Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

Richard M Sainsbury


ProfessorDPhil, Oxford

Richard M Sainsbury

Contact

Interests


Philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, Frege, Russell, Hume

Biography


Mark Sainsbury works principally in philosophy of language. He is the author of the volume on Russell (1979, pb 1985) in the Routledge "Arguments of the Philosophers" series, and also Paradoxes (Cambridge, 1988; 2nd ed. 1995, 3rd ed. 2009), Logical Forms (Blackwell, 1991, 2nd ed. 2000), Departing From Frege (2002), Reference Without Referents (2005, pb 2007), Fiction and Fictionalism (2009) and, with Michael Tye Seven Puzzles of Thought and How to Solve Them: An Originalist Theory of Concepts (2012, pn 2013). His main current project is a book provisionally entitled How to Think About Unicorns. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of King's College London, and an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was formerly Susan Stebbing Professor of Philosophy at King's College London and, from 1990-2000, editor of Mind.

Courses


PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42320-42330 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 420

Moral theories and problems

The aim in this semester is to consider some classical philosophical theories of morals (including those propounded by David Hume (f. 1750), Immanuel Kant (f. 1780), and John Stuart Mill (f. 1860), and apply them to some current moral problems (for example, the death penalty, animal rights, our duties to others). 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 applied topics to discuss.

 

Readings

The main text will be Steven Cahn and Peter Markie (eds): Ethics: History, Theory and Contemporary Issues, Sixth Edition (2015). Everyone should also read A. Martinich's Philosophical Writing (preferably 3rd or 4th edition) within the first month of the course, though it will not be discussed in class. Background Reading: Jostein Gaarder: Sophie's World. This is a history of philosophy in the form of a novel. Specially useful for orienting the philosophers and topics of our work within a broader framework. Peter Singer: Practical Ethics provides good supplementary material on the more applied part of the course.

 

Grading Policy

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 332 • Philosophy Of Language

42500 • Fall 2016
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CAL 200

“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.

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

41550-41560 • Spring 2016
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 302

We will study two classic texts written about a century apart: Descartes’ Meditations and Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. The mains themes are: 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 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 discussion of miracles, and his presentation of the problem of evil.

PHL 382 • Mind-Body Problem

41810 • Spring 2016
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 316

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

Course Description

We’ll begin with some classic anti-physicalist arguments and the case for taking a non-physicalist view of conscious states. We’ll then lay out how this view seems to have the undesirable consequence that conscious states are epiphenomenal. Next we’ll look carefully at issues of constitution and causation. Having done that, we’ll present a new solution to the mind-body problem. Along the way, we’ll discuss the explanatory gap, the phenomenal concept strategy and Russellian monism.

Grading

In class presentation plus short paper plus final paper.

Texts

No set text. Readings of classic essays -- all available online.

This seminar satisties the M&E requirement.

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

41430-41440 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 420

Moral theories and problems The aim in this semester is to consider some classical philosophical theories of morals (including those propounded by David Hume (f. 1750), Immanuel Kant (f. 1780), and John Stuart Mill (f. 1860), and apply them to some current moral problems (for example, the death penalty, animal rights, our duties to others). 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. 

PHL 332 • Philosophy Of Language-Phl Maj

41650 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 304

What is linguistic communication? “Communication” can be used very widely (one billiard ball communicates motion to another, ants communicate by chemical messages), and in many or even most cases, communication is not linguistic.

The course approaches the task of finding out what’s special to linguistic communication by considering whether non-human animals are capable of language. We’ll examine the language-like achievements of parrots, dogs, chimps and some other animals, in order to consider whether they are genuine language-users.

We will then consider how linguistic communication has been described by philosophers, notably Paul Grice and Donald Davidson. (They take very different approaches.) Linguistic communication as Grice defined it involves very complex intentions on the part of speakers, intentions of a complexity that probably put this beyond the reach of non-humans, thereby creating an apparent discontinuity in evolutionary development.

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

41750-41760 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 302

We will study two classic texts written about a century apart: Descartes’ Meditations and Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. The mains themes are: 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 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 discussion of miracles, and his presentation of the problem of evil.

PHL 382 • Intentionality

42135 • Spring 2015
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 312

PHL 382 Intentionality, Intensionality and Nonexistence

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required. 

Course Description

Intentionality is aboutness, a property of (for example) mental states, sentences and maps. Intensionality is a feature or cluster of features of some idioms, like thinking about, wanting, fearing. Standard marks are that substitution of identicals may fail (even if Jim is one’s nemesis one may long to see Jim without longing to see one’s nemesis), that truth does not require existence (Ponce de León searched for the fountain of youth even though it did not exist) and indefiniteness (one may want a beer without there being a particular beer one wants). Intensional idioms seems specially apt for describing intentional states. Both intentionality and intensionality highlight the thought that we may need to recognize nonexistents.

The seminar will include some background in philosophy of language (especially in connection with propositional attitude ascriptions) and will also look (superficially) at some of the murky history of opinions on the topic going back to Brentano, Meinong, Twardowsky and Husserl. The main focus will be on more current views, and the intentionality of perception will receive particular emphasis.

 

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42825-42835 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 201

Moral theories and problems The aim in this semester is to consider some classical philosophical theories of morals (including those propounded by David Hume (f. 1750), Immanuel Kant (f. 1780), and John Stuart Mill (f. 1860), and apply them to some current moral problems (for example, the death penalty, animal rights, our duties to others). 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.

 

List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

The main text will be Steven Cahn and Peter Markie (eds): Ethics: History, Theory and Contemporary Issues, Fifth Edition (2011). Everyone should also read A. Martinich's Philosophical Writing (preferably 2nd edition) within the first month of the course, though it will not be discussed in class. Background Reading: Jostein Gaarder: Sophie's World. This is a history of philosophy in the form of a novel. Specially useful for orienting the philosophers and topics of our work within a broader framework. Peter Singer: Practical Ethics provides good supplementary material on the more applied part of the course.

 

Proposed Grading Policy:

Numerical grades for essays and the term paper are based on philosophical quality: clarity of expression, appreciation of alternative views, persuasiveness of arguments. Failure to attend can result in deductions; extra grade points may be earned by a presentation to the class  (see Canvas for full details).When all the numerical grades are in, the TA and I will draw the letter grade boundaries. Normally the lowest A– is around 87 marks out of 100. 

PHL 332 • Philosophy Of Language-Phl Maj

43075 • Fall 2014
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 305

What is linguistic communication? “Communication” can be used very widely (one billiard ball communicates motion to another, ants communicate by chemical messages), and in many or even most cases, communication is not linguistic.

The course approaches the task of finding out what’s special to linguistic communication by considering whether non-human animals are capable of language. We’ll examine the language-like achievements of parrots, dogs, chimps and some other animals, in order to consider whether they are genuine language-users.

We will then consider how linguistic communication has been described by philosophers, notably Paul Grice and Donald Davidson. (They take very different approaches.) Linguistic communication as Grice defined it involves very complex intentions on the part of speakers, intentions of a complexity that probably put this beyond the reach of non-humans, thereby creating an apparent discontinuity in evolutionary development.

 

List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

Main texts will include portions of:

Michael Tomasello Origins of Human Communication

Paul Grice Studies in the Way  of Words

Donald Davidson Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation

 

Proposed Grading Policy:

Numerical grades for essays and the term paper are based on philosophical quality: clarity of expression, appreciation of alternative views, persuasiveness of arguments. Failure to attend can result in deductions; extra grade points may be earned by a presentation to the class  (see Canvas for full details).When all the numerical grades are in, I will draw the letter grade boundaries. Normally the lowest A– is around 87 marks out of 100.

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

43205-43215 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 302

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 382 • Consciousness In Animal World

43510 • Spring 2014
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 316

This seminar is taught by Mark Sainsbury and Michael Tye.

Graduate standing and consent of graduate adviser or instructor required.

Must have instsructor's permission to audit this seminar.

 

Course Description

Do birds have feelings?  What about fish?  Can fish feel pain?  Do insects have experiences?  Could a honey bee feel anxious? Are caterpillars conscious?  If caterpillars aren't conscious but fish are, what's the objective difference that makes a difference?  How do we decide which living creatures have experiences and which are zombies? Could there be a conscious robot?  These are among the questions that we will address in this seminar.

Grading

Requirements: a final essay plus some presentation earlier in the semester.

Texts

Various articles will be assigned during the semester.  

The views presented will be new.

 

This course satisfies the M&E requirement.

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42925-42935 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 302

Moraltheoriesandproblems

The aim in this semester is to consider some classical philosophical theories of morals (including those propounded by David Hume (f. 1750), Immanuel Kant (f. 1780), and John Stuart Mill (f. 1860), and apply them to some current moral problems (for example, the death penalty, animal rights, our duties to others). 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 Blackboard.

PHL 375M • Philosophy Of David Hume

43160 • Fall 2013
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM MEZ 1.104

The aim of the course is to attain a holistic grasp of Hume? s philosophy.

 

Philosophy courses are often divided by subject area (metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of mind, and so

on). Hume wrote on all the main topics in philosophy, and our goal is not only to evaluate his individual

contributions, but also to see how the views on various topics fit together. The class presupposes some

knowledge of philosophy, but not of Hume? s work.

 

David Hume's main topic was human nature. He has a brief comparison with non-human animals, and

nowadays such comparisons are greatly enriched by our better understanding of these animals. We won't

be discussing this in class but for enjoyable relaxation I commend the TED talk by Robert Sapolsky .

PHL 375M • Philosophy Of David Hume

42810 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 308

Topic 1: Philosophy and Feminism

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42425-42435 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 302

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 382 • Corps/Consciousness/Intentnlty

42700 • Spring 2012
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 316

 

CORPORATIONS, CONSCIOUSNESS AND INTENTIONALITY

 Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor AND Instructor required.

DESCRIPTION:

The course will begin by addressing the following questions:

  • Do corporations have mental states? 

  • Do corporations have experiences and feelings?

  • Does Ned Block's famous China-Body system undergo any experiences?  If not, why not?

  • If your neurons are slowly replaced with silicon chips that function in exactly the same way as the neurons, will you (or your successor) continue to undergo experiences with the same phenomenal character?

It will be argued that proper reflection on these questions can be used to support a representationalist or intentionalist view of consciousness.  It will then be shown how this view can be developed so as to provide a satisfying account of what is sometimes supposed to present a problem for it, that of the nature of pain.

Since representationalism (or intentionalism) about consciousness takes it that conscious states are inherently representational, the last third of the course will discuss the nature of intentionality not only in connection with consciousness but also more broadly.

REQUIREMENTS:  Class presentation and final paper

TEXTS:  Assorted papers will be made available.

 

This course satisfies the M&E requirement.

 

PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42320-42330 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 302

Moral theories and problems The aim in this semester is to consider some classical philosophical theories of morals (including those propounded by David Hume (f. 1750), Immanuel Kant (f. 1780), and John Stuart Mill (f. 1860), and apply them to some current moral problems (for example, torture, animal rights, our duties to others). 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 channelled through Blackboard.

Readings The main text will be Steven Cahn and Peter Markie (eds): Ethics: History, Theory and Contemporary Issues, Fourth Edition (2009). Everyone should also read A. Martinich's Philosophical Writing (preferably 2nd edition) within the first month of the course, though it will not be discussed in class. Background Reading: Jostein Gaarder: Sophie's World. This is a history of philosophy in the form of a novel. Specially useful for orienting the philosophers and topics of our work within a broader framework. Peter Singer: Practical Ethics provides good supplementary material on the more applied part of the course.

Requirements A short report (250-300 words) each week to be delivered in person in hard copy at the section discussion (2 marks each); three short essays, around 1000 words each (12 marks each) and a term paper, around 3-4000 words (40 marks). Deadlines for the essays and term paper will be posted at the start of the semester. Attendance will be taken at each class: each unexcused absence leads to a deduction of 2 marks from the final grade.

About the Professor Mark Sainsbury taught at the Universities of Oxford, Essex, and London before coming to the University of Texas at Austin in 2002. He has written six books ( Russell, Paradoxes, Logical Forms, Departing from Frege, Reference without Referents and Fiction and Fictionalism). A book jointly authored with Michael Tye (UT) is with the publishers: Seven Puzzles of Thought and How to Solve Them.

PHL 375M • Philosophy Of David Hume

42570 • Fall 2011
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 308
(also listed as CTI 335)

375M: The Philosophy of David Hume: Metaphysics, Epistemology, Morals

This course will discuss the main themes of Hume's philosophy. We'll read most of books 1 and 3 of the Treatise, the two Inquiries: Concerning Human Understanding and Concerning the Principles of Morals, and the Dialogs Concerning Natural Religion. Topics to be covered include: causation, induction, free will, identity, the self, morals and motivation, morals and sentiment, justice, and miracles and other arguments for religious belief. We'll also look at recent work on Hume and Hume's problems.  Students will be asked to write two papers, to make a presentation to the class, and to help each other with their papers and presentations by making comments. The class will presuppose some background knowledge of philosophy, but will not presuppose prior knowledge of Hume’s work. The class is intended for students who enjoy active participation in philosophical discussions, and who are keen to develop their independent opinions.

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42920-42930 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 302

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 382 • Seven Puzzles Of Thought

43200 • Spring 2011
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 312

This course is restricted to Philosophy graduate students.

Prerequisites:

 Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

 

"Seven Puzzles of Thought, and How to Solve Them"

Theseven puzzles include Frege's puzzle about Hesperus and Phosphorus, the puzzle of water and twater, puzzles about empty thoughts, about coreferring demonstratives, Paderewski cases, and about thinking of oneself. The classic background for these puzzles will be introduced (Frege, Kripke etc), along with a general theory of concepts - originalism - which we think resolves them in a natural and simple way. We go on the develop the originalist position, its consequences for privileged access and the nature of content, and we explore further applications, to the paradox of analysis, the content of hallucinatory experiences and the language of thought.

Grading Policy:

Grades will be based on 3 short (approx 5 pages) analysis style papers written during the semester.

Texts:

Reading will include relevant classic papers (by Frege, Russell, Kripke, Evans, Salmon, Crimmins, Shoemaker among other.

PHL 332 • Philosophy Of Language

42505 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 308

The course focuses on various philosophical issues concerning language. Topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to, the following: speaker-meaning, conversational implicature, sentence/expression-meaning, reference, modality, and propositional attitude ascriptions. 

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

43015-43025 • Spring 2010
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 214

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 • Philosophy Of David Hume-W

43465 • Fall 2009
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 112

The Syllabus link has full details of grading, assignments, and topics for each class. Making a presentation to the class is a requirement, so you might want to think about the topic and date that would suit you. I'll be filling in slots at the first class.

You'll need to have ready access to the following works by Hume:

A Treatise of Human Nature

An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals

I like the OUP editions, but feel free to snap up a bargain or suit your preferences. You can also get all these texts online. One way to do so is to visit the Past Masters text base (go to Library-Research tools-Databases). Also a simple Google search will turn up free versions of all the texts.

A contemporary philosopher, Jonathan Bennett, has transcribed most of Hume from 18th century to current English, and it's freely available. It's amazingly good.

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42245-42255 • Spring 2009
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 214

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 382 • Seven Puzzles Of Thought

42535 • Spring 2009
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 316

Past topics include basic issues in metaphysics; particulars and universals; identity and individuation; realism and antirealism; mind-body issues. 

PHL 375M • Philosophy Of David Hume-W

43515 • Fall 2008
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 112

Topic 1: Philosophy and Feminism

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

43110-43120 • Spring 2008
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 214

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 382 • Fiction And Fictionalism

43440 • Spring 2008
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 210

Past topics include basic issues in metaphysics; particulars and universals; identity and individuation; realism and antirealism; mind-body issues. 

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42825-42840 • Spring 2007
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 302

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 332 • Philosophy Of Language-W

43010 • Spring 2007
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM RAS 211A

The course focuses on various philosophical issues concerning language. Topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to, the following: speaker-meaning, conversational implicature, sentence/expression-meaning, reference, modality, and propositional attitude ascriptions. 

PHL 382 • Mind And Body

44235 • Fall 2006
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM WAG 316

Past topics include basic issues in metaphysics; particulars and universals; identity and individuation; realism and antirealism; mind-body issues. 

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

41850-41865 • Spring 2006
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 311

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 332 • Philosophy Of Language-W

42195 • Spring 2006
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CAL 221

The course focuses on various philosophical issues concerning language. Topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to, the following: speaker-meaning, conversational implicature, sentence/expression-meaning, reference, modality, and propositional attitude ascriptions. 

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

40435-40450 • Spring 2005
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 311

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 332 • Philosophy Of Language-W

40675 • Spring 2005
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GEA 127

The course focuses on various philosophical issues concerning language. Topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to, the following: speaker-meaning, conversational implicature, sentence/expression-meaning, reference, modality, and propositional attitude ascriptions. 

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge And Valuatn

38940-38955 • Spring 2004
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GAR 311

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 332 • Philosophy Of Language-W

39250 • Spring 2004
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CBA 4.348

The course focuses on various philosophical issues concerning language. Topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to, the following: speaker-meaning, conversational implicature, sentence/expression-meaning, reference, modality, and propositional attitude ascriptions. 

PHL 382 • Conceptual Content

40320 • Fall 2003
Meets F 4:00PM-7:00PM WAG 210

Past topics include basic issues in metaphysics; particulars and universals; identity and individuation; realism and antirealism; mind-body issues. 

PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge And Valuatn

39030-39045 • Spring 2003
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 201

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 332 • Philosophy Of Language

39380 • Spring 2003
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 201

The course focuses on various philosophical issues concerning language. Topics to be discussed include, but are not limited to, the following: speaker-meaning, conversational implicature, sentence/expression-meaning, reference, modality, and propositional attitude ascriptions. 

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