Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

Robert L Causey


Professor EmeritusPhD, University of California, Berkeley

Contact

Interests


Logic, philosophy of science, artificial intelligence

Biography


Causey taught at the University of Texas from 1967 until retiring in 2006. He has been Chairman of the Philosophy Department (1980-88) and was a co-founder of the U.T. Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He has served on the Editorial Board of Philosophy of Science, on the Governing Board of the Philosophy of Science Association, and has done consulting work on applications of logic and of artificial intelligence programming. He is author of Unity of Science, 1977,  Logic, Sets, and Recursion, 1994, 2nd Edition 2006, is a contributor to the multi-media publication, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Expert Systems, Gordon Novak, Jr. (ed.), 1988, and has many publications in philosophical and scientific journals.  He has been a member of the American Philosophical Association (APA) Committee on Computer Use in Philosophy and was the first Web Page Reviews Editor for the APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers.  His research has included mathematical models in the theory of measurement, the logical structure of scientific theories and explanations, and defeasible reasoning in artificial intelligence.  Causey’s main webpage is:  Robert L. Causey Homepage  .

Courses


PHL 323M • Philosophy Of Mind-W

39260 • Spring 2003
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 214

What is a mind? How does it relate to a person's brain? How does it relate to their body and the external
world? Could a robot or a computer be conscious? What is it to experience a pain? How does the mental fit
into the physical universe? Philosophical thinking about the mind has been focused on questions like these for
hundreds of years.
In this class we will consider some of the most important historical answers offered to the questions above as
well as the views of many contemporary philosophers of mind. Specifically, we'll look at theories like dualism,
the identity theory, functionalism, and others. The goal is for each student to be able to articulate the basic
issues examined, to describe several possible responses to those issues, and to evaluate those positions
critically. This course requires active participation, including reading assigned material before each class
meeting and participation in class discussions.
The objectives are:
(i) To raise the student's understanding of the complex nature and historical background of issues in
the philosophy of mind, and
(ii) To develop critical thinking and enable students to communicate in an intelligent manner on these
issues.

PHL 323K • Metaphysics-W

39210 • Spring 2002
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAR 105

This course is an overview of some of the central topics in metaphysics.
Metaphysics, generally speaking, is the branch of philosophy concerned
with the nature of reality; metaphysicians seek an understanding of the
fundamental sorts of things that constitute the world, as well as of the
structure of the world itself.
We will begin by focusing on issues surrounding one particular sort of
thing: persons. In particular, we will be considering different views
regarding what it is to be a person and for a person to persist through
change. This will lead to more general discussions of the nature and
structure of time and the persistence of things through temporal change.
From there we’ll take up the issue of composition. In particular, we’ll be
concerned with the following question: Under what circumstances do
some things (parts) compose another thing (whole)? We’ll then turn to the
problems of universals and individuation – how do we account for (i)
similarities among distinct things and (ii) the distinctness of exactly
similar things? We’ll conclude the course with a discussion of possible
worlds.

PHL 323K • Metaphysics-W

39965 • Fall 2000
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CBA 4.326

This course is an overview of some of the central topics in metaphysics.
Metaphysics, generally speaking, is the branch of philosophy concerned
with the nature of reality; metaphysicians seek an understanding of the
fundamental sorts of things that constitute the world, as well as of the
structure of the world itself.
We will begin by focusing on issues surrounding one particular sort of
thing: persons. In particular, we will be considering different views
regarding what it is to be a person and for a person to persist through
change. This will lead to more general discussions of the nature and
structure of time and the persistence of things through temporal change.
From there we’ll take up the issue of composition. In particular, we’ll be
concerned with the following question: Under what circumstances do
some things (parts) compose another thing (whole)? We’ll then turn to the
problems of universals and individuation – how do we account for (i)
similarities among distinct things and (ii) the distinctness of exactly
similar things? We’ll conclude the course with a discussion of possible
worlds.

PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge-W

38380 • Spring 2000
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 309

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.

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