Undergraduate Courses

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Below is a list of upcoming undergraduate courses with full descriptions (when available) and other specific information. For a full listing of undergraduate-level courses offered by the Department, please see the course catalog. For a complete listing of courses offered in the current and upcoming semester see the schedule of classes.

Please note the following regularities as you plan for upcoming semesters, but be aware that there will be exceptions in some semesters. Please contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies or the Academic Advisor for Philosophy for help planning your Major or Minor in Philosophy.

  • Every Fall and Spring semester we typically offer 1100, 2120, 2450, 2465 and 2500, as well as a wide variety of other elective courses at the introductory level. 
  • Every Fall and Spring semester we offer 3000, the Gateway Seminar for Majors, as well as at least two courses from each category of courses required for the Major (i.e. at least 2 history of philosophy courses at the 3000 level; at least 2 topics courses at the 3000 level; and at least 2 advanced electives at the 5000 level, in addition to a variety of other electives.)
  • Every Summer we offer a variety of courses at the introductory level.

Upcoming Undergraduate Courses


Autumn 2019                           Spring 2020

 

Autumn Semester 2019



1100 Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: A. Roth
MQ 264, MW 10:20-11:15

Think of the tree you see through the window, or the computer in front of you.  How do you know that there really are these material things out in the world corresponding to the ideas you have of them in your mind?  Why couldn’t what you think of as the world just be an elaborate dream and that at any moment you will waken to a very different reality?  And what are these ideas and thoughts anyway? Might they – not to mention your hopes, desires, and conscious experiences – be nothing more than states of your brain or body, or something that could just as well be had by a sophisticated computer or robot?  Or does thinking of yourself in these purely material terms ignore something important about you? Science aims to accurately depict the world around us.  But what can be said about the reasonableness of the scientific method?  How can we defend its reliance on observation and experiment, and its use of the concept of causation, in giving us a powerful understanding of the natural world?  If everything that happens was determined to happen by the initial state of the universe and the laws of nature, do we have free will, and can we be morally responsible for our actions?  Does God exist? And does this question have a bearing on whether there is objective right or wrong?  What makes an action morally right, and does it matter whether what you do can make a difference?  These are some of the central questions in philosophy. In this course, we will attempt to answer them. 

We will be reading and discussing ancient, modern, and contemporary texts.  Historical figures will include a number of Pre-Socratics, Socrates/Plato, Descartes, and Hume. 

GE Culture and Ideas

1100 Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: N. Tennant
HA 006, TR 11:10-12:30

This is an introduction to rigorous thought about a variety of concepts and problems of fundamental significance. You will be introduced to methods of philosophical analysis, the clarification of important concepts, the careful appraisal of arguments and theories, and the sheer breadth and variety of philosophical concerns. The course aims to enable you to write more clearly, think more deeply, and pursue your intellectual interests both with more attention to detail and with an eye to the 'bigger picture'. We shall be covering topics drawn from the following list: Existence of God; Naturalism; Skepticism and the External World; the Mind-Body Problem; Free Will v. Determinism; the Problem of Induction; the Paradoxes. We shall be studying some profoundly influential writings by various famous thinkers

GE Culture and Ideas

1100H Introduction to Philosophy Honors
Instructor: R. Kraut
HN 201, MW 12:45-2:05

GE Culture and Ideas

1300 Introduction to Ethics
Instructor: E. D'Arms
OR 110, MW 11:30-12:25

Students will reflect on and discuss ethical issues. Some are foundational questions: Do value and morality depend on God’s commands? Are they relative to the views of an individual or culture? What makes a person’s life go well? Are people fundamentally selfish? Others are  social problems in our society: the moral status of abortion and euthanasia; the nature and justification of punishment and the criminal justice system; the justification of war. Some topics will be chosen by student interest. Possible options include: drugs and paternalism; freedom of speech and hate speech; the ethical treatment of animals; the case for and against affirmative action and reparations; performance enhancement through drugs, genes, and technology.

GE Cultures and Ideas

1332 Engineering Ethics
Instructor: Staff

An examination of contemporary issues in engineering ethics in the context of major ethical theories.

GE Cultures and Ideas

1338 Computer Ethics and Effective Presentation
Instructor: Scott Brown

An introduction to ethical theory with a special focus on ethical issues that arise in the computing profession. It includes student presentations and feedback to improve discussion skills.

GE Cultures and Ideas

1500.01 Introduction to Logic
Instructor: J. Gleason
MP 1041, MWF 8:00-8:55

Deduction and induction; principles of clear statement and valid reasoning; fallacies; and the methods by which theories and laws are established.

GE quantitative reasoning: math and logical analysis

1500.01 Introduction to Logic
Instructor: J. Gleason
DE 214, TR 3:55-5:15;

Deduction and induction; principles of clear statement and valid reasoning; fallacies; and the methods by which theories and laws are established.

GE quantitative reasoning: math and logical analysis

1500.02 Introduction to Logic (online)
Instructor: Staff

Online version of Philosophy 1500.01, Introduction to Logic. Teaches students the construction and evaluation of deductive and inductive arguments; principles of clear statement and valid reasoning; fallacies; and the methods by which theories and laws are established.

GE quantitative reasoning: math and logical analysis

1501 Introduction to Logic and Legal Reasoning
Instructor: Staff
CL 137, MWF 10:20-11:15

An informal introduction to elementary deductive and inductive logic, concentrating on application to reasoning in legal contexts (e.g., courtroom argumentation and jury deliberation).

GE quantitative reasoning: math and logical analysis


2120 Asian Philosophies
Instructor: S. Brown
HH 180, MWF 11:30-12:25

This class will explore the main philosophical traditions that underlie the cultures of India, China, Korea, Japan, and a number of other countries in south and east Asia. Specifically, we will work toward understanding some of the essential texts from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, and Daoism. However, we will not be approaching these texts merely for their historical value. We will be engaging them as potential sources of wisdom and insight into the nature of the world around us and our place within it. 

GE for literature and diversity global studies

2340 The Future of Humanity
Instructor: E. Lin
HH 259, WF 9:35-10:55

What will life be like in a hundred, two hundred, or five hundred years? Some believe that further advances in technology will make human life unimaginably joyous and prosperous. Others have a much darker vision of our future—one in which our descendants are left with a depleted planet, and in which they face extinction at the hands of technological forces they cannot control. The future of humanity raises important philosophical and ethical questions. Why should we act more sustainably for the sake of future people? How large should the human population become? Should we use technology to enhance ourselves? Will we someday be able to transcend our physical bodies by uploading ourselves into computers—and if so, would this be a desirable thing to do? How might artificial superintelligence change human life—and could it destroy it? These are some of the questions that we will consider in this course.

GE Cultures and Ideas

2342 Environmental Ethics
Instructor: E. Thomas
EL 2003, TR 2:20-3:40

This course surveys major ethical issues concerning our treatment of, and reliance on, the natural environment. Questions include: What is the moral status of non-human animals, plants, and ecosystems? Is climate change a justice issue? What constitutes human well-being? And what does sustainability mean for our obligations to future generations?

2367 Contemporary Social and Moral Problems in the US
Instructor: Scott Brown
BO120, TR  3:55-5:15

An intensive writing course concentrating on the analysis and evaluation of philosophical argumentation concerning contemporary social and moral problems about race, gender, class, and ethnicity. Does not count on a philosophy major or minor program.

GE Diversity: Social Diversity in the US, GE Writing and Communication: level 2

2400 Political and Social Philosophy
Instructor: P. Turner
UH 056, TR 11:10-12:30

Is democracy the best form of government? What limits should there be on government? Is equality always good? Philosophy 2400 examines the foundations of justice and legitimate political authority through classic works from Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Marx, and Mill.

GE Cultures and Ideas

2450 Philosophical Problems in the Arts
Instructor: R. Kraut
SO E040, TR 12:45-2:05

Our goal is to understand (and evaluate) several theories about the nature and function of art.  We will consider such questions as: What is the difference between creative innovation and fraudulence?  Is there a "correct interpretation" of a literary text or painting?  Is objective criticism possible, or is art criticism merely the expression of subjective preferences?  Can artworks be understood in isolation from social-historical forces?  Do artworks express emotions?  Is it worth theorizing about art?  Why?  

We will consider these theoretical questions in the context of music, painting, film, architecture, literature, and other artforms.

GE Visual and Performing Arts

2465 Death and the Meaning of Life
Instructor: S. Brown
MQ 264, TR 9:35-10:55

This class will explore a wide variety of philosophical claims that have been made about the significance of death, the meaning of life, and how those interact with each other.

We'll begin with a historical survey of classic philosophers from across history and the globe, and then transition to a more topically driven discussion in the second half of the semester.

Along the way we will consider whether or not death is bad for us, if immortality would be a good thing, how the existence of God and the possibility of an afterlife might be relevant, if meaning is completely subjective or has objective components, and how the varied components of a life fit together in constituting meaning.

GE for literature

2500 Symbolic Logic
Instructor: L. Shabel
OR 110, MW 12:40-1:35

This is a first course in symbolic logic, which satisfies the GE requirement in mathematical and logical analysis. We will study the basic concepts and techniques of logic, including truth values, arguments, validity and soundness, and will develop formal methods for symbolizing sentences and constructing truth tables and derivations. We will cover the syntax and semantics of both sentential logic (also called truth-functional logic) and first-order predicate logic (also called first-order quantificational logic.) In this course, students will develop an acute grasp of the structure of deductive arguments and, so will be better equipped to evaluate them.

GE quantitative reasoning: math and logical analysis

2680 Scientific Controversies
Instructor: C. Pincock 
BE 140, WF 11:10-12:30

Modern science raises many difficult questions about the nature of the universe and our place in it. This class considers several controversies that arise within science and investigates their broader philosophical significance. How does science work in different domains and at different times, and what can science tell us about ourselves and the nature of the world? This semester we will consider four questions: What is life? Can computers think? What is intelligence? Are there human races? Readings will be drawn from the sciences and the philosophy of science.

GE Cultures and Ideas

3000 Gateway Seminar
Instructor: T. McPherson 
UH 386B, TR 9:35-10:55

This course will introduce new Philosophy majors to central tools for reading, analyzing, discussing, and writing philosophy that are needed to flourish in upper-division philosophy courses. We will very carefully read, discuss, and write about a small number of influential texts across central areas of philosophy, including, ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, Early Modern philosophy and the philosophies of mind and language.

Prerequisite: Philosophy major or permission of instructor

Note: new Philosophy majors who have already taken three or more upper division Philosophy courses should contact their PHIL advisor before enrolling in this course. 

3210 History of Ancient Philosophy

Instructor: T. Rudavsky
TO 247, TR 12:45-2:05

This course is an introduction to the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Roughly, the semester will be divided into three parts: we will start with the Presocratics and Socrates, and then turn to Plato; the final chunk of the term we will devote to Aristotle. We will discuss the metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics of these seminal thinkers. Readings will be drawn from primary sources (in English translation). Course requirements are midterm, final, and several short writing exercises.

GE Literature, GE Diversity: Global Studies

3230 History of 17th Century Philosophy
Instructor: A. Spink
BE 140, WF 12:45-2:05

Do we have immaterial souls, or are we completely physical beings? 
Can we ever act in truly altruistic ways, or do we always have ulterior motives? 
Does happiness depend on one’s external circumstances, or just on one’s attitude?
If someone loses their memory, are they still the same person?
Can we know anything with absolute certainty?

Questions like these were at the center of heated philosophical debates in the seventeenth century. PHILOS 3230 explores some of these debates by discussing the contributions of philosophers such as René Descartes, Elisabeth of Bohemia, Anne Conway, Margaret Cavendish, John Locke, and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

GE Literature, GE Diversity: Global Studies

3261 Fundamental Concepts of Existentialism
Instructor: T. Rudavsky
ML 191, WF 11:10-12:30

This course will cover basic 19th and 20th century existentialist writings, selected from among the following authors: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Sartre, and Camus. We will read both literary and philosophical works, with an eye to understanding the underlying themes (nihilism; despair; angst) of classical existentialist writers. Requirements: midterm exam, final exam and several short written assignments.

GE Literature

3420 Philosophical Perspectives on Issues of Gender
Instructor: D. Howard
BE 184, WF 9:35-10:55

What does it mean to be a woman or a man? Can one be neither? What is the relationship between sex, gender, sexuality, femininity and masculinity? How does one’s gender play a role in shaping one’s conception of the good, or of truth, or of justice? This course surveys these core philosophical issues surrounding gender, primarily but not exclusively from a feminist perspective. It explores the ways in which philosophers contributed to the development of feminism, and the ways in which feminist theory is expanding and challenging mainstream philosophy in turn. The course is thus intended to develop critical thinking skills that are broadly applicable in a myriad of major current philosophical topics in epistemology, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy.

GE Cultures and Ideas, GE Diversity: Social Diversity in the US

3650 Philosophy of Science
Instructor: N. Tennant
SM 2186, TR 3:55-5:15

Aims. We aim to become conversant with all the major concepts and controversies of mainstream discussion in the ‘general’ philosophy of science (as opposed to its more specialized areas, such as the philosophy of quantum physics).

Prerequisite. A prerequisite for this course is PHIL2500: Introduction to Symbolic Logic. We shall be making important use of techniques of logical analysis and regimentation, for these are required for a properly rigorous understanding of important concepts in the Philosophy of Science.

Topics. We shall be covering topics drawn from the following list: Scientific description, prediction, and explanation. The hypothetico-deductive method. Inference to the best explanation. Theory and evidence. Observable v. theoretical entities. The problem of induction. Criteria for theory-choice.

3830 Consciousness
Instructor: R. Samuels
UH 056, TR 2:20-3:40

Although consciousness is widely supposed to lie beyond the scope of systematic human enquiry, it has in recent years become the focus of intensive study. This course aims to provide an introduction to such research, with a focus on interactions between philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. Topics include: concepts of consciousness, the hard problem of consciousness, neural correlates of consciousness, global workspace theories, higher-order theories, representational theories, change blindness, the unity of consciousness, the function of consciousness, and the relationship between consciousness and free will.

5230 Studies in 17th Century Philosophy
Instructor: L. Downing
MQ 155, WF 12:45-2:05

Explaining body/matter

In this course we will look at seventeenth to early eighteenth century debates on the border between physics and metaphysics, focusing especially on questions about how to understand Newtonian gravity and its implications for the nature of matter.  Readings will include René Descartes, Isaac Newton, the Leibniz-Clarke correspondence, Emilie du Châtelet.

5840 Advanced Philosophy of Cognitive Science
Instructor: R. Samuels
SO E105, TR 11:10-12:30

Cognitive science is an exciting interdisciplinary field of enquiry that has, over the past few decades, exerted a profound influence on longstanding philosophical debates about the nature of the mind. In this course we focus on some of these debates. In particular: Is consciousness amenable to scientific explanation? How is possible for us to represent world in thought? Is the human mind a computer of some sort? Although a background in cognitive science is not assumed, we will read papers by prominent psychologists and neuroscientists, as well as philosophers.

Spring Semester 2020

1100 Introduction to Philosophy
Instructor: R. Samuels
PA 20, MW 10:20-11:15

GE Culture and Ideas

1300 Introduction to Ethics
Instructor: Staff

The nature of right and wrong, good and evil; the grounds of moral choice and decision; the resolution of moral conflicts.  

GE Cultures and Ideas

1332 Engineering Ethics
Instructor: Staff

An examination of contemporary issues in engineering ethics in the context of major ethical theories.

GE Cultures and Ideas

1338 Computer Ethics and Effective Presentation
Instructor: Scott Brown

An introduction to ethical theory with a special focus on ethical issues that arise in the computing profession. It includes student presentations and feedback to improve discussion skills.

GE Cultures and Ideas

1500.01 Introduction to Logic
Instructor: Staff

Deduction and induction; principles of clear statement and valid reasoning; fallacies; and the methods by which theories and laws are established.

GE quantitative reasoning: math and logical analysis

1500.02 Introduction to Logic (online)
Instructor: Staff

Online version of Philosophy 1500.01, Introduction to Logic. Teaches students the construction and evaluation of deductive and inductive arguments; principles of clear statement and valid reasoning; fallacies; and the methods by which theories and laws are established.

GE quantitative reasoning: math and logical analysis

1501 Introduction to Logic and Legal Reasoning
Instructor: J. Gleason
MP 1035, MWF 12:40-1:35

An informal introduction to elementary deductive and inductive logic, concentrating on application to reasoning in legal contexts (e.g., courtroom argumentation and jury deliberation).

GE quantitative reasoning: math and logical analysis

2120 Asian Philosophies
Instructor: S. Brown
HH 180, TH 11:10-12:30

This class will explore the main philosophical traditions that underlie the cultures of India, China, Korea, Japan, and a number of other countries in south and east Asia. Specifically, we will work toward understanding some of the essential texts from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Confucianism, and Daoism. However, we will not be approaching these texts merely for their historical value. We will be engaging them as potential sources of wisdom and insight into the nature of the world around us and our place within it. 

GE for literature and diversity global studies

2367 Contemporary Social and Moral Problems in the US
Instructor: Staff

An intensive writing course concentrating on the analysis and evaluation of philosophical argumentation concerning contemporary social and moral problems about race, gender, class, and ethnicity. Does not count on a philosophy major or minor program.

GE Diversity: Social Diversity in the US, GE Writing and Communication: level 2

2450 Philosophical Problems in the Arts
Instructor: R. Fletcher
TO 255, TR 12:45-2:05

This course will examine major philosophical problems in the arts (e.g. reality, repetition, form, expression, taste, judgment, definition, and identification),  through close readings of core texts from the canon of aesthetics (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Tolsloy, Nietzsche, Bell, Collingwood, Goodman, Danto). Our aim will be to engage with how these problems contribute to form a working definition of art, both through analytic arguments, continental approaches, and global comparative aesthetics, as well as through an experimental encounter with the varieties of media and mediation produced by the artists and other participants at the exhibition documenta 14 that took place in Athens, Greece and Kassel Germany in 2017.

GE Visual and Performing Arts

2465 Death and the Meaning of Life
Instructor: S. Brown
RA 59, MWF 10:20-11:15

What is a meaningful life? What role, if any, does the afterlife play in conceptions of meaningfulness? Can things like achievement, happiness, and engaging in valuable projects give meaning to our lives?   Would immortality or an extraordinarily long life increase or decrease the likelihood of a meaningful life? The course will explore these and related questions. 

GE for literature

2500 Symbolic Logic
Instructor: Shapiro
MQ 160, MW 9:10-10:05

What is it to reason?  What is it to reason correctly?  What role do symbols play in reasoning?  We will try to answer these questions.

In this course we will present a symbolic deductive system to model correct reasoning.  It will be shown how many arguments in ordinary language can be “translated” into this system, where they can be checked for validity.  Important logical concepts, like consistency, consequence, validity are presented via the system, and the techniques of mathematical logic are illustrated with it.

There will be exercises for homework (checked with occasional short quizzes) and a midterm and final examination.

GE quantitative reasoning: math and logical analysis

2650 Introduction to the Philosophy of Science
Instructor: R. Samuels
UH 56, MW 2:20-3:40

This course will explore some fundamental questions regarding the nature of science that often go unexplored in science classes. Topics will include: What distinguishes genuine science from other disciplines? In what sense, and to what extent, is science objective? What legitimate role can values play in science and scientific progress? How exactly do experiments support or undermine hypotheses? Does science provide us with objective knowledge of unobservable entities, such as electrons and the Big Bang?  

2660 Metaphysics, Religion, and Magic in the Scientific
Instructor: L. Downing
MQ 160, TR 2:20-3:40

The seventeenth century saw revolutionary developments in natural science, specifically, in matter theory, mechanics, chemistry, and astronomy.  These developments were intertwined with magical traditions, religious doctrines and disputes, and, especially, philosophical theories and arguments.  This course will examine some of these connections in the works of some of the most influential natural philosophers of the period.  Our main goal is a richer understanding of this crucial period in the development of modern science.  In addition, as with any philosophy class, we will evaluate the cogency of the arguments and the consistency and plausibility of the views we encounter.

2690 Genes and Society
Instructor: J. D'Arms and S. Cole
DB 29, TR 9:35-10:55

This course will provide science-based exposure to topics in classical and modern genetics, with an emphasis on social and ethical issues. Together we will discuss what genes are, and how they work, and how your genome influences traits and behaviors. We will build on this scientific knowledge to explore the social, ethical and policy questions raised by our understandings (and misunderstandings) of genetic inheritance. We will explore the roles of genetics in the context of social beliefs; genetic modifications of crops, animals and humans; the nature of altruism; the impacts of genetics on medicine; and the extent to which genetics influence categories like race, sex, and sexuality. Completion of the course will help you understand that science is not separate from your life; but informs many aspects of our society.

3000 Gateway Seminar
Instructor: T. McPherson 
BO 120, TR 9:35-10:55

This course will introduce new Philosophy majors to central tools for reading, analyzing, discussing, and writing philosophy that are needed to flourish in upper-division philosophy courses.  We will very carefully read, discuss, and write about a small number of influential texts across central areas of philosophy, including, ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, Early Modern philosophy and the philosophies of mind and language.

Prerequisite: Philosophy major or permission of instructor

3250 Nineteenth Century Philosophy: Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche
Instructor: C. Pincock
EC 243, MWF 1:50-2:45

This class considers the philosophical views of Hegel, Marx and Nietzsche, with a special emphasis on their conceptions of history. Each philosopher asks how our history shapes who we are today and who we might become in the future. We begin with an investigation of some early parts of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), where Hegel considers how the knowing subject and its objects should be related for knowledge to be genuine. Hegel identifies a logical progression of different modes of thinking that seems to bear on human history. We then turn to Marx and consider how he transforms Hegel’s proposal by embedding it in a material investigation of the human condition. Through a study of some of the writings collected in McLellan’s Karl Marx: Selected Writings, we will identify what Marx thinks drives human history and the associated forms of human consciousness. Finally, we consider Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality (1887). Nietzsche challenges Hegel’s account of progress and Marx’s optimism with his own distinctive questioning of the function and origin of morality. While Marx says “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it”, Nietzsche complains that all past and present philosophers “lack a consciousness of the extent to which the will to truth itself needs a justification ... The will to truth needs a critique – let us define our own task with this ...” (Either Philos 3230 or 3240 is recommended but not required.)

Texts

S. Houlgate, Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, Bloomsbury, 2013. ISBN 978-0826485113.
J. Wolff, Why Read Marx Today?, Oxford, 2003. ISBN 978-0192805058.
F. Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, Third edition, Cambridge, 2017. ISBN 978-1316602591.
Note: additional course readings will be distributed as PDFs.

GE Literature
GE Diversity: Global Studies

3300 Moral Philosophy
Instructor: J. D'Arms
MQ 160, MW 11:30-12:25

What things are good? Whatever we want? Or are some things worth wanting in ways that others aren’t? What makes a person’s life go well?

What is it right to do? Is this determined by the consequences of actions, or by considerations of some other kind?

What is the relationship between being a rational person, on one hand, and wanting what’s good and doing what is right on the other?

This course will critically assess some philosophically influential answers to these questions, and to other, related ones.

This course will emphasize the development of essential philosophical skills: reading texts carefully for philosophical comprehension, writing papers that analyze arguments and philosophical positions clearly and raise critical points about them, discussing philosophical issues rigorously in a group setting.

3341H Ethical Conflicts in Health Care Research, Policy, and Practice
Instructor: D. Howard
BO 314, WF 11:10-12:30

The advances made in medicine over the past century are an impressive collective human achievement. However, not all people have benefited equally from the explosive growth of biomedical technology and some have suffered greatly both in the development and the procurement of medical care. This course offers a philosophical approach to analyzing some key moral dilemmas that have arisen in health care research, policy, and practice. Questions that we will cover in the course involve the ethics of human and animal research, particularly the means we may take toward laudable ends; the nature of addiction and what the ends of medicine should be; and the ethics of health care provision and what sort of society we should aspire to be.

3530 Philosophy of Logic
Instructor: N. Tennant
EC 312, TR 2:20-3:40

PHIL3530 enables a smooth progression for the serious Logic student from PHIL2500: Introduction to Symbolic Logic, to PHIL5500: Advanced Symbolic Logic. The course also caters to less technically-minded Philosophy students who would like to know more about various philosophical issues surrounding Logic, and about issues in other areas of Philosophy (such as metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of language) for whose analysis or explication Logic can provide some useful tools.

Topics to be covered will be drawn from the following list:

Reference: names and indexicals. Definite descriptions. Abstraction terms.
Quantification: first order; second order; plural.
Identity and indiscernibility. Non-denoting terms and free logic.
Semantic closure and paradoxes. Tarski's definition of truth. Deflationism.
Logical consequence and deducibility.
Proof-theoretic v. model-theoretic accounts of the meanings of logical constants.
The justification of deduction. Intuitionistic v. classical logic.
Conditionals and relevance.
Propositional attitudes and modal operators. Referential opacity and intensionality.
Elements of the main philosophically interesting extensions of classical logic: modal logic; deontic logic; doxastic/epistemic logic; tense logic.
Logical analyses/explications of the following important notions in metaphysics and the philosophy of science: supervenience; reductionism; hypothetico-deductive method; cognitive significance.

3700 Introduction to Metaphysics
Instructor: R. Kraut
ML 131, TR 12:45-2:05

The world is complex and mysterious.  We will examine various metaphysical assumptions: that reality contains spiritual as well as physical entities; that consciousness is not a physical phenomenon; that there exist necessities in nature; that there exist abstract objects knowable through reason alone; that moral and aesthetic properties, like physical properties, are real; that finite beings can have knowledge of the world as it is in itself.  Efforts will be made to clarify our concepts of possibility, necessity, causation, persistence, metaphysical dependency, identity, and mind-dependence.  

3810 Philosophy of Action
Instructor: A. Roth
Bolz Hall 314, WF 9:35-10:55

This totally amazing course is concerned with the nature of human action.  What is it to act intentionally or to do something on purpose?  We explain and justify our actions in terms of reasons; for example, the reason I’m raising my hand is to get the prof to call on me.  How is this sort of reason explanation related to causal explanation?  If there is a causal explanation lurking here, is it compatible with my having free will and being responsible for what I do?  Philosophers associate action with a distinctive sort of self-knowledge on the part of the agent.  The way for me to get to know what you’re doing is by observing you.  But it would be odd for me to figure out what I was up to by looking at myself; I seem know what I’m doing without looking.  How is this possible?  Finally, we explore temporal and social dimensions of action.  Sometimes I decide and intend what I do well before I do it.  What is involved in committing myself in this way, and why would I want to?  Does this make my later self unfree?   And sometimes I do things jointly, with others.  Can agency that’s shared in this way be understood in terms of individual agency, or is something fundamentally new going on here?  At the end of the course, we’ll be scratching our heads in amazement at how awesome this course was.

5261 Phenomenology and Existentialism
Instructor: T. Rudavsky
UH 353, WF 11:10-12:30

This course is an in-depth survey of the main ideas of Husserl, Heidegger and Sartre. The course has no specific prerequisites.  However, it is useful to have had Phil 3261 or its equivalent before taking this course. We will focus on Heidegger’s BEING and TIME, and Sartre’s BEING and NOTHINGNESS, after dipping into Husserl’s CARTESIAN MEDITATIONS. I may sneak in some Levinas or Derrida, depending on class interest. Requirements: [undergrads --midterm; final; discussion posts and term paper]. [graduate students: we can discuss requirements separately] Please email me if you have specific questions.

5500 Advanced Symbolic Logic
Instructor: N. Tennant
UH 353, TR 11:10-12:30

We introduce the student to the metatheory of first-order logics and languages; natural deduction for propositional and predicate logic; model theory; soundness, completeness, and Löwenheim-Skolem theorems.

5750 Advanced Theory of Knowledge
Instructor: A. Roth
HH 159, WF 12:45-2:05

The class will look at the epistemological literature on testimony and some papers on the moral psychology of trust.  The aim is to develop a properly epistemic notion of trust.  This will require looking also at some recent work on the nature of obligations that are in some sense owed or directed to others.  For exciting details, go to:  http://u.osu.edu/roth.263/courses/

5830 Introduction to Cognitive Science
Instructor: J. Myung

This course introduces you to the exciting interdisciplinary field of cognitive science devoted to the study of human intelligence and intelligent systems. Researchers in philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, artificial intelligence, and linguistics realized that they were asking many of the same questions about the nature of the human mind/brain, that they had developed complementary and synergistic methods of investigation, and that the evidence led them to compatible answers to their questions. This course introduces cognitive science through a representative sample of such questions, methods, and answers. It is not a special-topic course for students who seek detailed knowledge in a specific area of cognitive science, but as a broad survey of different approaches within the field of cognitive science. We will try not to lose sight of the forest for the trees but we will take a closer look at a few trees too because science is in the details. Along the way, we will introduce the constituent disciplines and their respective contributions to the study of cognition. We will discuss the foundational concepts of computation and information processing from multiple points of view. Two unifying themes are emphasized throughout: (1) Information processing: The mind/brain is viewed as a complex system that receives, stores, retrieves, transforms, and transmits information. (2) Neuroscience grounding: Explicit effort is made to show how mental phenomena emerge from the interactions of networks of neurons in the brain.

5891 Pro-seminar in Cognitive Science
Instructor: R. Holt

This class provides a broad overview of the main themes and methods of cognitive science and will highlight the research of Ohio State's Cognitive Science community.  This course is required for students wishing to complete the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization.