511 - Modal Logic
Hardegree, 363 Bartlett
This course is intended to follow Philosophy 310 (Intermediate
Logic), and examines various modal logical systems including
alethic modal logic, epistemic logic, deontic logic, tense logic,
and the logic of propositional attitudes. Emphasis will be on
quantification, identity, descriptions, scoped singular terms,
and actuality. Text: Hardegree, Introduction to Modal Logic (available on-line). Prerequisite: Philosophy 310, or consent
of the instructor. For more information, consult http://www-unix.oit.umass.edu/~gmhwww/511.
591S - Socratic Ignorance
Th 4:00 - 6:30
Matthews, 368 Bartlett
In many Platonic dialogues, especially in the early ones, Socrates says that he does not know anything, or at least not anything worthwhile. These disavowals of knowledge present the reader with several interpretive questions: Is Socrates being sincere? How could he possibly be? How could such a disavowal be consistent with the knowledge claims Socrates makes? If, say, Laches tries to say what courage is, how could Socrates know what an appropriate counterexample would be to the analysis Laches has offered, unless Socrates himself knows what courage is? Studying these texts will provide an opportunity to think about whether, and if so, how, it is possible to learn anything from philosophical analysis.
Texts: 9 Platonic dialogues, plus several papers on Socratic Ignorance
Course requirements: 3 short papers and a final term paper
Prerequisites: 3 courses in philosophy, including one in ancient philosophy.
591W - Women Philosophers of the Seventeenth Century
Wed 7:00 - 9:30
O'Neill, 364 Bartlett
A survey of significant, newly rediscovered, contributions by women to seventeenth-century philosophy. Authors and topics may include: (1) sceptical arguments in the essays of Marie de Gournay; (2) Elisabeth of Bohemia’s challenges to Cartesian dualism and mind-body union, free will and divine predestination, and the Stoic view of the autonomy of the will; (3) Damaris Masham’s treatment of Leibnizian individual substances, “vital force” and the possibility of unextended substances; (4) Mary Astell’s defense of dualistic interactionism in terms of “vital congruence,” and her challenges to occasionalism; (5) Margaret Cavendish’s treatment of mechanism, causation and perception, and defense of an original organicist materialism; and (6) Anne Conway’s attacks on the metaphysics of Spinoza, Descartes and Hobbes, and defense of an original spiritual monism.
Prerequisites for undergraduates: Some familiarity with the history of modern philosophy or permission of the instructor.
Requirements: A 3-page paper, a 15-page term paper, and class presentations.
593P - Perception and Belief
TuTh 2:30 - 3:45
Perin, 357 Bartlett
In this course we will consider two questions: (1) what is a belief? (2) how does perception provide us with reasons for belief? We will examine the differences between belief and other propositional attitudes, what a reason for belief is, how perception resembles and is different from other mental states, and what sort of content perceptual experiences have. Requirement: one class presentation, a mid-term paper, and a final paper.
701 - Russell
Th 4:00 - 6:30
Klement, 353 Bartlett
Examination of Bertrand Russell's philosophy in the period from The Principles
of Mathematics (1903) to Principia Mathematica (1910), with particular
emphasis on the development of his views in mathematical logic, metaphysics and
the theory of meaning. Texts: The Principles of Mathematics, Principia
Mathematica to *56, and a number of smaller works by Russell, Moore, Peano
and/or others. Requirements: Graduate student status and significant
background in formal logic, or consent of instructor.
760 - Ethics
Tues 7.30 - 10.00
Feldman, 362 Bartlett
We will start with Moore’s characterization of naturalism and non-naturalism
and his Open Question Argument from Principia Ethica. Then we will turn to
the theories that dominated 20th Century metaethics: emotivism of various
sorts, prescriptivism, naturalism, the error theory, etc. Classic works by
Ayer, Stevenson, Hare, and others will be read. Then we will read some things
by the most important figures in current metaethics. This might include Frank
Jackson's From Metaphysics to Ethics: A Defence of Conceptual Analysis.
Prerequisites: graduate status or permission of the instructor. Course
requirements: Mid-term paper; annotated bibliography, term paper, regular
attendance and contribution to seminar discussion. Some students may be
invited to give seminar presentations.
793I - Intuition
M 3:35 - 6:05
Kornblith, 360 Bartlett
Philosophers often appeal to their intuitions in support of the theories they espouse. Is this a legitimate thing to do? What conditions must intuitions meet if this particular philosophical practice is to be justified? Do our intuitions meet these conditions? Are there any alternatives to appealing to intuition in constructing philosophical theories, and, if so, what do they look like? We will examine the role of intuition in philosophical theory construction in a variety of areas, but we will spend most time on epistemology and ethics. Readings from Bealer, BonJour, Cummins, Goldman, Jackson, Kagan, Kamm, Stich and others. Requirements: term paper. Prerequisites: graduate student status or permission of instructor.
793M - Modality
W 3:35 - 6:05
Bricker, 354 Bartlett
An examination of contemporary theories of possible worlds, with
special attention to David Lewis's On the Pluraity of Worlds.