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Spring 2017 Courses

Find information about upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses within the Philosophy Department on this page.

Upper-Level Undergraduate Courses

PHIL 3305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #15359)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: AH 302

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Enlightenment philosophers developed complex philosophical systems to address the tensions that the scientific revolution had produced between: 1) the world as we experience it through the senses 2) the world as described by science, and 3) traditional metaphysical notions of substance, cause, the self and freedom of the will.  Much of this course will therefore be devoted to getting clear on the different ways in which these tensions get resolved in George Berkeley’s idealism, David Hume’s radical empiricism, Immanuel Kant’s transcendental idealism, and Thomas Reid’s common sense philosophy.  Our primary goal is to understand the theoretical foundations of enlightenment thought through careful study of Berkeley’s Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature and Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, and Thomas Reid’s Inquiry and Essays.  A second and related goal of this course is to improve your reading, reasoning and writing skills.  To that end, we will pay careful attention to the forms of reasoning employed in the assigned texts, and you will complete a series of writing assignments teaching you how to interpret historical texts, break down an argument, evaluate it and formulate objections to it.  

PHIL 3344: Philosophy of Science (Class #22456)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: C 108

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #22446)

Prof. Morrisson
MoWeFr 9:00AM - 10:00AM, Room: L 212L

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3361: Aesthetics (Class #22457)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM Room: AH 201

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3376: Philosophy and the Scientific Revolution (Class #22445)

Prof. Brown
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 7

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In this course we will examine the interaction between philosophy, science, and religion during the 17th and early 18th centuries, the century of the Scientific Revolution. In particular, we will discuss the debates that arose concerning the nature of explanation, scientific methodology, the status of natural laws and their relation to miracles, and the status of so-called "occult qualities." All of these issues were joined in the protracted conflict that arose between Continental philosophers and scientists, most prominently Leibniz (1646-1716), and the English Newtonians (Newton: 1643-1727) over the status of gravitational force. This conflict involved a central methodological, debate, pitting the Newtonian "experimental philosophy" against the "mechanical philosophy" favored on the Continent. This conflict, in its many and varied forms, will be discussed in detail, as will the equally vexed debate about the "force of a body's motion" — the so-called vis viva controversy.

PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Film (Class #22444)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
We 5:30PM - 8:30PM, Room: AH 302

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3395: Open and Closed Societies (Class #22443)

Prof. Sommers
MoWe 4:00PM - 5:30PM, Room: L 212L

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Open societies and liberal democracies are celebrated for its protection of the dignity and liberty of the individual.  But can societies have an excess of freedom, as Plato argued in The Republic?  Can some degree of social control be justified if it leads to greater harmony and happiness among the populace?  Are citizens in democracies sufficiently well-informed and well-educated to govern their lives and their country?   Does the individualist ethic promoted in a free market democracy lead to stark inequalities, alienation, or demoralization?  Is there a single best form of government for all human beings, or are some political systems suitable for some cultures but not others?   This course will explore these questions and others from a variety of historical, cultural, and literary perspectives.

PHIL 3395: War& Peace (Class #24659)

Dr. Luttrell
MoWeFr 10:00AM - 11:00AM, Room: AH 201

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The class is a philosophical introduction to just war theory, the changing nature of war, and movements for peace.  Topics covered include: nationalism, pacifism, gender and war, humanitarianism, and human rights.

Graduate Courses

PHIL 6305: History of 18th Century Philosophy (Class #22452)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: AH 302

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Enlightenment philosophers developed complex philosophical systems to address the tensions that the scientific revolution had produced between: 1) the world as we experience it through the senses 2) the world as described by science, and 3) traditional metaphysical notions of substance, cause, the self and freedom of the will.  Much of this course will therefore be devoted to getting clear on the different ways in which these tensions get resolved in George Berkeley’s idealism, David Hume’s radical empiricism, Immanuel Kant’s transcendental idealism, and Thomas Reid’s common sense philosophy.  Our primary goal is to understand the theoretical foundations of enlightenment thought through careful study of Berkeley’s Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature and Enquiry Concerning the Human Understanding, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics, and Thomas Reid’s Inquiry and Essays.  A second and related goal of this course is to improve your reading, reasoning and writing skills.  To that end, we will pay careful attention to the forms of reasoning employed in the assigned texts, and you will complete a series of writing assignments teaching you how to interpret historical texts, break down an argument, evaluate it and formulate objections to it.  

PHIL 6322: Logic and Philosophy (Class #22450)

Prof. Garson
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM, Room: M 109

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   This course is an introduction to the application of logic to philosophy. It provides a background in predicate logic and modal logic sufficient for navigating the philosophical literature, and serves as a graduate level introduction to the philosophy of logic.
        The first half of the course will be concerned primarily with predicate logic: translation of English argumentation into predicate logic notation, proofs and trees for checking validity, and discussion of some metalogical features such as soundness, completeness, and the lack of a decision procedure.
        The second half will explore applications of predicate logic to a number of philosophical issues, including the theory of descriptions, the paradoxes of material implication, and the semantical analysis of natural language. We may also look at topics in modal and other non standard logics including counterfactuals, intuitionistic logic, and the logic of vagueness.  Students will play an active role in determining the topics in the second half of the course.

PHIL 6344: Philosophy of Science (Class #22453)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: C 108

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #22458)

Prof. Morrisson
MoWeFr 9:00AM - 10:00AM, Room: L 212L

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6376: Philosophy and the Scientific Revolution (Class #22451)

Prof. Brown
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 7

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In this course we will examine the interaction between philosophy, science, and religion during the 17th and early 18th centuries, the century of the Scientific Revolution. In particular, we will discuss the debates that arose concerning the nature of explanation, scientific methodology, the status of natural laws and their relation to miracles, and the status of so-called "occult qualities." All of these issues were joined in the protracted conflict that arose between Continental philosophers and scientists, most prominently Leibniz (1646-1716), and the English Newtonians (Newton: 1643-1727) over the status of gravitational force. This conflict involved a central methodological, debate, pitting the Newtonian "experimental philosophy" against the "mechanical philosophy" favored on the Continent. This conflict, in its many and varied forms, will be discussed in detail, as will the equally vexed debate about the "force of a body's motion" — the so-called vis viva controversy.

PHIL 6395: Animal Cognition (Class #22448)

Prof. Buckner
Tu 2:30PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 512

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When philosophers have attempted to define human nature, it is often by reference to or contrast with that of animals. And yet the most natural way to understand the thought processes of animals is by comparing their abilities to (what we think we know about) our own.  Our thinking about animal minds thus seems trapped between two biases:  viewing animals as wordless, furry versions of ourselves (anthropomorphism), and holding that animal thought is only rational, interesting, or otherwise valuable insofar as it resembles human cognition (anthropocentrism).  These doubts can leave us wondering whether a rigorous empirical study of animal cognition is even possible.

In the first half of this course, we will review the study of animal thought from the Ancients to the current explosion of empirical work on animal cognition.  We will begin with the debates about human nature in Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics, continue to survey the notion of the wordless “brute” caught in the debate between the rationalists and empiricists, review the dramatic way that Darwin’s theory of evolution changed the terms of the debate, explore the foundations of comparative psychology in Morgan and Romanes, consider the arguments of the radical behaviorists, and finally assess the cognitive revolution against the behaviorist’s epistemological strictures. 

In the second half, we will explore particular debates in current animal cognition research.  The empirical study of animal cognition today is a highly interdisciplinary field—with crucial contributions by psychologists, ethologists, philosophers, and biologists—that aspires to use well-designed experiments to overcome the biases of anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism.  However, there remain a variety of philosophical challenges facing the field, such as whether folk psychology (appealing to contentful mental states like beliefs and desires) provides a viable framework for the empirical study of animal psychology, whether animals have consciousness, whether animal cognition can be studied in the lab or only in the wild, and whether neuroscience might provide additional purchase on these issues.  We will conclude the course by reviewing the ways in which these issues arise in several debates over particular animal cognitive capacities, such as tool use, episodic memory, theory of mind, transitive inference, and metacognition.

PHIL 6395: Contemporary Metaethics (Class #22447)

Prof. Phillips
Mo 2:30PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 512

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6396: Seminar in the History of Philosophy (Class #22449)

Prof. Freeland
Th 2:30PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 512

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6397: Philosophy of Film (Class #22454)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
We 5:30PM - 8:30PM, Room: AH 302

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6397: Aesthetics (Class #22455)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM Room: AH 201

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No further information is available at this time.