Graduate Course Descriptions

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professors talking

Below are two lists.  First, a list of upcoming graduate courses (Autumn 2020 and Spring 2021) with full descriptions and other specific information.  Below that is a list of all graduate-level courses offered by the Department.  A full listing of graduate level courses is also available at the OSU Course Catalog.  For a complete listing of courses offered in recent, current, and upcoming semesters, see the OSU Master Schedule.

Upcoming Graduate Courses

Autumn Semester 2020
 

5300 – Advanced Moral Philosophy
Instructor: Eden Lin
UH 353, TuTh 11:10 – 12:30 PM

Judgments about how well things are going for people during particular periods of time, and about how well people’s entire lives have gone or will go, are ubiquitous in ordinary life. Those judgments are about well-being—or, equivalently, welfare or quality of life. In this class, we will consider the major theories of well-being, which purport to explain what kind of a life counts as a life that is going well: hedonism, desire satisfactionism, objective list theories, perfectionism, the happiness theory, and hybrid theories. We will also consider related topics, such as the natures of pleasure and happiness, what makes a life meaningful, the relationship between well-being and value “from the point of view of the universe,” the relationship between well-being and fitting attitudes, and whether (and if so, why) death is bad for us

5420 – Philosophical Topics in Feminist Theory
Instructor: Dana Howard
JR 353, WF 12:45 – 2:05 PM

In this course we’ll focus on some topics to which feminist thinking has made recent important philosophical contributions: epistemic justice, philosophy of science, distributive justice, democratic legitimacy, objectification, and reproductive ethics. We’ll naturally look at the issue of gender along the way, and draw on a variety of philosophical resources, ranging from historical texts, epistemology, contemporary liberal and feminist political theory, to speech act theory. This is a combined undergraduate and graduate course. 

8100 – First-Year Seminar - The philosophical significance of concepts
Instructor: Tristram McPherson and Richard Samuels
UH 353, M 12:40 – 3:25 PM

We plan to consider a range of topics from among the following: (i) accounts of the nature of concepts in philosophy and psychology; (ii) accounts of content-determination for concepts; (iii) distinctive classes of concepts that have been thought to present special philosophical puzzles, such as normative concepts, phenomenal concepts and race and gender concepts; (iv) accounts of our epistemic access to our concepts; (v) accounts of analysis, explication and “engineering” of concepts; and (vi) debates about the (un-)importance of concepts for philosophical inquiry. Our aim is to orient participants to ideas that structure much contemporary philosophy, while discussing a range of topics that should be of interest to most of our participants.

8200 – Seminar in History of Philosophy: Mathematics in Kant’s Critical Philosophy
Instructor: Lisa Shabel
UH 353, W 12:40 – 3:25 PM

In this course, we will investigate the role that mathematics plays in Kant’s Critical Philosophy. So, we will aim both to understand Kant’s philosophy of mathematics and its practice as well as the way that Kant invokes mathematics in the metaphysical and epistemological arguments he advances in the Critique of Pure Reason. The course will include close readings of a selection of primary texts as well as a variety of secondary sources; we will not survey the whole Critique. Attention will likely be focused on the Introduction, the Aesthetic, the Schematism and the Discipline, and possibly also on the Axioms and the Anticipations. Issues to be addressed include the following: the role of mathematics in the argument for transcendental idealism; the relationship between concepts, intuitions and schemata; the category of magnitude; the function of intuition in mathematical reasoning; the "constructibility" of mathematical concepts; the nature of mathematical proof; the status of mathematical objects; the special role of imagination in our (mathematizable) experience. 

8300 - Seminar in Value Theory:  Directed Duty and Relational Normativity
Instructor: Abraham Roth
UH 353,  W 3:55 - 6:50 PM

Some duties or obligations can be understood as requirements on agents.  They are fundamentally about you and what you’re supposed to do.  The normativity here does not relate you to other individuals, except incidentally.  Though it might be in the interest of others that you fulfill the obligation, you do not somehow owe it to anyone in particular to do so.  Directed duties, in contrast, are thought to exhibit a normativity that in the first place relates you to another.  This relational normativity has been of increasing interest to moral theory (exhibited, for example in works by Thompson, Darwall, and Wallace).  Consider a standard example: the obligation to keep one’s promise.  Suppose I promise to look in on an elderly couple, and this is a promise made not to the couple but to their son.  Then I am obligated to visit the couple.  If we stop here, merely with specifying what it is I am to do, then we would be thinking of the obligation in non-relational terms.  But this leaves out that it is an obligation that is owed or directed to the promisee – the son in this instance.  It is not owed to some third party, not even to the elderly couple.  What, then, is the significance of saying that the promissory obligation is owed or directed to the son?  What is it for duties and obligations in general to be directed? 

The seminar will explore various characterizations of directed duty and relational normativity.  For example, one approach thinks of directedness in terms of the contrast between acting wrongly and wronging someone; you act wrongly in failing to fulfill a non-relational duty, but you wrong someone in ignoring a directed duty.  Another approach understands directedness in terms of being accountable to someone for what one does, such that they have a claim on how you conduct yourself.  Yet another approach thinks of directedness in terms of normative powers:  for example, the promisor has a directed obligation to the promisee insofar as the latter has the normative power to release the former from the obligation. 

We’ll start with a discussion of promissory obligation, since that is often held up as a paradigmatic case of directedness in obligation.  Time permitting, at the end of the seminar we’ll look at some implications for our understanding of trust and the epistemology of testimony.  A central concern throughout the seminar is the nature of the agency exercised when acting on a directed duty – something that is relatively under-theorized in the literature.  Recent work on shared agency and collective intentionality should offer some insight here.

Readings will include several chapters from Wallace’s 2019 book The Moral Nexus, as well as papers by Thompson, Darwall, Strawson, Gilbert, Tomasello, Scanlon, Shiffrin, May, Sreenivasan, Herman, Ripstein, Fricker, yours truly, and others.

8500 – Seminar in Logic: Natural Logicism and Number
Instructor: Neil Tennant
UH 353, F 12:40 – 3:45 PM

This Research Seminar aims to set out a philosophy, foundation and methodology for mathematics that can best be described as ‘natural logicist’. It is what earlier logicists might have arrived at, had they enjoyed the benefits of Gentzen’s inferential methods of natural deduction for logic. Mathematical content, we shall argue, is best captured by inferential rules—arguably of a logical kind—set out in a  natural-deduction format, and governing a primitive vocabulary of expressions belonging to a variety of syntactic types. These will include both logical and logico-mathematical operators. The study of such rules is a natural extension of the instructor’s work on Core Logic. One needs to address such issues as harmony of rules, the need to use a free logic, and the general logical treatment of abstraction operators.

It is a fascinating and controversial question whether for certain kinds of mathematical entities—in particular, the natural numbers—a case can be made for regarding them as logical objects, and our basic knowledge about them as logical in its provenance. One main aim of Natural Logicism is to furnish some technical criteria to help answer such questions.

The instructor’s own version of logicism about the natural numbers was called Constructive Logicism, in his book Anti-Realism and Logic. That treatment will be advanced further in a more polished and complete form. We shall also extend that logicist treatment to the rational numbers. Finally, we shall investigate the difficult and delicate question of the extent to which the continuum (of real numbers) is ‘purely logical’ in nature. We shall push our developed techniques as far as possible in search of a satisfying logicist treatment; but we shall finally concede an important role to our a priori geometric intuition in the genesis of our grasp of the real numbers.

This seminar, as its title makes clear, confines itself to natural logicism about the numbers---natural, rational and real. These are the main areas for which, thus far, any kind of logicism has been proposed in the past. The theories in question form part of what German-speaking scholars called Arithmetik.

This does not mean, however, that the same approach would be inappropriately, or unprofitably, extended to yet other branches of mathematics, such as various geometries, the differential and integral calculus, and set theory. The instructor believes, on the basis of investigations both completed and ongoing, that it can be. If time permits, some of these ideas may be shared.

All materials for the seminar will be provided on Carmen/Canvas. These include the instructor’s draft book chapters, as well as various writings by other authors.

Assessment for the seminar will be based on participation, and an end-of-semester paper (5,000-7,000 words).

 


Spring Semester 2021

(course descriptions forthcoming)

5440 - Philosophical Perspectives on Race, Education and Citizenship (cross-listed in EHE)
Instructor: W. Thompson
M 12:45 - 3:05 PM

5460 - Philosophy in Literature
Instructor: T. Rudavsky
WF 11:10 AM - 12:30 PM

5500 - Advanced Symbolic Logic
Instructor: S. Shapiro
TR 12:45 - 2:05 PM

5750 - Advanced Theory of Knowledge
Instructor: D. Smithies
WF 2:20 - 3:40 PM

8001 - Graduate Teaching Seminar
Instructor: D. Smithies
*Flexibility arranged by instructor

8200 - History of Philosophy
Instructor: A. Silverman
R 3:55 - 6:40 PM

8650 - Philosophy of Science
Instructor: C. Pincock
M 12:40 - 3:25 PM

8800 - Philosophy of Mind
Instructor: R. Samuels
T 3:55 - 6:40 PM

8900 Placement Seminar
Instructor: T. McPherson
*Flexibility arranged by instructor

8999 Dissertation Seminar
Instructor: J. D'Arms
W 3:55 - 6:40 PM


 

Complete Listing of Philosophy Graduate Courses

5211  (601.01)--Ancient Philosophy: Plato
3 Credit Hours

A survey of central philosophical themes in one or more Platonic dialogues.
Prereq: 301 or 10 cr hrs of Philos at the 200 level; or above; or grad standing in Philos; or permission of instructor.

5212  (601.02)--Ancient Philosophy:  Aristotle
3 Credit Hours

A survey of central philosophical themes in one or more Aristotelian treatises.
Prereq: 301 or 10 cr hrs of Philos at the 200 level; or above; or grad standing in Philos; or permission of instructor.

5210  (601.03)--Ancient Philosophy:  Studies in Ancient Philosophy
3 Credit Hours

Variable content; special topics in ancient Greek philosophy, including value theory, logic, metaphysics and natural science in pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle the Hellenistic schools or neo-Platonism.
Prereq: 301 or 10 cr hrs of Philos at the 200 level; or above; or grad standing in Philos; or permission of instructor. Repeatable to a maximum of 10 cr hrs.

5220  (602)--Studies in Medieval Philosophy
3 Credit Hours

An intensive examination of a major philosopher, school or philosophical problem of the medieval period; topics vary.
Prereq: 302 and 10 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 200 level or above; or grad standing in Philos; or permission of instructor. Repeatable to a maximum of 15 cr hrs.

5230  (603)--Studies in 17th-Century Philosophy
3 Credit Hours

An intensive examination of a major philosopher or philosophical problem of the rationalist period; topics vary from quarter to quarter.
Prereq: 303 and 10 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 200 level or above; or grad standing in Philos; or written of instructor. Repeatable to a maximum of 15 cr hrs.

5241  (604.01)--Studies in 18th Century Philosophy:  Kant
3 Credit Hours

An intensive examination of one or more important themes in Kant's philosophical writings.
Prereq: 303, or 304, and 10 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 200 level or above; or grad standing in Philos; or permission of instructor.

5240  (604.02)--Studies in 18th Century Philosophy:  Selected Problems or Topics
3 Credit Hours

An intensive examination of one or more important themes in Kant's philosophical writings.
Prereq: 303, or 304, and 10 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 200 level or above; or grad standing in Philos; or permission of instructor.

5260  (606)--Studies in 20th-Century Philosophy
3 Credit Hours

An intensive examination of one or more central movement in 20th-century philosophy; topics vary.
Prereq: 15 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 200 level or above, or grad standing in Philos or permission of instructor. Repeatable to a maximum of 15 cr hrs.

5830  (612)--Introduction to Cognitive Science
3 Credit Hours

Cognitive science is an interdisciplinary study of the nature of human thought; psychological, philosophical, linguistic, and artificial intelligence approaches to knowledge representation.
Prereq: Permission of instructor or a total of 12 cr hrs from at least two of the following areas: Cptr Inf, Linguist, Philos, and Psych. Not open to students with credit for CptrInf 612, Linguist 612, or Psych 612 or 794 (Sp Qtr 1989) or 794A (Wi Qtr 1990). Cross-listed in Computer and Information Science, Linguistics, and Psychology.

5840  (620)--Advanced Philosophy of Cognitive Science
3 Credit Hours

In-depth examination of the influence of results in cognitive science upon the way in which philosophers approach fundamental issues about the nature of the mind.
Prereq: 467 or permission of instructor.

5420  (625)--Philosophical Topics in Feminist Theory
3 Credit Hours

An analytical study of selected philosophical issues arising out of feminist theory, such as the nature of autonomy, or the relation between gender and knowledge.
Prereq: 10 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 300 level or above; or grad standing; or permission of instructor. Repeatable to a maximum of 10 cr hrs.

5400  (630)--Advanced Political and Social Philosophy
3 Credit Hours

An intensive examination of issues in political and social philosophy, including democracy, civil disobedience, anarchism, totalitarianism, nature of the state, etc.
Prereq: 230 and 10 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 200 level or above; or grad standing in Philos; or permission of instructor, and English 110 or 111 or equiv.

5300   (631)--Advanced Moral Philosophy
3 Credit Hours

An intensive examination of major issues within moral philosophy such as: the foundations of morality; objectivity in ethics; morality, reason and sentiment; virtues and vices.
Prereq: 431 and 10 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 200 level or above or grad standing in Philos or permission of instructor.

5410  (638)--Advanced Philosophy of Law
3 Credit Hours

An examination of the nature and function of law and of such problems as the relation of law to morality and the justification of punishment.
Prereq: 338 and 10 cr hrs of Philos coursework at the 200 level or above; or grad standing; or equiv or permission of instructor.

5450  (640)--Advanced Aesthetic Theory
3 Credit Hours

Basic issues in philosophy of art: the definition of art; meaning, truth, and representation in art; the nature and basis of criticism; the criteria of interpretation of works of art.
Prereq: 15 cr hrs of Philos course work at 200 level or above; grad standing in Philos; or permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for 641.

5500  (650)--Advanced Symbolic Logic
3 Credit Hours

Introduction to the metatheory of first-order logics and languages: axiomatic development of propositional and predicate logic; model theory; soundness, completeness, and Lowenheim-Skolem theorems.
Prereq: 250

5510  (652)--Nonclassical Logic
3 Credit Hours

Study of selected systems of nonclassical logic, such as entailment systems, modal, many-valued, epistemic, deontic, imperative, erotetic, tense, and free logics.
Prereq: 650. Repeatable to a maximum of 10 cr hrs.

5550  (750)--Advanced Logical Theory
3 Credit Hours

Topics include formal arithmetic, recursive functions, Turing machines, Godel's incompleteness theorems, Church's thesis, arithmetical truth, logical paradoxes, and higher-order logic.
Preq: 250 and 650.  Repeatable to a maximum of 15 hours.

5650  (655)--Advanced Philosophy of Science
3 Credit Hours

A study of the nature and structure of scientific concepts, laws, and theories; appraisal of methodologies, presuppositions, and frames of reference in science.
Prereq: 250 and 10 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 300 level or above (preferably 455); or 250 and grad standing in Philos; or permission of instructor.

5750  (660)--Advanced Theory of Knowledge
3 Credit Hours

An intensive examination of major epistemological problems: the possibility, origin, foundation, structure, methods, limits, types, and validity of knowledge.
Prereq: 250 and 10 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 300 level or above (preferably 460); or grad standing; or permission of instructor.

5700  (663)--Advanced Metaphysics
3 Credit Hours

An intensive examination of major metaphysical problems: categories, universals, substance and process, causality and law, space and time, metaphysical presuppositions of knowledge.
Prereq: 250 or 10 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 300 level or above (preferably 463); or grad standing; or permission of instructor.

5800  (667) - Advanced Philosophy of Mind
3 Credit Hours

Classical and contemporary approaches to the nature of mind, mind-body, other minds, intentionality, and other problems.
Prereq: 15 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 300 level or above (preferably 467); or grad standing in Philos; or permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for 767.

5850  (670) - Philosophy of Religion
3 Credit Hours

A study of religious concepts and problems; the idea and nature of God, of humans, their relation to the world and human destiny.
Prereq: 10 cr hrs of Philos course work at the 300 level or above; or grad standing; or permission of instructor.

5600  (673) - Advanced Philosophy of Language
3 Credit Hours

Basic problems and results in the philosophy of language, concentrating on theories of reference, theories of meaning, and theories of language-use (speech-acts, implicature, etc.).
Prereq: 250 and 10 credit hrs of Philos course work at the 300 level or above (preferably 473); or grad standing in Philos; or permission of instructor.

8001 --Graduate Training Seminar
1-3 Credit Hours
This course is designed to provide professional training for all first- and second-year graduate students that will enable them to develop the skills required for success in research, teaching and service.
Prereq: Grad standing in Philos. Repeatable to a maximum of 5 cr hrs or 2 completions. This course is graded S/U.

8100  (700) - First-Year Seminar
4 Credit Hours

A topically variable introduction to advanced philosophical methodology.
Open only to first-year philosophy grad students.

8200  (801)--Seminar in the History of Philosophy
1-4 Credit Hours
Preq: Grad standing in Philos or permission of instructor.  Repeatable to a maximum of 30 cr hrs.

8300  (830)--Seminar in Value Theory
1-4 Credit Hours
Preq: Grad standing in Philos or permission of instructor.  Repeatable to a maximum of 30 cr hrs.

8500  (850)--Seminar in Logic
1-4 Credit Hours
Preq: Grad standing in Philos or permission of instructor.  Repeatable to a maximum of 30 cr hrs.

8600  (873)--Seminar in Philosophy of Language
1-4 Credit Hours
Preq: Grad standing in Philos or permission of instructor.  Repeatable to a maximum of 30 cr hrs.

8650  (855)--Seminar in Philosophy of Science
1-4 Credit Hours
Preq: Grad standing in Philos or permission of instructor.  Repeatable to a maximum of 30 cr hrs.

8700  (863)--Seminar in Metaphysics
1-4 Credit Hours
Preq: Grad standing in Philos or permission of instructor.  Repeatable to a maximum of 30 cr hrs.

8750  (860)--Seminar in Theory of Knowledge
1-4 Credit Hours
Preq: Grad standing in Philos or permission of instructor.  Repeatable to a maximum of 30 cr hrs.


8800--Seminar in Philosophy of Mind
1-4 Credit Hours
Preq: Grad standing in Philos or permission of instructor.  Repeatable to a maximum of 30 cr hrs.

8999 --Dissertation Research in Philosophy
1-9 Credit Hours
Research for dissertation purposes only.
Prereq: Repeatable to a maximum of 30 cr hrs or 30 completions. This course is graded S/U.

 

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