Fall 2015 Courses

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

Upper-Level Undergraduate Courses

PHIL 3304: History of 17th Century Phil (Class #10080)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 202

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3335: Theory of Knowledge (Class #25033)

Prof. Johnsen
MoWe 5:30-7:00PM, Room: AH 201

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3344: Philosophy of Science (Class #25017)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 11

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #20571)

Prof. Phillips
TuTh 11:30AM-1:00PM Room: AH 302

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In this course we will read much of the most important ethical work of three central figures in the modern history of ethics: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), and Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900). We will focus on our three philosophers’ approaches to two central issues in moral theory: (i) the nature of morality: just what are moral rules, where do they come from, and why should we follow them?; (ii) the content of morality: just what does morality tell us to do? We will also attend to their views on the status of egoism.

There will be a take home midterm and a take home final, both consisting of two questions each requiring about 4-5 pages of writing, and a 7-8 page paper. The midterm and final will each be worth 35%, the paper 30%.

PHIL 3377: Philosophy of Religion (Class #25030)

Prof. Coates
TuTh 8:30AM-10:00AM, Room: AH 201

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3383: History of Ancient Philosophy (Class #19498)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: AH 208

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 3388: History of Twentieth Century Philosophy (Class #25034)

Prof. Morrison
MoWeFr 9:00AM - 10:00AM, Location: L 212L

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In this class we will explore the fate of Humanism in the 20th century thought. I will open with an account of modern Humanism and explain the relevance of asking after its fate in the thought of some of the great 20th century thinkers. We will read Freud’s Future of an Illusion, Sartre’s Existentialism is a Humanism and Foucault’s Discipline and Punish by way deepening our understanding of 20th century thought on Humanism.

Graduate Courses

PHIL 6304: History of 17th Century Phil (Class #10081)

Prof. Hattab
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 202

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6335: Logic & Philosophy (Class #12352)

Prof. Garson
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 512

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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 will also look at topics in modal logics including necessity, identity, quantification and counterfactuals.

PHIL 6335: Theory of Knowledge (Class #25052)

Prof. Johnsen
MoWe 5:30-7:00PM, Room: AH 201

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6344: Philosophy of Science (Class #25070)

Prof. Weisberg
MoWe 1:00PM - 2:30PM, Room: AH 11

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6358: Classics in the History of Ethics (Class #20576)

Prof. Phillips
TuTh 11:30AM-1:00PM Room: AH 302

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In this course we will read much of the most important ethical work of three central figures in the modern history of ethics: Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), and Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900). We will focus on our three philosophers’ approaches to two central issues in moral theory: (i) the nature of morality: just what are moral rules, where do they come from, and why should we follow them?; (ii) the content of morality: just what does morality tell us to do? We will also attend to their views on the status of egoism.

There will be a take home midterm and a take home final, both consisting of two questions each requiring about 4-5 pages of writing, and a 7-8 page paper. The midterm and final will each be worth 35%, the paper 30%.

PHIL 6383: History of Ancient Philosophy (Class #19499)

Prof. Freeland
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM, Room: AH 208

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6395: Luck & Achievement (Class #25094)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
We 2:30PM - 5:30PM, Room: AH 512

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In this course we will examine the notions of luck and achievement and the roles those play within various philosophical fields (epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of science) and corresponding issues therein (knowledge-belief acquisition, free will, moral responsibility, praise, blame, etc.). Topics to be covered in the course include but are not limited to:

  • Metaphysics of Luck/Achievement: e.g., properties of events, actions, states of affairs, objects, agents, outcomes, processes, products, etc.
  • Attribution Conditions: e.g., improbability, agential interest/salience, agential control, effort, skill, difficulty, etc.
  • Value-Theoretic Implications: e.g., epistemic value, moral value, experiential value, etc.
  • Basic Methodological Issues: e.g., the role of intuitions, domain-specific theoretic commitments and pre-theoretic folk practices, the scope and limits of counterfactual analysis, the relation between luck and achievement, as well as distinctions between momentary vs. durational luck, luck vs. serendipity, general vs. domain-specific achievement, process vs. product achievements.

Attempts will be made to secure a few guest lecturers: e.g., Justin Coates, Tamler Sommers, Gwen Bradford (Rice), Angel Pinillos (ASU), Kenny Easwaran (A&M), Steven Hales (Bloomsburg).

PHIL 6395: New Approaches to Representation (Class #25095)

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

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Cognitive scientists typically attempt to explain cognition by attributing representations—that is, states characterized primarily in terms of what they are about, such as beliefs, desires, concepts, memories, maps, transitive orderings, metarepresentations, and many others.  The coherence of these practices thus depends upon our ability to determine the content of a representation in a manner acceptably rigorous and objective for scientific purposes.  Though there was great optimism in the 1980s and early 1990s that informational or teleosemantic theories of representational content (especially those of Dretske, Fodor, and Millikan) would be able to perform this task, this optimism collapsed in the mid 1990s for a variety of reasons.  Though cognitive scientists continue to routinely deploy representations in their explanations, skeptics such as Ramsey, Chemero, Hutto, and Myin have argued that the apparent appeals to representations in cognitive science are superficial and best eliminated to avoid confusion, seemingly sealing their fate. 

At the same time that anti-representationalists and anti-naturalists rehearse the old fable that disjunction problems doom any informational approach to intentionality, some researchers have continued plugging away, opening up new possibilities.  For one, there has been progress in understanding the representational vehicles in connectionist networks, primarily due to the work of Nicholas Shea and Chris Eliasmith.  For another, a variety of researchers have opened up new avenues in connectionist modeling of cognitive architecture (due to empirical researchers like Gluck & Myers and McClelland & O’Reilly), which can help us better understand how representations are acquired, revised, and maintained by the brain.  And finally, philosophers like Rescorla and Camp have suggested that map-based representations might overcome some of the problems faced by earlier views that presumed representations would be symbols in a language of thought.  Due to these new developments, success now seems closer than ever, and a new generation of informational theories—offered by thinkers such as Usher, Rupert, Neander, Eliasmith, Ryder, Skyrms, Scarantino, and Nanay—is beginning to crest. 

In this course, we will review the state of the art in the theory of representation, focusing especially on the role of representations in cognitive explanations and on the merits of the new wave of theories.     

PHIL 6396: Leibniz, Spinoza: Moral Theory (Class #25097)

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

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This seminar will involve a detailed examination of the moral and political theories of Leibniz and Spinoza. In different ways, each sought to reform prevailing moral and political theories by reconceiving their religious and metaphysical foundations.

 

PHIL 6397: Philosophy of Religion (Class #25051)

Prof. Coates
TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM, Room: AH 201

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No further information is available at this time.

PHIL 6397: 20th Century Philosophy (Class #25053)

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

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In this class we will explore the fate of Humanism in the 20th century thought. I will open with an account of modern Humanism and explain the relevance of asking after its fate in the thought of some of the great 20th century thinkers. We will read Freud’s Future of an Illusion, Sartre’s Existentialism is a Humanism and Foucault’s Discipline and Punish by way deepening our understanding of 20th century thought on Humanism.