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Graduate Courses 2016-17

Submitted by rzach on Wed, 03/08/2017 - 12:37pm

Fall 2016

Graduate Proseminar–Richard Zach (Mandatory)

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.

Money, Markets and Morality–David G. Dick

Which things should be distributed on a market? What things are permissible to exchange for money? These questions can be moral ones, political ones, or both. This class will consider these questions in all these respects by focusing on recent and historical philosophical work on ethics and markets, the role of the state in regulating economic interactions, and the morality of monetary exchange. While the primary focus of the course will be philosophical, it will also have to be informed by work from economics, psychology, sociology, and other relevant disciplines.

Issues in Medical Science–Megan Delehanty

This course will examine epistemological and metaphysical issues in medicine and medical science. Topics may include: the nature of health and disease; identification, explanation, and causation of disease; and epistemological issues in evidence-based and individualized medicine. (This course will NOT investigate ethical questions.)

Topics in Non-Classical Logic–Ali Kazmi

This course will offer a survey of some systems of non-classical logic. The focus will be on temporal logic, modal logic, and the logic of demonstratives. We will examine a variety of formal systems and discuss philosophical issues pertaining to their interpretation.

Winter 2017

The Philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce–Mark Migotti

A survey of Peirce’s most important philosophical work, beginning with his early critique of Descartes and culminating in his mature system of the three fundamental categories. We will pay particular attention to his pragmatism, and his understanding of science, logic, and metaphysics.

Politics of Food–Ann Levey

This course will explore a selection of issues in the philosophy and politics of food. Beginning with Plato’s discussion of the diet of the ideal city, we will look at how food production and food consumption inform and construct political relations. Topics might include food distribution, famine and food insecurity; food consumption, food waste and food deserts; issues in food production including sustainability, the ownership of food production, agribusiness and genetic patents; food safety and food regulations. The focus of these topics will be on the political relations that underlie them. Depending on time and student interest, we could also look at topics on food and gender, including issues of obesity and eating disorders.

Students will have the opportunity, if they wish, to do a final project that brings together philosophy and practice by engaging in a hands on project involving food production, consumption or waste.

Open Mindedness–Jeremy Fantl

An investigation into the nature and epistemology of open-mindedness and close mindedness. What is it to exemplify the virtue of open-mindedness? Is it as unequivocal a virtue as tradition would have it? Are there situations in which closed-mindedness is the proper response to opposing views? Readings will include selections from the literature on the epistemology of disagreement and informal logic.

Scientific Practice–C. Kenneth Waters/Marc Ereshefsky

Ken Waters and Marc Ereshefsky will lead this research seminar as part of the collaborative Templeton research project, "From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics." The seminar will be organized into three parts. The first part will cover introductory accounts of scientific practice from historical, sociological and philosophical accounts of scientific practice. These readings will provide a common basis for graduate students to develop research projects related to scientific practice. The contents of the rest of the seminar will be set by graduate student research projects. Students will identify their own topic areas in the first part of the seminar. In the second part, students will develop and present research topics and select readings related to their topics for the class to read and discuss. In the third part of the course, students will read and discuss drafts of one another’s research papers.

Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem–Richard Zach

We will focus on two famous theorems of symbolic logic due to Kurt Gödel: The Incompleteness Theorems. The first of these states, roughly, that every formal mathematical theory, provided it is sufficiently expressive and free from contradictions, is incomplete in the sense that there are always statements (in fact, true statements) in the language of the theory which the theory can’t prove. In order to prove the Incompleteness Theorem, we’ll need to study the expressive power of formal languages and axiomatic theories—this is an important and exciting area in itself. This investigation will lead us naturally to computability. We’ll approach computability not via Turing machines, but via the notion of a recursive function. (We will prove, however, that both notions coincide.)

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