19353

PHIL 135

 Theory of Knowledge

Susan Blake

 T  Th    10:10-11:30 am

ASP 302

MBV

HUM

This course provides an introduction to current topics in the field of epistemology. First, we will discuss what characteristics make it appropriate or desirable to believe certain things—is it reliability, our belief that something is likely to be true, or something else? Building on this discussion, we will then turn to questions of why it is appropriate to believe what other people tell us—do we have to believe that they are trustworthy? Finally, we will turn to a discussion of problems that arise from the fact that our beliefs are formed in social environments—where people disagree and sometimes choose to ignore information. What should we do when our beliefs conflict with others’? How does membership in a cultural group impair or facilitate our having or sharing knowledge? How is transmission of knowledge affected by bias?  Class size: 22

 

19354

PHIL 140

 Other Animals

Jay Elliott

M  W      10:10-11:30 am

OLIN 107

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies  We human beings have learned to think of ourselves as animals, and to think of our pets, our laboratory subjects, wild animals and those we slaughter for meat as “other animals.” Yet the lives of these other animals remained profoundly mysterious to us. Can we understand their thoughts, desires and lives? What do we owe them by way of justice, love or sympathy? What should the future of our relationships with them look like? In this course, we will approach these questions through a variety of sources, including works of philosophy, poetry, fiction and history. The course is part of the Thinking Animals Initiative, an interdivisional collaboration among students and faculty to further the understanding of animals and human-animal relationships.  Class size: 18

 

19361

PHIL 2044

 History of Philosophy II

Jay Elliott

M  W      1:30-2:50 pm

OLIN 101

MBV

HUM

This course, the second part of a two-semester sequence, brings the history of philosophy into the present through a discussion of key figures in modern philosophy, such as Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Fanon and Beauvoir. Central topics to be discussed include: relationships between mind, body and society; the possibility of scientific and other forms of knowledge; the impact of capitalism, colonialism and feminism on philosophy; and the emergence of distinctively modern forms of philosophical writing and practice. This course is required for all philosophy majors, beginning with the class of 2020. PHIL 203 is a required prerequisite.  Class size: 22

 

19355

PHIL 219

 body and world: Selves and Social Sense-Making

James Keller

M  W      11:50-1:10 pm

OLIN 308

MBV

 

Our everyday accounts of perception, action, social norms, language, and even intelligence take conceptual rationality as the essential feature of human life. A good deal of recent philosophy, though, explores the possibility that we might not be “rational all the way out” and that we use concepts to supplement other, embodied ways of knowing, being, and being with others. The first part of this course examines conceptual and non-conceptual ways that we make sense of reality. We then look at ways that bodies conform to or reconfigure social ideals of normalcy. The readings that we encounter argue for a more inclusive form of realism in our accounts of perception, action, language and intelligence, and we consider a plurality of diverse embodiments and a range of understandings of the ways that bodied selves and social life are woven together. Readings include HL Dreyfus, M. Merleau-Ponty, Julia Kristeva, Judith Butler, Michel Foucault, Samuel Todes, Patricia Brennan, Jack Halberstam, and others. Class size: 18

 

19357

PHIL 230

 Philosophy and the Arts

Garry Hagberg

 T  Th    3:10-4:30 pm

OLIN 202

MBV

HUM

This course explores the ways that philosophers (and philosophically engaged critics) have approached issues concerning the nature and value of art.  After a discussion of Plato’s influential account of representation and the place of art in society, we will turn to questions raised by painting, photography and film, and music.  From there, we will turn to broader topics that cut across various art forms: Are serious (or “high”) and popular (or “low”) art to be understood and evaluated differently?  How do we evaluate works of art, and why do we so often disagree on their value?  And what, if anything, do the various items and activities that we classify as “art” have in common?  Readings include Hume and Kant on taste,  Stanley Cavell on the moving image, and Theodore Adorno and Walter Benjamin on mass culture.  Class size: 22

 

19358

PHIL 238

 Philosophy and Literature

Ruth Zisman

M  W      11:50-1:10 pm

OLIN 205

MBV

HUM

In Plato’s Republic, Socrates defends his exile of poetry from the city in speech by explaining, “reason constrained us to do so…for there is an ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry…an ancient antagonism.” What were the grounds for this foundational philosophical exile of poetry and how do we make sense of Socrates’ defense thereof? What is the nature of this “ancient antagonism”? What is the relationship between philosophy and literature? To what extent can we and/or should we understand philosophy and literature as always already at war with one another, in love with one another, in conversation with one another? In this course, we will attempt to answer these questions by reading philosophical and literary texts side by side. Readings will be drawn from Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Nietzsche, Camus, and Heidegger, as well as from Homer, Horace, Goethe, Hölderlin, Emerson, Rilke, Kafka, and Woolf. Class size: 22

 

19359

PHIL 247

 Philosophy of Mind

Susan Blake

 T  Th    1:30-2:50 pm

ASP 302

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior  This course discusses the nature of the mind as it has been conceived from the early modern period to the present, with influences from psychology, computation, and neuroscience. In particular, we will address the characteristics of the mind and body and their relationship to each other, as they are conceived in these periods, examining the many properties that we think the mind has that we do not think are had by ordinary physical objects.  If we accept the existence of these properties, we may have to accept that the mind is not a physical object—or else decide we are wrong about the properties of the mind. Our readings represent many of the “greatest hits” from this literature, but also include some philosophers representing on scientific phenomena and a bit of science as well. Class size: 22

 

19356

PHIL 258

 Science and Social Values

Michelle Hoffman

 T  Th    3:10-4:30 pm

ASP 302

MBV

 

Cross-listed: Science, Technology, Society  In this course, we will draw on the history and philosophy of science to examine the place of social values in scientific research. When and how did the concept of objectivity arise in science? What does it mean for science to be objective? Is science value-free? If social values cannot be eliminated from science, how do we adjudicate between competing values and determine which are beneficial or harmful to science? How do we accommodate different perspectives? We will use historical and present-day case studies in science, technology, and public health to illustrate the dilemmas that arise. Class size: 20

 

19360

PHIL 271

 Topics in the Philosophy of Language

Robert Martin

M  W      10:10-11:30 am

OLIN 307

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Mind, Brain, Behavior  We will devote the semester to a close reading of Saul Kripke's ground-breaking lectures Naming and Necessity, given at Princeton University in 1970.  This will take us to consideration of other works, for historical background, including Frege”s “On Sense and Reference” and Russell’s “On Denoting.” We will also consider contemporary extensions of Kripke’s work, especially that of David Kaplan.  Prerequisites: one prior course in philosophy (preferably Symbolic Logic) and permission of the instructor.  Class size: 18

 

19362

PHIL 302

 Philosophy Research Seminar

Jay Elliott

 T           10:10-12:30 pm

OLIN 101

MBV

HUM

An intensive advanced seminar required of all philosophy majors in their junior year. A problem in contemporary philosophy is carefully selected, exactingly defined, and thoroughly researched; an essay or article is written addressing the problem, going through numerous revisions as a result of class responses, faculty guidance, and further research; the article is formally presented to the seminar, followed by discussion and debate; and the article in its completed form is submitted to an undergraduate or professional journal of philosophy or to an undergraduate conference in philosophy. The seminar integrates the teaching and practice of writing into the study of the subject matter of the seminar. Emphasis will be placed on the art of research; the development, composition, organization, and revision of analytical prose; the use of evidence to support an argument; strategies of interpretation and analysis of texts; and the mechanics and art of style and documentation. This course is required of all junior Philosophy majors. Class size: 15

 

19364

PHIL 313

 nineteenth century  Continental Philosophy

Daniel Berthold

M           1:30-3:50 pm

OLIN 301

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: German  Studies  Readings from Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. The class focuses on how these writers explored such themes as the nature of consciousness, reality, value, and community; on their distinctive styles of authorship, and on their conceptions of the nature and role of philosophy itself. Class size: 18

 

19365

PHIL 352

 lost in translation? Daoism and the Philosophy of Language

Susan Blake

M           1:30-3:50 pm

OLIN 107

MBV

HUM

Cross-listed: Asian Studies This course focuses on issues in philosophy of language through reflecting on the Dao De Jing and the Zhuangzi. In particular, the course tackles questions of understanding others, of theoretical concepts in different systems of thought, of whether it is possible to say something in one language that is not possible to say in another language, and of the ineffability of certain philosophical ideas. Many of these ideas will be presented both through analytic philosophy and through the reflections of those who work on Chinese thought. No knowledge of Chinese is presupposed. We may also use films or perhaps fiction to elicit the strangeness of foreign ways of thought, including "Lost in Translation" and "Arrival". This course satisfies the Philosophy Junior Seminar requirement. Class size: 15

 

19366

PHIL 362

 speech and act: the Philosophy of J. L. Austin

Garry Hagberg

  W         1:30-3:50 pm

OLIN 307

MBV

HUM

This course will investigate in detail the work of one of the central and most original exponents of twentieth-century linguistic philosophy. We will begin with a close reading of his Sense and Sensibilia, looking into the relations between language and problems of perception and perceptual knowledge.  With that foundation, we will then proceed to his philosophical papers; these will include issues of word meaning and some problems of linguistic atomism, our knowledge of the contents of the mind of another, the concept of truth, and our language of facts, of excuses, of “if” and “can” sentences, of pretending, and of voluntary action. Following this we will work through his widely influential How to Do Things with Words, examining in detail what, thanks to him, we now call performative speech and speech-acts. At the close of the course we will look into the Austinian tradition in selected writings of Paul Grice and Stanley Cavell. This course fulfills the single-philosopher requirement for junior philosophy majors.  Class size: 15

 

 

Cross-listed course:

 

19063

MATH 105

 TIME, SPACE, AND INFINITY: MATHEMATICAL PERSPECTIVES ON PHILOSOPHICAL PARADOXES

Steven Simon

M  W      10:10-11:30 am

HEG 204

MC

MATC

Cross-listed: Philosophy