Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41795
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM WAG 302
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A survey of principal topics and problems in areas such as ethics, theory of knowledge, and philosophy of religion. 


PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41805
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM WAG 302
show description

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


PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41800
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 214
show description

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


PHL 301K • Ancient Philosophy

41810
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM BEN 1.126
(also listed as C C 304C)
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An introduction to the philosophical achievements of the ancient world, concentrating on Plato and Aristotle. 


PHL 301L • Early Modern Philosophy

41815 • Proops, Ian
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 308
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An introduction to the philosophical achievements of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, concentrating on such figures as Descartes, Hume, and Kant.


PHL 303 • Human Nature

41820
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM BEN 1.126
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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

41824-41829 • Tye, Michael
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 101
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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

41830-41855 • 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

41860-41885 • Krecz, Charles
Meets MW 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 101
show description

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

41890
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM WAG 214
show description

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 305 • Intro To Philos Of Religion

41895 • Martinich, Aloysius
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CLA 0.106
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A critical examination of various conceptions of God and of the relationship of the human and the divine. 


PHL 310 • Knowledge And Reality

41900
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 302
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This course is an advanced introduction to philosophical issues concerning the nature of
belief, truth, and knowledge with an emphasis on the latter. Topics to be discussed include,
but are not limited to, the following:
• What is knowledge? For example, what is the difference between knowledge and
mere true belief?
• What are the basic sources of knowledge (i.e., perception, memory, testimony of
others)?
• Why, if at all, should we value the acquisition of knowledge?
• Is it really possible to know anything at all?


PHL 312 • Introduction To Logic

41970
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BEN 1.126
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This is a course in the basic principles of logic. The student will come out of this course with an understanding of deductive inference and of argument generally, as wells as the notions of logical consequence, validity, soundness, and logical truth. Specifically, we will be looking at sentential logic (which treats the inferential relations among simple sentences) and predicate logic. Predicate logic is distinguished from sentential logic by its use of quantifiers.


PHL 312 • Introduction To Logic

41965
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 302
show description

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


PHL 313 • Introductory Symbolic Logic

41975-41985 • Litland, Jon
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 302
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This is a first course in deductive symbolic logic. We'll study formal languages for representing sentences
in logically precise ways, we'll study algorithms for evaluating arguments as logically valid or invalid, and
we'll get an introduction to some of the surprising discoveries logicians have made about what tasks no
algorithm can possibly do.


PHL 316K • Science And Philosophy

42004
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM SZB 278
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This course will examine the growth and development of science in modern times
through the history of certain crucial debates and breakthroughs that have taken place
since the beginnings of modern science in the 17th century. Topics considered will
include: what is the nature of science? Does it have a distinctive method (or methods)
that distinguish it from other forms of inquiry? What are its criteria of truth? Can science
ever achieve certainty, and if not, does it have any distinctive claims on our belief, and if
so why? What are the mechanisms of scientific progress and change? How does science
relate to, and differ from, other forms of intellectual inquiry?


PHL 317K • Intro To Philos Of The Arts

42010 • Higgins, Kathleen
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 101
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Classic issues in the philosophy of art and beauty, illustrated from the fine arts and contemporary media: literature, drama, music, painting, film, and television. 


PHL 317K • Intro To Philos Of The Arts

42005
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM CLA 0.130
show description

Classic issues in the philosophy of art and beauty, illustrated from the fine arts and contemporary media: literature, drama, music, painting, film, and television. 


PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge

42020 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM WAG 210
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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 323K • Metaphysics

42025 • Litland, Jon
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM WAG 308
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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 323M • Philosophy Of Mind

42030 • Montague, Michelle
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GDC 1.406
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This course is an introduction to many of the central issues in philosophy of mind. Some of the questions we will discuss include the following. Can computers think? Is the mind an immaterial thing? Or is the mind the brain? Or does the mind stand to the brain as a computer program stands to the hardware? How can creatures like ourselves think thoughts that are "about" things? (For example, we can all think that Aristotle is a philosopher, and in that sense think "about" Aristotle, but what is the explanation of this quite remarkable ability?) Can I know whether your experiences and my experiences when we look at raspberries, fire trucks and stop lights are the same? Can consciousness be given a scientific explanation?


PHL 325K • Ethical Theories-Phl Majors

42050 • Dancy, Jonathan
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 206
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This course will consider three classic moral theories, those of J. S. Mill, W. D. Ross and I. Kant – otherwise known as Utilitarianism, Intuitionism and Kantianism. We will do this by studying one classic text by each author in detail.


PHL 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

42055 • Leon, Jeffrey
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM GAR 0.102
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The application of ethical theory to medical practice is an important part of modern 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.


PHL 327 • Contmp Christian Philosophy

42060 • Koons, Robert
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CLA 0.106
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We will examine recent work in philosophy that is written from a Christian point of view or that examines philosophical questions that arise within the framework of the Christian faith. The issues to be covered include the relationship between faith and reason, the possibility of demonstrating the existence of God, the problem of evil, the problem of reconciling divine foreknowledge and sovereignty with human responsibility, and the relation of God to time. Special emphasis will be placed on the relevance of Christian philosophy to foundational questions concerning reality, knowledge and ethics.


PHL 327 • Interpretation And Meaning

42065 • Martinich, Aloysius
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 308
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We will examine recent work in philosophy that is written from a Christian point of view or that examines philosophical questions that arise within the framework of the Christian faith. The issues to be covered include the relationship between faith and reason, the possibility of demonstrating the existence of God, the problem of evil, the problem of reconciling divine foreknowledge and sovereignty with human responsibility, and the relation of God to time.  Special emphasis will be placed on the relevance of Christian philosophy to foundational questions concerning reality, knowledge and ethics. 

Prerequisites: no prior work in philosophy is expected.  Non-majors are encouraged.

Texts:

G. K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas

C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

Josef Pieper, Leisure: The Basis of Culture

Francis A. Schaeffer, He is There and He is not Silent

Kelly J. Clark, Return to Reason

Phl 327 Supplemental Readings, available at UT Library electronic reserves. 

Evaluation:

• Three in-class exams (combination of essay and multiple choice): 25% each (including an in-class test on Dec. 7).  There will be an optional, comprehensive final that can be counted for 25% of the course grade, permitting a student to drop the lowest in-class test grade.

• Short papers (eight 2-page responses to the readings): 10%. Short papers are to be turned in at the beginning of class on Monday, responding to the coming week's reading.

• Class and section participation: 15%

• Optional term paper: due the last day of class.  2500-3000 words on a topic pre-approved by the instructor.  The term paper may be used to drop a low midterm grade, or in place of the third in-class exam, at the student's discretion.

 

Instructor: Prof. Rob Koons.  Phone: 471-5530.  koons@mail.utexas.edu


PHL 329K • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

42070-42075 • Leon, Jeffrey
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM WAG 302
(also listed as C C 348)
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This course is an introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. We’ll focus on three major thinkers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; and we’ll examine their views and arguments on some central questions about human conduct, the natural world, and our knowledge of both. We’ll begin with a brief look at some influential earlier figures known as Presocratics and Sophists, and we’ll end with a brief look at some enduring ideas of Epicurus. The emphasis throughout will be on analyzing both what these thinkers say and their reasons for saying it. The main goal is not to memorize information but to develop a critical understanding of some problems and arguments that remain very much alive today.


PHL 329L • Early Mod Phl: Descartes-Kant

42080-42085 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM WAG 201
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This course is an introduction to early modern philosophy. The objectives of the class are to identify and analyze arguments in philosophical texts of the early modern period, and to become familiar with central themes and problems. Topics include causation, substance, and the possibility of knowledge. The relationship of philosophical theories to contemporary science will be an ongoing theme.


PHL 329M • Plato's Republic

42090 • Evans, Matthew
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GAR 2.112
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The Republic is Plato’s greatest masterpiece – a work of astounding literary power that is also a cornerstone of the Western philosophical tradition. Yet even its most dedicated and disciplined readers have disagreed, and continue to disagree, about its structure, its purpose, and its meaning. Our aim in this class will be to explore some of the most pressing of these disagreements, and to see whether and how we might be able to resolve them.

 

Proposed texts:

"Platos's Republic" (translated by CDC Reeve), "Philosopher Kings" by CDC Reeve, "An Introduction to Plato's Republic" by Julia Annas

 

Proposed Grading:

50% short writing assignments, 25% term paper, 15% quizzes, 10% participation

 


PHL 332 • Philosophy Of Language

42095 • Buchanan, Lawrence
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 308
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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 342 • Four Mdrn Politi Philosophy

42100 • Koons, Robert
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 308
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An examination of some central texts representing each of four modern political philosophies: Marxism, welfare-state or social democracy, libertarianism, and traditional or Burkean conservatism. We will try to uncover the metaphysical, epistemological, anthropological, and ethical commitments of each system and understand how the constitutional, legal, and economic framework recommended by each follows from their philosophical foundations. We will look at how each  deploys philosophical arguments and strategies against the other three, identifying the points of commonalty and tension with respect to each of the six pairings. Students will be encouraged to develop and defend their own understanding of the foundations of politics through in-class disputations and through written essays critiqued by their peers.

 

Proposed Readings:

The Marx-Engels Reader
G. A. Cohen, Why not Socialism?
John Rawls, A Theory of Justice
J. J. Rousseau, Basic Political Writings
Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom
Murray Rothbard, The Anatomy of the State
Roger Scruton, The Meaning of Conservatism
C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

 

Proposed Grading Policy:

Attendance and Participation: 10%
In-class disputations: 20%
Eight short papers (300-500 words): 40%
Four 4-5 page (1000-1200 words) essays, critiqued by peers: 20%


PHL 342 • Natural Law Theory

42105 • Budziszewski, J
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM PAR 304
(also listed as GOV 335M)
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Critical examination of leading theories of the state, including analysis of such concepts as sovreignty, obligation, rights, and freedom. 


PHL 354 • Mistranslating Latinos

42110 • Colomina-Alminana, Juan
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 306
(also listed as LIN 373)
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Topic courses focusing on philosophy in a particular context.


PHL 361K • Philosophy In Literature

42117 • Bonevac, Daniel
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CLA 1.102
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Formulation, analysis, and criticism of philosophical ideas in selected literary works.


PHL 363L • Philosophy Of Biology

42125 • Sarkar, Sahotra
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CLA 1.108
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Topic 1: Philosophy of Biology

Topic 2: The Outer Limits of Reason

Topic 4: The Philosophy of Geometry


PHL 365 • Health And Justice

42130 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM WAG 302
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Topic 2: Introduction to Cognitive Science

Topic 5: Contemporary American Social Theory

Topic 6: Process Philosophy and Pragmatism


PHL 365 • Intro To Cognitive Science

42135 • Van Der Feest, Suzanne
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM CBA 4.348
(also listed as LIN 373)
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Topic 2: Introduction to Cognitive Science

Topic 5: Contemporary American Social Theory

Topic 6: Process Philosophy and Pragmatism


PHL 365 • Process Phil And Pragmatism

42140 • Krecz, Charles
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 210
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An examination of process philosophy, one of the major metaphysical movements of the twentieth century, including philosophers such as James, Dewey, and Whitehead.


PHL 375M • Advanced Ethics

42175 • Deigh, John
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 210
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The seminar will be a study of late twentieth century work in ethical theory by three major philosophers in the Anglo-American tradition, Philippa Foot, Bernard Williams, and Simon Blackburn.  The focus will be on the different conceptions of ethics implicit in these philosophers' theories and their implications for the possibility of ethical knowledge.  

 

Proposed Texts:

Philippa Foot, Natural Goodness
Bernard Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy
Simon Blackburn, Ruling Passions

 

 


PHL 375M • Skepticism

42180 • Bonevac, Daniel
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 210
show description

COURSE DESCRIPTION

PHL 375M, Skepticism

Spring 2018

Daniel Bonevac, Professor

 

You probably think that you know quite a lot. But what if you have been suffering from some

sort of illusion? What if this is all a dream? What if an evil deceiver is out to trick you? What if you are really a brain in a vat, the subject of some scientific experiment? What if you are trapped in the Matrix? This course examines skeptical attacks on the possibility of knowledge, starting with ancient writers but focusing primarily on contemporary skeptical challenges and responses to them.

 

List of Proposed Texts /Readings:

 

Keith DeRose and Ted Warfield (ed.), Skepticism: A Contemporary Reader (Oxford)

Penelope Maddy, What Do Philosophers Do? Skepticism and the Practice of Philosophy (Oxford)

John Greco (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism

Gisela Striker, “The Ten Tropes of Aenesidemus”

Myles F. Burnyeat, “Can the Skeptic Live His Skepticism?”

Selections from Sextus Empiricus, Philo of Alexandria, Francisco Sanches, René Descartes, David Hume, Roger White, Miriam Schoenfield, Katia Vavova, and others.

 

Proposed Grading Policy:

 

Prospectus for Term Paper - 10%

Draft of Term Paper - 10%

Comments on Another Student’s Draft - 10%

Attendance - 20%

Final Draft of Term Paper - 50%


PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

41935-41945 • Sainsbury, Richard
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 302
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This semester we will discuss a range of issues in contemporary philosophy. (1) Appearance and reality: might we be brains in vats? (2) The mind-body problem: are we just our bodies? (3) Free will: is what we do up to us?

 

Proposed Texts/ Readings:

Descartes: Meditations §§1, 2, 6.
Kripke: Naming and Necessity Ch 3.
Jackson: "What Mary didn't know"
Hume: Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding §7
Libet, B. 1985: "Unconscious cerebral initiative"
Kane: Four Views on Free Will.

 

Proposed Grading Policy:

Grades will be decorated, based on written work, quizzes and attendance. The highest grades for written work require meticulous analysis and imaginative and well-presented argumentation.


PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

41905-41915 • Woodruff, Paul
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM WAG 201
show description

A continuation of Philosophy 610QA, this course will carry the class discussion from ethics to knowledge and metaphysics.  We will start with Nietzsche’s criticism of the ethical tradition in Europe, and then move back to the beginning of that tradition in Plato.  We will then see how Plato’s ethics leads him into questions about knowledge and reality.  From Plato, we graduate to skepticism in ancient philosophy.  Then we leap forward to the modern era, where we join the debate between the advocates of reason (such as Descartes) and the team of passion and experience (Hume).   We will see how these teams handle proofs for the existence of God (with a brief look back into the middle ages). After that, we leap forward again to discuss contemporary issues about the mind and brain, then back for a serious excursion into Buddhist metaphysics.


PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

41920-41930 • Dunlop, Katherine
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM BUR 224
show description

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 610QB • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

41950-41960 • Proops, Ian
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 214
show description

PHL 610QB Problems of Knowledge and Valuation.
 
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: History of philosophy (Descartes), personal identity (for example, “What, if anything, makes me the same person I was at the age of 5?”), 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
 
There is only one required text:
 
Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, with selections from the objections and replies, edited by John Cottingham (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).