Current and Upcoming Courses

Jump to Fall 2024 Courses

For course days and times, please go to Course Search and Enroll

Summer 2024 Courses

141   The Meaning of Life
May 20– June 16                     MTWR      1:10 – 3:50 pm      ONLINE
Instructor: TBD
Online: Synchronous: Requires participation in online learning at the day/time listed.
Introduces the subject of philosophy through a question that is familiar to nearly every person: What is the meaning of life?  This question will be approached through reading both classical philosophical works and the works of contemporary philosophers.

210   Reason in Communication
May 28 – June 23                                                                ONLINE
Instructor: TBD
Online: Asynchronous.
Argument in familiar contexts; emphasis upon developing critical skills in comprehending, evaluating, and engaging in contemporary forms of reasoning, with special attention to the uses of argument in mass communication media.

211   Elementary Logic
June 17 – July 11                      MTWR     8:55 – 11:35 am
Instructor: Michael Titelbaum
Suppose I say, “If no one moved the cheese since last night, it’s in the fridge. If I didn’t move the cheese, then no one did. I didn’t move the cheese. So it’s still in the fridge.” This argument concerning the whereabouts of the cheese contains some premises followed by a conclusion. The argument is structured so that if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true as well. In this course we will represent arguments in symbols to reveal their structure, then study argumentative structures that guarantee a true conclusion from true premises. We will also learn how to prove that an argument with a particular structure is valid. The techniques we will learn are necessary for every area of contemporary philosophy, and are relevant to areas of economics, mathematics, computer science, rhetoric, and the law.

241 Introduction to Ethics
June 3 – June 30                                                                     ONLINE
Instructor: TBD
Online: Asynchronous.
Nature of moral problems and ethical theory, varieties of moral skepticism, practical ethics and the evaluation of social institutions.

243 Ethics in Business
May 30 – July 21                                                                    ONLINE
Instructor: Jesse Steinberg
Online: Asynchronous.
This course is a study of ethical problems in business and the foundations for decisions involving ethical issues. Topics include the following: foundational theories in moral philosophy, sweatshops and other labor practices, corporate social responsibility, sexual harassment, affirmative action, deception, insider trading, environmental justice, and corporate culture.

341 Contemporary Moral Issues
May 20 – June 16                                                                   ONLINE
Instructor: Peter Vranas
Online: Asynchronous.
Under what circumstances, if any, is abortion morally permissible? Should the death penalty be abolished? What causes terrorism, and is it ever morally permissible to torture terrorists? This course teaches students how to think systematically about these fascinating questions. The emphasis is not on defending particular answers but is instead on providing students with the tools they need to reach their own answers.

441 Environmental Ethics
June 3 – June 23                     MWR         8:00 – 10:00am    ONLINE
Instructor: Frederic Neyrat
Online: Synchronous: Requires participation in online learning at the day/time listed.
Adequacy of ethical theories in handling such wrongs as harm to the land, to posterity, to endangered species, and to the ecosystem itself. Exploration of the view that not all moral wrongs involve harm to humans. Inquiry into the notion of the quality of life and the ethics of the “lifeboat” situation.

Fall 2024 Courses

For course days and times, please go to Course Search and Enroll

Jump to Fall 2024 Graduate Courses

101-1: Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: James Messina
In this course, you will gain a sense of what philosophy is, what it is good for, and how it is done. We will proceed by considering answers to philosophical questions like the following: What, if anything, makes me at 41 years old the same person I was when I was 16? Do I have an immortal soul? If death is the total and permanent annihilation of my existence, what attitude should I have towards it? Do I have free will? Does God exist? What is knowledge and what can be known? What kinds of actions are morally right and morally wrong? Is there even an objective morality? Is my life meaningful? Is it better to exist or not to exist? We will be reading a mixture of historical and contemporary sources. As will soon become clear, much of philosophy consists in formulating and evaluating arguments. Assuming you do the work, you can expect to emerge from this class with improved analytical skills and with an understanding of some fundamental philosophical issues.

101-2: Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: TBD
Introduction to various philosophical questions and to the strategies that philosophers use to address these.

101-3: Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: Annina Loets
Many people ask themselves philosophical questions from time to time. If God exists, why is the world so messed up? What is beauty? Am I justified in believing the experts? Does anyone ever truly have a choice? Would it be wrong to get an abortion? Philosophers don’t merely ask themselves such questions, but they aim to provide general and principled answers to them and to support these answers by rational argument. The aim of this class is to introduce you to a wide range of influential philosophical arguments and get you started on crafting good arguments of your own. If you do the work, this class will teach you how to think, speak, and write more clearly, and how to employ these skills in pursuing the questions you care about, whether philosophical, or not.

101-4: Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: Larry Shapiro
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to philosophical questions and to the strategies that philosophers use to address these questions.  Philosophical questions are peculiar: unlike scientific questions, their solution typically does not depend on the collection of empirical data; unlike mathematical questions, there are no formulae that are guaranteed to produce a correct answer to them. An adequate answer to a philosophical question requires an argument, and so it is upon arguments that we will focus in this course. We will consider philosophical questions, such as “What, if anything, can we know about the world?,” “Do you have free will?,” “Are you the same person now as the person who was born eighteen years ago?,” “Do your intentions matter to the morality of your actions?,” and “Is abortion morally permissible?”.  We will then examine some classical answers to these questions and will evaluate them critically. Graded assignments include exams and possibly some short papers. Attendance and participation will also factor into your final grade.

101-5: Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: Alexander Roberts
A remarkable feature of many central questions of philosophy is that they can be stated in particularly simple terms. Does God exist? Do we have free will? When is an act right or wrong? What are we able to know about the world? However, as we will see in this course, these easily statable questions are far from easy to answer. To attempt to determine their answers, we will study and critically evaluate some of the most influential arguments in the history of philosophy. Throughout the course, students will become acquainted with the distinctive methods of philosophy. In the graded assignments, which will include short papers and exams, students will be expected to apply these methods in justifying their own answers to philosophical questions.

101-6: Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: TBD
Introduction to various philosophical questions and to the strategies that philosophers use to address these.

101-7: Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: TBD
Introduction to various philosophical questions and to the strategies that philosophers use to address these.

 104-1: Spec Topics in Philosophy for Freshmen                           FIG and Honors Optional                                             Topic:   Philosophy and Natural Sciences
Instructor: Farid Masrour
For many centuries, philosophers have asked questions such as what kind of things exists in the world; is the mind only a material thing; are there moral rights or wrongs; do we have free will; what is the meaning of life? Suppose you think that scientific methods are the best general methods for determining what is true and what is false. Does this mean that you should answer these philosophical questions in a specific way? Many scientists and scientifically-minded philosophers assume that the answer is Yes. For example, they think that scientific thinking demands that you believe that only physical things exist, that we do not have free will, or that there are no moral values. The goal of this course is to examine these assumptions. We will focus on some of these philosophical questions, survey some of the answers that philosophers have given to these questions and discuss which answers fit our sciences well, if any.

141-1: The Meaning of Life
Instructor: TBD
Introduces the subject of philosophy through a question that is familiar to nearly every person: What is the meaning of life?  This question will be approached through reading both classical philosophical works and the works of contemporary philosophers.

210-1: Reason in Communication
Instructor: Farid Masrour
Argument in familiar contexts; emphasis upon developing critical skills in comprehending, evaluating, and engaging in contemporary forms of reasoning, with special attention to the uses of argument in mass communication media. Prerequisites: MATH 96 or placement into MATH 141 or consent of instructor.

211-1: Elementary Logic
Instructor: Peter Vranas
A hotel manager put up a sign reading: “No one is permitted on these premises unless accompanied by a registered guest”. Apparently, the manager failed to realize that from the statement on the sign it follows that no unaccompanied registered guest is permitted on the premises! In general, the question of which statements follow from other statements is quite tricky. This course addresses this tricky question by (1) introducing a symbolic language into which one can translate a great many ordinary English sentences and almost all mathematical sentences, and by (2) using an automated proof procedure to show that certain sentences follow from other sentences.

211-2: Elementary Logic
Instructor: John Mackay
This course is an introduction to formal logic, the study of valid reasoning. An argument is valid if its conclusion follows from its premises. We will study methods for proving that an argument is either valid or invalid. Much of the class will involve working with a formal, symbolic language in which the form of sentences is made explicit. We will study both truth-functional and quantificational logic and use a deductive proof procedure for each.

211-3: Elementary Logic
Instructor: Bruno Whittle
Logic is the study of arguments. An argument, in this sense, is a bit of reasoning, that starts from certain assumptions, and extracts some piece of information from these. For example: Helen is a bear; all bears gamble; therefore, Helen gambles. There are two things that we can ask about an argument. (a) Are the starting points true? And (b) does the end point really follow from these? We will focus on (b). (Your other classes should all, in one way or another, help you with (a).) We will learn some general techniques for determining whether a claim follows from some others. These will allow us to evaluate arguments regardless of their subject matter—be it chemistry, politics, or where to go for dinner. We will use a precise artificial language that allows perspicuous representations of natural language arguments, and that also allows rigorous methods for determining what follows from what.

211-4: Elementary Logic
Instructor: Michael Titelbaum
Suppose I say, “If no one moved the cheese since last night, it’s in the fridge. If I didn’t move the cheese, then no one did. I didn’t move the cheese. So it’s still in the fridge.” This argument concerning the whereabouts of the cheese contains some premises followed by a conclusion. The argument is structured so that if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true as well. In this course we will represent arguments in symbols to reveal their structure, then study argumentative structures that guarantee a true conclusion from true premises. We will also learn how to prove that an argument with a particular structure is valid. The techniques we will learn are necessary for every area of contemporary philosophy, and are relevant to areas of economics, mathematics, computer science, rhetoric, and the law.

241-1: Introductory Ethics                                                                          Fulfills Category B
Instructor: TBD
The course will examine a number of prominent moral theories including utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, and virtue theory.  We will attempt to understand and evaluate their various claims about what has fundamental value as well as their approaches to moral reasoning and recommendations for right action.

241-2: Introductory Ethics                                                                          Fulfills Category B
Instructor: Russ Shafer-Landau
Nature of moral problems and of ethical theory, varieties of moral skepticism, practical ethics and the evaluation of social institutions. Prerequisites: Sophomore Status.

241-3: Introductory Ethics                                                                          Fulfills Category B
Instructor: TBD
The course will examine a number of prominent moral theories including utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, and virtue theory.  We will attempt to understand and evaluate their various claims about what has fundamental value as well as their approaches to moral reasoning and recommendations for right action.

241-4: Introductory Ethics                                                                          Fulfills Category B
Instructor: TBD
The course will examine a number of prominent moral theories including utilitarianism, Kantian ethics, and virtue theory.  We will attempt to understand and evaluate their various claims about what has fundamental value as well as their approaches to moral reasoning and recommendations for right action.

243-1: Ethics in Business
Instructor: TBD
Case studies of moral issues in business; types or reasons appealed to for settlement.

243-2: Ethics in Business
Instructor: TBD
Case studies of moral issues in business; types or reasons appealed to for settlement.

304-1: Topics in Philosophy: Humanities
TOPIC:  Love Sex and Friendship
Instructor: Harry Brighouse
Note: Enrollment is Limited to First-Year Interest Group Students who took 304 in Fall 2022.
This course is about love, sex, friendship and partiality. Philosophers spend a lot of time thinking about the structure of thought, language, and reasons. They have, at least in the western tradition, paid less attention to the more visceral and emotional aspects of human experience. In this course, we’ll use some of the tools developed in philosophy to examine questions central to most of our lives: what makes a relationship a friendship?; what do we owe our friends, and how can we be good friends?; what is love, and why is it such an important feature of human life?; when is love bad, and when is it good?; what is sex?; when is sex wrong, and when is it good?; can friends be lovers? We’ll take our starting points as the readings that I have assigned. But this is primarily a discussion-based class; I want you to think hard about what we read and the issues that get raised, and to contribute to each other’s (and my) learning about them.

320-1: Philosophy and the Sciences
Instructor: Aja Watkins
This course will explore many key topics in philosophy of science, organized around the question: What is “good science”? We will explore and evaluate the arguments for and against many proposed answers, including: (1) All science is good (and only pseudoscience is bad), (2) Science is good if it is objective, (3) Science is good if it is value-free, (4) Science is good if it produces or at least aims at Truth, and (5) Science is good if it is trustworthy.

340-1   19th Century Philosophy: Idealism and Its Critics
Instructor: Henry Southgate
The story of nineteenth-century philosophy is the story of idealism, and idealism is the story of succession. Who was the rightful heir to Kant’s idealism, and what was idealism, anyhow?  In a stroke, the “all destroying Kant” had curbed Leibniz’s metaphysical flights of fancy, but he left the door open for equally fantastical postulates of freedom, God, and immortality. Kant subjected philosophy to the conditions of the possibility of the transcendental ego, while leaving unclear just what or who this ego was: something in time, something beyond time, an animal, a spirit—both? No one could agree, but they knew one thing: after Kant, philosophy had been undone, Kant had failed to rebuild it, so philosophy thus had to be made anew.
This course is a study of that building project: of systematic edifices that proposed to unify theoretical and practical philosophy on the basis of subjectivity, the “I think.” To know this subject, however, is to know the subject in its concrete existence, the idealists argued, and this concreteness reveals a subject existing not in Kant’s noumenal realm, but as part and parcel of a historical world: “the I that is we, and the we that is I,” as Hegel says. Theoretical knowledge thus involves practical knowledge, and the knowledge of the self involves knowledge of the whole of which it is a part: the Absolute.
Yet was this idealist edifice stable? Or was it, as the critics of idealism argued, itself yet another metaphysical flight of fancy? And what of its aspirations to continue the legacy of Kant’s moral philosophy? Were humans by nature free, or was freedom something that had to be secured from political, economic, and sexual domination by revolutionary means? Was the belief in God necessary to morality, or would morality be better off without God?
In this course, we get into the thick of these debates about the legacy of idealism by discussing some of their most important interlocutors. Some of these names may be familiar to you: Hegel, Nietzsche, and Marx. But many of them may not be, and most likely because they were women, who until recently were obscured from historical memory because they were women. As you will see, a more inclusive coverage enriches our understanding of this vital, and vitally important, period in the history of philosophy, which continues to shape the world we live in today.
This course is accessible to students from a wide range of academic backgrounds. Previous study of philosophy is not required.

341-1: Contemporary Moral Issues                        DOES NOT fulfill Comm B requirement
Instructor: James Goodrich
This course is about death, sex, and private property. We’ll discuss the moral questions each topic raises and how philosophy can help you think about them.

341-2: Contemporary Moral Issues                     DOES NOT fulfill Comm B requirement
Instructor: TBD
A philosophical study of some of the major moral issue in contemporary society, such as those concerning abortion, euthanasia, punishment, property, politics, sex, nuclear disarmament, and world hunger.

 341-3: Contemporary Moral Issues                  DOES NOT fulfill Comm B requirement
Instructor: TBD
A philosophical study of some of the major moral issue in contemporary society, such as those concerning abortion, euthanasia, punishment, property, politics, sex, nuclear disarmament, and world hunger.

 341-4: Contemporary Moral Issues                        DOES NOT fulfill Comm B requirement
Instructor: Alex Meehan
A philosophical study of some of the major moral issue in contemporary society, such as those concerning abortion, euthanasia, punishment, property, politics, sex, nuclear disarmament, and world hunger.

341-5: Contemporary Moral Issues                        DOES NOT fulfill Comm B requirement
Instructor: Annette Zimmermann
A philosophical study of some of the major moral issue in contemporary society, such as those concerning abortion, euthanasia, punishment, property, politics, sex, nuclear disarmament, and world hunger.

341:     Contemporary Moral Issues                                     Fulfill Comm B requirement
A philosophical study of some of the major moral issue in contemporary society, such as those concerning abortion, euthanasia, punishment, property, politics, sex, nuclear disarmament, and world hunger. (Fulfills Comm B requirement).

     Lec. 91            Instructor: TBD                    Fulfills Comm B
     Lec. 92            Instructor: TBD                    Fulfills Comm B
     Lec. 93            Instructor: TBD                    Fulfills Comm B
     Lec. 94            Instructor: TBD                    Fulfills Comm B

430-1: History of Ancient Philosophy
 Instructor: Paula Gottlieb
Metaphysics and Epistemology in Ancient Greek Philosophy: From Thales to Aristotle

Unscrupulous politicians, democracy in peril, foreign interference, fake information, and the plague.  Welcome to Athens in the fifth century BCE!  The philosopher Socrates, who lived in such turbulent times, said that the unexamined life is not worth living, and his most famous follower, Plato, argued that the examined life requires consideration of what we can know (epistemology) and what exists (metaphysics).  In this class we’ll be studying in depth and with close attention to the texts, Plato’s, Aristotle’s and earlier philosophers’ attempts to answer the following questions:  What sorts of things are there in the world?  Is a world of change consistent with a world of enduring objects?  What would be a satisfactory account of unity and diversity? What sort of knowledge, if any, can we have of the world in which we live?  Why are reason and logic important?  Why become a philosopher and what is the difference between the philosopher and the sophist?
Good participation in section is required.  There will also be tutorials. Class participants will be asked to write a series of 1500-word essays answering specific and challenging questions on assigned texts or particular topics. They will then come in pairs to see the instructor for an hour or so, during which time they will read out and discuss their work. Grades will be assigned to the written work. The point of the tutorial is purely educational and fun

432-1: History of Modern Philosophy
Instructor: Steve Nadler
In this course we will read a selection of philosophical works from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This was a crucial period for the early development of modern philosophy (which, at the time, included what we now consider “science”). The philosophers we will study will be drawn from among René Descartes, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Thomas Hobbes, Baruch Spinoza, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, George Berkeley, David Hume and Immanuel Kant. We will cover topics in metaphysics, epistemology, philosophical theology, and moral and political philosophy.

454-1: Classical Philosophers
Topic: Aristotle’s Ethics
Instructor: Paula Gottlieb
Every human being wishes to lead a happy life, according to Aristotle, but what sort of life is a happy one? In this course we’ll consider Aristotle’s answers to the following questions (among others): What is happiness? Is happiness the same as pleasure? What qualities contribute to a happy life? Are courage, justice, generosity, truthfulness, friendliness, and wit all needed to lead a happy life? If so, how are these acquired? Do we need to develop our thinking and feelings in a special way? Are friends needed for happiness? If so, what makes a good friend? What kind of society is necessary for human beings to be happy?
The main texts for the course will be Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (translated by T.H. Irwin, Hackett, 3rd edition, 2019) and Eudemian Ethics (translated by A Kenny, Oxford University Press, 2011), but we’ll also read other texts of Aristotle where these are pertinent.
The class will be run like a seminar, with a great deal of discussion. There will also be three tutorials. Class participants will be asked to write a series of 1500-word essays. They will then come in pairs to see the professor for an hour or so, during which time they will read out and discuss their work. Grades will be awarded to the written work. The point of the tutorial is purely educational and fun.

454-2: Classical Philosophers
Topic:  KANT
Instructor: James Messina
Initially attracting little notice, Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason exploded like a bombshell on the philosophical landscape. This work led Moses Mendelssohn to describe Kant as “all-destroying.” He wasn’t exaggerating. The Critique of Pure Reason, along with the two other Critiques that Kant published shortly thereafter, dealt a devastating blow to traditional “dogmatic” philosophy, whose proponents thought, among other things, that it was possible to provide proofs of the immortality of the soul, the existence of God, and the reality of human freedom. In place of these (now quaint-sounding) pretensions, Kant offered a revolutionary critique of traditional metaphysical, epistemological, and methodological views. In this class, we will focus especially on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, but we may also delve into ideas from his second and third Critiques, which deal, respectively, with morality, and with aesthetic and teleological judgment. If you are finally ready to wake from your dogmatic slumber, this is the class for you!

516-1: Language and Meaning                                                                   Fulfills Category A
Instructor: John Mackay
The course will cover some of the main themes in the philosophy of language. The human ability to communicate information about the external world through language is remarkable and raises a number of philosophical questions. Topics to be considered include: what it is for a linguistic expression to be meaningful; how it could come about that a linguistic expression – which is at some level just an arbitrary group of sounds or symbols – could have a meaning; how both the mind and the external world interact with language to determine meaning; how speakers use and manipulate language in different settings to communicate different kinds of information; and the way in which the meaning of a term depends on context.

520-1: Philosophy of the Natural Science                                                  Fulfills Category A
Instructor: Aja Watkins
This course provides an advanced introduction to issues in the emerging subdiscipline of philosophy of the historical sciences (paleontology, geology, archaeology, evolutionary biology, etc.). The bulk of the course engages recent philosophical and scientific literature on measurement, data, models, hypotheses, and evidence in the historical sciences. We then transition gradually into several debates about how the historical sciences are used to help us understand or intervene on the world today. Throughout the course, we will use the historical sciences to enhance our understanding of several traditional topics in philosophy of science, including underdetermination, hypothesis testing, natural laws, data ethics, and scientific models.

534-1: Ethics and the Brain
Instructor: TBD
In-depth analysis of ethical issues arising from the practices and advances of brain science in clinical, research, legal, and consumer contexts. Includes a foundation in ethical theory and philosophical methodology.

541-1: Modern Ethical Theories                                                                 Fulfills Category B
Instructor: James Goodrich
Physicists are after the “theory of everything” — a single, elegant, and unified theory that explains everything about the physical universe. Could there be such a theory for morality? Could a single, elegant, and unified theory explain the morality of war, abortion, and ghosting your ex? In this course, we will dive deep into moral philosophy and ask how close humanity has come or could come to uncovering “the moral theory of everything.”

541-2: Modern Ethical Theories                                                                 Fulfills Category B
Instructor: TBD
Ethical theories and problems as discussed in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Prerequisites: Junior Status 3 credits in philosophy or consent of instructor.

543-1: Special Topics in Ethics
Instructor: Annette Zimmermann
Intensive study of ethical theory, or of one or more ethical theories or moral philosophers of the present or modern period. Variable content. Prerequisites: Junior Status 3 credits in philosophy or consent of instructor.

545-1: Philosophical Conceptions of Teaching and Learning
Instructor: TBD
Examination and analysis of conceptions of teaching and learning in classical philosophical works and in contemporary literature in the philosophy of education.

549-1: Great Moral Philosophers                                                               Fulfills Category B
Instructor: Russ Shafer-Landau
This course will consider a number of central moral questions–what is the nature of human flourishing? What is the ultimate standard of rightness? Where does morality come from?–as they are addressed in classic texts by Plato, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Mill, and a handful of 20th century thinkers.

551-1: Philosophy of the Mind                                                                    Fulfills Category A
Instructor: Larry Shapiro
This course is a survey of classical and contemporary issues in philosophy of mind. Among these issues are: physicalism (Is the mind composed of physical stuff? If not, what is it?); mental causation (can minds cause things?); conscious experience (Why is an analysis of consciousness so hard?); computationalism, (Is the brain a computer and the mind its software?); artificial intelligence (Will computers ever be capable of thought?); representationalism (What is it for a belief to be about something, and how does it come to be about something?). Assignments will include four papers (roughly 3-4pp. in length). Classroom attendance and participation is mandatory.

560-1: Metaphysics                                                                                        Fulfills Category A                                                      Instructor: Annina Loets
This class is an advanced introduction to central debates in contemporary metaphysics. Taking as a starting point questions many will have asked themselves before—What am I? What is my place in the world? What is the world?—we’ll explore questions that might at first appear more removed: What are ordinary objects? Are there things that don’t exist? What are properties? What is the nature of time? What is it to change? What is it to cause a change? Is freedom possible in a world governed by laws of nature? What is possibility? Overall the aim will be to make progress on the big questions by answering the more removed questions.

 562-1:  Special Topics in Metaphysics                                                    Fulfills Category A
Topic:  Paradoxes
Instructor: Bruno Whittle
A paradox is an argument that leads from apparently innocuous starting points to an abominable conclusion. For example, consider this sentence: ‘this very sentence is false’. This is either true or false (it seems). So suppose first that it is true. Well, then what it says must be the case: i.e. it is false! So it can’t be true; rather it must be false. But then it’s true after all! That is, the sentence would seem to be both true and false—but surely that is impossible! Such arguments are fun to think about, in and of themselves. But they are also connected to a broad range of philosophical issues. For example, versions of the (ancient) paradox just given have been used to argue that there are limits on what we can say or know; that classical logic must be changed; or even that there are different sizes of infinity. This class will consider a range of paradoxes, and the broader issues that they are connected to. Familiarity with Philosophy 211 will be assumed, but no logical knowledge beyond that.

562-2:  Special Topics in Metaphysics
Topic:  Time Travel  
Instructor: Peter Vranas
If you believe that time travel is a frivolous topic, good for science fiction but not for rigorous scientific or philosophical investigation, think again. The physical possibility of time machines has recently become the subject of an active debate in leading physics journals. Concurrently, the philosophical literature concerning the metaphysical issues related to time travel has mushroomed. This course examines the physics, the metaphysics, and the paradoxes of time travel. No knowledge of physics is presupposed.

571-1:  Mathematical Logic
Instructor: Mariya Soskova
Basics of logic and mathematical proofs; propositional logic; first-order logic; undecidability.

 

Fall 2024 Graduate Courses

701      Reading Seminars (combined with Graduate Seminars) Instructor Consent required

701-001 Reading Seminars
                 Topic: Eros in Plato’s Dialogues
                Instructor: Emily Fletcher
                701-001 meets with 835-1. Please see the description of 835-1 below.       

701-002 Reading Seminars
                 Topic: Kant The Critique of Pure Reason
                 Instructor: Martha Gibson
                  701-002 meets with 835-2. Please see the description of 835-2 below.

701-004 Reading Seminars
                 Topic:
                 Instructor: Alex Meehan
                  701-005 meets with 920-1. Please see the description of 920-1 below.

 701-005 Reading Seminars
                  Topic:
                  Instructor: Harry Brighouse
                   701-005 meets with 941-1. Please see the description of 941-1 below.

 835-001 Reading Seminars
                 Topic:  Eros in Plato’s Dialogues
            Instructor: Emily Fletcher

 

 

 835-002 Reading Seminars
            Topic:  Kant The Critique of Pure Reason
            Instructor: Martha Gibson

The seminar will focus on the first half of the Critique of Pure Reason, particularly on the metaphysics of representation. Kant made the nature of representation a philosophical question on par with that of the nature of the self and the world. And he thought that what we could know about the self and the world derives from our understanding of what they must be like in order for us to have representations/experiences of the kind that we do. Thus we will study his ‘transcendental arguments’, what are the necessary conditions for possibility of experience, and what they purport to show about such things as space, time and causality. Regarding representation, we will be focusing on questions in philosophy of mind/language as to the nature of intuitions and concepts (notions of reference and predication), how judgments (representations with propositional content) differ from complex concepts, how the parts of a judgment are unified (the unity of the proposition) in such a way as to represent something as being the case.

902-1   Proseminar in Philosophy
               Instructors: Michael Titelbaum and Jesse Steinberg
Survey of various texts with an emphasis on close reading and developing writing skills.

 904-1   Teaching Philosophy
                 Instructor: Harry Brighouse
Becoming a better teacher requires that you have good content knowledge, but it also involves the development and practice of complex skills. What we’ll do in this class is very preliminary: we’ll introduce you to some specific strategies that will help you induce your students to learn; we’ll develop a common language for discussing teaching and (by actually discussing specific instances of teaching and learning); and we’ll introduce you to some intellectual resources for considering and reflecting on the kinds of issues that will arise regularly throughout your career as a teacher.
Because we want to introduce strategies, because strategies can’t work without content, and because there is some literature we want you to think about, we’ll structure most classes by using the strategies we want you to learn to facilitate discussion of the literature we want you to think about.

920-1 Seminar-Philosophy of Science
            Topic:
            Instructor: Alex Meehan
Philosophy of Science:Causation, Explanation & Probability

 941-1   Seminar – Ethics
              Topic: 
             Instructor: Harry Brighouse
Higher Education plays a key role in the reproduction of the social order, as well as being a mechanism through which individuals can move up the class system. In the US undergraduate education is heavily subsidized: the government spends about 40% more per student per year in higher education than in k-12. In this course we’ll focus on three central questions: what, if anything, justifies the place of higher education in the basic structure of society?; given that place, what should its aims and purposes be?; and what principles and norms should govern attempts to reform it, and the conduct of individuals participating in it. We’ll read some general work about how to do the kind of non-ideal theorising we’ll be engaged in, some empirical work about higher education in the US today, and. mainly, philosophical work bearing on our questions.