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Fall 2020 Courses



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

Upper-Level Undergraduate Courses

PHIL 3333: Metaphysics (Class #19633)

Prof Loewenstein
TBD, Room: TBD

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3358: Classics in Hist of Ethics (Class #21251)

Prof. Phillips
TBD, Room: TBD

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3361: Aesthetics (Class #21213)

Prof. Mag Uidhir
TBD, Room: TBD

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Outline: Students should acquire from this course a solid understanding of the principal issues in contemporary philosophy of art. We will begin by focusing on the search for the definition of art, that is, a unifying notion of art under which works across disparate art forms may be productively classified, covering both on particular theories of art and the broader question of whether there could be even in principle such a definition. We will then turn to issues of Art Ontology: what is the nature of artworks, are they concrete or abstract things, do they have multiple or single instances, are they types with tokens, when do they come into and go out of existence, etc. We will then turn to issues of Artistic Value and whether or not there is such a thing outside of Aesthetic Value. We will also address issues in Fiction and the Imagination, specifically those of Imaginative Resistance—when audiences refuse or otherwise fail to imagine particular propositions they have been invited to take up by the fiction. We will finish the semester by paying attention to issues in Art & Ethics and the intersection between.


PHIL 3377: Philosophy of Religion (Class #21221)

Oliveira
TBD, Room: TBD

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This class is focused exclusively on the problem of evil: the challenge to the rationality of religious belief that is created by the magnitude of evil in our world. We begin by discussing three different versions of this problem: the Logical, the Evidential, and the Humean versions. We then discuss perspectives on this problem from Ancient Near Eastern cultures, Judaism, Islam, and the Bible. In light of these background discussions, we will then carefully read Marilyn McCord Adams’ book-length treatment of this issue: “Horrendous Evils and the Goodness of God”. This class will be taught asynchronously online: course materials will be posted online and you will have a weekly deadline to complete assignments. You will not need to be online at any specific time; there will be no live component to the course. Coursework consists in (a) weekly reading reactions, (b) weekly discussion forum participation, (c) 2 short papers, and (d) 1 final paper.


PHIL 3388: History of 20th Century Phil (Class #21218)

Prof. Garson
TBD, Room: TBD

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3395: Philosophy of Emotions (Class #21215)

Prof. Coates
TBD, Room: TBD

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 3395: Nihilism (Class #21718)

Prof. Zaretsky
TBD, Room: TBD

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No further information is available at this time.


Graduate Courses

PHIL 6395: Seminar in Philosophical Problems (Class #21223)

Prof. Weisberg
TBD, Room: TBD

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 6395: Seminar in Philosophical Problems (Class #21224)

Prof. Phillips
TBD, Room: TBD

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No further information is available at this time.


PHIL 6396: The Metaphysics of Individuation in Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy (Class #21210)

Prof. Hattab
Th TBD, Room: TBD

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Answers to metaphysical questions about how things in nature are individuated as distinct substances, with unique identities over time, have widespread implications. As genetics advances, cloning and other recent bio-medical technologies increasingly blur the line between artificial and biological substances. Simultaneously, advances in neuroscience and materialist theories of the mind put pressure on the early modern separation between material identity and personal identity, the latter of which John Locke famously located in continuity of consciousness. Environmental science and the ethical-political implications of the climate and corona pandemic stress the interconnectedness of all parts of the natural world and the collective impact of our individual actions. Canonical 17th century philosophers like Descartes, Locke and Spinoza argued for theories of individuation that carved off the material mechanistic realm subject to scientific laws and technological manipulation, from the individual, mental realm that provides resources for personal identity, freedom, moral responsibility and political rights. In doing so they made possible advances in modern science and technology, but their failure to integrate the physical/natural realm and mental/normative realm, contributes to current, seemingly intractable philosophical problems. There is a growing need for fresh conceptual resources to define what constitutes an individual in nature, in general, and a human being, in particular, in order to develop a more integrated view of relations between parts of nature and our moral responsibilities. Studying historical accounts of individuation may not solve these problems but enables a fresh start by revealing how past theories may inform current assumptions about what counts as an individual and by taking us out of our comfort zone to stimulate new ways to think about them. To this end, we will study highly influential medieval and early modern theories of individuation available in translation, as well as some recent secondary literature on this topic. Readings will likely include, among others, texts by Boethius, Avicenna, St Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, Suarez and René Descartes. Students who read Latin are invited to join me in a related reading group to translate select texts by influential renaissance philosophers on this topic.