440-41475 • Fall 2005
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:00PM WEL 2.246

A survey of principal topics and problems in areas such as ethics, theory of knowledge, and philosophy of religion. 

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41020-41055 • Fall 2004
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:00PM WEL 2.246

A survey of principal topics and problems in areas such as ethics, theory of knowledge, and philosophy of religion. 

PHL 387 • Reason, Responsibility, Ethics

41900 • Fall 2004
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 210

Past topics include contemporary ethical theory; theories of justice; philosophy of law; social contract theories; political philosophy. 

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

38650-38685 • Spring 2003
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:00PM CMA A2.320

A survey of principal topics and problems in areas such as ethics, theory of knowledge, and philosophy of religion. 

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

38445-38480 • Spring 2002
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:00PM UTC 2.112A

A survey of principal topics and problems in areas such as ethics, theory of knowledge, and philosophy of religion. 

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge And Valuatn

38945-38960 • Spring 2002
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM UTC 1.146

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. 

PHL 387 • Ethical Theory

40495 • Fall 2001
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 210

Past topics include contemporary ethical theory; theories of justice; philosophy of law; social contract theories; political philosophy. 

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge And Valuatn

38180-38195 • Spring 2000
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM UTC 4.134

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. 

PHL 375M • Val/Eth/Free Will: Cont Iss-W

38645 • Spring 2000
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 308

Topic 1: Philosophy and Feminism

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