Department of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41820-41845 • Proops, Ian
Meets TTH 3:30PM-4:30PM 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

41790-41815 • Dogramaci, Sinan
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:00PM WAG 302
show description
Intro to Philosophy:
 

We’ll consider a selection of philosophical questions and we’ll critically examine various arguments for different positions on these questions. Topics will be as follows:

  • What are life and death? What is the meaning of life?
  • What is a person? 
  • What are personal and social identities, in particular what are races and genders?
  • What is free will? How could free will be possible if the laws of physics fully govern the behavior of the atoms we’re composed of?
  • What is knowledge? How can you know anything? Can you know you’re not in the Matrix?
  • How can you know God exists? How does modern science, not only evolutionary biology, but cosmology too, bear on the issue?
  • When, if ever, it is morally permissible to let another innocent human die?
  • Is abortion morally permissible?
  • Is it morally permissible to eat meat?
  • Is it morally permissible to be partial to your own group or nation?
  • What is philosophy? What is it good for?
Texts: The Norton Introduction to Philosophy, 2nd Edition, and various other readings
 
Grading: 3 argumentative essays

PHL 301 • Introduction To Philosophy

41785 • Stippa, Bronwyn
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM WAG 302
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

41850 • Barker, Matthias
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM WAG 302
(also listed as C C 304C, CTI 310)
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An introduction to the philosophical achievements of the ancient world, concentrating on Plato and Aristotle. 


PHL 301L • Early Modern Philosophy

41855 • Dunlop, Katherine
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM GAR 0.128
(also listed as CTI 310)
show description

An introduction to the philosophical achievements of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, concentrating on such figures as Descartes, Hume, and Kant. 


PHL 302C • Ethics And Enlightenment

41860-41870 • Bonevac, Daniel
Meets MW 12:00PM-1:00PM WAG 302
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This course surveys the principal ethical theories and attitudes to grow out of the major Eastern religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and their concern with an experiential enlightenment. The course will also consider some modern Indian positions called neo-Vedanta and with the ethical dimensions of yoga.

 

We will study the Chinese theories of virtue ethics fashioned by Confucius and Laozi, as will the modern enlightenment theory of the Japanese philosophers of the "Kyoto School."

 

Contrast with Western theories—the Kantian theory of duty, the utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill, and the existentialism of Albert Camus and Jean-Paul Sartre—will help us evaluate the Eastern ethical views.

 

Required Text: Daniel Bonevac and Stephen Phillips (ed.), Introduction to World Philosophy. Oxford University Press, 2009.


PHL 303 • Human Nature

41875 • Trees, Hannah
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM CLA 0.106
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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

41880-41905 • 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

41970 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM WAG 302
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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

41940-41965 • Blaesi, Zachary
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

41910-41935 • Gilani, Syeda
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:00AM WAG 101
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This course covers some issues in applied ethics, specifically the topics of sexual ethics, animal ethics, reproductive ethics, and economic/distributive justice.

We will be considering such questions as: what is informed consent? Are prostitution and pornography ever acceptable? Is it okay to farm animals for food, clothes, etc.? Is animal testing for medical purposes permissible? When, if ever, is it okay to have an abortion? Is it wrong to reproduce? Is wage labour inherently exploitative? How much, if any, obligation do the wealthy have to give charity?


PHL 310 • Knowledge And Reality

41975-41985 • Buchanan, Lawrence
Meets TTH 9:30AM-10:30AM WAG 302
show description

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

42035 • Schiller, Henry
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 201
show description
This is a first course in formal logic. Formal logic allows us to give precise characterizations of good inferential patterns, and it is an important foundational tool for work in computer science, philosophy, linguistics, and mathematics. We will work with proof systems for sentential logic (which treats the inferential relations among simple sentences) and predicate logic (which is distinguished from sentential logic by its use of quantifiers). Students will come out of this course with an understanding of these systems, and of deductive inference and argument generally.
 

Required Texts /Readings:

Peter Smith, An Introduction to Formal Logic


PHL 313 • Introductory Symbolic Logic

42040-42050 • Dever, Joshua
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM WAG 302
show description

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 313Q • Logic And Scientific Reasoning

42055-42065 • Dogramaci, Sinan
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 420
show description
Logic and Scientific Reasoning

What logical principles dictate how a rational thinker manages their beliefs? What logical principles dictate how a batch of evidence confirms, or disconfirms, a given hypothesis to one or another degree?    In this course, we will study, and critically evaluate, the leading theory, called Bayesian epistemology. Bayesians use mathematical probability theory in order to explain when our reasoning is rational, from ordinary day-to-day inferences to sophisticated scientific theorizing. A Bayesian's focus is not on demonstrations or proofs of a conjecture's truth (as in so-called "classical" logic), nor is the focus on how we acquire knowledge (as in so-called traditional epistemology); rather, our focus is on the rational management of our degrees of confidence, that is, stronger and weaker opinions. The main question is this: when we cannot absolutely prove or know the truth about some hypothesis, how much confidence should we place in it?   For a fun snapshot of the kind of thing we'll study, check out the Wikipedia entry on "The Monty Hall Problem."  

This course carries the Quantitative Reasoning flag.

Succeeding in this course demands hard work, but anyone who puts in the requisite hard work can do well in it. No special talents or background skills or knowledge are required---just the hard work.

Text:

Ian Hacking, An Introduction to Probability and Inductive

 

Grading:

-   Four problem sets

-   Two Exams


 

About the Professor:

Sinan Dogramaci is Associate Professor in the department of philosophy. Most of his research and teaching concern logic and rationality in one way or another. He is especially interested in the ways in which logic and rationality can be properly distinguished from one another. His paper "Reverse Engineering Epistemic Evaluations" won the Rutgers Young Epistemologist prize, and can be found along with his other papers on his website, www.sinandogramaci.net. His favorite food items include the bean, the lentil, and the french fry.

_____________________________________

*This course is open only to Plan II students.*


PHL 317K • Intro To Philos Of The Arts

42075-42100 • Higgins, Kathleen
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:00PM JGB 2.216
show description

PHL 317K

Fall 2018

Kathleen Higgins, Professor

 

Description:  This course will consider some of the answers given in the Western philosophical tradition to questions about the nature of art and beauty, with some comparison with the aesthetic traditions of other societies.  Particular attention will be given to the nature of aesthetic experience from the standpoint of both the artist and the observer, the relationship between art and reality, and the questions contemporary art raises about the purpose of art.

 

Text:  David Goldblatt, Lee B. Brown, and Stephanie Patridge, Aesthetics: A Reader in Philosophy of the Arts, 4th ed.

 

Grading:

Short papers               30% total (beauty, wall text, Landmarks, something toward end)

Exam 1                       15%

Exam 2                       15%

Final project                20%

Section presentation    10%

Participation                10%


PHL 317K • Intro To Philos Of The Arts

42070 • Gubka, Steven
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM WAG 302
show description

This course is a survey of topics in the philosophy of art. Some of the questions that we will investigate include:

  • Why is art valuable to us?

  • How is it possible to enjoy movies that scare us or make us sad?

  • Does it make sense to care about the protagonist of a story, even though they’re not real?

  • Can reading a book or playing a video game make you a better or worse person?

  • Is some artwork better than others? How do we know when something is great art?

In the process of evaluating these questions, we will directly engage with many mediums and genres of art, including horror movies, magical realism literature, and video games.


PHL 318K • Intro To Political Philosophy

42105 • Krauss, Samuel
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM GAR 0.128
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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

42110 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM WAG 208
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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 322 • Science And The Modern World

42115-42125 • Juhl, Cory
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:00PM WAG 214
show description

Scientific discoveries have profoundly altered the way we see the world and our place within it. Three branches of science that have dramatically changed the way humans see themselves are cosmology, the science that deals with the large-scale structure of the universe, quantum theory, which deals with the small-scale structure, and evolutionary biology. In this course we will accomplish two main goals. First, we will learn the history and content of a few of the most revolutionary theoretical developments in human history. Second, we will consider aspects of the broader philosophical significance that these developments are supposed to have. The first part of the course will concentrate on general philosophy of science issues. Then we will study the Copernican Revolution, how it came about and some of its explosive consequences.      

     We will then briefly describe the revolutionary implications of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Next will be an overview of the bizarre discoveries about the basic nature of matter, quantum theory. We will study various relevant historical developments, and think about different interpretations of the theory that have been proposed. A fundamental question will haunt us in this part, the question whether we are doomed to ignorance about the ultimate nature of reality.      

      Next we will consider the work of a physicist who attempts to explain why, and in what sense, science as we came to know it did not develop anywhere except in Europe. His view is that the ancient Greeks invented the sort of logical, systematic thinking that science requires. Relevant facets of Chinese culture, Hebrew culture and others will be examined and contrasted with Greek and later European cultures with respect to their fostering scientific developments.

     The last third to half of the course will focus on evolutionary biology since the nineteenth century. We will first read some of Dawkins’ and then Dennett’s summary of the conceptual core of modern evolutionary theory, from their own compelling, if perhaps disturbing, perspectives. Then we will spend time on more recent developments and controversies that have swirled around evolutionary theory. The matters that we will deal with in the course are fascinating at a purely intellectual level. But these are not merely intellectual curiosities; they provide pictures of how we humans ‘fit into the cosmic scheme’. Since matters of fundamental importance hinge on a proper understanding the universe and our place in it, no thinking person can afford to neglect to examine these pictures with care.


PHL 323K • Metaphysics

42130 • Litland, Jon
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WAG 208
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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

42135 • Montague, Michelle
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 208
show description

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

42140 • Evans, Matthew
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM WAG 208
show description

Most of us accept that there are some things we morally ought to do, and other things we morally ought not to do. But we rarely take the time to ask, in a serious and systematic way, what is it about these things that makes them the ones we morally ought, or ought not, to do. The aim of this class is to explore and evaluate the full range of different possible answers we might want to give to this question. Readings will be drawn primarily from recent and contemporary work in the analytic tradition of philosophical ethics, but will also include some material from the two historical figures who have had perhaps the greatest influence on that tradition — Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill.


PHL 325L • Business, Ethics, And Publ Pol

42145 • Bonevac, Daniel
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 214
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This course is mainly an introduction to a number of ethical problems that arise in the world of business, including problems regarding economic justice, corporate responsibility, advertising, and consumer protection. We will consider general ethical theories as well as specific business ethical issues.


PHL 325M • Medicine, Ethics, And Society

42150 • Leon, Jeffrey
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM 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 • Interpretation And Meaning

42165 • Buchanan, Lawrence
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 308
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Explores the currents of contemporary thought by focusing on philosophical areas, movements, or trends.


PHL 327 • Philosophy Of Race And Gender

42155 • Smith, Nicole
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM WAG 308
show description

The concepts of justice, rights, and equality have traditionally been the centerpiece of ethical and political theorizing. But are such concepts too “thin” to do the work theorists have traditionally tasked them with? A relatively recent trend—going back at least to Karl Marx’s emphasis on socioeconomic class structures—proposes a new framework in which identity is central to ethical and political theorizing. People often describe themselves or “identify” as members of a certain group: I am… working class, trans, latinx, black, disabled, conservative, a woman, and so forth. In normative theorizing, must we take these categories seriously? Here’s one reason you might think so. Social and political institutions should promote the general welfare, yet if this collective is not homogeneous, but composed of individuals who are differentially affected by our institutions according to their identity, then insofar as traditional political and ethical theories fail to recognize the moral relevance of these differences, they are incapable of pinpointing and critiquing when these institutions fall short of the ideal. “Identity politics,” as it has come to be known, promises to do better. It too, however, faces its own set of challenges. What is it to belong to a certain race or to be a certain gender or to have a certain sexuality? Once we address this and other foundational questions, much work needs to be done in fleshing out the normative implications of this framework. This course utilizes an interdisciplinary approach consulting biological, historical, philosophical, and psychological perspectives in elaborating and evaluating this alternative.

Texts:

Bernasconi, R., and Lott, L.T. eds. (2000). The idea of race. Indianapolis: Hackett.
Roberts, Dorthy (2011). Fatal Invention. The New Press.
Haslanger  “Future Genders? Future Races?” Moral Issues in Global Perspectives, Vol 2.

Grading:

Paper #1 (draft) 15%
Paper #1 (final) 20%
Paper #2 (draft) 15%
Paper #2 (final) 20%


PHL 327 • Squaring The Vienna Circle

42160 • Arens, Katherine
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GEA 114
(also listed as C L 323, EUS 347, GSD 361F)
show description

DESCRIPTION:

 Today's Anglo-American Analytic Philosophy grows out of the tradition of Logical Positivism/Logical Empiricism as it evolved in the circles around Wittgenstein in England after the Second World War, and it positions itself over and against Continental Philosophy.  That positioning, however, obscures how Wittgenstein and the group that Viktor Kraft, the first historian of the Vienna Circle of Logical Positivism, took over a much broader cultural project that is echoed in the work of twentieth-century theorists and philosophers from Walter Benjamin through Ernst Cassirer's Philosophy of Symbolic Forms.  Just as significant, the Vienna Circle's work parallels today's philosophy of science as practiced by figures like Bruno Latour.

This class will combine perspectives from philosophy and the history of philosophy to undertake a project in "historical epistemology":  it will trace how Logical Empiricism  actually came into being out of a set of methodological arguments about the philosophy of science and hermeneutics that were widespread in the late nineteenth century (and which find their echoes in figures as diverse as Nietzsche and Heidegger).  The new genesis narrative we will trace reverberates with problems of forced migration and emigration, as a generation of theorists and philosophers were forced out of continental Europe and to the US and Great Britain by the Nazis.  And in order to find their feet, these émigrés took up new projects and redefined their work for new audiences, offering a set of cases of culture transfer -- cases where philosophical logics responded directly, if tacitly, to politics and culture.

No background in philosophy is required for this course, and all readings will be available in English on the class blackboard site.    Background reading on the history of science will ground our readings of primary texts, and each student will be responsible for evolving a semester project in writing a specific philosopher or project into a new kind of intercultural history of ideas.

CLASS READINGS WILL INCLUDE (all in excerpts):

Ludwig Wittgenstein:   The Blue and Brown Books

Nietzsche:  On the Genealogy of Morals

Essays by Windelband and Rickert on the "science debate" of the nineteenth century.

Wilhelm Dilthey, On the Crisis of the European Sciences

Husserl, The Idea of Phenomenology

Cassirer, The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms

Benjamin,

Viktor Kraft, The Vienna Circle

Janik/Toulmin, Wittgenstein's Vienna

Friedrich Stadler, The Vienna Circle

Wittgenstein, Waisman, The Voices of Wittgenstein

Lakatos/Feyerabend, For and Against Method

Essays by Carnap, Neurath, Latour

ASSIGNMENTS:

Daily readings

Three one-page précis (analysis of individual texts) = 3 x 5% of grade =15% of grade

Midterm writing assignment = 10 % of grade

One comprehensive final essay test = 25% of grade

One semester project, done in stages (history/biography section [5% of grade], bibliography/research plan [5% of grade],  close reading of a text [15% of grade], plus 10-page paper presenting one issue from the texts read in class together with individual work [25% of grade]).


PHL 329K • Hist Of Ancient Philosophy

42170-42175 • Leon, Jeffrey
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM PAR 301
(also listed as C C 348)
show description

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

42180-42185 • Martinich, Aloysius
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 301
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PHL 329L                           Early Modern Philosophy

Fall 2018                           Room: PAR 301                   

 

Professor Al Martinich         Email: martinich@austin.utexas.edu

Office: WAG 416A

 

Description: Early Modern Philosophy will cover roughly the period from 1600- 1800. Most of our attentions will be on Descartes and his critics, Locke, Berkeley, Leibniz, Hume, and Kant.

We will have five major goals:

  1. To learn what the major philosophers taught and what reasons or arguments they gave for their beliefs.
  2. To discover, in addition to the philosophical views of others, some actual philosophical truths.
  3. To learn how to understand and evaluate arguments and reasons.
  4. To learn some of the ways philosophy should be done.
  5. To locate modern philosophy within some important scientific, political, and religious aspects of Western Europe (1450-1789).

 

Books:

Roger Ariew and Eric Watkins, Modern Philosophy 2nd ed. (Hackett, 2009)

A. P. Martinich, Philosophical Writing 4th ed. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015).

 

 

Grading:

Two in-class tests:     15 % and 25% =                        40%

Attendance and Participation:                                       15%

Essay     2,000-3000 words                                          20%

Final Examination   (final examination period)                25%    


PHL 332 • Philosophy Of Language

42190 • Dever, Joshua
Meets MW 10:00AM-11:30AM GDC 6.202
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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 347 • Philosophy Of Law

42200 • Leon, Jeffrey
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 201
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 348 • Natural Theology East And West

42205 • Phillips, Stephen
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM WAG 308
(also listed as ANS 340)
show description

Is there a God? Are there reasons to believe or not to believe in a God?

This course surveys and at the same time evaluates arguments for and against the existence of God in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions, along with arguments for Brahman (Hinduism) and Emptiness (Buddhism).

The course takes a global point of view, comparing arguments proferred originally in Arabic, for example, with medieval arguments expressed in Latin and with a collection of arguments originally expressed in Sanskrit.

We will also examine the primary atheistic arguments in the West from Epicurus through Bertrand Russell and in India principally from a philosopher of the eighth century named Kumarila Bhatta.

We will also consider differing concepts of God. An important Buddhist argument purports to prove the Buddha's omniscience. But the Buddhist idea of omniscience differs from the mainstream view of God's omniscience in the West.

Our main focus throughout the course will be on the strengths and weaknesses of each argument.

We will examine passages from a wide variety of thinkers, including Aristotle, Epicurus, Paul, Augustine, Uddyotakara, Kumarila Bhatta, al-Farabi, ibn Sina (Avicenna), Anselm, Udayana, al-Ghazali, ibn Rushd (Averroes), Aquinas, Keśava Miśra, Gangesa, Descartes, Leibniz, Paley, Hume, and Gödel, as well as some contemporary articles illuminating the structure of the arguments.


PHL 363L • Philosophy Of Science

42214 • Juhl, Cory
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 112
show description

This course is an upper-level introduction to the philosophy of science. We will discuss such things as causation, laws of nature, scientific realism, naturalism, theories, evidence, probability, social factors, and other aspects of science

 

Texts:

Alexander Rosenberg, The Philosophy of Science; Curd and Psillos, eds, Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Science

 

Grading:

Three mid-term examinations, 30% each

Class Participation, 10%


PHL 375M • British Empiricism

42215 • Dunlop, Katherine
Meets M 2:00PM-5:00PM WAG 307
show description

The aim of this course is to achieve in-depth understanding of the philosophical views of John Locke and David Hume as well as familiarity with their intellectual content.  In addition to Locke's and Hume's major works in theoretical philosophy, we will read selections from major scientific works whose empiricist methodology influenced Locke's and Hume's views.

 

Texts:

Robert Boyle,  Essay on Forms and Qualities
John Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Isaac Newton, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
David Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
David Hume, Treatise of Human Nature

 

Grading:

The main course requirement will be a research paper.  Students will also have to complete short writing assignments in preparation for the term paper and a take-home comprehensive exam.


PHL 375M • Nyaya

42220 • Phillips, Stephen
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM WAG 307
show description

This course is an intensive study of the classical Indian school of Nyaya, ``Logic,'' which may have begun as a
theory of debate and informal logic but in the "root text"of the Nyaya-sutra (c. 100 CE) developed a thorough-going
externalist theory of knowledge and a realist metaphysics.  We shall also have the occasion to learn about some of Nyaya's rivals, principally Buddhist nominalists who are internalists in epistemology. Our main focus will be the Nyaya-sutra and what is called the "Old School" (through Udayana, c. 1000), but we shall look briefly at the positions
and texts of New Nyaya (and the work of Gangesa, c. 1300).

Texts:

Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips (tr.), The Nyaya-sutra (Hackett 2017)
Kisor Chakrabarthy, Nyaya Philosophy of Mind (SUNY, 1999).
Roy Perrett, An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. Cambridge 2016.
S. Phillips, Epistemology in Classical India. Routledge 2012

Grading:

Two four page papers (20% each), and one longer paper,
nine pages (40%).  The longer paper may be a rewrite
and an expansion of one of the shorter ones. 

Attendance and class participation will count 10%, and one or more
tests over short lists of glossary terms will count 10%.


PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42020-42030 • Proops, Ian
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM WAG 302
show description

Restricted to students in the Plan II Honors Program. Methods and aims of selected sciences, arts, and philosophy in the attainment of knowledge and in providing the basis for valuation.


PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

42005-42015 • Woodruff, Paul
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WAG 420
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The course is a journey backward—and forward—in time.  We will begin with recent Utilitarian ethics, which seeks the greatest happiness of the greatest number.  After assessing the strengths and weaknesses of utilitarianism, we will move on to Kant’s approach to ethics, which is based on the dignity of human beings as autonomous—as making their own ethical laws.  Then we will explore virtue ethics—the study of character in relation to action—in both Greek and Chinese traditions. This will lead us back to Socrates, and we will ask whether we can use his foundations to build a theory we can use today.  That is the project of Woodruff’s current book writing project. In all of this we will try to go through the study of history to engage with our own real, every day ethical issues.  We will end with existentialism, seen mainly through Camus.


PHL 610QA • Probs Of Knowledge & Valuation

41990-42000 • Evans, Matthew
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM WAG 302
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There are some questions that all of us should 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 fall semester we will ask questions about knowledge. Among them will be: What is it, and how is it possible? Does it extend beyond our own thoughts and feelings? If we aim to acquire it, how should we adjust our beliefs when we find we disagree with people whose judgment we generally trust? Is it somehow relative to individuals, communities, cultures, or species? Does the theory of evolution imply that we cannot acquire it, particularly in matters of right and wrong? If we cannot acquire it in matters of right and wrong, are we morally responsible for what we do?

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 grossly immoral lives?

Readings will be drawn primarily from recent work in epistemology and ethics. All of them will be made freely available on Canvas.