Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41760 • Matherne, Matthew
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 201 • Hybrid/Blended
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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

41745-41755 • Viers, Mary
Meets MW 2:00PM-3:00PM WEL 1.308 • Hybrid/Blended
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Although in doing philosophy we aim for truth, there is also a practical value in the act of philosophizing itself. In order to do philosophy well, we will practice our ability to charitably analyze and respond to the arguments of others. This does not mean that we will necessarily land upon the truth by way of reading and responding to these arguments. We will, however, certainly improve our ability to learn about a subject, think critically about what we’ve learned, and form an argument in favor of our considered views on the matter. Among the questions we will pursue are:

 

What is there?

How do we know that?

What are we?

Are we living in a computer simulation?

Is it wrong to eat meat?

Is abortion wrong?

Do people have a right to immigration?

What is justice?


PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy-Wb

41765 • Montague, Michelle
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM • Internet; Synchronous
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-Wb

41770-41780 • Dogramaci, Sinan
Meets TTH 12:30PM-1:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
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A survey of principal topics and problems in areas such as ethics, theory of knowledge, and philosophy of religion. 


PHL 301K • Ancient Philosophy-Wb

41785 • Hankinson, Robert
Meets W 10:00AM-11:30AM • Internet; Synchronous
(also listed as C C 304C)
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An introduction to the philosophical achievements of the ancient world, concentrating on Plato.


PHL 301L • Early Modern Philosophy-Wb

41790 • Dunlop, Katherine
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM • Internet; Synchronous
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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

41795 • Quaranto, Anastasia
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM JES A121A • Hybrid/Blended
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What is it to be human? What do all human beings have in common? What unites all humans as humans, and what sets us apart from other creatures and things? Is there even such a thing as human nature? And if there is, what's it like? Is it something we're all born with, or is it instead something we all acquire? Is it something that puts limits on us, something we should strive to overcome? Or is it instead something that would free us, something we should strive to fulfill or to recover? In this class we'll consider a number of answers to these questions—answers ancient and modern, religious and secular, from the East and West. 
 
We'll also ask some questions about these questions, such as: What are the goals of asking these questions, and should these goals be pursued? What's the purpose of a theory of human nature; what use could we make of such a theory? Would it tell us something about how we ought to live our lives? For example, would it tell us how we ought to treat other humans, or even other creatures more generally? Or would a theory of human nature only describe us as we are, without itself telling us anything about how we should be? Working together to propose and evaluate answers to these questions, we'll not only study philosophy, but also do philosophy ourselves.

PHL 303M • Mind And Body-Wb

41800-41810 • Tye, Michael
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
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Introduction to philosophical issues about the nature of the mind and its relation to body: What is mind? Do people have free will? How does psychology relate to neuroscience? 


PHL 304 • Contemporary Moral Problems

41820 • Kahn, Amelia
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 201 • Hybrid/Blended
E
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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-Wb

41845 • Rosati, Connie
Meets T 9:30AM-11:00AM • Internet; Synchronous
E
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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-Wb

41830-41840 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MW 12:00PM-1:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
E
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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-Wb

41815 • Engel-Hawbecker, Nathan
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
E
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-Wb

41825 • Armijo, Alicia
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM • Internet; Synchronous
E
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Contemporary Moral Problems 

The University of Texas at Austin

PHL 304 • 41825 • Spring 2021

Instructor: Alicia Armijo

Course Description

In this course, we will critically examine some deeply contested moral issues that are pertinent to our lives today. We will explore such questions as: What is the moral status of abortion? What is more dangerous—misinformation or censorship? What are our obligations to the global poor? Given the great magnitude of the problem of global warming, do individuals have moral obligations to help fix it? To approach these moral questions, we will read historical and contemporary philosophical texts that aim to elucidate and to provide answers to them. Lively discussion will be encouraged by our frequent analysis of case studies. The only prerequisite for this course is a commitment to approaching these ethical issues in an open-minded and intellectually responsible manner. No prior experience with philosophy is required or expected.

This course is organized into five core units, which include (1) moral theories, (2) bioethics, (3) technology ethics, (4) social and political ethics, and (5) animal & environmental ethics. We will begin with a brief introduction to logic and the fundamentals of various ethical theories, including relativism, consequentialism, duty-based ethics, social contract theory, and virtue ethics. We will spend most of the semester thereafter discussing how these ethical theories can help us analyze real-world dilemmas. We will consider topics pertinent to choices that an individual might face as well as to decisions that affect larger communities.

Topics include but are not limited to: (i) defining human death, (ii) euthanasia, (iii) abortion, (iv) genetic engineering, (v) surveillance technology and power, (vi) ethics of artificial intelligence, (vii) free speech in the age of social media, (viii) drugs and addiction, (ix) sexism, (x) racism, (xi) policing, (xii) global economic justice, (xiii) the treatment of animals, and (xiv) environmental sustainability and climate change.


PHL 305 • Intro To Philos Of Religion

41850 • Andrew, James
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM ART 1.102 • Hybrid/Blended
(also listed as CTI 310, R S 305)
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Philosophy of religion is the philosophical study of fundamental religious concepts and ideas.  In this course, we will survey some of the perennial questions and issues in philosophy of religion, focusing particularly (but not exclusively) on those pertinent to the great monotheistic traditions.  Of particular interest will be: (a) classical arguments for the existence of God, (b) the problem of evil (can the existence of evil be reconciled with the existence of God?), (c) the relationship between faith and reason (is religious faith rationally justifiable?), and (d) miracles (what is a miracle?  Is it ever reasonable to believe that a miracle has occurred?).


PHL 310 • Knowledge And Reality

41855-41865 • Buchanan, Lawrence
Meets T 3:30PM-4:30PM WEL 2.224 • Hybrid/Blended
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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-Wb

41935 • Hankinson, Robert
Meets W 11:30AM-1:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
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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 313 • Introductory Symbolic Logic

41940-41950 • Drucker, Daniel
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM JES A121A • Hybrid/Blended
QR MA
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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 313 • Introductory Symbolic Logic-Wb

41955-41965 • Dogramaci, Sinan
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
QR MA
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PHL 313: Intro to Logic
In this course, we'll study some technical tools that can help make our thinking clearer, more rational, and more reliable. In particular, we'll learn some mathematical probability theory for this purpose. Our focus will be on how probability can serve as a practical guide to good thinking. Our textbook is online and free. To get a more detailed sense of the content of the course, you can start browsing it here: https://jonathanweisberg.org/vip/

PHL 315F • Philosophy And Film

41970 • Gubka, Steven
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM RLP 1.104 • Hybrid/Blended
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We will interpret and evaluate films as works of philosophy. The films we watch will address philosophical questions such as:

· Are we free to make our own choices or does fate (or genetics) make that impossible?

· What does the possibility of artificial intelligence suggest about the nature of our minds?

· How do harmful norms about gender and race get constructed, reinforced, and altered?

· Does it matter if our lives are just part of an elaborate computer simulation?

· What kind of life is best for one to live?

 

We will also investigate philosophical issues about our emotional engagement with films.

· Do we have real emotional responses to merely fictional films? If so, how?

· How is it that a tragic or horrifying film can still be enjoyable?

· How do we come to ‘identify with’ fictional characters in film? Why do we sometimes identify with rough or reprehensible characters (e.g., an antihero or villain)?

 

During our inquiries, we will practice skills such as interpreting and analyzing film as a medium that conveys ideas, constructing and evaluating arguments for philosophical views, and expressing one’s own ideas (including one’s own philosophical views) clearly in writing.

Please note that the majority of our meetings will be virtual and synchronous. Although some class meetings will be held on campus, students may opt out of in-person meetings for any reason and instead participate virtually.


PHL 317K • Intro To Philos Of The Arts-Wb

41980 • Ho, Ting
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
VP
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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-Wb

41990-42014 • Higgins, Kathleen • Internet; Synchronous
VP
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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-Wb

41985 • Higgins, Kathleen
Meets F 10:00AM-11:00AM • Internet; Synchronous
VP
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 318 • Introduction To Ethics-Wb

42015-42025 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:00AM • Internet; Synchronous
E
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Study of basic principles of the moral life, with critical examination of traditional and contemporary theories of the nature of goodness, happiness, duty, and freedom.


PHL 318K • Intro To Political Philosophy

42030-42040 • Salmieri, Gregory
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:00PM WEL 1.308 • Hybrid/Blended
E
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Study of basic principles of the moral life, with critical examination of traditional and contemporary theories of the nature of goodness, happiness, duty, and freedom.


PHL 318K • Intro To Political Philosophy

42045 • Pincin, Taylor
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 420 • Hybrid/Blended
E
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Study of basic principles of the moral life, with critical examination of traditional and contemporary theories of the nature of goodness, happiness, duty, and freedom.


PHL 321K • Theory Of Knowledge-Wb

42050 • Sorensen, Roy
Meets T 2:00PM-3:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
Wr
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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

42055 • Litland, Jon
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM WAG 420 • Hybrid/Blended
Wr
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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-Wb

42060 • Montague, Michelle
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
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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 323S • Philosophy Of Science-Wb

42065 • Schoenfield, Miriam
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
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This spring we'll be focusing on issues in philosophy of physics in particular: we'll consider questions about the nature of space and time.  Although no background in math or physics is required to take the course beyond high school level algebra, we will be studying some physics throughout the semester.


PHL 325J • Health And Justice-Wb

42070 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
E (also listed as H S 341)
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Mass disparities exist in the health of humans across the globe. It may seem obvious from a moral point of view that if we can do something to alleviate the global and local disparities in health and access to healthcare, that we should do something about it. Once we scratch the surface of this apparent truism, however, we find a number of assumptions in need of defense. What would ground such an obligation after all? Do humans have a right to health? If so, do they also have a right to healthcare? It may seem that these two concepts are intertwined, but consider an analogy. Someone’s right to life makes it impermissible to kill that person (unless you would be justified in doing so, say, in a case of genuine self-defense). Nevertheless, the right to life plausibly does not entail that you are obligated to protect or preserve the life of everyone who has such a right. Similarly, if humans have a right to health, then it would be impermissible to undermine their health. But it is a different question whether individual’s are obligated to protect and preserve the health of others by, for example, ensuring their access to healthcare. The course will evaluate rights-based arguments, among others, that aim to show the injustice of current disparities in health. Proponents contend that we do have a moral obligation to secure health and access to healthcare across racial, gender, socio-economic, as well as national boundaries.


PHL 325K • Ethical Theories-Wb

42075 • Dancy, Jonathan
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM • Internet; Synchronous
EWr
show description

This course will consider three classic moral theories in detail, 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 325L • Businss,ethics,and Publ Pol-Wb

42080 • Bonevac, Daniel • Internet; Asynchronous
E
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Issues in ethics and politics that are relevant to the organization of business and industry and the distribution of power in society; topics include the role of industry; concepts of profit, property, and moral responsibility.


PHL 325M • Medicine,ethics,and Society-Wb

42085-42110 • Sarkar, Sahotra
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
E
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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 329L • Early Md Phl:descartes-Kant-Wb

42120-42130 • Hankinson, Robert
Meets M 2:30PM-4:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
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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 332 • Philosophy Of Language

42135 • Buchanan, Lawrence
Meets T 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 201 • Hybrid/Blended
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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 • Natural Law Theory

42145 • Budziszewski, J
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM WCH 1.120
Wr (also listed as GOV 335D)
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“Natural law” refers to moral law – in particular, the fundamental moral principles that are built into the design of human nature and lie at the roots of conscience. Natural law thinking is the spine of the Western tradition of ethical and legal thought. The founders of the American republic also believed in the natural law -- in universal and "self-evident" principles of justice and morality which the Declaration of Independence called "the laws of Nature and of Nature's God." For generations afterward, most Americans took the reality of natural law for granted. Thomas Jefferson appealed to it to justify independence; Abraham Lincoln appealed to it to criticize slavery; Martin Luther King appealed to it to criticize Jim Crow laws. You would hardly guess any of this from the present day, because belief in natural law has come to be viewed as "politically incorrect." Nevertheless, the tradition of natural law is experiencing a modest renaissance.

Is there really a natural law? What difference does it make to society and politics if there is? Is it really "natural"? Is it really "law"? To consider these questions, we will read a variety of influential works on natural law from the middle ages to the present. Probably, most of your liberal arts education has implicitly rejected the whole idea, but in this course, for a change, you have an opportunity to hear the other side.

We will focus on the classical natural law tradition, not revisionist versions such as the one promoted by the social contract writers of the early modern period. The first two units of the course focus on the ethical and legal thought of the most important and influential classical natural law thinker in history, Thomas Aquinas. He is a difficult writer, but we will work through his Treatise on Law carefully and I will provide lots of help. In the final unit, which is about the continuing influence of the classical natural law tradition, we will read a number of authors including Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices John McLean and Benjamin Curtis, Abraham Lincoln, Justin Buckley Dyer, Martin Luther King, C.S. Lewis, John Hittinger, Robert C. Koons, Matthew O’Brien, and myself.

GRADING POLICY

Unit 1, Foundations of Law: Analytical outline, 10-20 pages (20%).

Unit 2, Natural and Human Law: Take-home essay, 4-5 pages (20%).

Unit 3, Legacy of the Classical Natural Law Tradition: Whole-course journal (20%).

Short quizzes on the required readings (20%).

A few extra credit quizzes on the recommended readings the grade on an extra credit quiz replaces the lowest score up to that point on a required reading.

Throughout the course: Class participation (20%).

Absences also affect your grade. Please read the attendance policy in the Frequently Asked Questions section of my personal scholarly website.

I do not use plusses and minuses.

TEXTS

The book is available in the reserve rooms of both the Tarleton Law Library and the Perry-Castaneda Library. However, if you don’t have a personal copy, you must be prepared to share with another student during class. Electronic devices such as laptops, cellphones, sound recorders, and smart pens must be powered down and stowed away during class. There are no exceptions except for pacemakers.

Required:

J. Budziszewski, Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s Treatise on Law (Cambridge, 2014). This is a paperback.

Additional shorter readings, which will be made available on Canvas or online.

Recommended:

J. Budziszewski, Companion to the Commentary (Cambridge, 2014). This will be available through Canvas.


PHL 342M • Marx And Marxist Theory-Wb

42150 • Matysik, Tracie
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
GCWr (also listed as CTI 335M, EUS 346, HIS 332R)
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This course introduces students to the writings of Karl Marx as well as to those of his intellectual successors in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It will treat the nineteenth century context of industrialization and democratization in Europe in which Marx formulated his social, political, and philosophical critique, as well as the theoretical and philosophical legacy that followed through the twentieth century. The course will not focus on Soviet Marxism, but will examine how western Marxism’s critique of capital evolved in complex relationship to the existence of Soviet Marxism. We will spend roughly eight weeks reading Marx’s writings, and then seven weeks reading his  intellectual successors (including writings from Rosa Luxemburg, Georg Lukács, Walther Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Antonio Gramsci, Louis Althusser, Cedric Robinson, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Dipesh Chakrabarty, and Slavoj Žižek).  This course focuses on intellectual history, and students should thus expect to read philosophy and social theory throughout the semester.

Textbooks:

Robert C. Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader, 2nd edition (New York: Norton, 1978).Vincent Barnett, Marx (New York: Routledge, 2009).

Grading:
First paper: 25%

Second paper: 25%

Option II or III: 10- to 12-page paper: 50%

Final Journal: 30%!Class Presentation: 10%

Participation (including attendance and also sustained constructive contribution to classdiscussion): 10%


PHL 342P • Four Modern Political Theories

42155 • Koons, Robert
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM RLP 1.104
IIWr
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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

Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom

John Stuart Mill, Basic Writings

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Basic Political Writings

  1. A. Cohen, Why not Socialism?

André Gorz, Farewell to the Working Clas

John Rawls, A Theory of Justice

Michael Sandel, Liberalism and its Critics

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

Robert Nisbet, The Quest for Community

Roger Scruton, A Political Philosophy

 

Proposed Grading Policy:

Attendance and Participation: 15%

Short Oral presentation 4%In-class debates (with three other students): 30%

Eight short papers (300-500 words): 16%

15-20 page essay, critiqued by peers, revised: 35%


PHL 344K • Intermediate Symbolic Logic-Wb

42160 • Litland, Jon
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM • Internet; Synchronous
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This course examines the interaction between formal logic and the foundations of mathematics. We will take as our centerpiece a careful examination of some of the important results of set theory, including the paradoxes of naive set the- ory and the reformulation of set theory using the Zermelo-Frankel axioms, the development of the theory of infinite cardinals and ordinals in set theory, the formal details of the iterative conception of sets, and the basic methods of prov- ing independence results in set theory. We will couple this investigation with an examination of various results in the metatheory of first order logic that bear on the foundations of math, such as the completeness and compactness theorems, the Lo ?wenheim-Skolem theorems, and the Go ?del incompleteness theorems. 


PHL 347 • Philosophy Of Law

42170-42180 • Leon, Jeffrey
Meets M 1:00PM-2:00PM WEL 3.502 • Hybrid/Blended
E
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This course, intended to introduce students to certain basic issues in philosophy of law, will be organized around the question: What should a legal system be? What are the fundamental features that are vital to a proper legal system, and what are some of the competing understandings of what these are?

By reading both historical and contemporary authors, we will examine the theoretical bases of proper law as well as the appropriate practical implementation of key ideals in legal systems today. Correspondingly, along the way, we will consider the meaning of several concepts that are arguably crucial to a proper legal system, such as rights, freedom, representation, popular sovereignty, democracy, and republic. 


PHL 347 • Philosophy Of Law-Wb

42185 • Rosati, Connie
Meets T 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
E
show description

This course, intended to introduce students to certain basic issues in philosophy of law, will be organized around the question: What should a legal system be? What are the fundamental features that are vital to a proper legal system, and what are some of the competing understandings of what these are?

By reading both historical and contemporary authors, we will examine the theoretical bases of proper law as well as the appropriate practical implementation of key ideals in legal systems today. Correspondingly, along the way, we will consider the meaning of several concepts that are arguably crucial to a proper legal system, such as rights, freedom, representation, popular sovereignty, democracy, and republic. 


PHL 349 • Hist Of Medieval & Renais Phl

42190 • Koons, Robert
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 420
GC
show description

An examination of the most significant and representative philosophers of medieval Europe and the Mediterranean, with a view both to their historical significance and their contemporary relevance. Topics include: faith and reason, proofs of God’s existence, free will, soul and body, and the problem of universals.


PHL 363L • Science And Metaphysics

42195 • Juhl, Cory
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 420 • Hybrid/Blended
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Examine questions about the nature of reality informed by science and metaphysics, such as the nature of time, space, minds, meanings, identity, infinity, abstract vs concrete objects.


PHL 365 • Moral Responsibility-Wb

42200 • Driver, Julia
Meets W 1:00PM-2:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
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This course explores how the issue of moral responsibility has been approached since Peter Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment."  Strawson held that moral responsibility is established via our critical practices which involve “reactive attitudes” -- that is, attitudes directed towards the wills of other moral agents.  For example, if someone steps on my foot intentionally, then the apt response is one of resentment -- and this is holding them responsible for having stepped on my foot.  If, on the other hand, the person was shoved and accidentally stepped on my foot, resentment would not be apt, it would not be apt to hold the person responsible since there quality of the will was not bad.  The revolutionary nature of Strawson's article is that it asks us to consider whether or not we would change any of this if it turned out determininsim, or the view that all events, including human actions, are caused, were true.  He argues that determinism is a purely theoretical issue, whereas holding responsible is entirely a practical issue.  And, it's justification does not rely on the truth of determinism.  Instead, the justification is provided by the practical considerations of how our lives are benefited by taking these reactive attitudes towards  others, and holding them responsible.  We then consider the development of this literature across practices such as apology and forgiveness.


PHL 365 • Process Phil And Pragmatism

42205 • Leon, Jeffrey
Meets MW 11:00AM-12:00PM BUR 220 • Hybrid/Blended
IIWr
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This course is a study of the pragmatism of William James and John Dewey; and the process philosophy of A. N. Whitehead. We will also treat some developments in science and other areas that influence these philosophical movements.


PHL 366K • Existentialism-Wb

42210-42238 • Higgins, Kathleen • Internet; Synchronous
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“Existentialism” was hardly a philosophical movement in the traditional sense, for few of its major figures would have described themselves as existentialists. And yet the existentialists do represent a movement in the sense that they share certain concerns, such as emphasis on how reflective thought relates to our actual lives, skepticism regarding reason, reevaluation of traditional approaches to ethics, and insistence on passionate engagement as essential for a meaningful life. Among the figures we will consider are Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, and Simone de Beauvoir.

 

Texts:

  • "Plague" by Albert Camus
  • "Stranger" by Albert Camus
  • "Fall" by Albert Camus
  • "Basic Writings of Existentialism" edited by Gordan Marino
  • "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" by Friedrich Nietzsche
  • "Introduction to Existentialism" by Robert L. Wicks

Grading:

Exam I                  25%

Exam II                 25%

Exam III                25%

Participation           25%

Participation includes a daily journal, attendance, engaged participation in sections, directed journal entries, pop quizzes, and possibly other activities.


PHL 375M • Philos Of The First Amndmnt

42245 • Smith, Tara
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 302 • Hybrid/Blended
IIWr
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This seminar will examine the philosophy beneath the freedoms protected by the First Amendment and correspondingly, the proper understanding and application of those freedoms to concrete legal disputes.

We will devote time to examining each of the Amendment’s five elements (speech, religion, press, assembly, petition), with slightly greater emphasis on religion and press freedom. With each of the five, we will consider some of the central arguments for competing understandings of the freedom’s rationale and application to contemporary conflicts.

Among the specific questions we will consider: What distinguishes the five freedoms enumerated in the First Amendment from others protected in our legal system? Should a legal system treat intellectual activity differently from other activity? What does state “neutrality” in the treatment of citizens demand? Are religious exemptions a necessary component of religious liberty? What qualifies as a religion? What qualifies as speech, and what crosses the line into action – action that is legitimately subject to restrictions? (e.g., is kneeling in protest speech or action?) If the press is to enjoy any special freedoms, who should qualify as the press, in an era of do-it-yourself blogging/ recording/ posting? Is Facebook, for instance, a platform, or a publisher?

Does the right to freedom of assembly entail freedom of association? What are the implications of free association for individuals’ right to privacy? How might these be implicated in debates over disclosure requirements of funding sources, or campaign finance laws? Do conflicts emerge between any of these freedoms, under particular interpretations of them? Or between First Amendment freedoms and other provisions of the Constitution? (e.g., between religious freedom and the 14th Amendment assurance of equal protection, or between the right to freedom of association and a right not to be discriminated against).

While we will naturally consider specifics to address many of these questions, the discussions will be firmly grounded throughout by our efforts to understand the governing principles.


PHL 375M • Philosophy Of David Hume-Wb

42240 • Sainsbury, Richard
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
IIWr
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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 his views on various topics fit together. The class presupposes some knowledge of philosophy, but not of Hume’s work.


PHL 381 • Kant's Critiq Of Pure Reasn-Wb

42265 • Dunlop, Katherine
Meets W 12:00PM-3:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
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Seminar Title:    Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason

Course Description

The seminar aims to provide an overview of Kant’s theoretical philosophy as it is developed in his masterwork, The Critique of Pure Reason. It presupposes no previous knowledge of Kant or of Early Modern Philosophy. We read the book in its English translation, but I will draw attention to certain important nuances in the German. Where possible attempts will be made to relate the material to issues in contemporary philosophy, but the focus will lie on developing an historically sensitive reading of the text. We will ask after the philosophical motivations for Kant’s views and place them in the context of his reactions to the Leibniz-Wolffian philosophy dominant in his day. Secondary readings from (among others): Patricia Kitcher, Michelle Grier, Andrew Chignell, Charles Parsons, Béatrice Longueness, Michael Friedman, Corey Dyck, Anja Jauernig, Karl Ameriks, Katherine Dunlop, Ralf Bader, Eric Watkins, Des Hogan, Lisa Shabel, and Ian Proops.

Obviously, this course does count toward fulfilment of the department’s history requirement.

Grading  Policy

One paper of around 20 pages (12 point, 1.5 spacing) due at the end of term.

Texts

Immanuel Kant: Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Werner S. Pluhar, Hackett (latest edition).

Secondary literature will be made available on Canvas.

This seminar satisfies the History Requirement

 


PHL 381 • Plato's Theaetetus-Wb

42270 • Evans, Matthew
Meets T 3:30PM-6:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
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Course Description:

Our aim in this seminar will be to develop a satisfying interpretation of Plato’s Theaetetus — a complex and difficult work whose arguments preoccupied many of the leading lights of 20th century analytic philosophy, including Bertrand Russell, Gilbert Ryle, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bernard Williams, and John McDowell. This was no accident, as Myles Burnyeat once pointed out: “No other dialogue of Plato’s speaks so directly to the concerns of the working philosopher in modern times. This is the case even when, or especially when, the line of thought is one that would not occur to a modern philosopher.” What we find here, in short, is one of the Western world’s earliest and deepest investigations into the nature of understanding, the connection between thought and perception, the possibility of false judgment, the sustainability of relativism, and the mereological structure of reality. Few of its careful readers will remain unmoved.

Grading Policy:

Term Paper: 60%

Presentations: 30%

Participation: 10%

Texts:

Myles Burnyeat, The Theaetetus of Plato. (1990) Translation by M. J. Levett, revised by Myles Burnyeat. Hackett Publishing. 

Secondary readings will be drawn from the work of recent and contemporary historians of ancient philosophy.

Since we will often be discussing questions of translation, some knowledge of ancient Greek will be useful. But it will not be required.


PHL 382 • Mnd-Bdy Prob: Hist/Solution-Wb

42275 • Strawson, Galen
Meets TH 12:30PM-3:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
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“Nature is altogether Material … Thoughts, Ideas, Conceptions, Sympathies, Antipathies, … Natural Life, and Soul, are all Material” (Margaret Cavendish 1664: 12)

“a thesis that says [that] panpsychistic materialism ... is impossible ... is more than just materialism” (David Lewis 1983: 36)

Course Description

All materialists until 1900 were outright realists about consciousness (in broad sense of ‘consciousness’, i.e. ‘experiential “what-it-is-likeness”’ of any sort whatever); almost all materialists until about 1960 were outright realists about consciousness. They were therefore (in my terms) ‘realistic’ materialists: the idea that materialism/physicalism has anything to do with doubt about or denial of the existence of consciousness is as new as it is groundless.

This course aims to follow the realistic-materialist thread—if not from the Early Church Fathers (some of whom were staunch realistic materialists), then at least from the 17th century, with some brief notice of the great eighteenth-century surge of ‘French materialists’ and the great nineteenth-century surge of ‘German materialists’ (when Russell referred to “the materialistic ’60s” he was referring to the 1860s). These philosophers make many points and arguments as good as (often better than) anything in the last sixty years in analytic philosophy. Some of them are panpsychist physicalists, but we should not worry about this.

The historical (pre-twentieth century) grounding will be relatively brief. In the twentieth century the focus will be on—among others—Schlick, Russell, Eddington, C. A. Strong, R. W. Sellars, H. Feigl, G. Maxwell, T. Nagel, U. T. Place, Lockwood, etc, unto the present day.  Some of them, again, are panpsychist physicalists, but, again, we should not worry too much about this.

Most of the authors just mentioned are genuine mind–brain identity theorists (and say so explicitly). Many of those who call themselves ‘identity theorists’ post-1960 are not (you can’t assert an identity between two seemingly different things if you deny the existence of one of them). The course will also have a look at how false identity theorists can go so wrong—along with ‘eliminativism’ or ‘illusionism’. It will also become entangled as required with metaphysics and the philosophy of perception.

Grading Policy

Two presentations 10% (one of a required text, one of draft of term paper); one 20-page paper 90%


Likely or possible texts include work by those mentioned above; excerpts from (e.g.) Hobbes, Descartes, Regius, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Cavendish, Spinoza, Locke, Toland, Priestley, d’Holbach, Diderot, Lawrence, Faraday, Tyndall, Riehl, Tyndall; and much more (but not too much).

 


PHL 383 • Social Epistemology-Wb

42280 • Sorensen, Roy
Meets TH 3:30PM-6:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
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Course Description: 

The focus of this seminar will be social epistemology. Whereas traditional epistemology focuses on the individual learner, social epistemology focuses on the social problems that learners confront. To what extent should we rely on testimonial evidence? Which experts should we rely on? How can beliefs be aggregated into a more reliable collective judgment? These questions bear on free speech, prediction markets, and academic appointments. The traditional approach to social epistemology is intended to promote knowledge. We will also consider practices designed to prevent knowledge: censorship, propaganda, conspiracies, and lying.  

Grading Policy:  

Grades will be based on two essays (3000 words each) and two presentations (which can be coordinated with the essays). Each of the four assignments is weighted equally.


Texts: 

The readings will be drawn from an anthology, Social Epistemology: Essential Readings ed. Alvin Goldman and Dennis Whitcomb, and articles available on-line through the UT library site.

These articles will be influenced by student preferences for their essay assignments and presentations.  

 


PHL 386 • Human Nature-Wb

42285 • Sarkar, Sahotra
Meets TH 9:30AM-12:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
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Course Description:

[SS] This course will be an introduction to philosophical discussions of human nature in the context of contemporary science. After a brief look at historical debates beween rationalists and empiricists it will turn to post-Darwinian discussions of human nature. The focus will be on the nature-nurture problem in its diverse guises: sociobiology, Evolutionary Psychology, evolutionary developmental psychology, niche construction, heritability, race and racial determinism, phenotypic plasticity, genetic reductionism. There will also be discussions of the social ramifications of these doctrines including social Darwinism and eugenics. Biological theories will be contrasted with anthropological and sociological theories.

Grading Policy:

[SS]  Grades will be assigned on the basis of two class presentations based on pre-circulated papers which have to be about 3000 words in length.


Texts:

[SS]  Three books and a large collection of papers will be used. The books are:

[SS] Charles Taylor, 1989, Sources of the Self.

J. R. Richards, 2005, Human Nature after Darwin.

D. F. Bjorklund and A. D. Pellegrini, 2001, Origins of Human Nature.

 


PHL 387 • Aquinas: Treatise On Law

42290 • Budziszewski, J
Meets M 12:00PM-3:00PM GSB 2.124
(also listed as GOV 382M)
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DESCRIPTION

Thomas Aquinas is regarded by more than a few scholars as one of the two or three greatest philosophers and theologians in Western history, as well as one of the most illuminating students of Augustine and Aristotle. His Treatise on Law is the locus classicus of the natural law tradition, and indispensable for anyone seriously interested in ethical philosophy, political philosophy, jurisprudence, natural law, or the interaction of faith and reason in each of these areas. Though it is brief, as treatises go, it is not the sort of book one can browse through in an evening, and requires close reading.

Written in the form of a scholastic disputation, the Treatise takes up 19 disputed questions, for example whether there is such a thing as natural law and whether one may disobey unjust laws. We will closely study each of the first eight (qq. 90-97), as well as a few selections from the other eleven (qq, 98-108), taking them up in sequence and in context. I say “in context” because the Treatise is but a single part of a much larger work, the Summa Theologiae, which takes up a variety of related matters including the ultimate purpose of human life, the nature of human acts, the passions, the virtues, and the vices. I do not expect you to be familiar with the whole Summa; we will explore the connections as necessary.

GRADING POLICY

One quarter: Vigorous class participation.

One quarter: Weekly written reflections on the readings, submitted a day before class, each half a page to a page.

One half: Term paper, 25-30 pages.

For reflections and term papers: Please format in 14-point font, single-spacing within paragraphs, but double-spacing between paragraphs. Formatted that way, your paper should be 20-25 pages.

I do not use pluses or minuses.

TEXTS

J. Budziszewski, Commentary on Thomas Aquinas’ Treatise on Law (Cambridge University Press, 2014). This is really a double book, because it comes with free access to the online Companion to the Commentary, which you can download from my website or download from Cambridge University Press). The Companion provides additional commentary and extended thematic discussion.

You don’t need to purchase a separate copy of the Treatise on Law, since the text is included in the Commentary itself. However, a version of the Treatise with Latin and English in parallel columns can be found at http://dhspriory.org/thomas/summa/FS.html#TOC09 .

The book is available in the reserve rooms of both the Tarleton Law Library and the Perry- Castaneda Library. However, if you don’t have a personal copy, you must be prepared to share with another student during class. Electronic devices such as laptops, cellphones, sound recorders, and smart pens must be powered down and stowed away during class. There are no exceptions except for pacemakers.

 


PHL 387 • Political Equality-Wb

42295 • Deigh, John
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
show description

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


PHL 387 • Recent Work In Ethics-Wb

42300 • Dancy, Jonathan
Meets T 12:30PM-3:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
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Course Description:

In this course we will be reading Sarah McGrath’s Moral Knowledge and another book to be determined shortly.



Grading Policy:

Grading will be determined by the grade of your final paper



Texts: as above

 

 


PHL 389 • Core Logic-Wb

42320 • Schoenfield, Miriam
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
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Course Description: 

We'll cover some basic logic, modal logic, semantics, formal epistemology and decision theory



Grading Policy:

Attendance and problem sets


Texts:

Logic for Philosophy Ted Sider

Fundamentals of Bayesian Epistemology Mike Titelbaum

 

PDFS of both will be provided


PHL 394K • Philosophy Of Language-Wb

42325 • Dever, Joshua
Meets M 12:00PM-3:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
(also listed as LIN 394K)
show description

Prerequisites

Graduate Standing and Consent of Graduate Advisor or instructor required.

Course Description

This course will be an advanced survey of contemporary issues in the philosophy of language. We will focus on various philosophical issues concerning language, including, but not limited to, the following: speech act theory, sentence/expression meaning, reference, quantification, propositional attitude ascriptions, and context sensitivity.  An overarching aim of the course is to get clear (or at least clearer) on the relationship between mental content, the content of our speech acts, and the literal context-invariant meanings of the sentences we use in performing such acts. 

Grading

Grades will be determined solely on the basis of a term paper (90%) and one in-class presentation (10%).  

Texts

Readings will include many classics in 20th century analytic philosophy of language, as well as numerous articles from the last decade.  All readings will be posted on our course Canvas site


PHL 398T • Supv Teaching In Philosophy-Wb

42345 • Tye, Michael
Meets TH 12:30PM-3:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
show description

Restricted to Philosophy Graduate Students.

Prerequisites

Consent of Graduate Advisor required.

Offered on the credit/no credit basis only. Students may register for this course as many as four times, but only three semester hours of credit in this course may be applied toward a graduate degree

Course Description

This seminar, required for the PhD in philosophy, prepares students to teach and to finish the PhD with a teaching portfolio that includes syllabi for courses at undergraduate and graduate levels.

Grading

The grade will be based on the following items:

Course Syllabi (2 introductory, 2 upper-division, 1 graduate) 50%

A Statement of Teaching Philosophy 10%

Teaching Observation Reports (2) 20%

Participation 20%

Texts

Readings will be made available online.


PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knwldg/Valuation-Wb

41870-41895 • Woodruff, Paul
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
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A continuation of Philosophy 610QA, this course will carry the class discussion beyond ethics to the support for ethics—reality and our ability to know it.  In this we are following Plato’s journey from Socrates’ questions to a theory of transcendent being.  We will start by looking at recent theories of relativism and then ask whether we can have access to knowledge of objective truth.  We’ll look at Plato’s Theaetetus and ask whether relativism can be coherent, and we’ll go on to seek a definition of knowledge.  In the middle of February, in time for Valentine’s day, we will arrive at the subject of love, which Plato believes leads us to a grasp of reality, as we will learn from the Symposium.  After a foray into the history of skepticism, we will 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 two sides 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 advance to a serious excursion into Buddhist metaphysics, which centers on the challenging idea that a human being has no real self. 


PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knwldg/Valuation-Wb

41875-41885 • Sainsbury, Richard
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
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The course will be based on readings from chapters 1 through 11 of the Norton Introduction to Philosophy, considering authors ranging from Plato to our contemporaries. Topics to be discussed include the existence of God, knowledge and justification, and the nature of mind and consciousness. Class preparation will be based on the Perusall system.


PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knwldg/Valuation-Wb

41915-41925 • Proops, Ian
Meets M 4:00PM-5:30PM • Internet; Synchronous
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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’s Mediations), 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), and issues in applied ethics (for example, “Is there a moral right to own a gun?”, “What are the reasonable limits on free speech?”). There are no prerequisites for this class.


PHL 610QB • Probs Of Knwldg/Valuation-Wb

41900-41910 • Evans, Matthew
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
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There are some questions we should all ask ourselves at least once before we die, and many of them are philosophical. In this course we will pick out a few of the most pressing of these questions, and try to answer them as best we can. In the spring semester we will ask questions about valuation — good and bad, right and wrong. Among them will be: What is it about right actions that makes them right? Is it only that they bring about the best available outcome? What is it for one outcome to be better or worse than another? What is it for one life to go better or worse than another? Could it be wrong to bring someone into existence? Do we owe anything to future generations? Are there some things that it would be wrong to say, regardless of whether they are true? Are all of us leading immoral lives? Readings will be drawn primarily from recent work in philosophical ethics.