This course focuses on the basic human concerns treated under the classical core elements
of philosophical inquiry, and prepares students for more detailed treatments of these
areas in courses at the 30000 level. Major topics include ethics, epistemology, metaphysics
and the philosophies of religion, science, art and mind, and introductory logic.
This course provides an introduction to philosophy focused on the metaphysical, ethical,
and value questions, What (who) are we? What should we do? and What makes life meaningful?
Answers from various figures in Western thought will be explored, compared, and evaluated,
providing a basis for further study of these in upper level courses.
This course is a continuation of PHIL 10103(Mind, Meaning, and Morality I) and provides an exploration of various conceptions
of freedom, determinism, and objectivity, particularly as they emerge out of ancient
and modern explanations of human agency and purpose into 19th and 20th Century attitudes
towards the self, moral responsibility, socio-political organization, scientific knowledge,
and the natural world.
Students will examine and critically evaluate important philosophical ideas as they
are expressed in film. Students will watch films and read accompanying philosophical
texts that deal with perennial philosophical questions.
An examination of contemporary moral issues. Typical topics include abortion, euthanasia,
discrimination, preferential hiring, the enforcement of community standards, the morality
of war, punishment, the rights of distant peoples and future generations, and environmental
In this class we will explore some of the classic metaphysical and moral problems
that surround the topic of death. Some of the questions the class may discuss include:
What is death? Do we have a soul? Is death a harm? Is life a benefit? Is euthanasia
morally permissible? Is abortion morally permissible? Is it morally permissible to
kill animals so that we may eat them? May we sacrifice the lives of some in order
to save the lives of others?
An examination of some of the ethical issues that arise in the field of medicine.
Topics typically include the moral status of abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research,
informed consent, cloning, and the just distribution of scarce medical resources.
This course surveys several contemporary approaches for understanding our moral obligation
to the environment, including intuitionism, utilitarianism, deontology and feminism.
By applying these approaches to concrete environmental issues, the course illustrates
how efforts to preserve the environment raise special difficulties for traditional
moral categories, such as intrinsic and instrumental value. The course also explores
the peculiarly aesthetic dimension of environmental ethics, including claims about
the value of natural beauty and unspoiled wilderness.
This course explores several conceptions of mind, consciousness, and self within both
the Western and Eastern traditions. These conceptions are similar in their rejection
of the view that cognition and consciousness reside exclusively (or in any way) within
a thinking substance or ego, or are somehow uniquely enskulled or brainbound. Topics
we will consider include attention and awareness, extended cognition and mind, embodiment,
situatedness, self-consciousness, interpersonal neurobiology, animal minds, neurotechnology,
personal identity, boundaries of self, not-self or selflessness, the evolutionary
self, and the ecological self.
An introduction to some basic issues in the philosophy of music. What is the difference
between music and noise? What is a work of music? Are works of different traditions
fundamentally different kinds of entities? What is a musical performance, and what
is it for a performance to be accurate or authentic? What are the relevant social,
cultural, economic, and ethical considerations when playing or otherwise engaging
with certain kinds of music? Readings will be a mix of classic and contemporary papers
by leading philosophers of music.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
A systematic examination of the central issues in metaphysics. Topics include the
nature of possibility and necessity, persistence through time and change, material
constitution and composition, and criteria of ontological commitment. A portion of
the course will also focus on methodological issues pertaining to the nature of metaphysical
questions and claims. Readings will be a mix of classic and contemporary papers by
A systematic treatment of basic issues in moral theory, critically examining such
issues as the possibility of providing rational foundations for moral belief, and
the nature of moral judgments and moral reasoning, focusing on the work of major historical
and contemporary figures.
Philosophy of Religion today is centrally concerned with issues relating to the rationality
and justification of religious convictions. There is also an interest in the coherence
of religious concepts. In this course various philosophical models for understanding
and evaluating religious convictions and practices are examined and applied.
This course introduces students to the myriad ways in which sexual desire and sexual
activity are structured by social relations and to the ways that sexuality, sexual
practices, and sexual identities vary in time and space. We will also consider how
those social relations and sexual identities influence ethical judgment regarding
various sexual practices and attitudes. Social science and philosophical theories
of sexuality will be considered and cross-cultural and historical accounts of sexual
practices will be reviewed.
An introduction to the classical systems and central issues in political philosophy.
The approach is largely historical, and selected major thinkers of most recent four
centuries form the focus of the course.
This course offers students an opportunity to reflect on such topics as the search
for meaning, being, freedom, the self, embodiment, authenticity, love, and ethics
as they are dealt with in texts by major writers in the 19th and 20th century movement
known as existentialism.
This course will focus on Philosophical issues foundational to Psychology. Specifically,
it will involve an interdisciplinary exploration of the nature, mechanisms, and architecture
of cognition. Topics include: models of psychological explanation, the nature of commonsense
psychology and the relationship between rationality and mental causation, functionalist
approaches to cognition, computational vs. neural network models of mind, and the
relationships between perception, action, and cognition.
A survey of past and present accounts of human mentality. Beginning with the classical
ideas of the soul the course concentrates on the major theories of mind advanced by
Western philosophers in the last four centuries.
An examination of the basic issues in Legal Theory. Topics typically include the nature
of legal reasoning, the relationship between law and morality, and classical theories
A systematic examination of the central issues in epistemology (e.g., the nature and
structure of knowledge, and external-world skepticism), focusing on a series of papers
by leading philosophers in epistemology.
A systematic examination of the central issues in the philosophy of science (e.g.,
theory confirmation in science, and scientific explanation), focusing on a series
of papers by leading philosophers in the philosophy of science (for instance, Carl
Hempel and Thomas Kuhn).
While we praise, blame, and punish people for their actions, we don't hold everyone
responsible for everything they do. Moral responsibility looks to be intimately tied
to a person's free will. We will discuss a range of views on what's required for agents
to be free, and therefore morally responsible for their actions.
The aim of this course is to focus on philosophical principles that are implicitly
assumed in standard" Cognitive Science."
Topics vary as announced. May be repeated for credit. 1-6 hours
Permission of instructor. 1-3 hours
Course content to vary by semester and will include such areas as philosophy of mind,
action theory, and ontology.
A close examination of advanced issues in value theory. Topics may include the views
of major historical figures such as Bentham, Hume, Kant, Locke, and Sidgwick, the
moral realism-antirealism, debate, topics in moral psychology, and moral epistemology.
An examination of advanced issues in philosophy of science, for example, issues concerning
theory confirmation and issues concerning explanation.
Philosophy of Law and Economics asks students to consider economics as a justification
for legal decision-making. Different perspectives regarding the nature of law are
juxtaposed against different perspectives regarding the nature of economics. Students
develop their own synthesis by examining landmark legal cases from various perspectives.
A rigorous examination of specific issues in legal theory and jurisprudence. Topics
may include the nature of law, legal adjudication, law and economics, theories of
punishment, and legal responsibility and obligation.
A philosophical analysis of some selected topics that are central to political philosophy.
Topics may include analyses of the nature of human rights, political authority, the
moral duty to obey the law, freedom, or justice.
Moral psychology is precisely what it sounds like - the intersection of the study
of morality (typically the domain of philosophy) and the study of our mental processes
(typically the domain of psychology). It is an area in which we ask fundamental questions
about the moral nature of human beings, and purse the answers to these questions via
a constant exchange between philosophical theory and empirical data.
Philosophical theories are presented regarding the nature of art and aesthetic experience.
The concepts of representation, expression, formalism, the work of art, intention,
meaning, truth, and criticism are discussed along with how they contribute to answering
the question, What is art?"
Critical analysis of contemporary theories of human nature advanced by philosophers,
psychologists, biologists, cognitive scientists and others. The thinkers under consideration
will vary but examples would include E. O. Wilson, B. F. Skinner, Sigmund Freud, John
Searle and Daniel Dennett.
An examination of advanced issues in epistemology, for example, issues concerning
rational degrees of belief, issues concerning the intersection of epistemology, philosophy
of language, and philosophy of mind, and issues concerning epistemological methodology.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
A survey of major intellectual traditions of Asia, including Indian, Chinese, and
Japanese philosophies. Topics include social and political philosophy, concepts of
the individual and Nature, and the nature of reality and knowledge.
A survey of the major figures in Western thought between the sixth century BCE and
fifth century CE. Among those included are the Presocratics, Plato, Aristotle, and
the Hellenistic philosophers. This course also applies to the minor in Classical Studies
An historical study of one or more philosophical movements in the twentieth century.
Topics vary and include analytic, existential, or phenomenological philosophy. May
be repeated for credit. (3-6 hours).
A survey of the major figures in Western thought from 1500 to 1800. Among those included
are Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant.
The philosophical tradition after Kant developed in different ways in Continental
Europe from the ways it did in English speaking countries. This course examines those
developments, especially in Germany and France. Such thinkers as Hegel and the German
Idealists, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, Husserl and Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty,
Gadamer, Ricoeur and Derrida are discussed.
A historical study of either the analytic or pragmatic tradition. Such figures as
Carnap, Neurath, Schlick, Moore, Russell, and Ayer; or Royce, Peirce, Mead, James,
Dewey, and Quine; or a combination of philosophers are studied.
A philosophical study of one or more philosophers or philosophical movements of the
ancient, medieval, or modern periods. Course content will vary by semester. Course
may be repeated for credit.
This course is a survey of the philosophy of Socrates and the development of his ideas
in Plato and Aristotle. Students will read various Socratic dialogues and a few of
Plato's middle dialogues that show significant Socratic influence. The course will
conclude with a brief survey of Aristotle's conception of language, thought, reality,
How to detect, analyze, and critically evaluate reasoning in ordinary language and
its technical counterparts found in business, economics, etc. The course is designed
to enhance skills for handling arguments in a variety of texts. Understanding the
arguments and theories encountered in one's situations is stressed, along with how
one can improve one's own expression of arguments and theories, especially in writing.
Topics include techniques of reconstruction and evaluation in a process of self-editing,
detection of fallacies, and distinguishing correct from incorrect reasoning.
An introduction to the scope and limits of modern logic. The nature of logical systems
and the various areas of logic are discussed. Alternative proof- procedures in propositional
logic and predicate logic are presented.
A continuation of 30133, with an emphasis on predicate logic, nonstandard logic, and
Advanced topics in logic. Course content to vary by semester and will include areas
such as formal languages, mathematical logic, deontic logic, modal systems, and philosophy