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Graduate Courses 2014-15

Submitted by rzach on Sat, 08/20/2016 - 1:08pm

Fall 2014

Graduate Proseminar (Marc Ereshefsky)

PHIL 603 L01 (73482) Thurs. 15:30-18:15 am Room SS 1253

The aim of this seminar is to sharpen one’s philosophical research and writing skills. We will focus on how to identify research topics, write research proposals and papers, and prepare research presentations.

Feminist Philosophy in Medieval Paris (Nicole Wyatt)

PHIL 609 L01 (73187) Mon. & Wed. 15:30-16:45 pm Room ST 057

This course will explore the role of intention and virtue in the ethical theories of two Parisian proto-feminists: Heloise d’Argenteuil, the famous philosopher, nun, and abbess, and Christine de Pizan, Europe’s first professional writer.

Free Will and Semi-Compatibilism (Ish Haji)

PHIL 623 L01 (75921) Tues. & Thurs. 12:30-13:45 am Room SA 243

Roughly, determinism is the view that all the facts of the world at a time, in conjunction with the laws of nature, entail all truths. There is a venerable and age-old argument for the view that neither determinism nor its falsity (“indeterminism”) is compatible with moral responsibility. In this course, having explored elements of this age-old argument, we will examine whether determinism (or indeterminism) is compatible with moral obligation.

Epistemology of Scientific Practice (Ken Waters)

PHIL 667 L01 (75922) Wed. 12:00-14:45 am Room ST 027A

Philosophers tend to view knowledge in terms of justified beliefs. For example, we often ask about how our beliefs are justified and how the overall system of our beliefs is structured. Philosophers of Science typically focus attention on scientific explanations and theories, on evidential support, and inter-theoretical relations. That is, we view scientific knowledge through its products, not through its practices. What would knowledge look like if we shifted our attention from the products of knowledge practices to the practices that produce these products? This course will pursue this question by exploring the nature of scientific knowledge in the context of its practices. We will use an extended case study of knowledge in the biological practices centered on DNA to shed new light on traditional issues in the Philosophy of science such as the nature of causation and causal reasoning, experimental reasoning, the structure of scientific knowledge, scientific realism, and reductionism.

Winter 2015

The Problem of Evil in Early Modern Philosophy (Anders Kraal)

PHIL 609 L01 (13996) Tues. 15:30-18:15 pm Room SH 157

The problem of evil was a central topic of discussion and disagreement in Early Modern Philosophy. In this course we will study how this problem was dealt with by four major thinkers during this period, namely Bayle, Leibniz, Hume, and Kant.

Fundamentality and the Laws of Nature (Noa Latham)

PHIL 623 L01 (13994) Tues & Thurs. 14:00-15:15 pm Room SS 006

The course will examine the question what fundamental features of the world cannot be explained but can explain all others. We will examine principles that might be used in attempting to answer this question, and focus on the role of fundamental laws and the direction of time. Topics to be discussed include what laws of nature are and how they are to be distinguished from accidental regularities; the relation between laws and induction, causation, counterfactuals, explanation, and the direction of time; whether there are fundamental laws and how they relate to ceteris paribus laws and special science laws; whether laws are necessary and if so what kind of necessity; whether laws are relations between universals; the relation between laws and the individuation of properties and natural kinds.

Reasons, Rationality, and Morality (John Baker)

PHIL 649 L01 (13040) Mon. & Wed. 15:30-16:45 pm Room SS 541

For most of the last century reason internalism (in various guises) has been the dominant account of the nature of justificatory (also called normative and sometimes practical) reasons. In recent years Derek Parfit, Russ Shafer-Landau, and others have argued for accounts of justificatory reasons that avoid those of its central tenets that have been taken to have ‘subjectivist’ implications, implications not only (i) about practical reasoning and rationality, but also (ii) about moral reasoning, and correspondingly (iii) about the nature of moral rights, duties and values. The course will begin by reviewing the standard formulations of reason internalism and the standard arguments for and against these various versions, the rest of the term being devoted to a detailed presentation and critique of some of the various recent attempts to provide a replacement account, and account that will, some hope, avoid the ‘subjectivist’ implications of reason internalism.

Distributive Justice (Allen Habib)

PHIL 653 L01 (15850) Thurs 18:00-20:45 Room SS 006

Since the 1970s much of the philosophical work on justice has focused on distributive justice-i.e. justice in the distribution of the ‘benefits and burdens’ of society. This class will examine that idea, and its various incarnations, from the work of Rawls (1971) to the present. We will cover the following issues: The question of the best principle of a just distribution-egalitarian, utilitarian, prioritarian or another approach; the issue of the proper metric or currency of justice-utility, well-being, material wealth, opportunity, etc; and the issue of the scope of justice, the question of to whom justice is owed-fellow citizens, fellow humans, all creatures, future humans, etc. We will read work by Rawls, Miller, Barry, Parfit, Dworkin, Cohen, Anderson, Arneson and others.

Philosophy of Language: Counting (David Liebesman)

PHIL 671.04 L01 (TBA) Wed 18:00-20:45 TBA

Examining the meanings of ordinary counting sentences like “Two frogs are in the bog” raises a variety of issues at the intersection of philosophy of language, metaphysics, semantics, and psychology. We’ll survey a host of such issues, with special attention paid to the way that investigations in distinct areas can inform one another. Topics will include the problem of many, scalar implicature, number concept acquisition, and the mass/count distinction.

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